How to jet set with minimal beauty loot and still look hot in your holiday snaps

I hate packing. It’s kak. Still, I do think I’m rather good at it and, thanks to my OCD-riddled Virgo rising, I can create capsule wardrobes with ease and streamline my beauty goodies to the bare frikken essentials with a moments notice. (I actually had to do that the other day when, while on holiday in France, my li’l sis announced that we were off to St Tropez for five days, not just the weekend, and I could only take a single carry on bag as we wouldn’t be checking in any luggage! Can you imagine? I mean, hello! My shoes alone take up half a suitcase. Oooh, and it gets better… due to the whole not-checking in thing, I couldn’t take any liquids that weren’t compliant with that pesky new 3-1-1- rule…)

Anyway, I’ll stop rambling now and just dish on how to travel with limited space and not look like a ball of crap:

First up, these are a few of my on board ‘looking good’ essentials: 

Facial wipes to take off all your make-up the moment you’re buckled up and zoned out in front of your teensy little TV screen.

A sample of any super rich night cream you wrangle out of a department store to slather on your face. Don’t bother investing in an overpriced ‘refreshing mist’ to keep on spritzing your face with on the plane; you’re not Mariah freakin’ Carey.

Blistex DCT lip balm:

This is my favourite lip balm in the world. Aside from creating a protective barrier, it also contains AHA acids to chemically exfoliate off any dry flakes. I even use this on flaky bits of skin around my nose.

Toothbrush and mini toothpaste (you can buy them in the travel section at Clicks). Many airlines, in an effort to cut costs, don’t supply you with them anymore.

Time to put your face back on?

Use another wet wipe to rid yourself of any excess cream and reapply yet another sample of a less intense face cream. If you’re a real minimalist or find the night cream didn’t turn you into a grease ball you can reapply that too.

Next up? Go to ‘China Town’! This hideous little ‘mood lipstick’ and I have been besties since high school:

They don’t all result in the same colour. I always buy the green, purple and blue ones. They tend to look more fuchsia, which I like.

When I’m paring down my make-up I use ‘China Town’ to add colour to my lips AND cheeks. You’ll find him in nasty Chinese stores around the globe as well as in the sale baskets at Dis-Chem.

Dab a bit of concealer under your eyes. Chances are you look like a zombie racoon thanks to the fat dude/screaming baby/torture seat o’ death that kept you up all night.

Sweep a little MAC Blot Powder onto any shiny bits, slick on a mascara, use the toothbrush to comb out your brows and whip out a dry shampoo to revive your hair. Both Batiste and Tresemme make cute li’l mini cans.

My other top travel beauty tips?

Don’t bother taking shower gel, your shampoo can double up as that. Also leave your fancy pants nourishing creme-included razor at home and take a disposable cheapie along instead. Shaving with shampoo isn’t totes amaze but it’ll save you having to take your shaving cream.

Leave your big perfume bottles at home and invest in a Travalo travel spritzer:

Don’t touch the pink or gold one, they’re tacky-looking. Silver is your friend.

Alternatively, you could suck up to the Stuttafords counter girl for a few samples. This is a fun way to ‘discover’ a new scent and attach some good ‘travel memories’ to it. Now, Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb, which I always thought of as a poor man’s Narciso Rodriguez, will always remind me of shopping on the Champs Elysees.

Don’t mess around with decanting your sham and con; Tresemme offer fab 100ml travel size hair products geared for pretty much every hair type going for R12 a pop! They even have mini Heat Defence Spray (R19!) to protect your hair from hot tools and blow drying:

I love how lightweight and ‘water’-like this is. It didn’t weigh my super fine hair down in the least or contribute to ‘premature greasiness’ at all.

When it comes to nails, commit to a colour and get a gel-style mani and pedi before you go to save you re-doing your digits while on holiday. Still, make sure you take a regular nail polish along in a matching colour in case, quelle horreur, you do end up with a chip. (You can do this easily if you go the Polish PRO route.) I don’t know about you but I have the kind of highly strung OCD-type personality where having a chip I couldn’t fix would make me want to chop my hand off.

Hoard your samples. Seriously. Whenever you get a few beauty minis, don’t just use them up, rather stash them in a drawer so you can break them out come travel time.

If you’re going to wear self-tan don’t forget to take along an exfoliator. It WILL turn patchy after a couple of days and you’ll want to remove it before reapplying. I’m addicted to Sh’Zen’s super-lightweight Skin Stimulator sponge:

This is the best self-tan stripper I’ve yet to find.

After you’ve packed your case, comb through it and remove ANY liquids (think nail polish remover, shampoo, foundations, self tan etc) and stick them in a separate plastic bag. One of them WILL leak during travel and you don’t want that shizz getting all over your favourite top. Also, look at your liquids and decant anything you can into travel size mini bottles. (I find both Clicks and Dis-Chem have nice ones.) You don’t need to lug a 500ml bottle of moisturiser, just a few squirts in a mini bottle. I even found a travel pack that included mini ‘spritzer bottles’ so I could decant my detangling conditioner and SPF body oil.

If you can, ask your host what she’s got that you can use and thus don’t have to bring. Thanks to the fact that I was staying with my sis, I didn’t have to drag along my hairdryer or gown.

So there you have it girls. I’m quite sure I’ve missed something so please don’t hesitate to leave your top travel beauty tips in the comments section. Help a chica out!

Love, love


Posted by

Editor of South African beauty blog Lipgloss is my Life.

7 thoughts on “How to jet set with minimal beauty loot and still look hot in your holiday snaps

    1. Nice! I totally feel you on the clean shirt thing. The first thing I want to do when I get off the plane is rip off my clothes and burn them. I feel like they absorb all that disgusting cabin air and you end up scented with the smell of a thousand farts. Sooo revolting!

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