I recently did what no woman has done before: escaped the frosty depths of Melbourne winter for Europe. Italy for summer – groundbreaking, no? The only difference between me and the other half of Australia holidaying at that time is it wasn’t just a two-week-fling. I was there for four months, which I think constitutes third base.
So how does someone whose job it is to be professionally unfaithful to all products, pick favourites for four whole months? By over packing, naturally. Now, I won’t detail every single item here because the overlords at Go-To have slapped a word limit on me (you can see them over on our ‘gram here) but I present you with an edit of the edit: the best, the regrets, and the weird sh*t that only a beauty editor would think of/do.
Sunscreen: In the formal oath* we take when we’re inducted as Beauty Editors, each one of us pledges our devotion to sun protection and swears on a bottle of sacred sunscreen to protect all skin. I took four bottles with me – this is not an exaggeration. And I bought three more while over there. Because not only is sunscreen a daily mandatory, so is reapplication because sun, swimming, carb-induced sweats all compromise the coverage.
*could be an embellishment, should be mandatory.
Tubular mascara: I would love to be a mascara-free filly but without it I just look… unwell. Also, I have oily-eyelid issues and tubular mascara is the only thing that stays where it’s supposed to, and not on my brow bone where others like to camp. Sweat, humidity and swim proof – there is nothing tubey can’t do, except land orange pie in Trivial Pursuit. No one can do that.
Multi-tasking cheek/lip/eye cream: Too many face products on holiday are the enemy of fun. Just pick one colour, and a formulation that works for your skin tone, and use it in all three places. I loved a peach or deep pink for my colouring (neutral medium, fair hair).
Hyaluronic acid everything: If there’s one ingredient that deserves a seat on the plane, it’s hyaluronic acid. The lord saviour of skin that’s thirsty for hydration, it’s the antidote to all the salty/air-conned sun-whipped trauma you put your skin through. I packed a couple variants with me, both serums with multiple molecular weights of HA so that it plumped on the surface (instant gratification) and got down into the depths to hydrate beneath the surface, which is exactly what my skin needed daily.
Silk pillowcase: A combination of weird hotels and Air Bnb’s meant universally crappy pillows and pillowcases. Not only did it give me a little bit of home comfort, it’s kinder to the crunchy hair (no dreadlocks!) and the face (no product transfer!) plus gave off a bit of bougie for when I was feeling less than.
Bright lipstick: I personally think a signature bright lip is essential for holidays. Here’s why: dopamine! Get the feel-good vibes flying; you can wear it with a bare face and still feel polished; it always looks cute in pics; it will forever remind you of Good Times™. My choice was an obnoxiously bright borderline-neon coral, but I’m also partial to an orange-based red.
Hair mask: Europe has notoriously cruddy “hard” water, which adds a delightful stringy feel to already-beaten hair. So, when I did my daily (lols as if!) weekly wash I’d pop a nourishing hair mask on to try and make good on all the sins.
Brow dye: Being in a long-distance relationship with your brow artist sucks. But thanks to five years of permanent travel (and strict guidance by said brow artist) I’ve gotten quite good at dyeing my own brows – and this is a great thing since mine are naturally invisible. I always pack pro brow dye because polished brows, like a good lip, always makes you feel done, even if the reality is hot mess.
The eye shadow palettes: This isn’t a regret so much as maybe I didn’t need to pack three of them? Because I wore eye shadow a total of five times when I was away, and always the same shade (champagne). That sacred space could’ve been used for more sunscreen.
The exfoliants: Again, probs went a little HAM on the exfoliant packing, especially given my skin barrier was already pretty beaten thanks to unhelpful elements. So maybe four different variants was excessive? Maybe.
Face masks: My greatest regret was not bringing more of these. I want to jump back in time and stuff my pockets/underwear full of them. Once a week, every week, I used a hydrating/glow-giving sheet mask to breathe life into my tired, overindulged-but-happy skin. I grossly underestimated how much I would use these. Never again. I will forgo chargers, underwear and my youngest son to bring more (am I joking? Who knows?).