Operation Desert Rogue Part 2: Travel Skincare and Tips for Parched Skin

Greetings from amidst swirling desert sands, fellow rogues!

Welcome back to Part 2 of the chronicle of this rogue’s desert adventures! Part 1, my travel/desert makeup extravaganza, may be found here. I wasn’t originally going to do a skincare post (since they seem to be of mixed popularity as a post type), but your encouragement and my own desire to showcase one particular product overcame my reservations ๐Ÿ˜‰ Plus, now I get to ramble on about my favourite tips for desert survival when you have already dry skin! So although I said Part 2 was going to be Duty Free goodies, this will have to wait!

Once again, fair warning,ย  I couldn’t take my big camera with me,ย  so all of the pictures from my trip are/were done on a mobile device, mostly in bad light. Yeah. *cringe* Sorry about that, but when you don’t have a handy wizard with an illumination spell, things get sticky… and I can’t even bame the paladin this time!

First up: What did I take with me?

Desert and Travel Skincare Essentials

A rogue’s essential skincare (and haircare, and random bit of makeup I forgot to include last time) for desert questing!


Relatively minimalist, right? I should note there that I don’t actually consider Urban Decay’s Primer Potion to be a skincare essential, but it is damn useful for makeup, and I managed to forget to put it into the last post! So I shall rectify that here. This kitbag’ll see you throught most types of weather and travel, actually, depending on where you’re going, and has something for the body and hair as well!

We have:

The Body Shop Midnight Bakula Body Butter OK, I have to admit that I’m not sure if this particular scent (which is from the fragrance line) is actually permanently available anywhere. I got it in London in 2011, and wore it to give my presentation at the last iteration of this conference. It went so well that this one has become sort of a feel-good conference talisman for me now ๐Ÿ˜‰ In more general terms, I LOVE these body butters, own about 10 different scents and wear them absolutely every day. I’ve mentioned/reviewed the Blueberry one (a particular favourite) here. They’re really great for taking everyday care of skin, and even the scented ones don’t irritate my eczema in the slightest. Absolute treasure.

Lancome Hydra Intense Hydrating Gel Masqueย  OK, this is the product I really wanted to showcase. This stuff is magic for dry skin, honestly.ย  Absolute magic. So magic I had to get the wizard to do an arcana check because I thought there had to be some curse/hex related catch somewhere. But no, this is just an amazing product for dry skin! But there’s a trick to it… Right: this mask is expensive. The tube is something like $88 in Middle Earth, and you’re supposed to slather a layer of the pale blue gel over your skin, wait a few minutes then wipe off the excess. HAH! There’s no way this rogue is wiping off and discarding $88 moisturising goo, Lancome, so here’s the secret: use just a tiny amount (the size of a small pea, perhaps), enought to rub into your skin like a normal moisturiser so that there’s no excess. You get all the benefits of the product, and the tube has lasted me two years and counting. Your skin is plumped, silky soft and incredibly well hydrated. There’s no irritation of excema or blocking of pores, and if you put a tiny bit more on in the evening before bed, than you almost don’t need to add any moisture the next morning. This is especially great when you’re sleeping in fierce, dehydrating aircon! I love this stuff, and would recommend it to anyone who needs to intensively moisturise dry/sensitive skin. I can’t specifically vouch for it’s usefulness for oily/blemished skin, but certainly it doesn’t break me out or make my more combination nose/chin shiny. If nothing else, stop by a Lancome counter and give it a go!

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser I got this little pot as part of a GWP, and thought I’d take it with me on my trip for a desert road test. After all, when are you going to be more in need of ‘extended thirst relief’? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can definitely say that this lightweight pink gel is a totally functional moisturiser. Yep. It doesn’t make me shiny by the end of the day (as that yellow Clinique ‘dramatically different’ moisturiser is wont to do), and does an adequate job at hudrating the skin. Not as magical as the Lancome masque, I have to say, but totally passable. I’m not entirely sure (based on that) that I would cough up the >$100 that I believe the full size pot costs, but I can confirm its utiltity. I hope this effusive review has not startled you too much ;-).

Clinique Moisture Surge Thirsty Skin Relief Face Spray Another product from the same Clinique line (and same GWP), this moisturising spray is actually rather handy. It does an adequate job at hydrating by itself, with a nice dense, soft spray, and has the added benefit of being very refreshing. I had this with me in my carry-on ziploc bag for the plane, and really enjoyed it. I also tested it on its own as a moisturiser in the morning (mostly out of interest), and it actually works. Obviously it works better as a moisturiser on mornings after I wore the Lancome masque to bed, and otherwise you need another spritz by midday, but I doubt it’s really intended for that purpose. The next time you’re taking >10 hour flights, however, consider something like this. If you can get it as a GWP, this is even better. Avene has a water based one, Lisa Eldridge seems to be a fan of the Caudalie beauty elixir, or frankly you can probably make your own. A luxury, perhaps, but I can at least vouch for the pleasant efficacy of this one!

La Biosthetique Hydrating Spa Fluid Cheveux Longs So here’s the thing – I am a complete and utter fail when it comes to haircare, generally. I take basically zero interest in it past seeing which shampoo is on sale at the supermarket when I need more. I use neither hairdryer nor straightener nor conditioner. This hydrating serum for long hair is only in my kitbag because the hairdresser who did my hair for my wedding introduced me to it and suggested I try it. Why? Because I have epically long hair at the moment. I call it my thesis hair (although the jury is out on whether or not I will cut it when my thesis is finished), and it currently reaches down to mid buttock. Not very practical for a rogue, you might say? Perhaps not, but it spends most of its time in a braided bun, and the biggest problem it has is that the ends get very dry. So I follow the instructions and comb one pump of this hydrating fluid through the bottom third of my hair every time I wash it (every other day), and lo, the ends are not as dry. This is nice when I want to leave it out or in a ponytail, as the ends look like they’re part of the same mane, not the beginnings of some strange, frizzy hair corruption.

Lancome Tonique Douceur Alcohol Free Softening Hydrating Toner Yes, it’s another GWP item! It is a toner. It does more or less what it says on the bottle…and I wanted to try it out? If you’re in the market for a toner, this one is quite nice, but I don’t feel like it changed my life or anything. It doesn’t make my skin feel tight, however, and it’s alcohol free, so that’s nice. It was good to test this out in a dry environment, but I’m not sure I’d be splurging on the full size any time soon.

Urban Decay Original Primer Potionย Yep, the Classic. I think I got this as a free sample with an order (hence the older packaging with the doe foot in the genie bottle), but it’s a favourite anyway. I used to think that eyeshadow primer was a gimmick, but this was because I never before needed my eyeshadow to last through an entire day of traveling and conference presentations, through to the conference dinner. Brilliant stuff. There are many brands of this stuff, but I like this one the best (big surprise, right? UD fanrogue over here, not gonna lie). It’s here in the skincare post because it had rolled out of sight in my washbag when I put the makup post together, but better late than never, right? ๐Ÿ˜€



Hot days, desiccating aircon-filled nights. Will your skin survive?


Lastly, I just wanted to share a couple of tips for desert/hot/dry weather skincare! Most of this is probably obvious, so I’ll keep it brief ๐Ÿ˜‰ Obviously, moisturiser will be necessary, more particualrly because of the air conditioning than anything else if you’re doing city traveling. Never underestimate the desiccating effect of air conditioning, people, particularly when it’s set to intense and constant levels. Also remember that you’ll be popping back and forth between some temperature extremes (45 degress desert to 18 degrees aircon, perhaps), which is pretty stressful for the sinuses as well as the skin. Some of this will be less of a surprise to those who live in hot/dry parts of the States (for example), but I come from a moist, temperate, maritime part of Middle Earth where we spend more of our time trying to DE humidify things and combat mould, so a desert/aircon climate is particularly stark. If you too come from a similar climate, you may find that the dryness prompts some spectacular nosebleeds, so consider some sort of nasal spray if you think you might be prone (I discovered this in California one hot July almost twenty years ago. It really was a gory spectacular). Also remember your sunscreen if it’s not already in your makeup, a good hat or scarf, and a decent cleanser to wash off the dust that accumulates *everywhere*. One of the best skincare measures you can take is remembering to drink a troll-load of water, and a bandana soaked in water for the neck is nice if you’re going through the actual desert.

I think that’s probably enough for the time being! Hope you enjoyed this little travel skincare ramble, and stay tuned for Part 3, my Duty Free/Travel Exclusive Makeup showcase!

What are your tips for desert skincare? Have you been to the desert before? ๐Ÿ™‚

Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!


I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided! All images and text on this blog are the property of The Painted Rogue unless otherwise stated. If you nick off with any of it, a hex will be laid on you that causes you to burst into flame in direct or indirect sunlight. No skincare’s gonna save you from that…


30 thoughts on “Operation Desert Rogue Part 2: Travel Skincare and Tips for Parched Skin

  1. Welcome back!

    I think your approach to the Lancome Hydra Intense Masque is entirely practical. I know I would feel like sobbing if I was forced to waste such an expensive product. On an unrelated note, everytime I hear ‘Hydra’ in a product name, I assume one of the ingredients is a three headed snake.


    • *waves*

      You know, I thought about making a hydra joke, but then I passed. Missed opportunities, how they litter life’s path… like the heads of a hydra after the battle…

      BOOM! (sorry, I’ll stop now).


  2. Syl! Are you back? How was Sharjah? ๐Ÿ˜€

    I’m on the oily side of things (seriously surprised no one’s thought of putting up an oil rig on my face yet) but I still have to make sure I’m moisturized! Too little, and my face is sandpaper (and later turns into an oil slick), too much, and it’s an oil slick from the get go. (Bottom line: I’m an oilslick). I have used the Clinique thirst relief, but it felt so silicone-y I had no inclination to repurchase. I’ll have to try the Lancome one, though, it sounds great!


    • Hi Aditi! Sharjah was awesome (although I didn’t have as much time to sightsee as I might have liked, typical!).

      Definitely try the Lancome one instore first – I totally know what you mean about the silicone-y feel of the Clinique, and although the Lancome has a different feel, it’s still quite gel-y. You know, they might actually have a similar thing specifically for oilier skin…


  3. Hooray, you’re back! I hope Sharjah and Dubai were splendid. I too live in an infuriatingly humid part of the world, at least in summer. Come winter, I’ll definitely need these tips. And wow, mid-buttock hair? I don’t think my hair is physically capable of growing past my shoulder blades. Though this year will be all dissertation all the time, so I guess I’ll have to see what happens…


    • Heh, it’s taken four years to get there from mid neck length – my hair grows like a weed. I don’t know how much longer it will get, but i’m not sure I want it to go further. At a certain point i feel i would slip over the fine line between ‘glorious mermaid’ and awkward ‘is she going for some kind of record?’ and not be happy with it any more…


  4. Summer has bid goodbye to my country and the colder season is coming. I think I may need to whip out my Clinique Moisture Surge again. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, and I can never grow my hair out that long! But now I’m trying to resist the urge to cut my hair back to a bob and just try to grow it out a little more. ๐Ÿ˜‰



    • OMG I’m so sorry! WordPress spam binned you (for some reason – it’s never minded you before!), so I’ve only just rescued your lovely comment! XD. So sorry!

      Yes, the cold season is settling in well here in MIddle Earth too *sigh*. I actually don’t mind cold weather, but the colds/flus/etc that come with it I would prefer to avoid! The Moisture Surge stuff is really great ๐Ÿ™‚

      Good luck with your hair! ๐Ÿ˜€ Just a little bit longer…just a little bit longer… (although I can totally understand not wanting to leave it as long as I have, LOL!)


  5. Hey Syl thanks so much for all the tips! I haven’t been in a desrt land for a really long time.. but I can totally relates with the hopping between extreme heat and low temperatues.. as that happens a lot here in india!.. I think I have used and loved the entire Clinique Moisture Surge Range.. that has to be the best of their lot! I really love their overnight mask from this range too.. YOU NEED TO TRY IT! ๐Ÿ˜€ Its amazing! ๐Ÿ™‚



    • I’ve been pretty impressed with the Moisture Surge stuff! I’m stil not sure it’s the love of my life, but I’m going to be using my little sample pots right down to the last speck! ๐Ÿ˜€ I didn’t know the line had a mask – might try and cadge a sample the next time I’m at a counter!


  6. Welcome back, my adventurous rogue friend! The climate here is anything but desert-like, but still I feel that my skin is quite thirsty at times. It’s oily, yes, bit also a bit parched, if that makes sense… I might give one of your Clinique miracle workers a try.


    • Definitely take a look at the spray, if you need a quick, non-greasy moisture boost. It’s super refreshing, travel friendly, and lasts quite well! I was impressed, acutally – I mean, water in a spray bottle always makes me suspicious, but this one does feel really great ๐Ÿ˜‰


  7. I have been using that Lancรดme mask off and on for almost 10 years! I agree, it is way too expensive. I only pick it up when it’s a GWP! It makes a great cuticle cream too!


    • OOOH. I hadn’t thought of that! Hehe, gonna try it now – usually I’m way to lazy to do *anything* to my poor cuticles, but if it’s already something I have in my routine…


  8. That Clinique Moisture Surge Thirsty Skin Relief Face Spray has been on my wish list! I took my MAC Mineralize Charged Water on the plane to keep my skin hydrated on the long flight back to Thailand and it really did help. My skin felt fresh and soft when I landed at almost midnight some 25 hours later haha.

    I agree that moisturizer and sunscreen are the most important things when traveling to a warm location. In Thailand, it is extremely hot and humid and the last thing I wanted to do is put on more moisturizer/lotion (in fear of it being sticky) but of course, I had to force myself to! I was outside in the sun most of the time (by choice because I hadn’t seen the sun and felt the warmth for SO LONG, I was so anxious to be out because I know it won’t be long before Winter rolls around again in America and I won’t get to feel the heat for another 8 months!). Now the reckless behavior really has taken its toll on me, my skin feels extremely dry after I came back, not to mention that I am also super tanned. I’m in the slow recovery process right now… hopefully my skin will be back to its normal state soon!

    I can’t wait for Part 3! Considering that I missed my own duty-free makeup shopping!!!

    P.S. Isn’t it funny that you, Sunny, and I are traveling out of the country at the very same time? Haha!


    • Aww, no duty free? Boo ๐Ÿ˜› But then you live in the land of cheap makeup – I can’t imagine how cheap it must get going through Duty Free in the US!

      I was honestly surprised by how much I liked the spray. I’d tried the Avene one before, and it sort of worked, but wasn’t really moisturising for an extended period…

      Hehe, we’re such jet-setters *puts on oversized Chanel sunglsses* LOL!


  9. Those are some beautiful pictures of middle-eastern architecture. I am glad you survived the desert and came back to humid and cold souroundings…mmmh not sure, however, if that is better.


    • Because it’s also cold, the humidity is more sickly than nice at the moment, but it’s certainly wonderful to be able to breathe without getting a sore throat/sinuses! I think if I had stayed longer in the UAE, and had a chance to acclimatise, things would have gotten easier, but alas…


    • I thought it would bother me more too, but the only thing that really gets me cursing is when I accidentally lean on it with my eldbow in bed or something and pull it ๐Ÿ˜›

      What I really like is the styling options, especially for ballet. It’s wonderful to have the ability to make one of those dreamy milkmaid/crown braids using a single braid of one’s own hair. It totally doesn’t take an hour of swearing and struggling to get there, either. Not at all *straight face*.


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  15. I don’t do much to my hair either. I really like conditioner though as well as good ACV rinse. I also will put on some organic Palmade from time to time or maybe sea salt spray if I need it to look more put together. I have fine hair but a lot of it and it’s wavy. Only mid back in length. I decided in my early 20’s I’d never let it get longer then that! Too painful and too likely to get stuck under armpits while sleeping.


    • Heh, I sleep with my hair in a ponytail or braid to try and keep it out of the way, but the wizard does occasionally roll onto it, with predictable results!

      I think one of the things that keeps me from doing much with my hair is that I absolutely cannot stand the feeling of any product in it at all – it always feels like the stuff is creeping insidiously, stickily across my face, even if it’s not a sticky thing…I have of course worn hairspray at various times for performances, balls, etc, but even then it’s a struggle!


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