Some may say packing to go away is a stressful situation, something I've found to be more than true after the past few days of not having a minute to even breathe away the holiday tension. Deciding on what to take slowly but surely becomes a chore and it's not long till you end up debating (and arguing) with yourself on what contents to accompany you and what to leave behind. Luckily, there's some reliable bits that continuously make their way into my suitcase because they make life that little easier, and are the basic products that will not only allow you to pack light but prepare you for the upcoming sun, sea and sand.
First up are the non-beauty essentials that are a must in my eyes.
A comfortable bikini - I'm a firm believer in comfort, but I'm also a believer in looking your best whilst you strut your stuff on the beach. Having that one bikini that does both means it must be the first thing you pop into your case. Whether it's a new find, or an old favourite; make sure you choose the one that will transform you into the inner babe you really are.
A staple necklace - despite attempts to pack light, this may fail, but in the jewellery department you are complete if you have a necklace that will pair nicely with every carefully planned outfit. It may sound difficult but there's always a minimal one out there!
A handy bag - this year, it so happens to be my festival inspired fringed bag. Once again, you need to pick wisely in the accessories area to make sure you have room for the rest of your stuff. It's easy to get caught up in the thought you need a different bag for each day and night but taking a casual, yet summery style bag that is suited for both day and night solves the problem.
A good book - the only time I tend to read is on holiday. Having your head in the book whilst the sun glares down and bronzes your torso and the sound of the rippling pool water keeps your ears vacant is somewhat bliss and I find myself getting lost in the intellectual moment. I'm a sucker for romance based young adult books so this is what I always go for but of course it depends on the personal preference. It's probably worth stocking up on 3 or 4 books too as before you know it, you've read the whole thing and still have a week left of relaxation!
A hat - usually a straw sun hat, but the on trend kind, not the middle aged man kind. With my love for hats growing, I'm taking a variety of them with me this year but you get the same effect wearing the same one throughout your vacation. It saves your head from burning and adds that quirkiness to a basic beach outfit.
Sunglasses - like both the bag and necklace, a staple pair of sunnies is a must. Although the main importance is to protect your eyes from the rays, it's also fabulous if you find a pair that suits you and makes you feel street to chic. Let's face it, we all spend the majority of time in sunglasses so it's fine to invest in a sturdy pair (just make sure you don't accidentally sit on them!).
Now on to the products that you desire to make you feel freshened and wonderful. It's hard to choose just a few makeup and fragrance bits and bobs but the main ones I think you'll constantly reach for are as follows:
A light base - light enough to give you that sheer, glowy look whilst covering your imperfections but enhancing your natural parts. I never like to go too heavy on holiday as I prefer the more subtle complexion so I tend to swap a foundation for a tinted moisturiser, bb or cc cream. I must admit I struggle with makeup when buying for a holiday, especially for the face. As time progresses, your skin gets tanned and your usual colour is no good so upping a shade or two without going too harsh is an ideal suggestion. This year I've gone for Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream in Light Medium as not only have I heard so many lovely things about it, but it has an SPF of 30 so is perfect for that hot weather.
A bronzer or highlighter - finding a two in one is a bonus! I love to be shimmery and pigmented once my tan builds up as it's the only rare moment I get to escape the natural paleness. Swapping a powder for a cream formula seems to be more suitable as it's quicker and gives you that whoosh of radiance. I'm giving the new Honey Bronze Highlighting Dome a go this year and I've gone for the darkest shade 'Bronze' to give me those bronzed cheeks!
Nail varnish - another tough choice is the amount of nail polish you'll be taking with you on your journey. If, like me, you love a mix of colours but don't want to overdo it then I will forever recommend some nudes, along with some lighter sun kissed colours that will bring out your tan. Essie's Sand Tropez is a gorgeous soft, sandy colour so matches you to the beach paradise and Maybelline's Superstay in Sunkissed is a beautiful shiny peach giving you that pastel finish.
A neutral lipstick - the barely there kind of lipstick is my most favoured for a holiday so what better than to buy Sleek's Barely There True Colour lippy? Its creamy formula gives you that shine and maintains the naturalness of your makeup. Ditching the dark shades and changing to lighter toned shades for the two weeks (or more or less) can add so much definition to the no makeup-makeup look through the day and for a buildable finish at night time, giving a gentle highlight paired with a dramatic eye and cheek creation.
A spritz - perfumes are great but an affordable AND refreshing mist or musk you can keep spraying when you feel you need a top up is the ultimate must have. When they have the scent that reminds you of holidays, it's even better. My utter favourite, Victoria's Secret Coconut Passion, is another re-purchase as I adore the coconut and vanilla smell. Used at each moment from waking up to freshening up on a night, it leaves me feeling sultry.
As we all know, maintaining a skincare regime can often feel daunting, especially on a trip abroad when all your worries are vanished apart from the worry of keeping up well behaved skin. The sunlight does tend to keep my skin at bay but I still need to take all my regular products with me to make sure I don't prevail a huge break out and/or become an oily mess. However, again, it's hard to try and pack lightly which is why a miniature version of your usuals are super handy. These skincare minis will see me through the duration of my holiday without weighing down my case. From Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish, to Soap & Glory's Clean On Me body wash/shower gel; you don't realise the necessity of those samples or travel kits until you go on holiday!
Taking care of your skin, body, hair and eyes in a hot climate is key. You don't want to neglect the most sensitive and visible parts of your body even if you do require lots of harsh sunlight. Here's some of the products I believe are compulsory to keep your system working.
An eye soother - the sun can be tough on your delicate eye area, you may get soreness, puffiness and irritation turning that sparkle into a negative frown. Liz Earle's Eyebright does the job of soothing any irritability with just one soak, so that will be coming with me this year - but I'm sure there's plenty more products out there that focus on bringing your eyes back to their normal self.
Body cream - peeling is a nightmare, as you see your skin tanning you can be overjoyed with the look of health but the dreaded dry skin just defeats that excitement. I've used after sun lotion for years but decided to ditch that and turn to a moisturising, hydrating, light product infused product with a pleasant scent. The Body Shop's Strawberry Sorbet is a delicious option, with a burst of fruitiness, summer vibes and melting goodness; it ticks all the boxes!
Face mist - sometimes, we just don't have the time to be sprucing up properly so providing a quick pick me up in your beauty bag is a good idea. The lagging feeling of being in the sun all day isn't too refreshing so you need something with a cooling effect to revitalize your face. The Body Shop's Vitamin E Face Mist is a long term holiday staple of mine. The gentle scent and its many purposes (think dampening makeup brushes and using as a setting spray too) makes it an instant winner.
Sunscreen - the main factor (pardon the pun) of avoiding danger from the sun is applying sunscreen regularly which is why it's mandatory to take along a range of creams, sprays and lotions. I don't think you realise just how much damage you can do to your skin, me included, so it's important to stick to a sunscreen which is going to protect you, not allow you to burn! It's also handy to find the brands that don't aggravate your skin (especially on the face). I can always rely on Jason's Facial Sunscreen to rid of any spots peering through to say hello.
A clarifying shampoo - it's become a new discovery of mine but one I know will be worth taking with me on holiday because after all, your hair deserves some pampering! All the creams, the sweatiness and the oils entering your scalp causing your hair to be weighed down means leaving time for you to wash your hair in a clarifying shampoo is significant. Lush's deep cleanse I Love Juicy shampoo is a saviour for breaking down that excess sebum, leaving hair feeling squeaky clean!
A surf spray - there's times I love my hair, and there's times I hate it. Adapting to the fact it's naturally straight and still won't form any kind of natural wave, even when in humidity and the 'sea air' is what causes those hatred moments. To produce some body and natural messiness, a surf spray can help give you that beachy look. The Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray is so worth the hype and even comes in a smaller form to add to those minis!
So, that's my holiday essentials. I'd love to know yours so let me know if there's anything in particular you can't be without. Now, back to packing...