Today's the day - I'm jetting off on my holidays as you read; the south of France [and the North of Spain] is calling, and I am more than ready for two weeks of unadulterated bliss - good food, company, and weather, in beautiful surroundings and accompanied by the stack of literature I have amassed over the past few weeks at the prospect of some genuine time off.
Whilst short breaks dictate a reduced routine, decanting, downsizing, and a rummage through my bag of samples, the summer holiday is the one trip where, in packing, I refuse to apply a minimal approach. Weeks spent with skin bared to the elements extend need, as well as desire, to a carefully curated routine and a kit suitably prepared for every eventuality. Exfoliating scrubs, refreshing body gels, and assorted sun protection lotions are for once more than appropriate, and nothing beats the ritual of preparing for dinner after a day spent poolside; iridescent body oils, zesty scents, and metallic eyeshadows are finally given their time to shine.
Protecting skin from the sun's harmful rays is imperative at any time of the year, but is rendered truly vital when prolonged exposure is on the cards. Call me extreme, but I by no means do skincare in half measures, so will rarely wear anything less than factor 50; truly, there's nothing like frequent exposure to beauty literature to drill in the importance of SPF. Suncream has come a long way from the thick chalky white goop I detested as a child; Aēsop's formula is as luxe as you'd imagine; delightfully light and silky, it absorbs quickly and easily without leaving a pale cast or sticky texture. What's more is it doesn't even have that typical suncream scent, instead there's a subtly refreshing blend of mint and citrus notes.
With the luxury of a secluded villa and private pool, makeup is in equal parts unnecessary and a hindrance to reaching true zen state [I don't know about you but I can never feel 100% relaxed when I have foundation on?], but when venturing away from poolside tranquility calls for a little coverage, light is the only requirement. Fortunately, French pharmacy favourite Vichy combines both alongside SPF50 in it's latest BB cream launch. A shine-free formula with a comfortable lightweight finish and a subtle buildable tint for an all-over au naturel glow. Don't anticipate Doublewear levels of coverage, but do expect to see blemishes, pigmentation, and large pores obscured.
Those loyal to Bumble & bumble's line of luxurious [and equally effective] haircare products will be pleased to hear that the brand has a line created with sun-exposed hair solely in mind. Hair needs extra care in the sun and this product cleverly provides a long-lasting UVA/UVB filter that remains in place throughout pool/ocean/shower antics in order to safeguard those newly-formed sun-kissed highlights. Infused with the brand's Signature 'Surf' scent and a blend of tropical oils and sea minerals it also performs as styling products, volumiser, and leave-in conditioner, cultivating a softly tousled texture and shine. Not cheap, granted, but can you truly put a price on perfect and protected hair?
Beautiful packaging and an equally beautiful product aren't the only redeeming features of this [admittedly expensive] purchase. The creamy, highly pigmented formula has a lighter than air consistency and a cooling sensation upon application [an unusual feature for an eyeshadow, granted, but come 30+ degrees you won't be complaining]. Application is a dream, for this truly glides on without the slightest pulling sensation, apply all over one-wash wonder style or line the lash line and blend upwards. Laurier Rose is a delicate rosy copper with an underlying gold shimmer that will enhance a bronzed complexion and brighten the eyes. Compact and efficient, this eyeshadow stick will be both a practical and a luxe addition to your holiday makeup bag; but note that in the style of only the best must-have seasonal beauty products, it is a limited edition.
This glow-inducing cleanser features a mix of grapeseed, eucalyptus, chamomile and avocado shown to gently remove impurities and refresh skin with antioxidant protection. If you have oily skin, don't be put off by facial oils because you think they'll make your skin oily - they actually have the opposite effect. This light 'dry' oil rebalances the skin, leaving it clean, healthy, and decidedly non-greasy. Expect it to melt away the last traces of makeup, leaving skin feeling toned and looking radiant. It's also travel perfect as it performs excellently as both morning and evening cleanser.
This is for the body what a bronzer is to the skin - mimicing a sunkissed glow and simultaneously hydrating the skin with a nourishing blend of Monoï de Tahiti oil, which infuses a warm, tropical fragrance. The look is audacious and seemingly considered - your muse is Ursula Andress in Dr. No and the aim is a sultry bronzed chic. Balmy nights, bare shoulders, and the flicker of candlenight will set the warm gold iridescence off nicely.
Did you know that Nars do skincare? Well they do, brilliantly - and this is one of the best bits. Whether sunburnt or not, slathering a cool, light gel over your face is the ultimate refreshment. Suitable for all skin types, but especially oily, this refreshing gel encourages skin to improve and retain hydration; thanks to its high water count and a blend of thyme, beech, and Nars' Dynamic Aqua Technology, you can expect to wake up with truly glowing and radiant skin. Not a replacement for a good night's sleep, but a very good alternative; don't be fooled by its water-light texture because this delivers all the hydration you need from a summer night cream, minus the greasy sheen.
Treat yourself to a facial at the poolside with that most travel friendly of skincare products, the sheet mask. The beauty of the sheet mask [aside from the effortless ease of use and shock/laughter fodder] is that whilst their ingredients are tailored to individual skincare ailments, the key benefit is always hydration. The highly concentrated dose of potent ingredients instantly improves moisture, elasticity, and texture whilst cooling and soothing skin, and afterwards you'll feel like you just left a spa. Keep in the fridge immediately before application for the ultimate refreshment.
"On vacation, you can wear all the colourful and casual clothing that you like, but you must always be elegant."
- Christian Dior
Aēsop's luxe answer to aftersun/aloe vera gel; this fast-absorbing, cooling gel provides more moisture than your average body cream and can be used to soothe an array of skincare ailments from shaving irritation to sunburn. The blend of aloe vera, witch hazel, grapefruit and lemon serves to soothe and combat the consequences of sun exposure - peeling, redness, and dry skin. Massage into hot and weary limbs for acute aromatherapy [think: zesty and ripe] alongside instant refreshment and hydration.
A product for those who can't resist the lure of bronzed summer skin, but have neither the time nor the patience for the laborious process of self-tan. Enriched with organic plant extracts that stimulate and increase melanin production for a long-lasting tan, whilst providing an instantaneous bronzing effect and powerful hydration. You won't feel it on your skin, but you will see the results.
The definitive summer mani is bright, bold and shiny. Swap between Bamboo White's crisp cool off-white or a highly saturated pop of colour in the form of Judo Red. I adore this duo for the long-lasting formula and impeccably opaque pigmentation, although note that three coats is required for optimal wear. See them in action here and here.
There's nothing like a spritz of a fresh zesty scent to set your day off to a good start. As summer appropriate and wearable as Chloé's spaghetti strap smocks, this is a fragrance with a difference, for the vibrantly scented cocktail of essential oils [sorbier, blackcurrant, and beech] softens skin whilst providing long-lasting olfactory pleasures via a hint of rose and an underlying musky woodiness. Mist over your limbs with a liberal hand and be on your way.
What products feature on your Holiday Hotlist?