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My Five Beauty Obsessions: Johnie Gall

The writer-adventurer behind Dirtbag Darling isn't afraid of getting a little gritty in the great outdoors. Here's what she uses to clean up.
Johnie Gall
Dirtbag Darling Johnie Gall cleans up nice. (Photo: Johnie Gall)

“Dirtbag” is not a word you often hear people using to describe themselves. But writer-adventurer Johnie Gall, AKA “Dirtbag Darling” is taking back the term. “It’s about embracing getting a little dirty and not taking yourself so seriously and d0ing things that get you excited outdoors,” she says.

Dirtbag Darling
Gall in action. (Photos: Johnie Gall)

Gall chronicles her outdoor pursuits on her blog and as an editor for FOAM Magazine and Teva. They range from kayaking to mountain biking and rock climbing, and she recently transformed a Dodge Sprinter van into a low-budget RV, which she used on a seven-week action-packed road trip. “I guess you could call it glamping, though we don’t have a shower,” she jokes.

Naturally, the dirt-enthusiast lifestyle comes with some beauty challenges (in addition to making manicures a moot point). Gall approaches them thoughtfully and with the same sense of adventure she’d bring to scaling a boulder—and for her efforts, she ends up looking pretty darn glamorous hauling a surfboard and clinging to a rock face.

“You really edit down what you bring with you. I’ve had to let go of a lot. The most important thing is just being able to kind of clean myself up at the end of the day,” she says. “I’m also trying to be more conscious about the effects of the products I use—not just on my skin, but on the environment. I’m showering outside and this stuff is washing off into the soil and into the river. If I don’t care about that, why would anyone else?”

Here, she shares the products that are tough enough to keep up with her, but kind enough on the landscape she loves.—Lisa Elaine Held

1. Acure Organics Unscented Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes ($8.99) Sometimes I have to go up to a week without a shower when we’re traveling, but I hate going to bed dirty. I wipe down my feet, armpits, neck, face, and hands with these wipes, and I sleep like a baby. I love that they have no environmental toxins or harsh perfumes, and they can even take off my waterproof mascara.

Acure Organics2. Soapwalla Kitchen Deodorant Cream ($14) I hate that feeling when you go to wash off your deodorant and it just….sticks. Plus, I don’t like plugging up my armpits—you’re supposed to sweat! This stuff is a little annoying to put on (it has a frosting-like consistency that you have to spread on with your fingers), but it’s made from vegetable powders, clays, and oils like lavender and peppermint, so it smells beautiful. I feel like a little woodland fairy when I use it.

3. Coola Face SPF 30 Mineral Matte Tint ($36) I hate putting any sort of makeup on my face, but this SPF 30 sunscreen goes on every single day without fail. It’s made with certified organic ingredients like rose hip oil and shea butter. I can’t really explain why I’m so obsessed with this stuff—it just glides on and makes your skin look silky and smooth, kind of like a makeup primer.

Coola4. Juniper Ridge Trail Crew Soap ($25) The guys behind Juniper Ridge are the real deal. They spend months in the wilderness collecting natural ingredients like moss, bark, sage and mushrooms to distill to scent their unisex trail soaps. My boyfriend and I share the Cascade Glacier Trail Crew Soap because one whiff reminds us of all the great times we’ve had in the wild. We even use it to scrub down our camp dishes.

5. Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil ($48.90) My hair takes a serious beating under helmets and wool hats (not to mention lots of sun and salt water). It gets really bleached out from the elements and turns brittle. I’m not very good at taking care of it, but I did splurge on this plant-derived oil and I’ve seen such a difference in the health of my hair—but you can literally only use two to three drops at a time. My hairdresser was so proud of me the last time I went in for a trim.

Beaut Bonus! Coconut Oil I use so much coconut oil I’m probably going to turn into a coconut soon. My poor skin and hair—this is how I thank both for putting up with the outdoor abuse. I’ll do an overnight hair mask at least once a week, and I usually end up replacing my regular moisturizer with it, too. I buy the cheap organic kind from Trader Joe’s ($8.30), and it seems to do the trick.

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