Whenever I travel with my oldest three friends, the ones I grew up with and love the best, there is always a moment on the trip, usually when we are getting ready to go out, where we end up snooping in each other’s makeup bags. It is one of the most revealing aspects of an individual you can study. It exposes tiny foibles and insecurities, but more importantly to us girls, it is a kit bag of tried and tested products that someone we know and trust can’t live without.
One of my favourite lines in the recent TV series ‘Fleabag‘ was when the heroine takes a spa break with her older sister. They’ve just unpacked in the hotel room and she looks at her sister’s beauty products on the dressing table and asks what would happen if someone stole them all. The sister’s dry response was, ‘I’d kill myself’
I enjoy those interviews with inspiring women in magazines like the Telegraph’s Stella, about what they carry in their kit-bag. Though I’m neither influential nor famous you might still be interested in what this middle aged mother of two on a tight budget would die without on a beach holiday.
If you read my blog ‘Coping with Economy’ you’ll know that I recently discovered a facial spritz that ticks all the boxes, scent being the most important. (Mario Badescu at beautybay.com) This I use to cool down, freshen up and fix on (makeup). Annoyingly it comes in a 108ml bottle, (8ml over the allowance!) which I only noticed going through security. Turning it round in the plastic bag so the label was hidden from view I hoped for the best. Thank you Mr. Security Man for letting it through, (but not before he very thoroughly investigated a big bar of Aldi Creamy Dark Chocolate in my rucksack, which he considered confiscating.)
I also recently invested in a new waterproof mascara. Now this is an area I tread with caution. Too many times I have spent good money on a miracle product with ambitious claims only to find that infuriatingly it is NOT waterproof, so emerge from the pool like The Cure’s Robert Smith. Then then it becomes indelibly set, impossible to remove from eyelashes or face without scrubbing with cold cream and carbolic soap.
May I present Eyeko waterproof mascara, and importantly, Eyeko Waterproof mascara remover wipes. eyeko.com An affordable duo that does the business. (See closeup of eye after a day in and out of the pool in 27 degree heat. Try to ignore the crows feet; I’m still working on finding a miracle eye-cream)
On a pre-holiday visit to TKMAXX, I found two little makeup gems that instantly perked up a slightly lacklustre kit. I was drawn to the names: Illamasqua, and Chantecaille, (ooooh, just say them out loud) both hitherto unaffordable luxury brands glimpsed in glossy magazines and only available on big city beauty counters a long way from my East Yorkshire backwater.
The Illamasqua shadow is a sheer iridescent blue-green (my daughter is permitted a tiny amount to complete her mermaid look, see ‘Measuring Up To Others’) This is all a sun-kissed face needs in the way of eyeshadow to give it a little shine and polish in the evenings.
I apply it over a dab of Benefit’s Eye Bright which makes me look fresh and awake even after my third vodka cocktail. I have the special edition compact duo with Boi-ing concealer, and this little box of tricks goes everywhere with me.
The Chantecaille lipstick is silky, nourishing, smells divine and is the perfect natural shade to make me appear made up, but not dolled up.
Because I was blessed in pregnancy with ‘uneven skin tone’ (beauty-speak for hideous brown patches that get worse in the sun) I have to use a tinted moisturiser with SPF, and for me the best is Estée Lauder Daywear. Foundation is a faff, even more so on holiday, but this magic cream smells gorgeous, and gives moisture, protection and a glowing even coverage. Boots boots.com sometimes stock the little 5 fl.oz tubes, which are perfect for travelling.
Having my face screened from harmful rays means I need a little bronzing enhancement so that my head matches my gradually tanning body so I bring with me a box of Hoola by Benefit, one of the best bronzers because it’s not shimmery, but also not ‘muddy’, so you don’t end up looking like a vagrant. Again this one is in miniature for travel.
As an agent for the best aloe product range in the world: Forever Living, foreverliving.com I should include at least one of their products and if I had to choose just one it would be Sun Lips SPF30. I am a lip balm Junkie, and this is my best hit.
It goes without saying that I always wear sunscreen. (The 1990’s Baz Luhrmann song made sure of that.) But despite carrying the full spectrum of tubes and bottles from SPF50 right down to SPF15, there is ALWAYS room in my bag for aftersun. Yesterday I stretched out briefly on the wet sand after a swim, and BAM! Within seconds the radio-active fireball in the sky had singed all exposed soft fleshy parts to a crisp.
So my room this morning smells of delicately seasoned Provençal grilled meat owing to the fact that before bed my thighs were liberally basted with Decleor Aroma Solutions Energising Gel, hand blended by me with neat lavender oil. This is one of Decleor’s oldest and best products, known for it’s all round usefulness. Apparently recommended for patients undergoing radiation therapy and packed with natural active ingredients, including aloe, it has done a great job of calming my blazing bits.
I have plenty more lotions, potions, and makeup must-haves but I shall wrap this up for now with mention of a great duty-free treat from Elemis. Rose and I enjoyed a home spa in our room this week before heading out to dinner, and this gently soothing Herbal Lavender Repair Mask, (purchased on our way here at Manchester Terminal 2) restored a natural glow to our pink faces, plus the all important scent was bang on the money (and at £25, I should hope so!)
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