After years of traveling for work I think I have finally honed the cosmetics case procedure. It is tempting for a beautyphile to take everything AND the bathroom sink, but when faced with surly check-in staff and unsympathetic security guards upholding rigid liquid laws, it's just not worth the pain. A little cosmetics culling goes a long way.
We’re a few days out from our trip to Europe and, as excited as I am to be travelling with Damien and creating some beautiful content for the site, it’s our first trip big away from our little boy. After taking Max to The States earlier this year we learned the hard way that toddlers and planes don’t mix, so our amazing family and friends are going to look after him and we are going solo! And while it's not ideal timing with us both running businesses we had to take the opportunity. The trip was the first prize for winning the Fragrance Foundation’s Jasmine Award (a beauty journalism award) and includes a stay in Grasse, the birthplace of fragrance. We’re also heading to Lake Como, Provence and Greece. So, on our last few days before take off I’m trying to put together the perfectly packed beauty kit. Here's what I packed and why...
The trick is to try and be as low maintenance as possible.You’re not going to want to spend a lot of time preening when you’re on the road.. this might mean putting some beauty mileage in before you go by having some treatments that will last for a couple of weeks. I always have lash extensions applied (I go to Love Those Lashes in Sydney’s Paddington) before I go because it means I can skip the mascara every day and I can swim at the drop of a hat and still feel done enough to go straight to lunch or drinks without needing to apply eye makeup. A shellac manicure is a great idea although I ran out of time for this trip. Also a spray tan – this time I tried one by Spray Toniqs at Bronzalicious in Sydney’s Neutral Bay. It’s a really clever innovative tan, where you answer a questionnaire and have the right formula matched to your skin tone and type. This means it will last longer than a regular tan if I look after it, so I’m packing plenty of body cream.
When packing, it’s important to just take the essentials. It’s hard, I know, but think about the things you use every day, and then take some away. Again, you don’t want to waste your holiday applying beauty products. The other thing I do is to create several smaller bags to keep everything organised – and ALWAYS take travel sized or decant your big products into small containers. There’s no point taking full size when you’re only gone for a couple of weeks and you want to reserve that baggage allowance for any additional purchases when you get there!
1. Cabin kit
The rules say you can only take containers under 100ml in a bag no bigger than a litre in capacity. The bag that goes on board has to be clear so the customs guys can see inside them but it annoys me having those flimsy plastic sandwich bags flapping around in my carry-on so I squirrel away more sturdy clear plastic zip up bags whenever I find them. This one came inside the Kat Kit Road bag and I love it. Inside I have all manner of minis: Nivea Deodorant; Fess Nasal Spray (tip: if you keep your nasal passages lubricated during the flight there’s less chance of getting sick); L’Occitane Hand Sanitizer; Ultraceuticals Ultra Energising Mask (masks are a great way to pass the time); Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse Wipes; Subtle Energies Facial Oil (smells like heaven. I love covering myself in fragrant potions during the flight); Aveda Blue Oil (rub it on your temples and wrists and inhale to refresh); La Prairie Moisturiser; Lanolips 101 Ointment (I use on lips and cuticles every few hours); Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil; Molton Brown Relax Zen Mist and Aveda Hand Cream. I also pack a cashmere eye mask and scarf that’s as big as a blanket.
2. Beauty kit
I don’t use actives like vitamin A and AHA’s when I’m going somewhere sunny as I don’t want to stress my skin out. I also can’t be as vigilant with the sun as when I’m at home, so I stick to a comforting and hydrating range like La Mer – this kit contains a mini cleanser, refining facial scrub and the original Crème de la Mer. I also threw a couple of Crabtree and Evelyn Nail Polish Remover Wipes as I know my mani won’t last that long once I’m on the road, so I’ll just wipe it off and go nude from halfway through the trip. The Redken sample size Body Full shampoos and conditioners are awesome for travel. And of course, I won’t forget my toothbrush!
3. Hair kit
After years of trying to make do with hotel hairdryers I’ve finally conceded that it’s worth sacrificing the extra luggage room to take your own. Parlux is my favourite hairdryer – it’s so powerful. I’m also taking my ghd tong, which Ill use with L’Oreal Professionel Volume + Mousse and a bunch of pin curl pins to make a subtle wave for evening. The Oribe Cote d’Azur Hair Refresher is a deliciously-scented dry shampoo and the Oribe Dry Texturising Spray is incredible – I just lift each section and spray it in to create texture and movement in my usually fine and flat hair.
4. Sun and body kit
To help prolong my spray tan and keep hydrated with all the flying, I’m packing a bunch of hydrating body lotions and – of course – a selection of sunscreens, since we’re going to into the European summer. Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Sun Supreme for Face SPF15 is for day to day, when I’m not going to be in full sun; Dermalogica Waterblock Solar Spray spf 30 is great as it’s easy to apply and hydrates the skin as well; La Roche Posay Anthelios XL 50+ is a really strong, protective sun milk that wears well under makeup; Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Anti Aging Exfoliating Self Tanner with Active Vitamin D – these are awesome to throw in your travel kit – simply wipe on before bed and it not only exfoliates but wipes on self tanner so you can wake up with a gorgeous, golden glow; Dr. Bronners Pure Castile Soap as you can’t always rely on hotel amenities; Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Sun Supreme Rescue Gel for Body, I love this after sun, it smells gorgeous and leaves a golden gleam on the skin; Aesop Rind Concentrate for Body not only smells like diving into a vat of orange juice, it sorts out my flaky winter skin in time for some imminent flesh-baring.
A few extra things I threw in at the last minute: tweezers, nail file and nail scissors – handy to have, just make sure you pop them in your checked baggage, or they’ll be confiscated during security screening.
Sunescape Instant Self Tan Mousse and Mitt: I’ll top up my spray tan in a few days with a mousse as I know that I’m going to want to be browner than brown once I am cheek to jowl with all the Europeans on those packed beaches. I always pop this in a zip-lock bag as I’ve had leakages with self tan before and it ain’t pretty.
Fragrance. I thought about this for days! It’s so important you choose the right scent, as the fragrance you take with you will forever remind you of your holiday – scent has that power. I went with Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Shimmering Oil Body Spray (which doubles as a body moisturiser and leaves a gorgeous golden gleam on tanned skin) and Tom Ford Mandarino Di Amalfi because it's fresh, zesty and European, I love the bottle and I can share it with Damien. I also threw in some tiny Jo Malone samples in Orange Blossom and Pomegranate Noir (available from the store) which I will douse myself with on the plane.
And that's it! Not too heavy, not too light. It's just right.