I’m about to go travelling for a few months and I want to be able to pack light. Also, to be honest, the idea of faffing around with makeup when I could be exploring or partying doesn’t really appeal to me! Are there any good treatments I should invest in before I go to make me feel a little more 'done' while I’m away?
For me, half the fun of a holiday is the prep. I love any product that comes in miniature (even lipstick, which is already tiny, is so much more adorable when it’s the size of a thimble), and I love arranging all my dinky bottles into my wash bag, Tetris-style. Most of all? It’s an excuse to have treatments that I can’t really splurge on every month, and have at least 48 hours of feeling like an A-lister getting ready for the Oscars as I glide from salon to salon. (Yes, I do find my holidays get quite expensive! Why do you ask?)
I would wholeheartedly suggest a brow tint and a lash lift, especially if you have fair eyelashes or brows. Lashes frame your face so much more than you realise, and having them readily tinted and curled when you wake up is quite a game-changer. I’ve tried lash extensions in the past and I don’t think they’re for me – not in the least because the glue often dissolves in warmer climes, so if you’re going anywhere vaguely tropical, you may find they just slip off within days (this happened to me last year).
Go to Lash Perfect and get a tint and lift, and choose the blue-black dye for your lashes. It gives you beautifully fluffy, fuller-looking lashes, and the therapists there will choose the most natural amount of curl for your eye shape. You'll need a patch test first, but results last up to two months, and you don’t need to worry about using special makeup remover like you do with extensions. As for brows, getting them tinted and threaded removes the need for pencils or pomades while you’re away. I swear by Suman Brows.
You might want to invest in a keratin blow dry, too. Usually I would only suggest them for very fluffy or frizzy hair types, but if you’re going somewhere sticky like Bali, even the smoothest of hair types can suddenly go all Michelin Man. The treatment gives your hair about eight weeks of smoothness, and you can wash and style it (or not!) as normal, just take some sulphate-free shampoo to ensure it lasts longer. The keratin protein provides a barrier of sorts, acting like a shield against humidity. For me, it’s the difference between being able to wash and go, and washing, blow-drying and tweaking with straighteners…
If you normally have highlights, you might want to switch to balayage. The free-painting technique gives more of a naturally lifted look, rather than all-over colour, but the main benefit is that you won’t get any harsh regrowth lines. It’s more about your colourist looking at your hair, and picking up sections to blend in light and dark for a textured, sun-kissed finish, rather than coating every last hair. FOUR London is second to none when it comes to colour – ask for Jenny.
A gel manicure is a good shout for any trip under two weeks, but if it’s longer than that? I wouldn’t bother, personally. It will start to grow out and the temptation to peel it off will be insurmountable. If you really hate your natural nails, try Signature Nail Systems. SNS Nails starts off looking like a gel manicure, as your manicurist will apply a specialist base coat, but instead of putting them under the UV light, you then dip the nails in a special powder. It’s pinky and pearlescent and gives your nails that 'just-buffed' look – more of a healthy finish than an obviously manicured one. It lasts a lot longer than gel, and you’re less likely to pick at something that doesn’t have visible regrowth.
I would also get a spray tan before flying out, but if you do, remember there’s a degree of aftercare involved with scrubbing and moisturising to keep the fade even, which isn’t for everyone. St. Tropez is reliably good across the country, and I’ve always been the perfect shade of golden brown after a few minutes in their booth.
What I'd avoid? Any peels or aggressive microdermabrasion-type facials for at least a month before you go, as they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and increase your risk of sunburn.
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