Now that large swathes of the world have opened up to international visitors, it’s time for a refresher on the beauty essentials and skincare hacks that you’ll need when you start travelling again. As a start, we asked three seasoned travellers to let us in on their secret to acing their beauty game while on the go.
Over time, I have honed my travel beauty habits into what I’d like to think of as a science. On long-haul flights, I’d bring a bag with all my essentials in travel sizes and try to cleanse, tone and moisturise my face every 12 hours.
My personal favourites are (1) IDS Dermashield Mask, which prevents dryness and puffiness, cleansing wipes from Bifesta and Senka because of how convenient they are for makeup removal (especially when I’m jet-lagged), and (2) Supergoop! Every Single Face SPF50 sunscreen lotion, because I know I’m far more exposed to UV rays while on the go. And I always have Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Blotting Papers to keep my skin shine-free.
BRING WHAT YOUR SKIN IS USED TO
It’s hard to predict weather conditions, so my strategy is to pack for every skin emergency imaginable, with trusty products that I know work well for me. In case of dry skin, I bring along (3) Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil and (4) Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Cream.
My skin becomes easily sensitised when there are changes in climate, so I always pack (5) Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Calming Serum Mask and (6) Kylaz Spot Off Treatment to discourage breakouts. Toners and essences are important to prevent skin peeling, and I rely on (7) Tatcha The Essence, which sinks in quickly and has a non-sticky texture.
OPT FOR LONG-WEARING FORMULAS
As for makeup, I prioritise long-wearing products, such as M.A.C Fix+ Setting Spray and Heroine Make Smooth Liquid Eyeliner Superkeep. For chapped lips, (8) Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil makes my pout look plump and luscious. Palettes are a great option for travel. I love (9) Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look of Love In A Palette, which has eyeshadows, blush, highlighter, bronzer and powder in a palm-sized case.
My preparation routine for long and short haul flights is the same, and it has not changed since my days as a cabin crew member. After cleansing my face, I apply a hydrating toner such as Kiehl’s Calendula Toner, a do-it-all eye cream like (1) Clarins Total Eye Lift, and a heavy or creamytextured moisturiser that can cope with the dry air on board. Usually, this would be (2) Cle de Peau Beaute La Creme because it’s rich and nourishing enough to last 24 hours. After application, I leave it to set for 15 minutes, then layer on (3) Laneige Water Sleeping Mask as a last step to lock in moisture. Finally, I bring a small bag containing all my must-haves on the flight, like a L’Occitane hand cream and (4) Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment.
HYDRATE AND SOOTHE YOUR SKIN
In addition, there are two things I always pack for both summer and winter travels: La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water which is ultra-soothing and anti-inflammatory, and NU.U Sun Protection sunscreen. If I’m going to a sunny location, (5) Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Serum and (6) Eye Concentrate are among my essentials, while cold weather calls for richer products like Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. (7) Est.Lab Vitalift A+ Brillage Mask is also something I can’t do without, as it addresses hydration, anti-ageing and brightening all at once.
To soothe and calm my skin when faced with irritation caused by sun, snow or dryness, here’s what I do: Soak a piece of Kose Lotion Mask, a compressed paper mask, in Albion Skin Conditioner, then put on the mask. Next, use a nano water facial mister to spray Kose Sekkisei Lotion over the mask and leave it for five minutes. If I have an allergic reaction that causes my skin to be red and itchy, I’ll soak a sheet of paper mask in milk to create a soothing treatment.
I normally don’t scale down on skincare when travelling. Instead, I pack more than usual as you don’t know if the weather might change while you are out there enjoying yourself.
Sunscreen is a must when I fly, especially if I’m in a window seat. I also mix a few drops of Bybi Beauty Strawberry Booster Every Day Vegan Facial Oil into my moisturiser as added hydration to combat dry airplane air. On board, I spritz on a hydrating mist to freshen up from time to time, without having to touch my face.
Lip balm and hand cream are staples in every bag I carry. Also, red lipstick is a must. I love a bold red lip as it peps up my mostly black wardrobe and brightens my face instantly in photos. Right now I’m enjoying Chanel Rouge Allure in #147 Emblematique. The colour pay-off is great. It holds up well through the day, fades evenly during meals and, in a pinch, is moisturising enough to use even without lip balm.
USE HEAVYWEIGHT MOISTURISERS TO COMBAT SUB-ZERO TEMPERATURES
For winter travel or cooler climates (anything below 15 deg C), (1) Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil is essential to prevent the skin around my nose and lips from drying and cracking. I mix a few drops into my moisturiser as a final skincare step.
If temperatures reach sub-zero levels, I apply two more drops of oil over my moisturiser, patting it in to lock my skincare in place. This trick has held up in the harshest of conditions, such as winter in Svalbard – a Norwegian archipelago that is one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas – where the temperature fell to minus 15 deg C during my stay. In addition, I layer with richer products such as (2) Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Oil-Infused Serum. And instead of a watery toner, I’ll use a more hydrating one like Vichy Mineral 89, which contains hyaluronic acid.
TRY OUT NEW SKINCARE BEFORE YOU PACK THEM FOR YOUR TRIP
I maintain the same skincare regime even when I travel – cleanser, toner, essence, serum, eye cream, moisturiser and sunscreen. However, I like to take the chance to try out new travel-sized products when abroad, like the bottle of (3) Fresh Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence I bought for a recent trip. But when trying new skincare, I’d always test it out in Singapore first to make sure my skin doesn’t react badly. The last thing I want is a breakout while on vacation!
“As a passport photo is for governmental paperwork, you want to look polished, not ‘Insta-glam’, so go easy on the highlighters. The excessive shine will only look greasy or dirty in a flat picture,” says Larry.
He adds: “Remember that while this new photo may appear as a black-and-white image in your passport, it will be presented in colour on your digital IC and Singpass. So, if you put on too much makeup, you might look like you’re performing on stage in your other IDs.”
Plan to shoot the picture four to five hours after waking up – this prevents your face from looking puffy.
Do a simple morning face cleanse by rinsing with water. Don’t over-wash your face as that will dry out skin.
Do a quick intensive treatment: Apply a moisturising lotion like Freeplus Mild Shower, then put a sheet mask over skin while it’s still damp. Any Senka facial mask will work well for this. Remove the mask after a few minutes and use your hands to massage in the residual serum. This masking method saturates skin with temporary moisture, while the massaging takes care of any dry spots or patches.
While skin is freshly hydrated from the mask, apply AHC Premium EX Hydra B5 Soother, taking time to massage it in. This serum will help to capture and retain more moisture, allowing skin to look and stay fresh for the camera without creating excessive shine. Well hydrated skin also creates a smooth canvas for makeup application.
Finish with moisturiser. Drier skin types should opt for a light cream like Cosme Decorte Moisture Liposome Cream, while oilier skin types can combine steps with a lightweight but moisturising sunscreen such as Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Sunscreen SPF50.
Use just enough to balance out your skin tone. Oilier skin types require a foundation with a soft matte finish that won’t add shine (which draws attention to enlarged pores and rough skin texture). Drier skin types need a natural-finish foundation that offers skin-smoothing benefits.
“I personally love Nars Light Reflecting Foundation, which has a natural-looking finish that works on a wide range of skin types. It lends radiance without looking greasy, and the glow is captured beautifully on camera,” says Larry.
Be sure to conceal under-eye shadows. Sephora Collection Best Skin Ever High Coverage Concealer provides good coverage with a smidgen of product. But don’t try the Instagram trick of applying concealer as a V-shaped patch under the eyes – this reflects a lot of light and pinches eyes into a smaller size in photos. Cover other blemishes where needed.
Pick a neutral mauve shade. It will show up as a face-sculpting tinge in black-and-white pictures and look better in your coloured digital IC too, as other shades might appear too reddish or coppery. M.A.C Blush in Mocha is one of the best neutral shades that flatters most skin tones.
Shape and neaten them with a good brow pencil. Avoid drawing them too dark – a shade or two lighter than your current hair colour will do. If you can’t figure out the brow colour that best suits you, try Erabelle Long Lasting Brow Pencil in Grey, which is a perfect taupe that complements most skin tones and hair colours.
Keep it neutral. This means no loud colours or anything with orangey-copper tones. Shape your peepers with a thin stroke of eyeliner and a light coat of mascara to lift the lashes.
Keep lips well-conditioned with a glossy tint like Fenty Skin Cherry Treat Conditioning Lip Oil, which lends a touch of colour and deep hydration, while maintaining your natural lip tone.
Alternatively, try a tinted balm like Chanel Rouge Coco Baume and pick a shade that’s slightly more obvious than your natural lip colour.
Text: Her World