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With one plastic bag for all of your toiletries – including skincare, haircare and make-up all under 100ml – you need to think smart. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt in my 15 years as a beauty editor is that you never need as much as you think. You can buy almost anything abroad or in duty free and make-up multi-taskers are the way to go. But if you don’t feel safe without some of your stash from home, here are the 10 products you should bring that fit neatly in an airport toiletries bag.
1. Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream skin protectant 50ml
£28, Look Fantastic
This skin-soothing salve has been around for nearly a century and it’s remained a best-seller ever since. For good reason, too: you can use this multi-tasking ointment to soothe any sore, sunburnt areas of skin, as a nourishing lip balm and even slathered on during a flight to ward off dehydrated skin. While the thick, tacky cream has the faint medicinal whiff of an old Parisian pharmacy, it’s all part of its long-standing appeal.
It’s a functional cream, in a reassuringly functional tube, and a little really does go a long way. Another surprising use: lots of make-up artists have it in their kits to gently dab on the tops of models’ cheekbones in place of highlighter.
2. La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 invisible fluid SPF50+ sun cream 50ml
£14.40, Look Fantastic
Let’s face it: sun protection is a must year-round, not least when you’re heading off on holiday. And while the thought of sun cream usually means a thick, greasy lotion that leaves a white cast on the skin, the past few years has seen the biggest innovation in the sun cream market. Now you can find lotions that feel like serums and are moisturising enough to allow you to skip a traditional day cream underneath.
The Anthelios range by La Roche Posay is one such product: it does the hard work of moisturising the skin whilst protecting it. If you like your SPF with a tint, this comes in an adaptable tinted version, too.
3. Dr. Bronner’s organic baby unscented pure-castile liquid soap 59ml
This cleanser has something of a cult following, ticking the box of several products in one. You can use this pure castile soap – which means it’s vegetable oil derived – as a face wash and effective make-up remover, as a shower gel and even as shampoo. In fact, the company claims it has 18 different uses, including washing pets and doing the laundry, although the chances of doing that on holiday may be slim.
The soap comes in several versions all spiked with delicious essential oils, but my favourite is the unscented version which is safe to use on babies and little children, too.
4. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish 50ml Hot Cloth Cleanser
If you’d rather pack a separate face cleanser and save the Dr Bronner’s for the shower, you can’t go wrong with the classic Cleanse & Polish by Liz Earle as a fantastic go-to option for cleansing. Massage a blob into dry skin and remove with a flannel dunked in warm water (if you're staying in a hotel on your holiday, there’ll likely be plenty in the hotel bathroom).
The smell is fresh and herbaceous and the texture isn’t oily like some cleansing balms – but it is heavy duty enough to remove make-up and sunscreen easily and leave the skin with enough hydration to go straight in with the SPF as the next step.
5. A Social Life For Your Hair finishing cream 30ml
£12, Larry King
Kensington-based hairdresser-to-the-stars Larry King knows a thing or two about brilliant multitasking hair products, and this finishing cream – which goes everywhere he does – is no exception. You can use the moisturising cream as a leave-in conditioning hair mask, styling cream or to tame flyaways or frizzy hair (particularly useful if you're heading away somewhere hot). It also works really well on freshly washed hair that you leave to air dry during the day or evening.
The best thing of all however is the delicious scent: a juicy combination of freshly cut grass and warm, balmy bergamot. Who needs perfume on holiday when your hair smells this good?
6. Rose Inc Blush Divine Radiant lip & cheek colour in azalea
£23, Space NK
There are lip and cheek balms and then there’s the Rose Inc one, which is undoubtedly one of the best we’ve tried. It packs a serious punch with pigment, so you don’t get a wishy-washy touch of colour that fades after half an hour in the heat. The shade azalea is a universally-flattering raspberry pink that gives a healthy flush to the cheeks. As for lips, you can dab it on for a soft touch of colour or build up to the intensity of a full-pigment lipstick.
If you’re really short of space, you can skip taking the full compact and just buy the refill for £14 – it comes in a slim protective casing.
£28, Trinny London
The beauty brand founder Trinny developed this clever dual-ended mascara and eyebrow gel to make-up your routine simpler and save space in your make-up bag. Turns out it’s a spacesaver in your carry-on case, too. The mascara formula imparts a deep black water-resistant formula that leaves your lashes looking glossy and separated, while the eyebrow gel comes in a range of shades to match your brow hair. So simple you can apply it by the pool in a matter of seconds.
8. The Face Pencil and the Beauty Blender starter set
When the make-up artist legend Bobbi Brown left her namesake billion-dollar beauty brand six years ago, the beauty industry looked forward to her next move somewhat impatiently. Jones Road, her new brand, was worth the wait when it launched last summer.
The Face Pencil sums up the ease and no-nonsense approach to her line: simply scribble on the pencil anywhere you need to even out the skin or conceal, such as dark circles, and pat it in with your fingers or a Beauty Blender and you’re good to go. To step things up a notch, you could even buy a Face Pencil a couple of shades deeper and use it as a subtle contouring stick, too.
9. Pixi On-The-Glow bronze stick
2022 is the year of the cream bronzer, and this slim, compact On-The-Glow bronzer by Pixi is one of our favourites. Apply it on your temples, cheekbones and jawline for a natural sun-kissed look and rub a little on the eyelids to imitate the look of a subtle wash of eyeshadow.
It leaves a pretty sheen on the skin without looking sparkly – win-win. You could even use it on the lips for nude-but-better tone.
10. Toothpaste tabs and bamboo toothbrush
£6.95 and £3.95, both by Parla
A tube of toothpaste can be pretty bulky in your cabin case, so these waterless toothpaste tabs are genius for travelling – you technically don’t even need to store them in your plastic toiletries bag. Developed by the leading dentist Dr Rhona Eksander, you simply take as many tabs as you need for your trip.
Pop one in your mouth, chew for five seconds and proceed to brush your teeth: you get all the cleaning power and fluoride as regular toothpaste in a space-saving way. We love the biodegradable bamboo toothbrush by the brand, too.