For beauty lovers, part of the joy of heading on holiday is in choosing the products to bring: from the on-point in-flight skincare routine, to curating the perfect beachside makeup edit, it's a vital (and completely pleasurable) part of any trip. But it can be a fine line between being prepared for every possible scenario, and feeling like a packhorse swerving through the throngs of travellers at the airport (we’ve all been there). To avoid falling into this trap for any upcoming trips over Christmas (lucky you!), we’ve reflected on some recent trips and are sharing our tips and travel must-haves for a streamlined but functional holiday edit.
I’ve been travelling a lot this past year but I probably put the most beauty-prep into my trip to Costa Rica and LA. For long-haul flights I always take a clear zip-around beauty bag. My new favourite is monogrammed from The Daily Edited. One side is jammed (I can barely zip it up) with minis – which change every trip I take. For Costa Rica it was mix of Ultraceuticals minis, Minenssey Flannel Flower Absolute, a baby Bioderma Sensibio, Biologique Recherche and Weleda Skin Food and It Cosmetics CC for touch-down.
Style-wise I’ve spent years honing my transit attire as I hate wearing jeans and can’t be bothered to change. I wear Bassike pants on the plane (they’re basically trackies but more stylish) with Gucci slippers and a Mia Fratino cashmere cardigan.
I love the Samsonite Cosmolite luggage as it’s super lightweight, and I’ve also just got the amazing Away Luggage cabin set. These specially designed bags (which you can stash your beauty bag and laptop in) fit perfectly over the handle of your roller so there’s no spillage and also no need to undo your whole roller bag to take out the laptop and beauty bits.
The other thing I can’t travel without? My MacBook Air in Rose Gold. I am glued to it from the moment I set up in the lounge (glass of wine in hand) to the second I finally give in and watch a movie several hours into the flight. I go into hyper-productive mode when I travel, and always manage to smash out several stories and all my email correspondence when I have no WIFI to distract. Once I’ve done all my work I’ll reward myself with a nice gooey sleep mask like La Prairie one, which I get samples of from their counter as they don’t do it in travel size (it also smells like lavender), followed by a rom com and a glass of wine. Then I’ll pat in the excess, spritz a little Chanel Sublimage spray and tuck myself in for some shut-eye.
My most recent trip abroad was to visit my fiancé’s family in France and Switzerland, and a great deal of (some might say obsessive) thought went into packing. My in-flight beauty routine is always a highlight, adding a little interest to a tedious long-haul trip and keeping skin in good nick. I like to pack all my beauty bits into my Anya Hindmarch vanity, cleverly divided into ‘take off’ and ‘touch down’ sections to separate skincare and makeup upon arrival (The Daily Edited also do a similar – and monogrammable – version).
Exfoliation in transit is made easier with the portable Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel pads – they come individually wrapped in little sachets, take up next to no space, and help side-step the need to lug around a weighty bottle of acid exfoliant on your travels.
Weleda Skin Food is a constant travel companion – its thick and nourishing texture builds a barrier against the skin-parching air con. I layer it over a spritz, like Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir (in its tidy aeroplane-approved size), to lock in the hydration.
Style-wise, I’m never without a cashmere jumper to deal with unpredictable weather while travelling – they’re always useful in invariably freezing plane cabins. I’ve been totally reliant on sleep masks since I first started using one five or six years ago – it’s one of those habits that, once adopted, is almost impossible to drop, but it makes sleeping on planes so much easier. My long-term favourite is the classic mask from Holistic Silk, as you can adjust the ribbons at the back for comfort and it’s filled with fragrantly soothing dried lavender flowers.
Annually I make the escape to Bali to unwind, eat great food and thaw out from Sydney’s winter. In preparation for vacation skin, a few weeks before I try and fit in some beauty appointments. I first go to The Beauty Scene in Sydney’s Freshwater for nanopore micro-needling. Skin needling promotes the production of collagen and elastin through the natural autorepair mechanisms of the skin – followed a week later by an acid peel, red light Omnilux lights and a faux tan and my skin is glowing and vacation ready. I visit Privée in Bondi Junction for anti-wrinkle injections up to a month before vacation which assists with sleep deprivation and tired looking ‘Mum’ skin (the treatment is visible within a few days).
I have my hair straightened with a Goldwell Kerasilk keratin smoothing treatment at Wild Life Hair which keeps maintenance at a minimum. Then topped off with an at-home eyelash tint and curl with Parlour Dala when the kids go to bed.
Following treatments, I can’t live without Ultra Violette’s Queen Screen SPF – it’s a serum and light moisturiser with a high SPF, making it perfect for lounging poolside. Scentwise, I loved Le Labo’s Neroli 36 – it’s pretty much summer in a bottle.
I finally have summer vacation packing down to just a few items – Matteau swimsuits, Studio Amelia vegan crocs and an oversize Oroton Bag. A pop of pink Chanel lipstick never goes astray. I can always find a beautiful vacation dress in Michelle’s collections, her slow and thoughtful fashions are perfect for day to night.
My husband has been back and forth to Melbourne for work this month, and later this week I am stowing away for a quick pre-Christmas city sojourn on his last trip of the year. We prefer to travel with carry on, so I’m all about workhorse pieces that will see me through early mornings writing away in coffee shops and, when his work allows, snatched dates in the evenings. This is the only bag I ever need, worn over the shoulder to lug around my laptop during the day and then containing as little as possible and worn over my wrist in the evening. (And yes, I do take it on planes, damage-free – it may be a little fastidious, but given this is the one fancy pants piece I own, it gets tucked up in its dust bag for a wee nap in the overhead). My other unchanging accessory on this trip will be a spritz or three of Gucci’s heady Bloom Ambrosia di Fiori.
There’s bound to be some solo downtime in the hotel, so while I’m not usually much of a one for #selfcare, I am excitedly prepping for some catch up time with my favourite Real Housewives while I attend to my beautification. Sure, single use sheet masks can be problematic, both in terms of eco concerns and sheer practicality (why must they always flop about on my face like a wet fish, and render me completely immobile lest they come unstuck yet again?). Though I have to say, they do come into their own for travel, and I have already decided Go-to’s Transformazing is making its way into my toiletries case. I always do my own nails and OPI’s Infinite Shine in Unrepentantly Red is my polish choice du jour – the orange-red just feels so right for our summertime Christmas season. And controversial though it may be, I’ve decided not to travel with mascara, and instead will continue practising my reliably terrible, though slowly improving, ability to apply my favourite false lashes, Ardell’s Demi Wispies.
Of course, it can’t be all about what you bring with you when you’re travelling to Australia’s fashion capital. I’ve had my eye on this Trelise Cooper number for months and the pre-Christmas sales just might be the time to pull the trigger. It feels very Carrie Bradshaw Down Under to me, and would be perfect for a romantic pasta dinner by candlelight with my (pleasingly, non-emotionally-stunted) very own Mr. Big.
Japan had been a relatively recent addition to my extensive travel bucket list, and a few months ago, I managed to swap Sydney’s winter for two blissful weeks in Tokyo. Being in the birthplace of the world-renowned J-Beauty, I knew that both my skincare and makeup game had to be on-point. Long hours spent en route on the plane, a change in climate and jetlag are the evil travel trifecta that mean although vacays are good for the soul, they’re almost always the devil for the skin. That’s why Dermalogica’s Age Bright Spot Fader is my trusty (and necessary) travel buddy. The nifty spot treatment comes in a pen applicator and is one of the few products that I’ve found that works for my sporadic adult/hormonal breakouts, both minimising active spots, and helping fade post-breakout marks.
As expected, the beauty looks I most saw in Japan’s capital were either vibrant, edgy and avant-garde, or soft, sophisticated, matte goodness. Thus it stands to reason that the two lippies I reached for the most on this trip satisfied each end of the spectrum. For the former, I couldn’t go past Yves Saint Laurent Tatouage Couture in 03 – an almost neon-pink, liquid matte stained lip that withstood many a sushi-and-sake binge (and looked great in selfies). The latter is an old-faithful, buttery nude in the shade Desert Quartz by none other than luxe Japanese brand, Shiseido. And both make a great beauty look when donned with a vinyl black slick of graphic liner – this liquid one by Covergirl is the most deliciously dark formulation I’ve found – and perky, doll lashes curled by the crème-de-la-crème of lash curlers, by the country’s own Shu Uemura (hot tip: this is cheaper to buy in its motherland).
When it comes to fashion, practicality has to meet style when visiting the world’s largest city. Never has my daily step count been higher than when sightseeing – and getting lost – here, and these Adidas Originals sneakers were fitting with the popular sport-luxe aesthetic, and with a silk dress in the steamy summertime. On the accessory front, I donned these embelished mini hoops on the daily, by the brand that adorns many a Victoria’s Secret model. These earrings fit right in in both the OTT kitsch and kawaii cosplay streets of Harajuku, as well as paired with a trusty LBD at any of the uber-cool speakeasy bars peppered throughout Tokyo city.
While wanderlust snaps of people jet setting across the globe to exotic locations seems to be the most highly desired lifestyle, truthfully, I prefer Netflix and a night in. For one, I get anxious that my favourite skincare might run out and won’t be available anywhere – in which case I’ll transform into a pizza faced, pre-pubescent 15-year-old boy (been there, done that). Two, I’m geographically hopeless and can never seem to follow Google map instructions; my brain automatically hyperventilates and collapses into a puddle of question marks.
But I braved this anxiety and went to Japan a year ago with my boyfriend, truly a country that will spoil you with novel experiences. My travel essentials depend on the location.
Japan is counter-cyclical to our seasons, so I packed Bepanthen nappy rash cream to combat the drying effects of a brutal winter (it snows in Japan and temperatures can dip to below zero degrees). I slathered the nourishing ointment all over my face, as it provides a fantastic protective barrier against dehydration. I’m never anywhere without Bioderma Micellar Water, it’s the only makeup remover that doesn’t turn my skin into a wrinkled, irritated mess. When I whisked off to Japan, I packed 5 travel sized bottles (under 30mls), so it was perfect to take on board too. A great depuffing eye mask is an essential when you’re travelling, because the jet lag will ensure many days of disrupted sleep. I love the Gernetic Masque Yeux Balm, as it’s perfect at diminishing dark circles and tightening under eye baggage – plus Zoe Foster Blake loves it, so I was sold from the get go! While this mask dramatically diminishes bags, it doesn’t 100% conquer my dreadful bags at its worst. Long haul flights and jetting off to countries with polar opposite time zones from Australia can exacerbate my zombie-esque undereyes. Luckily the IT cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye concealer brightens beautifully, is full coverage, but still manages to look natural. Thank you, o Holy One, for preventing me from resembling a cast member of The Walking Dead.
The cabin air can make your hair static. I learnt from some very chic flight attendants that sleeping on silk pillows prevents flyaway and frizz. I’m going to the humid Singapore soon, so I’ll be packing the Go-To Silk Pillow. My lips peel and crack on a daily basis, so can you imagine the beating it will take on the plane and in a new environment. I always pack Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream for a moisture boost. It doubles as an excellent translucent eyeshadow – the slightly tinted glossy goodness immediately perks up the face. I also apply it religiously under makeup for a dewy finish and even use it to smooth down split ends – a multi-functional gem.