I love the idea of always being ready to grab a ready-packed holdall at the drop of a hat. You know, just in case your partner springs a surprise getaway on you. Here’s hoping. I actually love filling a suitcase: the challenge of packing as lightly as possible but covering all likely outfit eventualities, and even leaving a little space for souvenirs. The one area I struggle with surprisingly is packing my washbag, even though the product selection tends to be the same: cleanse, treat, moisturise. I use holidays as an opportunity to try some new skincare, which makes travel sizes the perfect companions. Full disclaimer: they are rarely eco-friendly formats, as small packaging isn’t recyclable, but there are some items that you can refill even though they’re not marketed as such, like shampoo and shower gel plastic bottles, moisturiser jars or glass vials for oils. That’ll save you a trip to Muji for their travel size bottles.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

Some beauty products truly stand the test of time, this is one of them. When I think of cream cleansers, two come to mind immediately as stand outs: French pharmacy hero Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentre, and Liz Earle’s iconic Cleanse & Polish which is pretty much the main product the brand is known for. Promising ‘blemish-free, healthy-looking skin in just 7 days’, half of the secret of its success is probably down to using it consistently with a muslin cloth for that exfoliating effect. But I can’t deny that the super creamy, rich cream with cocoa butter, rosemary and chamomile also contributes to delivering incredibly soft, smooth and balanced skin. This cleanser forms the basis of my holiday skincare routine, and for only £7.50 you get a decent sized 30ml tube.

The Inkey List Niacinamide

If your skin veers towards the oily side, especially in the summer, then a niacinamide-rich beauty product can be a great holiday washbag addition. In the era of ingredient-led skincare, niacinamide still ranks in the top 10 most Google-searched for skincare ingredients, and with good cause: not only does it help prevent breakouts by regulating oil production, it also minimises the appearance of pores. The Inkey List’s booster boasts 10% concentration and can be used daily on its own or mixed to your serum or moisturiser. A handy little skincare add-on to manage that mid afternoon t-zone shine.

Vichy Normaderm Phytosolution Double Correct Daily Moisturiser

This dinky 3ml tube won’t see you through a two-week holiday, but for a weekend break (we’re talking 4 applications max) it’ll do the trick. Ideal for combination or oily skin, this moisturiser not only hydrates but also targets imperfections whilst making pores appear less visible. Difficult to truly assess results in such a short space of time, and not quite nourishing enough for my cheeks, but a good option in the summer when skin tends to be a little oilier.  

Caudalie Vinergetic Brightening Eye Cream

Not exactly a travel size product, but by nature many eye creams are pretty compact. This featherlight cream claims to reduce dark circles, smooth and moisturise the eye contour. You’ll find caffeine in this formula, a popular ingredient to reduce puffiness and dark circles. You’ll just need half a grain of rice-sized amount to cover both eyes, top and bottom. And if your hotel room has a mini bar, make the most of it by storing your eye cream in it for an added cooling and de-puffing effect.

Meadow Hydration Boost Moisturising Balm

This little tin came as a very handy duo, accompanied by a cleansing balm. If you’re really pushed for space in your carry-on luggage, you could just stick to this moisturising balm and a cleanser. Rich in butters and oils (including my favourite rosehip oil), it also works as a great overnight treatment for nourished yet calm skin come morning. Plus it doesn’t count as a liquid which is always a bonus if you’re on hand luggage only.

Elemis Hydra-Balance Day Cream

Elemis used to have a great travel section on their site, offering all sorts of mini sizes to see you through your holidays, but I can’t seem to find it anymore. Unsurprising, as refills and super sizes take centre stage as the more sustainable and budget-friendly option. So this is the last of my Elemis minis, which I used up until the very last drop by cutting the tube in the middle to reach product stuck in hard-to-reach places. A light and pleasant moisturiser that works well for combination skin.  

Chanel Sublimage l’Extrait de Nuit

This is one of those deluxe sample products that I received at some point, from somewhere, possibly with some purchase or other. As you can tell this one didn’t make a strong impression, but it does make a great throw-in-the-washbag addition to trial while on holiday, without costing you space or money. As the name suggests, one for your bedtime skincare routine, apply this replenishing night concentrate instead of your serum. And in case you fall in love with it after this mini trial, the full size will set you back £540… La Mer who?

Fushi Rosehip Oil

Sometimes the simplest things are the best. It’s no secret that rosehip oil is my favourite skincare oil thanks to its many benefits including nourishing, brightening and reducing hyperpigmentation. Similar to The Inkey List’s Niacinamide, Fushi’s rosehip works great on its own or paired with your moisturiser for an extra nourishing boost, and the 10ml vial is the perfect travel size. Go for that healthy glow.  

Goutal Eau d’Hadrien Shampoo and Shower Gel

Hotel bathroom miniature toiletries are nowhere near as frequent as they used to be, as hotels move away from single use minis in favour of refillable solutions – cheaper and more sustainable. So these Annick Goutal travel sizes featuring their signature unisex citrus scent Eau d’Hadrien feel even more luxurious.

Clinique Moisture Surge lip treatment

Clinique Moisture Surge Lip Hydro-Plump Treatment

The one thing I apply and reapply before I’ve even arrived at my holiday destination is lipbalm. Flights are notoriously dehydrating, so I’m never without at least one of these. This clear unscented balm protects lips from dehydration and leaves them feeling nourished and smooth but careful, it doesn’t include SPF.

Features gifted products.


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