Digital Nomad Leah McHugh shares her beauty travel essentials

Leah McHugh has been hooked on travel since she was 3 years old. Now she lives as as a location-independent Digital Nomad. She created Get Dirty With Me, a range of all natural powdered cleansers. These lightweight cleansers can replace more than 5 bottles of liquids, making it easier on traveler’s suitcases, and easier on the environment.

You’re a Digital Nomad? I am! I’m lucky that I can run my business from anywhere, so I take full advantage of that. I’m location independent and I work as I travel. I’m heading back to Thailand for a few months, then I have a conference in Las Vegas. I generally try to stay in each place for a minimum of a month. Otherwise I’d never get anything done, and I’d probably burn out!

So you live out of a bag? You must be an expert packer! Haha I’m such a lazy packer. I try to bring less stuff every time I travel because I hate unpacking and packing and carrying a lot of stuff. I try to fly carry-on only. So if an item’s not essential or can’t serve multiple purposes, it doesn’t make the cut.

What’s your fave travel destination? I’m so bad at answering this question! I have too many favourites. The places I keep being drawn back to are Thailand, Morocco and the USA.

I love everything about Thailand- the food, the culture, the lifestyle! When people talk about their “perfect day” I think about my days in Thailand.

Morocco is a magical place with Amazing people. I loved it so much the first time I went back a month later! I learned to surf, camped in the Sahara, hiked in the mountains and wandered Chefchaoen (the blue city you’ve probably seen on Instagram).

And the USA, which is probably an odd choice for most people. I’ve spent a lot of my life there, and it feels more like home than anywhere else. Some of my favorite people and places are in the US, and I try to go somewhere new each time I visit. Every city has its own unique culture.

What travel is top of your bucket list? I want to make time to do some kind of treck for at least a month. I like the idea of everything being focussed around 1 goal. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep you’re either hiking or you’re not, and there’s nothing to distract you. In my regular life I’m usually juggling a lot of different projects. I’d love to live with just one purpose for a little while.

I also want to go to Mermaid School in the Philippines to become a certified mermaid, because… why not?

What are your top tips to keep up your beauty routine when travelling? I’m all about a minimalist beauty routine. I try to keep my beauty routine as simple as possible. I love natural, multi-use products that are easy to pack. Bonus points if it’s liquid-free for plane travel.

I find that the more natural I go, the fewer products I need to use. I use Get Dirty With Me to clean my hair and skin. Because it’s pH balanced, I don’t need to use conditioner or toner and I don’t need to wash my hair as often. It doesn’t dry out my skin so I only need the occasional bit of moisturizer when air travel, or swimming, or weather changes have left me a bit dry. With natural products, a little goes a long way.

You’re the expert, so tell us your top tips for incredible hair when traveling? Again, I’m all about minimalist routines. My number 1 tip is to stop fighting your natural hair. I have naturally curly hair and I spent years straightening it. My hair became much more healthy when I stopped trying to force it to be something that it’s not. It’s also saved me a lot of time!

Look for a dry shampoo that is actually good for your hair to use in between washes. Get Dirty With Me cleansing powders have completely changed my hair care routine. I originally made them just for myself, but then my traveler friends kept asking me for them! I love that they’re totally adaptable to how lazy (or busy) I am. I can use it dry in between washes, or add water to wash my hair. I love adding a couple of drops of oil when my hair needs a little extra love. Or I add local herbal teas as a treat. The cleansing powders are also pH balanced, which helps stop my curly hair from getting frizzy no matter how humid the destination.

You want your haircare products to be slightly acidic to close the hair cuticle layer, so your hair is smooth and shiny. Ideally, you want hair products with a pH between 4.5-5.5, which is the same as your hair and scalp.

I steer clear of shampoo bars. Even though they’re easy to travel with, soap and shampoo bars are alkaline, meaning they open up the hair cuticle. This dries out your hair and can cause frizz. Just to put this in perspective, most shampoo bars have a pH of 9, which is similar to a commercial hair dye. The dyes purposely open the hair cuticle to deposit the dye. So with a shampoo bar, you’re putting your hair through the same damage as dying your hair, every time you wash it.

My lazy girl hair hack is to wear a headband or head scarf. It takes no effort and makes you look put together.

What beauty essentials do you pack in your Lapoche toiletry organiser? Get Dirty With Me is literally the first thing I pack. I use it for dry shampoo, shampoo and conditioner, and my face and body wash.

Hair ties are a must, and a headband or scarf. I always pack some kind of SPF, a natural deodorant, jojoba, rosehip oil, and shea butter. And of course a toothbrush. I’ve been making my own chocolate probiotic tooth powder.

I often go without makeup but I bring a mineral foundation, mascara and eyeliner.

What three Lapoche pieces can you not live without when travelling? Packing cubes make my life so much easier! And I resisted using them for so long! I love the garment cubes because I can separate my dirty and clean clothes while still keeping them organized and compressed.

The toiletry organiser because I never know if I’m going to have counter space. Having a hanging bag is a nice upgrade from just putting things on the floor.

I also love the charger bag. One of the unfortunate side effects of the Digital Nomad lifestyle is carrying lots of electronics, which means lots of cords. This keeps them organized and safe from breakage in my bag.

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The fabulous Leah with Get Dirty With Me