Travel Beauty Style – These Little Piggies Went Chip-Proof All The Way Home

I don’t write about travel beauty too often, only when I really have something to share. Make-up and beauty products are fun but I’d rather invest my energy into posts about places to go, things to see, and how travel changes you. Besides, there are more than enough bloggers out there whose foundation (hahaha! I slay myself) is make-up and beauty.

But today I have something good to share. Of course, I have to tell you a story before I get to the meat of this post, right? While I enjoy strenuous travel and going places off the beaten path, I still like to maintain my beauty habits on the road. It keeps me confident and since my routine is so (too?) minimal it doesn’t cost me baggage weight or a lot of time. I use this little guy instead of shaving my legs, embrace my natural brows (but keep them in check with a tweezer), and don’t paint my fingernails. But, I do paint my toes.

Having polished toes makes me happy. I love picking quirky or classic colors to dress up my piggies. Being able to shuck my shoes and have my toes be presentable is a must have for me – a little rule of elegant living. When I travel, I won’t typically get a pedicure before departure because midway through the trip the polish will chip and get ratty looking. I’d rather have well-kept bare toes than chipped or peeling polish. To me there is not much else that screams TACKY as that. Either keep it fresh or TAKE IT OFF!!

When gel nails came on the scene chips and wear became a lot less apparent. Glossy, practically chip-proof and long-lasting, gel nails seemed like the perfect answer for my pre-travel toes. Except, the UVA light used to cure the polish blasts your skin with a concentrated dose of photoaging light. The same light as a tanning bed. NOPE! If that weren’t enough, getting gel nail polish removed wreaks havoc on your natural nails. As in, it removes multiple layers of nail, weakens strong nails, and decimates thin nails.

A few years ago some clever cosmetics companies started selling at-home gel kits promising gel-like gloss and wear without the hassle of light curing or the trauma of removal. Let me tell you, me and mis dedos de los pies have tried quite a few of these and none lived up to the claims. UNTIL THIS ONE! Essie Gel Setter Top Coat is a clear polish designed to go over an Essie color of your choice. Apparently, the best process is to apply:

  • Primer
  • Base Coat
  • Color Coat
  • Gel Setter Top Coat

Umm, did I mention I am low maintenance in the beauty department? That 4-step process is never going to happen unless I am captive at a salon where someone else is doing all of that. The good news? You don’t have to follow the 4 steps.

Three weeks ago, I gave myself a little at-home spa evening. I popped on my YogaToes and used my favorite Butter London polish in Royal Navy on bare, clean toes. I let it dry thoroughly (while I binge-watched FaceOff) and then, applied Essie Gel Setter Top Coat. About 30 minutes later, I had happy feet. Flash forward to right now and my Royal Navy color looks as fresh as it did on July 16. It has held up to swimming, hiking, wearing shoes and lots of walking and still looks great. Probably what makes me feel best is that when I take it off, it will only require regular polish remover. Now, the dark blue color of the Butter London polish will take a lot of remover, but there won’t be any peeling or abrasive aggression to get any gel off. Huzzah!

What about you? Do you deck out your tootsies pre-travel? Have you tried a gel top coat? Let me know your pre-travel beauty business in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

*those are not my feet in the header image.

As a note, Butter London doesn’t have Royal Navy on it’s site any longer but check out their site for some other gorgeous colors. I have my eye on Earl Grey, La Moss, and HRH. Saturated colors in the perfect consistency for easy coverage. Did I mention they have less harmful formulations, too? Here’s a screenshot from the Butter London website. All the more reason to love them.