TRAVEL TOP SHELF : THE AUSTRALIA EDITION
I'm not sure I'll ever be able to narrow down to the essentials when it comes to holiday packing - especially when it comes to beauty, and even more especially, when I have about two hours to pack the night before my 8am flight... I think the problem is that I like to have options, and I'm also capable of imagining all sorts of scenarios in my head and convincing myself I need to be prepared for them. While I may not have been able to narrow down the products that I took with me, I have curated the list for this blog post in order to shine the spotlight on the stand-out favourites that a] got good use, and b] were well worth packing.
One thing I did have the foresight to do was kill two birds with one stone by taking just one cleanser for the trip - I typically use separate ones for day and night, but Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser happily ticks the boxes I require of both. In the morning it's refreshing, gentle, and hydrating, and in the evening it's perfect for wicking away any makeup residue left behind by my initial micellar water cleanse.
The rest of my skincare routine was pretty much everything I'd normally use on a daily basis, with a couple of swaps and additions to account for the fact that it was the height of summer in Australia, with temperatures of around 30 degrees everyday and a UV index of 10.9 (very high!). Naturally, sun protection was high on my priority list - after cleansing and moisturising in the morning, I took to applying NIOD's Survival 30 - quite the most brilliant SPF I've ever used, because rather than being thick and chalky, the texture is deliciously light and easily spreadable. More like a serum than a cream, and with a subtle blurring effect that added a hint of brightness and helped to even skintone enough that on many days I went without foundation altogether. I've been using The Ordinary's Coverage Foundation for a few months and love it (it's a great work/everyday base on account of its affordability and light texture), but as I can't stand the feel of makeup on my skin in the heat, I picked up the serum version for my trip. It was the ideal base - completely weightless on skin (to the point where I totally forgot I was even wearing foundation) but surprisingly durable (it didn't fade, no matter how hot the heat/long the day), and it provided just enough coverage to even out the redness in my skintone and blur over my acne pigmentation marks. The final step in my makeup routine was COOLA's Makeup Setting Spray SPF30. Not typically something I apply on a daily basis (I normally reserve setting spray for nights out) but one I was incredibly grateful for with every day spent in the heat and sun. Somehow, magically, it managed to keep my makeup perfectly intact - mascara, powder, foundation, blusher, the lot - from dawn to dusk every single day, and it provided an additional layer of SPF30. Win, win.
I took a number of different strengths and formulas of body SPFs with me, but the winner for me (on two accounts) was COOLA's Sport Spray SPF30. Firstly, for its ease of use - I can't stand the great feel of sunscreen on my hands, but this made application a hands-free experience, and thanks to the super fine mist, ensures an even and full application. Secondly, aside from its sun protection benefits, the spray had a calling effect which was oh so welcome, especially when hiking the Coogee to Bondi coast trail in the heat of the midday sun.
I could dedicate an entire post to the products that I took on the flight (I'm a stickler for inflight hydration), but the stand-out hero for me was Mario Badescu's Aloe Cucumber and Green Tea Facial Spray, which provided a welcome and refreshing injection of moisture in between the various creams, serums, and sheet masks in my inflight arsenal. I've never really understood quite why bloggers and YouTubers rave about this product so much, but now I totally get it. Another Mario Badescu product also made the cut - I purchased the Summer Shine Body Lotion specifically for the trip and entirely based on its name. One of my favourite holiday 'moments' is when you get back to your hotel room after a long day spent exploring and get ready to go out for dinner, there's something about having the time to refresh and dress up that feels so luxurious. This body lotion was a key part of the process for me - soothing, hydrating, and with a subtle shimmer effect which gives sunkissed limbs the ultimate radiant finish, and makes them smell divine.
I always choose a new scent to take on holiday - then when I smell it again months later I'm reminded of the trip. On this occasion I chose Byredo's Bal d'Afrique - the first time I smelt it I knew it would be perfect for a hot weather holiday. It's warm and musky with summery notes of lemon, bergamot, and amber that perfectly complimented warm evenings spent drinking wine and eating olives outside the bar that became our local.
When it came to hair products I was overpacked and underprepared - none of the oils, masks, and serums I'd packed could hold their own against the frizz-inducing heat, so I spent the majority of the holiday sporting a 'beachy waves ponytail'. One thing that I was relieved I'd packed however was Sachajuan's Hair In The Sun. Having had my hair coloured the week before I travelled (rookie error, I know), the colour protection it provided was lifesaving. The brand also touts this as a styling cream, but not even Sachajuan's famous Ocean Silk Technology could tame my flyaways in the Aussie heat.
A shoutout must also go to unlikely hero, Lucas' Papaw Ointment, which I picked up from an Australian drugstore to tackle dry lips on the go. It ended up being a saviour for more than just my lips, serving as an emergency aftersun treatment (no matter how much SPF I apply, my shoulders always catch the sun), and an overnight miracle worker in its ability to soothe and heal the blisters I accrued on my feet (top tip: never wear new shoes on the first day of a holiday).