Okay, Let’s Be Honest: makeup really isn’t necessary at Burning Man. I just… I really like it! The best part of my morning (besides my super-regular 6:45am morning poop #humblebrag) is deciding what makeup to wear that day. What colors, what theme, what “look” I’m going to go for. Why should I have to forego that fun, just because I’m camping in one of the harshest environments on Planet Earth?
So after going makeupless my first year, I felt like something was missing. I brought some eyeshadows out my second year, and I was SO HAPPY to have them because I felt more like MYSELF. I believe that I can do better this year, so I snatched up some items on clearance to stockpile for the event. So buckle up for a long-ish post! If you’re going to Burning Man and want the benefit of my experience, then heeeeere you go!
I found this last year and was so excited to bring it out to the Playa, and it was such fun! I see how it looks in pictures and it’s adorable. I splurged and bought a bunch of new colors for this year because they were on sale! The glitter isn’t too messy, becaaaaaaauuuseee….Glitter is VERBOTEN at Burning Man! Anything that makes lots of tiny mess is MOOP – Matter Out Of Place, and its existence can threaten the ability to have Burning Man next year. IT’S TRUE. But this stays really well until you want to wipe it off, and when you DO, it comes off clean.
NYX Full Throttle Shadow Stick
These are super-easy to use, highly pigmented, and they TWIST UP! No sharpening needed! I love the bright colors, and the fact that they last well without needing primer, which is a step I’m not willing to take while out on the playa!
CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner
Again, this twists up, so I don’t need to sharpen it! I used this last year to give my eyes some definition. This formula doesn’t shmoo too much on me, and I like having just a little black eyeliner on me at all times #GothForLife. True Story: when I was in high school, my English teacher asked me if I was “a goth,” because I always wore black eyeliner and an attempt to dye my hair dark red accidentally came out darker than intended (think the color of fresh cherries: purpley-black). I mean, there were ACTUAL GOTHS in that class (chain chokers and bowl cuts and everything!) but for some reason I seemed like the gothy type to her. Shrug! Go figure.
This is a bit of a splurge, but it’s highly recommended because it ACTUALLY WORKS!!! It’s also not going to be sticky on your lips, thus accumulate lots of Playa dust, and the dispenser is like a pump, so it won’t get full of dust and crud! I was given a new bottle for Christmas this year, but my “old” bottle still has quite a lot in it, even though I bought it like, 5 or 6 years ago! This is just a good investment overall!
You’re also gonna want some personal care products, so while put these on your must-buy list:
Baby wipes, any brand, in excess
We bought like, three packages of these at Target last year. I can’t undersell these enough. Being able to wipe yourself down before bed or in the heat of the afternoon is SO LUXURIOUS. Just don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen after, and whatever you do, DON’T throw them in the Port-a-Potties!!
Alcohol-free, oil-free face wipes
I like to wipe my face before bed and in the morning and heck, sometimes in the middle of the afternoon! This will take off the glitter and Playa dust and sunscreen, and it’s a total luxury.
Neutrogena SPF 55 oil-free sunscreen
This is the sunscreen I’ve been using for years, and I love it! Strong recommend, it doesn’t make your face sticky and therefore, you won’t look like you’re wearing a Dust Monster mask. Two thumbs up!
Q-tips & Hydrogen peroxide
for ear-cleaning because every year my ears are so dirty and the one thing I miss is cleaning out my ears. I’m planning on passing out moistened ear swabs like candy. On Thursday of 2015 we visited “Doctor Playa” who gave us soft tissues (to blow our noses), wet Q-tips (to clean our ears), and a shot of infused alcohol (cuz it’s the DOCTOR, and you get a SHOT! Get it?! And they shot it into your mouth from a “syringe” which was adorable) and it was like being reborn anew. I felt SO CLEAN AND FRESH that I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to realize that I CAN BRING MY OWN Q-TIPS TO THE PLAYA.
You will not survive without a good sunscreen. Find one you like. Get a whole bottle. You’ll need it.
AND NOW FOR THE MAKEUP I WOULDN’T BRING TO THE PLAYA:
- waterproof mascara: I can just see this getting full of dust on your eyes, turning crusty and horrible, and being hard to remove (without running water), and smearing everywhere. There are some people who swear by mascara to catch the dust and keep it out of your eyes, but it sounds like a nightmare to me. If anything, I’d bring a cheap and non-waterproof tube with you, that will come off easily with a face wipe and you don’t cry tears if the tube gets full of Playa dust and you have to throw it out after the event.
- Lip stain: again, if it’s hard to scrub off your face, you’re going to be miserable after 10 days with no running water. I don’t think I’ll even be bringing lipstick, but if you have a lip balm with SPF, I’d totally go for it.
- liquid eyeliner: much like that tube of mascara, this will become crusted in alkaline dust faster than you can say “Gee, I really hope this doesn’t end up crusted in alkaline dust.”
- eyeliners/lip liners that need to be sharpened: MOOP is a major concern. Moop is Matter Out Of Place. Basically, any microscopic flecks of litter can threaten Burning Man’s right to exist. We take this VERY SERIOUSLY. I have seen multiple adult strangers gang up with each other to chase a tissue caught in the wind down the street and catch it to dispose of it properly. Basically, don’t bring it if it’s going to make a mess.
- Loose glitter: Now you would think that Burning Man would be the time to throw glitter EVERYWHERE but because you know that even a single glitter speck left behind could threaten Burning Man’s entire future, you’d be wise to avoid it. You say to me, But Meghan, I’m sure I won’t make a mess with my glitter! Take it from Me and Mariah Carey: Glitter is always, always going to come back to haunt you. Just say NO.
- Dry shampoo: yes, you’re likely not going to wash your hair for ten days BUT!!! The dust acts as dry shampoo! Trust me! It absorbs oil and you don’t look greasy and it’s totally fine!
- Face powder/foundation: Like I said, the dust is MAGIC! My boyfriend explained, “It’s like a soft filter over everything.” Your face is gonna be covered in chalky dust which acts like a fuzzy Instagram filter so you’ll look like Barbra Streisand all week long. It’s great! If you’re super self-conscious, I wouldn’t tell you NOT to bring a concealer for blemishes, because that would be hypocritical, and I’m sure I’ve grabbed my concealer stick at some points in the past because of dark red marks I’d rather not have to obsess about.
- Eye shadow: dear God, what if it falls and breaks? TOO MESSY!
- Body Paint: Yeah, like glitter, you’d think this would be awesome, but if you get smeared in the Orgy Dome and can’t shower it off, it’s not gonna be as great as you think it will be. Body paint with caution, and be safe!
- Too Many Fucks: looking perfect isn’t nearly as important as living in the moment and having a great time. So if you live for painting your face, DO IT.