Today’s post was prompted by a reader who wrote in a little while ago saying she’d like to know which products are my absolute beauty essentials. She described them as the ones that are so important to me that I can’t travel without them. It popped back into my head when we were in France and I’d done my usual thing of packing random travel sizes of samples that I’d saved from beauty boxes and advent calendars. It’s something I often do and then regret because my skin and hair don’t look or feel their best at a time when I want them to. Each time I vow not to repeat the mistake by taking the time to decant my favourites into travel bottles. This time I’ve finally done it so I can now answer the original question, here we go:

Absolute beauty essentials for travel

I’ll start with the bottles I’ve bought, two 100 ml bottles for shampoo and conditioner because I find I always find that the usual 75ml travel sizes run out by about day 10 of the holiday which is really annoying:

travel beauty essentials

100 ml squeezy travel bottles

Which products have I decanted?

My current favourite shampoo and conditioner are, not surprisingly, from Josh Wood. I was given a set to test in March and I’ve kept on buying both of them. A small detail but I love the fact that you can differentiate them in the shower without your reading glasses on!

best shampoo for blnodesbest conditioner for blondes

Josh Wood shampoo and conditioner for blonde hair prone to frizz with advanced UV filters that should help protect my colour from the strong sunshine.

I’ve added a pack of smaller bottles and pots for cleansers, toners etc.

travel beauty essentials

Travel bottles and pots

So let’s move on to my absolute beauty essentials. Of course I should just say that this is an edited collection. At home I use a wider range of serums and acids and of course always have a test tray on the go because I’m busy trying products that I’ve been sent to review. Imagine this as my ‘desert island bathroom shelf’ – and I know I’d be pushing it with all of this as my luxury choice but you’ll just have to picture a shipwrecked board propped up by the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare!

Absolute beauty essentials – skincare

absolute beauty essentials

So, my skincare régime always balances cleansing, preventing and protecting. My skin is relatively normal but can be dry, especially when we’re on holiday which is a good reason for leaving stronger retinols and acids at home.

Fundamental cleansing and damage prevention
  • Cleanser – probably the longest survivor in my régime, I’ve used Galatée since I was 25, I buy the large 400 ml pump dispensers and find that it gently removes my make-up without stripping my skin. The pump of course makes the travel bottles easy to fill.
  • Glow tonic – this is one of the gentler acids that I use. Rather than lying in the sun for hours, I’ll be using tanning drops every day and this helps to keep the turnover of skincells high, avoiding tan build-up.
  • CE Ferulic – what can I say about this? It’s one of the products that I’ve used loyally since I was first prescribed a sample by Sarah at Attune Clinic in London. I’d always wondered about its five star reviews and they’re right, it makes a genuine difference to the texture of your skin. It’s also scientifically proven to neutralise free radicals from Infrared radiation that sunscreens can’t protect you from so it’s particularly worth taking on holiday. It’s expensive but I find that a bottle lasts six months and I use it both morning and night. If you’re still not convinced, there are plenty of scientific peer reviews such as this and this that you can read too.
Protection – daytime
  • In the daytime I’m currently using this moisturiser which is particularly effective against harsh weather conditions. It has both UVA and UVB sunscreens and is approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation. The only difficulty is finding it in stock because it seems to be perpetually sold out.
  • Clarins glow drops – I add these to my moisturiser every day all year round and on holiday I add them to my aftersun so that I can tan gradually without too much exposure. The body drops are cheaper and fine to use on your face as well.
  • Sunscreen. I use this SPF 30 brightening formulation on my face all year, mostly because I like the matte texture and it works beautifully under make-up.
Protection – night time
  • At night I use Night Repair Eye Complex mostly because it’s the only eye cream that doesn’t give me puffy eyes in the morning although the five star reviews reassure me too. Again it sells out and can be hard to track down.
  • Physiolift night balm – I find this night balm moisturising and soothing. It’s designed for sensitive skin so it’s particularly good when you’ve been out in the sunshine and your complexion needs extra care.

Absolute Beauty Essentials – make-up

absolute beauty essentials

I did a lot of research into make-up that can withstand heat last year and these are the products that survived the ultimate test of our hot Turkish holiday when the days are often in the 40s and the nights aren’t much cooler. I’m always happier wearing light make-up, even when we’re at the beach.

Face and cheeks
  • Beauty Blur – we discussed this a few weeks ago, it applies like a tinted moisturiser, it’s reflective so skin appears to glow and it has a small amount of self tan in it so it helps you to pick up a bit of colour at the same time.
  • Beach sticks – designed specifically for wearing on holiday, my favourite is Las Salinas which melts into the skin just giving it a healthy boost. I don’t wear it during the day on holiday but in the evenings it gives you a fresh faced look.
  • I then dust on this matte bronzer in “Laguna” which helps combat shine and makes skin look sunkissed.
  • Don’t forget to take a good powder brush, I like these because they work well and they raise funds for the Look Good Feel Better charity.
  • Bobbi Brown’s longwear sticks really do last all day, even when it’s hot – and they’re subtle so you won’t look overly made up. I pack Golden Pink for daytime and Golden Bronze for evenings.
  • Bobbi Brown longwear eyeliner is another of my year round essentials. In summer I wear espresso ink which is softer than the black shades. The ultra-fine brush is an essential tool for applying it well.
  • This mascara is the one I always come back to. In summer I switch to the waterproof version in the brown black shade.
  • The Chameleon eyeshadow sticks are good for adding soft definition at the corners of the eye. Bronzed Garnet is a particular favourite (I wonder why) and it makes your eyes sparkle.
  • I recently bought this new cult eyebrow pomade to see what all the fuss is about and I’m a convert. You need a light hand because it’s very effective but it fills and grooms your brows naturally. I use ash brown and it’s best applied with the brush that goes with it. (Because it’s new, it’s the only one of these products that I haven’t tested in the heat.)

Lipstick can look a bit fake on the beach so I use this lip tattoo which stains lips lightly (my favourite colour is natural coral). It lasts well but it won’t survive an ice cream – at least you can take it with you in your beach bag because it won’t melt in the sun.


And that’s it apart from one hair product that I’ve been meaning to tell you about. Premlee recommended it to me last year because my hair was so dry at the ends after our holiday and it’s another product that I now use religiously. The pump dispenses a pea-sized amount of serum and cream into your hand, you mix them together and apply to the lengths of your hair and it protects and smooths them, it’s magic stuff. Again it’s pricey but I wash my hair every other day and it lasts for five months.

absolute beauty essentials - hair

Serum Thérapiste

One last tip – don’t forget you can do an online order at Boots and collect everything airside to cut down on weight and hassle with liquids at security. We find it’s a particularly good way to manage bulky bottles of sunscreen. Details here.

So, there you go, my holiday hotlist of absolute beauty essentials. Obviously it’s a greener way to travel too – not using travel sizes that are thrown away at the end of the holiday will cut down on single use plastic so dispensing into reusable travel bottles is a no brainer. Oh and a little advance notice before I go – we’ve been working hard on a new website for Midlifechic for a while and I’m hoping to launch it very soon so don’t be surprised if everything suddenly looks different.

Have a lovely week, I’ll be back on Friday.

Disclosure: ‘absolute beauty essentials’ is not a sponsored post, any previously gifted product has been declared.

New retail drops

A huge one at Boden today including early Autumn pieces; prepare for the arrival of conker brown – preview it all here.

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