Beauty on the Boat: Because I want to LIVE like a beach bum, not LOOK like one

Life on a boat is a beautiful thing. I fall asleep watching the stars sway through our hatch, feeling the breeze blow in, and through the night I track the moon’s progress across the sky. Wake up, splash your face, and you’re good to go, right? Almost. While I did once go 3 straight weeks without brushing my hair, there are a few essentials that keep me feeling like a proper human. Because that beachy look only goes so far when it’s real and not just a look (the tangles…oh my god the tangles.)


So I’ll start with Brush your hair. This may sound obvious to some, but it clearly wasn’t to me. I recommend a wet/dry brush and a good leave in cream or spray detangler, and keep both in your beach bag. Its usually the only “beauty” item that I put in, and it saves me a lot of grief later on. Get it brushed through straight out of the ocean and you’re good to go.

Sunscreen (duh) I am on a boat in the tropical sun. Sunscreen is a must. Read about my Favorite Five here.

Dr. Bronner’s Baby mild soap I like to have this on hand to clean our bathing suits—which are mostly hand wash only (the harsher washer and dryer can eliminate built-in SPF), and the whole family uses it in the shower. I use the baby mild unscented version because I can add essential oils if I’m extra motivated, and the simple version is best for suits.


Coconut oil The antibacterial, antimicrobial, andti-ageing properties of coconut oil are well-documented. Its uses are endless; I’m always learning about some new way to make use of this awesome oil. I use it on my face and in my hair. I rub it over my entire body after a shower (while skin is still wet) then I cover up in long sleeve jammies for the night to let it soak in. If you don’t want the full-on coconut oiled up body, add a little oil to your Dr. Bronner’s soap, and your skin will hold on to it after you wash the soap off. Fill an ice cube tray with this oil and keep it in the fridge for a moisturizing cool down. I’ve used it religiously on all three baby bumps, and both of my babies so far. Best of all, it can be purchased in most countries, and easily found in small local markets.

Skin scrub I love Earth Science face scrub, and have it well-stocked on both boats and land. It’s made to be gentle for your face, but I use it on my whole body.

My trio of marina shower essentials

Vitamin C serum or oil The *experts* agree that a topical antioxidant once or twice a day can help your skin fight off many pollutants. Too much sun is a fairly big offender, so I usually do this at night. There are a million fancy options out there, but I generally use a basic vitamin C serum like Mad Hippie, which also has other awesome powerhouse ingredients, like hyaluronic acid. When you’re living on a boat, or other “not so fancy” abode, the risk of heat and humidity damaging a $100 face cream is just too high to waste the money.

Bikinis! Listen to me. You want to be throwing it on quickly without much thought. That is the beauty of having such tiny pieces of fabric comprising the bulk of your wardrobe. There are great ones at all price points, but whatever price—and whatever size your fabric—make sure they stay put. Check out a few of my favorites here.

Laser I know, I know, this is thousands of dollars. BUT IT IS WORTH EVERY PENNY. I admit my mother-in-law owns a laser spa in the Boston area, so I am lucky to get most treatments for free. (I say most. There’s a funny story there, but I’m saving it for when I can drink again. I’m not ready to share it sober.) Seriously, not worrying about shaving or waxing ever again is priceless.

Dry-brushing This takes 30 seconds and makes a world of difference on your whole body of skin that, on a boat, is under full sun and salt assault. It improves circulation, gets rid of dry skin, and helps your skin absorb any moisture you send tis way afterwards. Some advocates claim it guards against cellulite, though that does sound a little too good to be true. What I CAN guarantee is that it is fantastic for your skin and circulation. This is my favorite sisal brush, as it is small and great for traveling. Brush right before your shower, while skin is still dry, in upward strokes starting at your feet, with circular strokes in places like your belly.

Comfy PJs that cover your skin Even in the tropics many nights are nice and cool. After long days in bikinis in the sun and saltwater, I like to cover up and be cozy.

This pretty much covers it all. Showers are still optional, and the pool and ocean totally count!

2 thoughts on “Beauty on the Boat: Because I want to LIVE like a beach bum, not LOOK like one

  1. Great tips. Do you only laser for hair removal or facial laser too? I’m from the Boston area and would love a good recommendation

    1. Hi Alyssa! Whoops I totally missed this!! So sorry!! She does photo facials too! Her practice is in Middleton, U Day Spa is the name, and her name is Andrea, she’s the owner. She’s SO good—she was one of the first in the field and teaches as well.

Leave a Reply