Monday, 4 May 2015

Lotions & Potions - Samples: The Perfect Travel Kit

In the last month I've travelled a bit and each time I find myself in the quandary of exactly what needs to come along with me so I can look acceptable, while not carrying a massive bag of stuff.  For me, this involves answering the following questions:
  1. What do I need to stay clean?
  2. What make-up & skincare do I need?
  3. What make-up & skincare is it handy to have?

What do I need to stay clean?

Freebies.  Those sample bottles of upmarket brands ready and waiting in your en suite.  Freebies can make the difference between huge bag and much more manageable bag.  I've learnt there are 2 possibilities you'll immediately think of; the place you're staying will have everything, or it will have nothing.  The truth is, when you get there, it'll be somewhere in the middle.  Generally, this is based on where you're going.  A hotel, for example, at a minimum will provide sample bottles of shampoo and body wash.  If you're going 4 star or above, you'll get shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, shower cap...  All in all, this will mean the vast majority of your bulky bottles can be happily left at home.  A B&B can vary.  A decent one may provide exactly the same, or more, as a hotel.  It could however, provide you with towels and that's it.  Therefore the decision on the freebie front is like this:

Overall, you're pretty safe, but if you need conditioner or lotion, it's always best to take some. Or you can take a gamble, live dangerously and see what you get!

What about Make-up and Skincare?

Just as hygiene stuff can feel like it takes up too much space, so can make-up and skincare.  Generally, when we go away, we're going somewhere nice and it's a safe bet we'll need to have make-up.  Perhaps more than we'd normally wear.  Where there's make-up, there needs to be skincare to ensure it looks lovely at the time and comes off properly afterwards.  So there's a very real prospect that half your travel bag could fill up with all kinds of bottles.  There's long been travel kits for washing.  Travel kits for skincare have popped up in recent years, but they're still quite bulky and you end up taking a cosmetic bag's worth of make-up and another of skincare.  

This is where the wonderful world of samples comes in.  If your make-up and skincare can be maintained with samples, you'll have all you need in the space taken up by a £10 note and you may even come back with less than you took.  The bonus part too, is you may just have some fun discovering products you've been meaning to try for a while

With a little bit of pre-planning, your mini travel kit of sample loveliness can be easy to complete.  If you're into your UK brands, an Ebay search for "Cosmetic samples" will bring up tons of cheap options.  If you're feeling sociable, pay a visit to a John Lewis or Debenhams beauty department.  With a bit of chatting, you'll easily walk away with some try before you buy freebies.  If you're wanting to really experiment and branch out into the K-beauty side of things, I'd recommend a visit to where you can buy samples of pretty much all the major brands for £1-£2 each.  You'll need to order about 2 weeks in advance of the holiday but you'll get your new shinies, plus some extra freebies for our trouble.

If you want an idea for what you can fit into the limited space, here's my full skincare & make-up supplies that went with me to a wedding at the weekend.  All within the space of a £10 note:

From left to right:
  • Etude House - Give Me Choclate Eye Shadow in Cocoa Fudge
  • The Face Shop - Style My Eyebrow pencil
  • Bare Minerals mini brush (sample)
  • Sulwhasoo - Essential Balancing Water (toner sample)
  • Sulwhasoo - Essential Balancing Emulsion (moisturiser sample)
  • Bare Minerala - Blemish Remedy concealer  (sample)
  • Welcos - Zombie CC Cream (sample)
  • Tony Moly - Cherry Tint (sample)
A pretty good selection with only the eyebrow pencil and eyeshadow being full size.  You could also pop in a sample size mascara too without taking in much more space.  And that's the beauty of samples, everything you need in tiny form, leaving you more room for beautiful clothes, but more importantly shoes and handbags!

What are your handy hints and tips for travelling light?

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