It all started at airport security. I’d checked my hand luggage liquids were under 100ml, I’d transferred everything into the plastic bag… and then watched my tray do the dreaded sideways shunt after the x-ray machine.
‘I’m sorry, madam,’ said the conveyor belt lady, ‘your plastic bag must be able to close. You’ll have to remove some products.’
Cue much grumbling, and a farewell to two suncreams who would not be sharing my lounger after all. At least I still had three foundations, two mascaras, miscellaneous lip glosses, bronzer, two concealers and a gel blusher in my bag, just in case my suitcase with my main make-up bag went AWOL.
However, the experience got me thinking. Passionate about beauty as I am, did my holiday really hinge on whether I’d packed the bathroom sink? So for our next getaway I set myself a challenge. I’d take just FOUR make-up items for the week, and switch them up from day to night. Here’s what made the grade…
My fab 4
If it wasn’t pool-proof and multipurpose, it wasn’t coming…
A waterproof SPF and wrinkle-blurring BB in one, with enough coverage to do undereye circles.
Wear it as a liner, or smudge into a smoky eyeshadow before it sets fast.
Budge-proof lip colour + gloss that can be worn bold or blotted, matte or shiny, and also works as blusher.
Most waterproof mascaras are a bit meh, this volumising one works a treat for swimming and sundown.
You still have to do a bit of prep…
It’s far easier to holiday with less make-up if you’ve put in a bit of prep. Fake tan means you can dial down the foundation, while groomed brows make you look more ‘done’ even when you’re bare-faced. I booked a brow tint and shape at Shavata (threading from £18, counters nationwide), which made a huge difference.
For the pool
I’m partial to the ‘sunglasses plus lippy’ combo by the pool, so after applying my SPF50 base (1) I used two coats of liquid lip (3) for a waterproof colour pop. I used my liner (2) to do a quick flick on the upper lashline before adding a fat coat of mascara (4). Easy peasy.
Time taken: 3 mins flat, plus a top-up of base/SPF after swimming
Verdict: Firstly, I didn’t get burned, so top marks to Shiseido’s SPF50 BB cream. My eyes were behind sunnies most of the time, so the state of my liner didn’t really matter, but it only softened slightly and my mascara didn’t budge one bit. As for the lippy? Neither swimming nor lunchtime buffet made a dent in it.
For the evening
I cleansed (bring waterproof make-up remover for that lippy!) and reapplied my base (1), but my mascara (4) was still looking fine so I just left it on. Next I did a cheat’s reworking of my daytime eye make-up by extending the eyeliner (2) flick up to my socket line and taking it back along the crease in a sideways V shape. I then used a blending brush to smoke the line into a winged shape and graduate the colour across my eyelid.
I lined under my eyes and into the waterline too. I didn’t want a strong lip with a smoky eye, so I just used a fingertip to pat on a bit of liquid lip (3) for a soft, sheer stain, then used the glossing end of the wand to finish.
Time taken: Under 10 mins
Verdict: Easiest smoky eye ever (I stole this trick from a make-up artist). Normally I’ll use three shades from an eyeshadow palette to create a winged graduated effect, but just blending my eyeliner worked a treat and it sat tight all night.
It wasn’t the most groundbreaking make-up week, but with just four products I still managed to do my two fail-safe looks – a smoky eye and a poppy lip ’n’ line.
The only thing I missed was a bit of sparkle for my eyes, so next time I’ll add in a waterproof shimmer like Eyeko Me & My Shadow Waterproof Shadow Liner in Taupe, £18, which can also double as a cheekbone highlighter.
Oh, and also Rimmel Waterproof Natural Bronzer, £5.99, to triple up as eyeline setter, glow booster and contour. (It’s OK, I checked – my plastic bag will still close.)
Shot on location at Grecotel Creta Palace: a five-star luxury hotel and spa in Crete. Double Room Sea View, B&B, from 176 euro/night. See Cretapalace.com