Did you know I’ve been on holiday? I can’t help but feel like I’ve mentioned it to everyone, and I’m (of course) terribly devastated that it’s over. Italy is a glorious country – beautiful weather, beautiful people and beautiful/highly calorific food – I recommend that everybody visits at some point in their lives.
Holiday spiel over, I wanted to talk about the specific challenge of being a beauty junkie and packing for a holiday – I only had carry-on luggage this time around, so packing two weeks worth of stuff was not easy (not to mention the limited liquid allowance). The weather was also something to consider, since in the hot climate I like to wear more of an easygoing and sheer look instead of my typical matte and perfected face of makeup.
Aside from what I needed, I decided to leave some space for everything I wanted to buy while I was away – the city we stayed in had a Sephora, a Kiko, and a whole host of other pharmacies and beauty stores (I died and went to heaven, honestly) – I’ll be doing a couple of hauls soon to round up everything that I got out there.
Below is what I ended up packing, from all different categories across the board:
This might just have been the hardest part of packing to go away – I’m obsessed with skincare, and not being able to take my whole collection with me was a huge challenge. I managed to whittle it down to the essentials, including my spot-fighting favourites The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and Acnecide Benzoyl Peroxide to help combat the sweaty weather and terrible diet (I’ve relied on these two for so long now). I decanted some of the lovely and refreshing Garnier Aloe Toner, which did nicely for cooling down and de-greasing my overheated face (nice image right there).
With my Simple moisturiser running low, I raided my skincare drawer for something unopened and new to travel with – I ended up with the Garnier PureActive Sensitive Soothing Moisturiser, a gentle but acne-fighting day cream with active ingredients such as zinc and witch hazel. I found this a lot richer and more hydrating than the ones from Simple, so it didn’t really help to mattify at all but totally went with the whole summery glowing theme. On top of that, of course, was some all-important sun protection: The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence SPF50, which I featured in my August Favourites. I managed to not burn at all during the whole two weeks, so this stuff did the trick perfectly.
I took a couple of mini travel sizes along to try out as well, from the Estee Lauder Companies Beautiful Escape Travel Set. For the undereyes, I relied on Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream for hydration and to keep creasing at bay – it worked well, but I prefer a cooling gel over a traditional cream when it comes to eyes. I also packed a mini Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II – a cult (and expensive) skincare product favoured by loads of people. I don’t really think it did much for me, as someone with a more oily complexion, but I imagine it could be a magic product if you suffer from dryness and fine lines.
This side of things was much easier – for the base, I have my favourites and I stick to them. The hardest part was deciding on foundations – I wrote a post a couple of months ago about my favourite summer foundations, all of which were dewy and light coverage. In the end, I didn’t pack any of those, opting to take my faithful Estee Lauder Double Wear and to just wear concealer on days when I didn’t want a full face. I only ended up wearing foundation for a couple of days across the whole 2 weeks, it was just too damn hot for it.
To give myself options, I took both Tarte Shape Tape and NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer – the NARS turned out to be an absolute hero, because most days I simply blended it on with my fingers over moisturiser and sunscreen. It gave enough coverage on the undereyes and blemishes, but allowed me to look fresh-faced and glowy (such a fab product – I 100% recommend you try it).
Predictably, my beloved Marc Jacobs O!Megan Coconut Perfect Tan Bronzer in Tantastic came with me – it levels up any flat complexion to give dimension and warmth without looking orange. Colourpop Super Shock Blush in Aphrodisiac and BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop were on my cheeks every day for a neutral bit of colour and shimmer. All-over powdering seemed to defeat the object of going for fresh and bright skin, so I selectively powdered under the eyes and around the nose with the RCMA No Color Powder (seen here in a NYX pot!).
The below picture shows all of these in action – you can get an idea of the look I was going for – letting my freckles come through while keeping redness at bay.
Eye makeup is another tricky one since I never know what kind of look I want to go for until I sit down at the mirror – limiting your options kinda sucks, but at least many palettes allow for loads of different shadow combinations. I took two with me – the Ciate x Chloe Morello Pretty, Fun & Fearless Palette (a gorgeous mix of brown and purple matte and shimmer shades. I also grabbed the Tarte Tarteist Pro To Go Palette, just because I’m currently obsessed with it (and it’s so dinky and cute!).
In the interests of keeping my makeup quick and convenient, I also brought along two stick eyeshadows – Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst and Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadow Stick in Pink Gold. Both are equally gorgeous and blendable, and give a lovely shimmery wash of colour to the lids.
Not one to under-pack, I threw in a couple of my favourite mono shadows – Colourpop Super Shock Eyeshadow in Sequin and Seventeen Eye Eye in Rose Quartz (this is a proper drugstore gem – it’s £3.89 and suuuper pigmented, blendable and gorgeous). As raved about in a post here and my August Favourites, Maybelline Colossal Big Shot Mascara is my current lash-booster of choice. It’s amplifying and long-lasting, which worked perfectly in the Italian heat and humidity.
Brows were easy – I’m still using a sample of Benefit Ka Brow in Shade 2 that I got with my brow wax, which I’m loving, topped with ModelCo Brow Gel, which probably dried up a long time ago but I love the spoolie too much.
My holiday was not lipstick-friendly. I pretty much ate pizza and drank prosecco non-stop, so bold lip looks weren’t terribly practical. Still, I couldn’t go without a few options just in case. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl is my all-time favourite red lip, with a flattering cool tone that lasts on the lip all day. For a more subtle matte, I packed the Rodial Suede Lips in Big Apple (a perfect neutral mauve from last month’s Glossybox).
On the more summery side of things, my most work lip look was L’Oreal Paris Infallible Mega Gloss Dazzle in 210. These glosses give a similar finish to the Lip Toppers from Jouer, beautifully sparkly without any chunky shimmer. 210 is a pretty nude shade, which was lovely to dab in the centre of moisturised lips (thank you Burt’s Bees Honey Lip Balm) to give a plumped appearance.
Can you tell that I love Real Techniques? I ended up packing their Miracle Complexion Sponge, Large Powder Brush and Blush Brush, all in an RT brush roll. Eye brushes were tougher to pick out though – I’ve got a whole bunch from different brands, in different styles. In the end, I just randomly chose a few from my brush pot – a flat brush, a fluffy blender, a pencil brush etc. I ended up using the cream shadow sticks most days, which are easily blended with the fingertips, so not many of the eye brushes actually got used (no regrets though, it’s better to be safe than sorry!).
For what must be the millionth time in my life, I packed too much stuff! While I managed to keep the skin and face stuff to the bare minimum, I probably/definitely should have taken less eye stuff and stuck to one palette and no singles (the sticks were a great idea though, as the mini ones pack well). My advice would be to try and stick to reliable favourites, as you don’t want any weird or bad surprises while travelling – also, multi-use products are a practical solution for severe space constraints (think cream blush or bronzer on the eyelids).
Still, I managed to fit it all in my case/liquids bag there and back, with room to spare for all the beauty bits I got my hands on in Italy (ahhhhhhhh). Expect hauls. Many hauls.