When I first turned up in Khao Lak to try diving Similan Islands over a decade ago, I had my hair down, full make up on (including foundation, lipstick, eye liner, eye shadow…the works), and I was wearing a thigh-skimming sundress with a pair of 4 inch stiletto sandals. After all, I was 22, I was on holiday, and this is how people on holiday dress, right?!
My step sister, who’d been a divemaster working in Khao Lak diving Similan Islands for several years at this point, picked me up from the airport and burst out laughing. “You look like a drag queen!” she shrieked as she surveyed her baby sister standing in front of her. Charming, I thought. She, on the other hand, wore no make up, hair scraped back, shorts, a dive centre t-shirt and some ropey old flip flops. If this is how divers roll, I have to admit I wasn’t sure I was going to fit in.
Fast forward to 10 years later, not only did I inherit my step sister’s old wetsuit (now sadly deceased), a job as an instructor diving Similan Island liveaboards, but I also appear to have copied her style right down to the last detail. And whilst, for the most part, I’ve reconciled with the fact that the life of a scuba diving instructor is not a glamorous one, I can’t in all honesty say that my vanity has completed receded.
So, with this in mind, here are my top tips for any ladies planning on diving Similan Islands for the first time to ensure you get the perfect balance between practicality and maintaining a modicum of pride in your appearance.
Diving Similans – Tips for the Ladies
Ditch the heels and make up.
These are not going to combine well with diving. You’ll be surprised how quickly you learn to live without them. Plus, the natural look is totally making a come back.
Buy the best waterproof mascara that money can buy.
Ok, so don’t quite ditch ALL the make up. Mascara is still your friend. I recommend Doll Eyes by Lancôme.
Don’t even think about painting your nails.
Interestingly a good pedicure can easily survive a weeklong liveaboard and come out the other side still looking fabulous. But don’t waste your efforts on your hands. Peeling and chipped nail varnish right from dive 1 is not a great look.
Do not leave home without hair oil and conditioner by the bucket load.
Sadly diving is going to try to destroy your hair. Do not let it! Oil your hair at the beginning of every diving day, and condition the shit out of it every evening without fail.
Make sure you get a mask with a soft strap.
Your mask also wants to annihilate your hair. A soft strap cover should help with this.
Multiple swimsuits or bikinis are a must.
If you’re diving three to four dives a day on a liveaboard it’s essential you change into dry swimwear after each dive. Fail to do so at your peril! The nappy rash is not only uncomfortable… it looks disturbingly like you’ve caught yourself a nasty STD.
Treat yourself to a long wetsuit.
This is the ultimate beauty hack for diving Similan Island liveaboards. Not only will you look badass, but no-one will ever know that you haven’t shaved your legs since you got on the boat a week ago.