So you’ve religiously checked everything off the festival essentials list, and are suddenly struck by the sort of panic that led to that dream you had at 15 about doing the school play naked (just me then?!). It’s a panic that creeps up on you as you realise that yes, you will have to sleep in a field with a bunch of teenagers with little more than a thick plastic bag between you and the Great British Summer. And by great I mean absolutely apocalyptic.
After five nights sleeping in your own dirt, you’d be forgiven for never wanting to return again, but I’m here to tell you that at 34 years of age I’ve found a better way of surviving AND even waking up on that final day looking pretty damn awesome. Strap yourself in for the most practical festival fashion and beauty guide you’ve ever read (and no, you won’t find a guide to face jewels here).
The Festival Beauty Tips
You want to stay looking human whilst simultaneously chugging down a breakfast cider and a heap of bacon. You’ve got absolutely zero time for false eyelashes, queuing at the somewhat terrifying showers on site and inch thick make up that will end up on someone as you hang off the barrier at the front of Biffy Clyro. But the look you are going for (alive and well, if you are asking), still requires a little preparation and planning before you arrive.
I don’t like feeling grotty and I know that as much as some of the teens in that campsite can spend their entire time caked in mud, I will have a way better time if I feel fresh. Here’s a few nifty beauty musts to squeeze into your backpack.
Face + Body
Every year at Reading Festival, as I sit back and sip on my first slightly warm cider of the morning I watch a parade of women lugging huge toiletry bags towards the local leisure centre where they will queue for hours to have slightly grim shared showers. If queueing is your bag, that’s cool but luckily the festival gods invented Bathing Wet Wipes, dubbed “the closest thing you’ll get to a bath or shower at a festival”.
It’s what they use in hospitals and elderly care units to give bed baths, and if it’s good enough for the health sector it’s good enough for me. Trust me, if you’ve been using cheap baby wipes to date, these will change your festival life.
Amazon currently do a triple pack for £5.49 so thats 24 bath wipes to have the most luxurious festival mornings ever – or to share with your tent mates in exchange for another warm cider or two.
Top it off with a roll on deodorant (they don’t love aerosols at the festival, but I’m willing to make one exception to that rule as below), some sort of perfume spray that you’ve decanted out of the glass bottle (glass is banned at festivals) and you’ll be smelling sweet and fresh until at least the second moshpit.
Other things to consider bringing:
- Face wipes and eye make up remover wipes – I really like these ones by Simple.
- A decent moisturiser to help you combat the epic dehydration
- A solid SPF, because even if it doesn’t feel sunny you’ll need protection
- A toothbrush and toothpaste (or why not try these awesome Lush tablet toothpastes?)
Even if I start to smell a little iffy and my mascara runs down my face, the one thing that will be guaranteed to look box fresh on the last day is my hair. I’ve perfected a fairly simple system over the last few years, and I even manage to look passable with a fringe (which is a nightmare to control at a festival!).
You’ll need a a full sized 200ml canister of Batiste Dry Shampoo (or similar, but I’ve always found Batiste holds up perfectly in all weathers) a decent brush and some hairspray (I’m not fussy, so I grab whatever is on offer). Oh and you’ll also need a good memory when drunk. Stay with me.
Of an evening, take just 5 minutes before you crawl into your sleeping bag to comb through your by now matted hair. Spray dry shampoo liberally (and I mean liberally) all over the roots, including underneath your hair and then brush through again. You’ll have sprayed far too much on for a normal day, but by the time you wake up in the morning it will have rubbed itself right in and you’ll have luscious, bouncy locks. Just give that a quick hair spray and be on your way!
If you really can’t do without a hair wash and can’t face the showers, another alternative is this slightly weird Vitility No Water Shampoo 240ml. You just pour the liquid on, rub in and dry off. It’s not perfect, but it will tide you over the worst of the festival hair.
Just as important for your general health as well as hydrating your skin is a reasonable amount of H2O. I made a point of drinking a bottle of water before starting on the cider each morning, which was met by the girls with criticism… until a certain co-Editor fell a little ill one morning. Doesn’t seem such a bad idea now does it?Heading to a festival this summer? Here's some practical festival fashion and beauty tipsClick To Tweet
The Fashion Tips
Fashion blogger I am not, but I do like to at least try to look my best wherever I go. And that includes muddy fields in the middle of nowhere. But when it comes to festivals I’m all about outfits that don’t nip, pinch, chafe or squeeze, and you will certainly not find me attempting sandals, flip flops, any sort of heel, anything with lycra and anything cropped. Or a playsuit.
But you can remain relatively stylish AND comfortable at a festival, and this is how.
I have a very firm festival uniform that keeps me warm and comfy and able to jump into whatever a festival might throw at me. Usually this is a circle pit but it can also include hailstorms, heat, hangovers and everything else in between. This uniform takes the form of denim shorts (I prefer high waisted, but whatever), band or slogan tees and a pair of tights (unless it’s particularly warm – which never happens).
The reason this outfit works, is without doubt, it’s easy to slip into when you’re stuck in a tent with two other girls (or in a tiny one man pop up). Believe me, space is not on your side when camping, and spending half an hour trying to wriggle into your skinny jeans whilst nursing a hangover just doesn’t make for easy festival dressing. Plus the chafing on a dress when you hit 30 is just not the one.
Some tips to stick by:
- Layers are your friend – it could be hot one minute and freezing the next, so tees with a zip up hoody thrown over the top will have you partying from sun up to sun down.
- Pale colours are not your friend – on a hot day the dust and sweat will cover you and you’ll never get that out in the wash. RIP my white cats for feminism tee.
- Enough clean socks to last you the weekend and spares will have you thanking the festival gods on a wet day – there is nothing like changing into dry, warm socks to improve your mood.
Waterproofs + Wellingtons
If you’re going to a UK festival, you know it will rain. Don’t take the weather lightly, because a very wet festival is entirely enjoyable if you are completely prepared. Is there anything more miserable than getting soaked on the first day and spending the whole festival a cold, damp wreck? I think not.
You absolutely don’t need to spend the earth on expensive wellies. Fun fact – back in 2011 I skipped off to Reading Festival in my Hunter boots and within a day my feet were in so much agony I had to keep sitting down and taking them off. In the rain. I soon realised that my shapely calves needed something a little roomier for festival fun and so I grabbed a pair of Wide Fit Wellies by Splash that has seen me right ever since. Just make sure they fit nicely and are comfortable. You might be in them the whole festival.
As for waterproofs, around this time of year the high street is awash (geddit?!) with pac-a-mac style cover ups. You could opt for something seriously thick and waterproof like this adorable yellow rain mac from ASOS or my preference is a something I can fold away when the rain stops. ASOS have loads of fold away macs, but Primark often have lots of cheap ones in many different colours and patterns. A rain mac is important, but it doesn’t have to be boring!
An extra comfort tip is to grab a pair of cushioned insoles for your wellies and a pair of decent welly socks. Because I’m short, I find the top of my wellies can rub my legs if it happens to be warm and muddy and I can’t wear tights. Welly socks stop all that business and keep your feet warm and dry all weekend long.
You know what you definitely need with you on a festival campsite? Hand sanitiser, tissues and money. You know what you definitely don’t need on a festival campsite? To be lugging a shoulder or hand bag around. Hands free is where it is at.
So bumbags then!
I know it’s not the coolest accessory but its epically handy and super safe. You can pop all your essentials in, slide your cash into the back pocket that lies directly against your body AND have two hands available for TWO CIDERS. Luckily bumbags appear to have become a top festival look in recent years, but I’ve been rocking the fanny pack since my festival time began. And I’ve never once regretted that decision.
So that’s you looking and smelling fairly decent all weekend with these festival fashion and beauty tips. Look out for more posts over the next two weeks to sort your festival booze and coping strategies during festival mayhem and there will be an ultimate festival packing list!