Photo: Norman Parkinson

Every time I fly it’s the same. My case is so stuffed with cosmetics, there’s barely room to shoe-horn the flip-flops in, let alone the capsule wardrobe for a week. I shouldn’t feel ashamed – I’m a beauty writer after all, says Vicci Bentley. But whereas I’ve got the swimsuit and separates thing down to a fine art, streamlining the slap’s a dilemma on some deep, soul-searching level. Have I over-complicated my life to the extent that I can’t live without that selection of mascaras? Am I now so dysmorphic that only an entire range of concealers will do? If novinaphobia’s the fear of running out of wine (no fear of that in rosé-soaked Provence), then I’m a self-defined nocosmophobe. However, this time, for my holiday on the Côte d’Azur, I got feisty on priority. Let’s hear it for the high temp five…

The sunscreen. Okay, there are two – but there’s a reason. To protect and take the ghostly edge off my pasty face, I packed Zo Skin Health Oclipse Smart Tone Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen, SPF50. This cocktail of antioxidants, anti-redness agents and moisturisers also has smart pigments that adapt to your skin tone to give it a healthy glow. You’re not likely to get a tan with this, but at least your age spots won’t get worse. Hoping for a bit of cautious colour on my luminously pale limbs, I trusted Clinique SPF30 Virtu-Oil Body Mist. What bliss to be able to spray right down to your feet (an easily forgotten high-burn zone) without having to sit up on your lounger. No, didn’t burn at all.

The lite-fantastic fake. No two ways about it, I loathe fake tan. Smell, Tango, streaks – undignified. Don’t care how sophisticated products claim to be, they just look naff on my pallid skin. Legology Sun Lite is in a different league. The cooling cream’s great after a flight, while just a hint of convincing, pinky-bronze sun leaves bare legs (and arms) looking good to glow from day one. And you can wash it off…

The better-than-bare-face palette. Nope, not losing the concealer. Ever. Luckily, Chanel’s Palette Essentielle in Beige Clair is a creamy, bare-face dream. In addition to a great concealer, there’s a creamy blush that mimics that fresh, rosy sun glow (so much more natural-looking than bronzer) and a sheeny highlighter that looks great on bare lids. Only problem is, it launches on August 4th, but it’s well worth waiting for….

The lip-booster balm. You need a bit of lippie, but too much colour looks daft on the beach. Zelens Lip Enhancer in Natural looks like a balm, but stains lips a just-bitten pink that won’t creep into lines in the heat. Smarter than a gloss, it softens and prevents sun-induced dryness beautifully.

The blue sky scent. If you ask me, cologne’s the only way to go when it swelters. (I caught a waft of Angel in the loo queue by the beach and nearly fainted. Like wearing a fur coat on a sun lounger). Tom Ford Private Collection Mandarino di Amalfi with breezy mint and thyme hints has that cooling citrus riff, but lasts longer than classic colognes. The 50ml size is hand-luggagable, too.

Worth noting that thanks to shrewd editing and various mini-sizes, my case checked in at an amazing 13.5kg – well under City Jet’s 23kg limit. Unlike Dame Joan Collins who was also on that City Jet flight to Toulon-Hyères, en route no doubt to St Tropez. The trousseau of Louis Vuitton luggage (heaved from the belt by husband Percy) was, er, impressive. Clearly glamourpuss Joanie rarely travels light. Or takes her hat and sunspecs off, come to that…


What are your holiday essentials?

16 thoughts on “Travelling light – five beauty essentials to take on holiday

  1. I checked in at just under 18 kg – for 2 months in south of France. Travelling from Oz. This time left behind the straightening tongs, multiple face creams/serums etc. No nail polish/remover, fewer shoes. No concealer, moisture mask, exfoliant. Possibly will have to pick up some stuff at the pharmacy. Always fun in France. Then leave them behind.

  2. Hahaha I feel the same way about shoes! It kills me every year having to edit my shoes down to 5 pairs. Beauty on the other hand is a no brainer. Sunscreen, moisturiser that doubles for face & body & a basic natural make-up kit – That’s me done 😉

  3. I was in Provence for two weeks in May and didn’t take much in the way of make-up or face care. I hit Monoprix in Aix as well as local pharmacies (which is so much fun–such great products!) and anyway, the light in Provence, and the way I feel when I’m there, make me feel beautiful!

  4. I just returned from 6 weeks in South of France, combining a lot of hiking and lake swimming with hanging out in smartish Provencal towns .
    Most used accessories :Chignon pins, pony tail bands, hair claws ….bring them all on .Hate long hair on my neck when it’s warm
    Light cashmere silk/shawl, H cotton pareo doubling as scarf, lots of 70cm scarves for anti-burn whilst walking, hair wraps , alice bands .
    Cosmetic:Lots of excellent high factor sun protection [Avéne] and fave shampoo/conditioners [John Masters]
    Makeup: Just brow grooming kit and a light blusher.
    I think makeup is tricky in the bright sunshine and so I went native…barely there!

  5. I’m always on the look out for a sunscreen for my face that doesn’t make my super-sensitive skin go all red and spotted. Hoping that the cosmetics staff at Chanel and Clinique will oblige with samples big enough for a thorough try of each product. Thanks.
    P.S. Sneakers for exercise, sneakers for city walking and coolness, hiking boots for ah hiking, flip flops, one pair of flat sandals, one pair of decent flats. And for a moment I thought that five pairs of shoes for travel sounded like a lot. Maybe I should jettison one pair of sneakers, eh?

    1. Hi Sue, have you tried the Korean and Japanese brands? I’ve found Biore and Sunplay to both be very good on my fairly sensitive skin. They do contain alcohol, but layered over a moisturiser I’ve had excellent results. Victoria at Bois de Jasmin has an excellent guide to them on her blog.

  6. I love being on holiday with just the right things. Part of the holiday feeling to not make decisions.

    I like the sound of the Chanel palette for travelling. It should be available now!

  7. Chanel hasa CC cream with SPF 50 that is very natural looking without the shiny feel and look of skin protection. Cover lips with an SPF product if no lipstick as this type of skin can also burn badly according to my Derm. Two pairs of shoes: walking and dressy..that’s it. Scarves always. Light cotton clothing. Cardigan if cool or use a large scarf. Sunglasses always. Manicured nails..light or no polish. Pedicure with coral polish. Light handbag, foldable bag for beach stuff..maybe something straw. One nice outfit..soft dress for dinner. Forget hair tools if possible.

  8. I usually take any small hotel samples that my husband brings home from his travels, some sun screen (careful at airports, I got relieved of a really nice but almost empty sun screen, bcause the original volume was over 100ml…), some basic make up. When in Provence, we shop at the factory store of l’Occitane in Manosque… big time.

  9. Travel cosmetics which I find essential: Caudalie moisturiser, eye make up remover, eau micillaire to clean skin by Caudalie or Nuxe. Decent shampoo for coloured hair and conditioner. Perfume or cologne. Preferred suntan brand La Roche Posay cream for face and chest and spray for legs and arms. Enough to get started with and then buy extra in pharmacies. I always go away with too many pairs of shoes and end up wearing Havanias flip flops as slippers as well as for swimming. A decent pair of sandals one can walk in. Some fit flops or another brand for daytime and maybe something a bit dressier for evenings in metallic leather. Sunglasses and a sun hat and sarong which can also be worn as dressing gown. Washable linen or cotton clothing. Packing to go to France soonish. Happy days this midsummer to all.

Leave a Reply

Thank you for commenting but please be respectful and considerate.
If you want to be in my gang, play nice.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *