Sunday, May 26, 2013

What's A Girl To Do?

What to do with my skin, hair and nails while living on a sailboat?  I have asked myself this question over and over during the months (and years) leading up to now.  The harsh environment can be detrimental to all three.  Do I give up and go eau naturale? Or do I continue in woman-kind's age old struggle to remain... well, looking less old than I have to?  I have decided that I won't give up the struggle, at least not immediately.  Maybe when Bruce's eyesight begins to fail and we're far from civilization...


It's funny how things stick in your mind...  I read somewhere that with limited amounts of fresh water for showers, combined with the moist tropical air, it is easy to develop body odor and possibly even fungal infections on your skin while cruising.  I wish to avoid BOTH!  One treatment has come up time after time and am certainly willing to try it.  Selsun Gold has been used by some Cruisers in diluted form to keep skin healthy.  My plan is to have it aboard for periodic use as a bath soap.  If I have trouble finding the Gold, I will use Selsun Blue, which is a lesser strength and is found more commonly.

I will most likely give up my Oil of Olay skin soap and go for a stronger "his & hers" deodorant bar.  Bruce uses Irish Spring, which smells nice and seems to last quite a while, but it has no antibacterial ingredients.  I've done some reading about overuse of antibacterial agents causing germ resistance and I'm not sure where I stand on that.  I am sure that I want to avoid skin issues.  Maybe with the deodorant bar for every-day use and the Selsun periodically, we'll be the boat you want to be near in the anchorage.

Sunscreen:  I have noticed on recent boat trips that I tend to develop a rash whenever we spend more than four or five days out.  I have decided that it must either be heat rash, or a contact allergy caused by increased usage of sunscreen.  The problem occurs every time we have vacationed on a boat (It isn't always hot).  This is something that I'm going to need to resolve.  This year, instead of depending upon layers of greasy sunscreen, I've more often avoided being in the sun.  Years past have been spent actively seeking the sun on my skin.  I figure that I will be getting that tan soon enough in my new lifestyle so no need to rush.  I plan to cover up with fishing shirts, sarongs and skirts more than I used to.  If I use lightweight clothing to cover my skin, I can reduce the amount of sunscreen needed and hopefully I can avoid that rash.  I will continue to use Oil of Olay face cream with SPF every day.  I've been researching the best sunscreens and the jury is still out...

Next up... HAIR:

I used to spend a LOT of money on my hair.  I routinely dropped $150 every five or six weeks to have it done professionally.  In more recent years I have found myself loathe to spend what salons charge for doing my hair.  No more fancy cuts for me.  I wear it longish (at Bruce's continued request) and mostly straight.  I use a flat iron and blow dryer and it has been a long time since anything resembling my natural color has been seen by human eyes.  BUT... remember, I'm cheap.  I learned from my hair dresser many years ago, to do my own color using Wella Color Charm.

So, what will happen to all of these rituals when we leave?  Since moving aboard six months ago, very little has changed.  I still need to be somewhat presentable for work and so I have continued with the color treating and blow drying and flat ironing...  I just can't give it up yet!  I probably won't use the blow dryer or flat iron very often once we go, but I'm taking them with me.  And... I just placed an order for a year's supply of Color Charm...  I know, I'm WEAK!

Prepping on the boat - wash in the Marina facility
The sun does not love hair.  It wants to make it crispy and dry.  I'm still too cheap to spend big money on shampoos and conditioners and have found little real difference in them in my experience.  So cheap it will be.  Most of my days will be spent wearing a hat while out in the sun.  This should help prolong the life of my dye job.  I'm figuring about every six weeks we'll have to find a place with a shower facility for me to use as a makeshift hair salon.  The chemicals can't be washed into the water so I can't do my hair on the boat.
Haircuts:  I've been cutting Bruce's hair for years. I can do a better job than any Barber Shop and I CARE what he looks like.  I will admit there have been a few "oopses" over the years, but it grows back and he has never noticed...  (tee hee, don't rat me out).

I also use scissors as a styling tool for my own hair.  Seriously, if a hair won't behave, I snip it right off.  I have been able to do a pretty decent job with some minor layering and the only help I will need from Bruce will be a straight cut across the bottom.  I can get my daughter to cut it when she visits or maybe I'll find another Cruising woman and we can trade haircuts.  I'm still toying with the idea of cutting it much shorter but Bruce won't let me just yet.

And last but not least... NAILS: Once upon a time, the season could be determined by the color of my toenail polish.  My toes were always painted either pink (for summer) or red (for winter).  I used to take a lot of grief from my sailing buddies about my long red fingernails.  Well... I finally gave up the nails for sailing.  The two just don't mix, but the toenails, I could not give up...

I brought my favorite nail tools along when we moved aboard.  In the past six months, I think I've touched them maybe once.  The harsh environment and frequent exposure to salt water and cleaning products just isn't good for nails.  Mine are thin anyway from years as a childhood nail-biter.  They have developed ridges in later years and split easily.  Even if I paint them, they chip quickly and just look ragged.  I give up!  I'll just keep them filed and the cuticles trimmed and that's all I can do.  One more vanity down the drain.

These are my plans.  We are poised on the cusp of becoming real Cruisers and I will be interested to look back a year from now to see what may have changed.  I have heard from other Cruising Women that a girl shouldn't have to give up ALL of her vanities to embrace the Cruising Life.  Each must decide what is important to maintain a sense of femininity while living in this very different world.

Maybe some of you have some advice or pearls of wisdom to share with a Newbie, please DO by leaving a comment or drop a line on the S/V Dos Libras Facebook page.  I love hearing from you!

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