When it comes to travelling, I tend to over-pack (I know: shocker). And surprise — it’s on the beauty—not wardrobe—front. I blame this on being a past beauty editor since I seem to have a vial or bottle for well, everything. Naturally, it’s all needed when I travel: cleanser, exfoliator, day and night moisturizers, blush, eyelash curler, concealer…the list goes on, as well as a separate plastic bag for my shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, bath wash (I don’t usually like hotel minis), plus a whole kid-friendly set for the girls, then another plastic bag that holds sunscreen (at least 4-5 bottles and face sticks), and then another for bug spray and ointment and first aid necessities. Whew. What can I say? I have kids and I like to have options.
Which is why for my last trip to Jamaica, I decided to make a concerted effort to downsize. Only the necessities allowed. This meant that everything had to fit into one small-to-medium-ish toiletry case, and be so great — or a multi-tasker — that I didn’t need anything else. Sounds easy, right? Here’s what made the cut:
La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Mask: Life. Saver. After cramming in all the just-in-case stuff for the kids, there’s little left in the carry-on for you. Bring onboard the minimum to keep skin hydrated (you’ll thank me later) and looking decent after being cooped up in a plane for hours. This masque goes on clear and thanks to the dry plane-air, is immediately absorbed into your skin and then it’s left soft and supple for hours.
Glossier Balm Dotcom Lip Balm in Cherry: Truly gives off the most lovely and natural, stained lip — no matter your skin tone. Think of it as your natural lip colour, but WAY better. Plus, it won’t melt in the heat like a lipstick. It doesn’t hurt that it also offers hydration with antioxidants.
All Good Coconut Lip Balm SPF 20: I know, I know. The idea is to cut down on products, but this one offers clear sun protection (with friendly zinc oxide!) for the kiddies, and smells like coconut. Mmm.
LASPA SPF 30 Moisturizing Mineral Sunscreen: This sunscreen ticks all of my boxes. It’s natural and uses zinc oxide (which protects against UVA and UVB rays) instead of chemicals, fragrance-free, water and sweat resistant, and it comes in a TSA-approved size so you can stash it in your carry-on. My fave part though is that it’s a light formula that doesn’t leave an ashy cast on my darker skin tone like most other mineral sunscreens do (also at select spas and salons). Applied in the morning before breakfast, it also doubled as my day moisturizer.
True Natural Ultra Protect 50 Antioxidant Sunscreen: Although I can use the LASPA on my face, the bottle is small so I tried to conserve it by alternating with this brand. With skin-loving ingredients like shea butter and green tea, along with zinc oxide, it helps moisturize as it protects. And while it did go on white, it only took a few seconds of rubbing for it to disappear into my 8-year old’s skin without it looking ashy.
LoveFresh Baby Sun Stick SPF 30: This is my ‘bonus’ sunscreen. My kids are at the age where they like to apply sunscreen themselves (with my watchful eye), and always want to do their own face. This stick allows them their moment without any liquid dripping into their eyes. (Mom and dad can help rub it around if necessary). It’s super compact, 100 percent natural and again, leaves no ashy cast, which is a huge must for my multi-culti fam.
Eucalyptus Herbal Body Oil with Neem & Lavender Oil: This is a natural way to keep the pesky bugs at bay come dusk. And, because it’s an oil, it leaves skin super soft and smells much nicer than anything formulated with DEET.
After Bite: If the bugs do bite, this will take the itch away. For littles who don’t want the ‘sting’ — which my 8-year old secretly enjoys — hydrocortisone ointment is my backup.
Crawford Street Travel pack (includes Cleansing Milk, Toner, Restorative Facial Oil, Cream Deodorant and Restorative Beauty Balm): This local Toronto brand made up the bulk of my skincare. Made in small batches, their products are 100 percent natural and free of all those chemical baddies. While packaged in glass containers, this didn’t deter me as they were small and compact — especially the deodorant, serum and beauty balm. They all fit snugly and took up less room than my regular go-to’s. In lieu of packing my usual 100mL night moisturizer, I used the toner and serum in the p.m. before bed. Nothing felt tacky or too heavy in the warmer weather, and the Rose Geranium toner I actually used throughout the day, just to freshen up my skin. PS: I used the Restorative Beauty Balm to moisturize dry cuticles on the plane, and smoothed it on drier areas in the evening.
*I checked ahead of time to see what the hotel offered when it came to beauty amenities, and was relieved to find that it was a U.S. dermatologist brand that I approved of (I know, I’m a skincare snob…). This meant that I could skip bringing the various mini bottles of shampoo, body wash, conditioner and lotion. Yeees!
Nars Stick Blush: I admit to skipping the concealer when on vacay (plus, it may not be the right shade once you’re out in the sun — even when wearing SPF 50 sunscreen!, but for those evenings out (and, you really should make a point to have a few) with or without the kids, you’ll want to put something on to make you feel kinda fancy. Besides, this and/or bold lips are all the makeup you’ll need.
Lipstick Queen Lipstick in Medieval (sheer tint) OR Saint Pink Nude: Ok, ok. I tried, but I had to have a few lipstick options, especially since I don’t wear any other makeup. These two are my go-to (love, love this brand) for when I want lip options. Medieval is bold but not overwhelming, and Saint Pink Nude offers a subtle pink for a more nude effect. There’s a hue for every skintone. Trust me. Visit here to view other shades.
Shu Umera Eyelash Curler: Ok, some ladies may not need this, but speaking for someone who’s eyelashes are stick-straight, this is seriously my facial push-up bra — even on vacation. It opens up my eyes no matter how much sleep I got the night before, and somehow, wakes up my complexion. I can’t explain it but it goes with me everywhere. Let’s just say, you’ll NEVER see me without curled lashes. ‘Nuff said.
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