Having lived half of my life in Paris I find myself regularly crossing the Channel to visit family and friends and stock up on parapharmacy beauty products. I’m one of those weird people who actually enjoys packing, carefully choosing each outfit, complimentary accessories and space-saving cosmetics. And while you can find a huge choice of miniature toiletries at Boots or Superdrug, if you’re looking for a little extra skincare indulgence Elemis is a good bet. Having recently discovered their dedicated travel shop, I’ve found some of their bestselling beauty products in washbag- and purse-friendly sizes, with everything you could need for a weekend city break. Here are the ones I’ll be taking with me on my next trip.
Aside from the obvious benefits of travel sizes for, well, travelling, minis are also ideal for beauty commitment-phobes. If you love nothing more than switching from one skincare miracle to another, why invest in full size pots only for them to linger half used at the back of the bathroom cabinet? Some skincare experts would advise against flitting from one formula to another, but if it’s good enough on the dating scene… Or maybe you prefer to ease yourself in with a mini before splurging on the real deal? At £9.20 for 50ml this cleansing oil won’t make too much of a dent in your paycheck if you then decide it’s not right for your skin. The lightweight oil can be massaged straight onto dry skin before adding warm water for the formula to gently lather up. It is packed with all sorts of oils: sunflower, castor, chia seed, Winter Rose, grapefruit, rosemary, patchouli, phew. This blend, combined with pomegranate extract, creates a beautiful spa-like scent (from the treatment room not the changing room) that I still remember the morning after. Once I’d rinsed off the cleanser I only needed a light serum to keep skin hydrated before bedtime. I’d be happy to trade up to the larger size of this nourishing oil for the scent alone.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before but I’m going to say it anyway: just because you have oily or combination skin doesn’t mean you have to steer clear of oils and balms. I have combination skin and my favourite skincare product is an ultra-nourishing oil. Cleansing balms give a similar cocooning feel whilst working hard at removing dirt. Although I do enjoy the squeaky clean feeling you get from a facewash, unless you manage to slap on some serum or moisturiser pretty sharpish you end up with tight dry skin. Apparently Korean beauty buffs keep their serum in the shower in order to lock in as much moisture as possible into skin post-cleanse. Or you could go for a cleansing balm. Like Elemis’ cleansing oil, this product smells amazing and boasts an equally impressive list of oils: sweet almond, elderberry, wheat, oat, lavender and coconut. You’ll also find beeswax and shea butter to give it that thick, unctuous texture. I applied it as per instructions on dry skin but with wet fingertips, massaging into skin before removing with a damp muslin cloth. Makeup and dirt was removed to leave skin feeling plump and pleasingly tacky. This balm is supposed to be a lovely treatment if left on whilst soaking in a bath, but with my bathtub the size of a sink (the top of my knees are permanently above water, iceberg-style) I’ll leave you to try that out.
Elemis’ Hydra Balance day cream is marketed for combination skin which I feel is one of the trickiest skin categories, especially when it comes to moisturisers. You’re after a product light enough to not grease up the T-zone but that still delivers enough hydration throughout the day to the dry bits. Well I’d say this aptly named day cream comes pretty close to finding the right balance. The light texture is hydrating enough for the oily parts and I only needed to re-apply a little moisturiser below my cheeks towards the end of the day. For £18.40 you get a 20ml tube so not the most cost-savvy option, you may want to size up on this one.
Paris’ air pollution ranks even higher than London’s so I’ll be taking a clarifying mask with me for a deep cleanse. When I think of clay masks (as you do) I have flashbacks of these sloppy textures that once smeared on would dry and crack like mud in the sun, sucking the life out of the skin beneath it. Because as an acne-riddled teenager I wanted spots to be shriveled up and oiliness to be mopped up. My teenage self is – ahem – long gone and so it seems are these clay textures. Elemis’ mask promises a soothing and re-balancing effect, and with essential oils such as macademia, rosemary, thyme and lavender it manages to purify skin without robbing it of all moisture. After applying to clean skin and waiting 10 minutes before removing with a warm cloth my sensitive skin didn’t fare up, not even a hint of redness. All that was left was a smooth texture and no need for a truck-load of moisturiser either. You can apply topically to congested areas but for £7.40 for 15ml I went for the full face treatment.
It’s no surprise that brands are keen to offer mini sizes to customers. They’re a great way to introduce you to a new product you may be reluctant to splurge on and Elemis certainly have enough for you to choose from. What beauty products do you pack in your washbag? Leave a comment below to let me know.