Set the scene by lighting a candle (a prayer to the mental holiday gods, if you will). Palm Beach’s generously-sized Sea Salt candle is a pure aquatic; think a slightly chilly early morning breeze as the run rises over the ocean. Jo Malone London Nectarine Blossom & Honey Body & Hand Wash, with its refreshing, zingy hit of juicy fruit and summery white florals, can be used as a shower gel or bath foam. Either way, it leaves skin feeling soft after use, which all body washes should, yet so few do.
Kevin Murphy’s Hair.Resort can be applied to wet or dry hair. Tempting as it is to use palmfuls, as you chase more of its warm sun and coconut scent (which, thankfully, doesn’t veer into sickly territory), a little goes a long way. If your hair is naturally inclined to anything more than stick straight texture, it will give it weight and a tousled, cool-girl look. For makeup embodying the same feel, Gucci Beauty’s brilliant hot pink matte lip ‘Three Wise Girls 401’ is a must have. I’ve been on a mission for years to find such a highly pigmented, almost neon pink-red and found it to be elusive across all brands, but it’s not only the particular shade that makes this a fantastic buy, just begging to be worn on a proper summer holiday (… or, y’know… to the shops). The beautiful ribbed gold case and strong floral scent say vintage, but the saturated tone and lip-hugging, comfortable matte formula are entirely contemporary. It isn’t overly drying, and the wear is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from matte lipsticks. Better yet, rather than leaving behind the dreaded ‘lip ring’ as it wears off, this one eventually becomes a still-pretty, all-over stain.
This sort of trip is all about the skin. So start off by sloughing it away. The Body Shop’s Pink Grapefruit Exfoliating Gel Body Scrub has a properly uplifting, bright citrus scent, and its jelly texture means it actually clings to the skin and allows you to get a decent amount of exfoliation in, rather than just dropping in sandy clumps to the floor of the shower like so many other physical scrubs do. Next, add in a shot of hydration with Korres Santorini Grape Elasti-Smooth Body Butter, which has a deep, wine-based resonance to it without being overwhelming. It’s of medium thickness, so does take a little while to settle in, but the pay off is worth it: skin is left very softened and pleasantly gleaming, even the following day.
If you want to get your bronze on, alternate applying the Korres on one day and Tan-Luxe’s The Gradual Illuminating Body Moisturiser the next. It adds a proper hit of colour, so you do need to take care to apply it, ideally using a mitt and long, sweeping strokes. The end result is limbs that are golden rather than orange. The final touch is to spritz on Aerin’s Limone di Sicilia, which is entirely luxe and escapist in both the scent and the look (the chic beveled glass-and-gold bottle arrives nestled inside a lemon faux-suede box). The fragrance itself manages to somehow be both zesty yet comforting; of course, the major note is lemon, but it’s lemon trees being carried along by a warm evening breeze, fresh and heady at the same time, and utterly delightful.
Of course, a tropical holiday isn’t what all of us are after. The idea of a wintery trip to an elegant city, all buzzy restaurants and cosy hidden bars, can be eked out at home, too. The mood is best evoked with Dior’s beautiful Encens Mystique candle. The vessel itself is white matte porcelain – so simple, so achingly elegant – and the candle itself is an unusual blue-grey wax. The fragrance is mysterious and intense, with notes of tobacco and leather. It’s an ideal way to add a sense of intrigue and warmth to a cold night, without resorting to the standard ‘did someone just light a log fire’ scent. One can’t be sipping vintage champagne somewhere smart (or on the couch) with chipped nails, and my COVID favourite has been Chanel’s Égérie nail polish, a soft peach with a slight hint of pink. It’s a colour very forgiving to even unpracticed DIY-ers, and if you’ve been giving your nails a break during the pandemic and focusing on nail health, it looks especially good on vintage-style long nails filed into an almond shape.
To bring a similar level of glamour to the face, you can’t go past Rouge Hermès Matte Lipstick in Rouge Casaque 64. Even the case is really something: with three stripes of brushed gold, black, and white, it has that wonderful heavy magnetic click when you close it, and it’s refillable when your first shade runs out. The velvety colour is a luminous warm red, which will truly suit any skin tone (although if you have a lot of red or pink in your skin, be sure to apply concealer judiciously first, so that there’s plenty of contrast between your skin and your fabulous bold lip). And your evening isn’t complete without a spritz of Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, which, particularly in its new limited-edition all-gold packaging, really is sex in a bottle. The scent is heady, with notes of coffee and vetiver, and has the best staying power of any fragrance I have ever used. It’s begging to be worn for a special night out, or for a very particular type of night in.