I’m back. Back in London, back at home, back at my desk. Can you sense the sobs of sadness seeping through my words? It’s not that I don’t love London immensely, but readjusting to the mundanity of home life is a struggle and the dromomaniac in me is itching to set off again. But that’s a whole other post. We’re here to talk products.
Travel, though in itself tangental to this post, is actually an extremely good barometer for the efficacy and usefulness of a product. As I’ve been on both city and sun breaks in the past month, the creams, make-up and tools I’ve slung repeatedly into my bag have proved themselves to be good ‘uns. Here are those that made it along to all three (or sadly finished along the way in the line of duty – more sobs being shed here):
– Nude Advanced Renewal Moisturiser, £72 here. Frequent readers may notice my lack of enthusiasm when it comes to moisturisers. It’s not that I don’t like them, it is just that they are a comfort product, usually designed only to make skin feel good without doing an awful lot. The real muscle is in serum, and on the subject of them I am decidedly gushing.
However, here is a moisturiser that blew my socks off. The ingredients just hit the nail on the head when skin is in need of support and rehydration: omega 6 (boosts moisture), omega 9 (nourishes and fortifies), algae extract (calming and smoothing) and a host of antioxidants (protects from aggressors). I put it on at night after a tiny touch of serum and wake with a very pleased complexion. One qualm = glass bottle. Beautiful, but not so good for travel and requires a slightly unsanitary dip with spatula/finger to extract the moisturiser. Personally, I’d prefer an airtight tube.
– Braun Silk Epil 7 Bonus Edition, £99.99 from £159.99 here. I’m not going to pretend this doesn’t hurt. Forty tweezers doing their thing on legs/underarms/upper lip/bikini line = MEGA OUCH. However, when a wax appointment is either too costly or can’t be found at the last minute, this is the next best thing. Painful though it may be, it is: quick, plucks hairs out roots and all and can be used wet or dry. In short, you need this during the summer unless you’ve assiduously lasered or can make do with stubble. I fall into neither category; this has been my constant companion.
– Korres Santorini Vine Bodymilk, £10 here. I’ve just had a sniff of what remains of this body milk about ten times, struggling to clutch at words that might describe the scent. What emerged was this: warming, uplifting, powdery, fruity, holiday-ish. I cannot be more specific. This smell just does it for me, so much so that if Korres released a fragrance just like this, I’d queue for it (PLEASE DO THIS KORRES). The formula? The usual for Korres body care: exemplary. Little wonder it’s currently sold out (but put yourself on the waiting list, you want this to use during September when skin is parched and a summery scent is all you have to remind you of holidays).
– Steamcream, £12.95 here. This multitasking moisturiser is a sort of unsung hero. It is in the handbags of most beauty insiders, keeping their face/hands/cuticles/split ends/feet pretty with uniform brilliance. To keep things new (probably because the cream itself defiantly never changes) the tins undergo design overhauls all the time. The pictured is the latest reincarnation – a limited edition tin designed for fashion week – which will be replacing the tin that sadly came to an end midway through Portugal. I have come to love this most when my skin is dehydrated from the sun but still prone to spots as the oatmeal and essential oils within balance and replenish simultaneously (though, again, I’d really like an airtight pump for mine, beautiful though the tins are).
– Tweezerman Mini Tweezers, £12.50 here. While on ubiquitous products that are sometimes overlooked, here is the one tool I wouldn’t consider going on holiday without. Seriously, I might even give up sunglasses over relinquishing my hold on these. I once forgot to pack mine and ended up buying some in a pharmacy in France. That dark day reaffirmed my fealty: said pharmacy tweezers pulled at skin, missed hairs and was generally a little incompetent. Tweezerman’s offerings would never do such a thing.
– MAC 217 Brush, £19 here. I really try to cut back on using brushes when on holiday, if for no other reason than out of sheer laziness – I simply can’t be bothered to wash them daily. Even with my wild abandonment of brushes, I have to concede that when donning eyeshadow, a brush is essential. This one does everything bar eyeliner and therefore always has a place in my make-up bag.
– Ray-Ban Wayfarers, £170 here. In black, in bright pink, in mottled blue; I’m not too picky when it comes to a wayfarer, I just like the shape, that they cover the delicate skin between my eye and hairline and are solidly made so can be thrown around a little without fear of an arm or embellishment flying off. It would be an oversight not to throw in a mention of their case here. Unremarkable, you say? Why, yes – this is why I like them. Not ludicrously large or heavy, the case just does its job of protecting the glasses from scratches and nought else. Ideal.
– Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens, £23.99 here. Remember when we were all meant to get five a day? Nutritionists now say seven is the goal. Seven! Thank god for Udo and his marvellous nutritional concoctions. This one: not as revolting as other green powders. A little Ribena (sorry, Udo) and a big spoonful of Udo’s is palatable. Just. My advice – down it quickly and never stop stirring, or else the seeds within will settle at the bottom making your final gulp unpleasant and bitty indeed. Whatever you suffer in the drinking is worth it for the blend of nine kinds of greens, omegas, plant extracts, phytonutrients and protein contained within. I up my dosage during the summer when travel makes my diet a little haphazard to say the least.
– Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream, £10.75 here. All hail Burt and his affordable, dependable tubes of skin-smoothing potions. This one? Thick. Oh so thick. Gloopy, almost. Put it on heels that have been exposed to heat and are subsequently cracked overnight and awake to find them less parched, more silken. As tight skin sends me dotty, I’ve taken this on all my travels with me, slathering it on nightly with pious devotion.
– Havaiana Slim Flip Flops, £22 here. I am under no illusions – these are not: a) a real shoe, b) attractive, c) appropriate for wear with an evening dress. But I wear them daily anyway with impunity, for they are but the only summer footwear that seems not to become scruffy with wear (rubber, you wonder) or bestow blisters upon my feet. I also feel that these slim ones just move the flip flop into acceptable church-visiting/hotel-bar lounging/evening barbecue shoes.
– Mini Sets. I have an abiding love for these little kits. Note: these aren’t the ones that include monstrous products you’ll never use, but instead are curated so that you can dip your toe into a new range while abroad. I’ve found three outstanding ones this summer:
– Korres Holiday in Greece Set, £19 here. I mentioned the superlative nature of a Korres body product, did I not? If you’ve yet to try any, this would be the kit for you. Two baby shower gels (Basil Lemon and Guava), two not-so-baby body milks (also Basil Lemon and Guava) and a little shampoo to set you on your way to becoming a Korres fan.
– Green People Starter Pack, £16.95 here. Finding products for sensitive skins is a challenge. As my skin oscillates between seriously sensitive and a little bit red, I try to take products that will go some way to calm skin flare ups everywhere with me. The mini shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, hand cream and cleanser in this pack are less likely to irritate than most (they worked a treat for me) and at these sizes, you’ve hardly taken the biggest gamble if they aren’t quite right.
– Murad Age Reform Travel Kit, £10 here. Murad, you devil you. Another spiffing number from your quarters. Murad’s actually put together three of these puppies for different skin types, but this is the one that works a treat on my sun damaged skin. A little cleanser (my favourite of the lot), a slightly littler serum and day moisturiser and a dinky sachet of a retinol concentrate for wrinkles all for a tenner is not too shabby when of this quality.
– Laura Mercier Creme Eyeliner in Canard, £19 here. Last but most definitely not least is this teal eyeliner. The blue eyeliner trend shows no sign of abating, and I am embracing all hues of blue – it’s surprisingly flattering and makes an eye pop in double time. For the dubious, I suggest this creamy eyeliner. Not only will it slide across your upper lid (or all around – the colour is just dark enough to make for an alternative smoky eye) leaving no smears or drags with ease, it is also a universally flattering shade.