Ah the joys of mini breaks, when you could just fling your passport and toiletry bag into a holdall and hop onto an EasyJet flight to Rome for £29.99. Nowadays you’ll need to read up on the ever-changing entry restrictions, book tests and fill out forms, and you can add a zero to that ticket price. The democratisation of travel is over. What’s left though is a big stash of mini toiletries, still begging to be used rather than languishing at the bottom of that holdall. So here are the travel-size toiletries I’ve emptied without flying anywhere whatsoever.

Bliss Fabulous Foaming face wash

I was not expecting this Bliss face wash to become such a firm favourite when I picked it up in a staff sale. This oil-free gel has just the right amount of grit from bamboo buffers to it for a gentle daily exfoliation, without stripping skin. I’m a big fan of daily exfoliators, whether physical or chemical, and this one was one of my favourites until I re-discovered the fine powder format which you mix with water to create a paste – Dermalogica and C-Berrica have two of the best I’ve tried, leaving my skin baby smooth. This cross between a face wash and an exfoliator would probably still make it into my top 10 cleansers.   

Meadow Cleansing Balm

I never really used to go for cleansing balms until I hit my mid-thirties and my skin started to feel more dehydrated. Now if I’m in the mood for a double cleanse or my skin is feeling tight it’s nearly always the format I reach out for. This travel tin from British indie brand Meadow Botanical Skincare makes for a super handy format if you do choose to use it on a mini break, with bonus points for not counting towards your liquids allowance on a flight.

The Inkey list Hyaluronic Acid

Such a compact little bottle yet it holds the same amount of liquid as many skincare products twice its size. This goes to show just how much some serums and creams can be over packaged, so this is another travel-friendly item. Hyaluronic Acid provides a great moisture boost for dehydrated skin so you’ll find it in many serums, but sometimes I find that’s just not enough when my skin is transitioning to winter mode, so I’ll use a couple of applications of this – or Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Intense Hydrating Essence – to get it looking and feeling plump again.

ESPA Bergamot and Jasmine Shampoo

When I searched for the full size version of this shampoo I couldn’t find it anywhere so I’m guessing it’s been discontinued. I can’t remember where I got hold of this ESPA mini, probably in a hotel, and seeing as I haven’t been in one of those for a while, this product was probably way past its best before date when I used it. Oops.

Temple Spa Good Hair Day Shampoo

I discovered Temple Spa products when I reviewed their prebiotic skincare range and was impressed by the soothing textures. Admittedly I do have a soft spot for skincare compared to haircare, so my assessment of this shampoo is pretty basic: enriched in aloe vera, glycerin and vitamin B5, it cleanses hair, it smells pleasant, it lathers, and it doesn’t irritate my scalp. A solid all-rounder.

Perfumer H Orange Leaf Shampoo

Another travel size shampoo, this one was developed by a company I used to work for, and as with many toiletries created specifically as hotel amenities, it will do what you expect a shampoo to do, but don’t expect any special extras. As expected from a niche perfume brand though, the scent of orange, petitgrain and basil is very elegant.

Basic Earth body wash

Another mini I no doubt picked up from a hotel bathroom, every time I looked at the tube I thought I was using an Origins product. Clever marketing bordering on copyright infringing? Who knows.

Damana Cleansing Gel

I definitely nabbed this one during a hotel stay. Which hotel or even which country I absolutely can’t remember.

The Merchant of Venice perfume

The last one in the box! I fee like I’ve been working my way through these mini perfume vials for a surprisingly long time, they’ve been a near-constant feature in my beauty empties posts and I’m a little sad to have come to the end of my Merchant of Venice discovery box. It was fun switching from one beautifully unique fragrance to another so frequently. This has cemented my love of niche perfumes.

Features gifted products


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