In the past few years, I have been quietly building up my list of travel fashion and beauty essentials – those things that I start stockpiling months before a trip and do not step foot in an airport without.
Here are some of the things that always find their way into my suitcase, no matter what:
1. Clinique Lashpower Mascara
I have always suffered from acute panda eye, a condition that only other sufferers can truly understand. After trying literally every mascara on the market, a wonderful friend (to whom I will forever be indebted) recommend Clinique Lashpower Mascara. Her recommendation was based on an upcoming trip to the islands of Thailand, but I have used it every day since. This stuff stays put through the toughest of workdays, through hot weekends at the beach, through having snow in your face, through torrential downpours, you name it. This magic mascara stays happily on my lashes (not my face) until I easily massage it off with warm water. A.MAZE.ING
2. Diorsnow UV Shield BB Creme (a new and instantly adored addition)
A friend and I found this online before our Greece sailing trip last year. We were searching for a tinted sunscreen that had a SPF50. Seems like an easy task, but there are surprising few good ones out there. We stumbled upon Diorsnow, and I will never look back. It is non-greasy, moisturising, has kept my face sunburn free and makes my skin look fab. Admittedly, the the tint is probably a little too foundation-looking for a relaxed day at the beach, but its a great substitute for foundation when on holiday. I now travel with a normal SPF50 for the beach, and the Diorsnow when I want to glam up a little during the day or night.
I tend to be a little neurotic about sunscreen these days. I am petrified of the return of the freckles I had when I was a kid, and the appearance of wrinkles later in life. So, I always travel with a range of sunscreens. I always have an SPF30 for my body and SPF50 for my face. The Clarins 50+ Creme Solaire Anti-Rides Visage is a great, non-greasy, yummy smelling one for the face.
4. ZamBuk (only South Africans will know and understand this beauty)
Zambuk is a largely Eucalyptus based product that can be used for anything. Some examples are: lip balm, soothes burns, softens chapped hands and feet, soothes insect bites. Its basically a miracle cream that I never leave the country without (and had posted to me when I lived outside the country).
My new Fav pair of sunnies are my Persols. Apart from being the biggest sunglasses brand to hit the fashion scene since Robert Downey jr sported a pair of Initiums in Iron Man (well, in my humble opinion at least), they are super travel friendly. Some fold up, and some (like mine) are bendy. By this, I do not mean that when dropped they bounce (although mine have passed this test twice in the last month), the arms are actually flexible like a shatterproof ruler. Genius, pure genius, especially for those of us unable not to bend a pair of sunglasses. (I also picked these up at duty free in Heathrow and saved myself 50 pounds)
Rob in his 'last seasons' hottest sunnies
My little coral coloured Havis have done their rounds and been good to me. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are wonderful for beach trips and resort wear, but they are so, so much more. These puppies have been the barrier between my feet and less sanitary showers/bathrooms, they are been the easy on/off shoes required when visiting temples/island hopping and they have kept my feet cool and ventilated when the need arose.
7. Merrel Barefoots
Ok, so maybe they’re not the trendiest footwear on the market, but as far as walking shoes go, these guys are pretty damn awesome. When travelling, you always need a good pair of walking shoes. I often used to ignore this rule (and suffer the consequences) because walking shoes are bulky and took up valuable room I wanted to use for other more important things, like another 6 bikinis. Apart from all the health benefits (improves posture, makes you walk properly blah blah), they are crazy comfortable, keep my feet warm when its cold (these were tried and tested in the London snow), and keep your feet cool and ventilated in the heat. They are also super light and can smoosh down to almost nothing at the bottom of a bag.
8. Travel sizes
Before any trip, I make sure that I have travel-sized everything. This means that when it’s finished, it gets thrown away. There is no excuse these days because everything comes in travel friendly sizes. For my skin products, I always restock when it’s bonus gift time. This means I always have a few 30ml moisturisers and face washes lying around. Another tip is to always ask at the counter for testers when buying products. When you are making a purchase, the staff are always happy to give you a few extra small ones if you’re buying a big one. There is no harm in asking. My last facial scrub was a 75ml tester that was given to me for free (the normal one is only 100ml. Score!).