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Abigail Westwood: How to look beautiful after five hours on an airplane

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The schools might have gone back and summer holidays may well be at an end, but we are a nation that loves to travel so it won’t be long before we are looking out our passport and charging up our Kindle once more. Travel trade body ABTA found that in 2014 80% of Brits enjoyed a holiday.

In fact, the average Brit took 3 holidays a year – alright for some.

We know that low-cost airlines can quickly lose their appeal when you factor in the cost of check in luggage, so save yourself not only the extra cost but the added time waiting at baggage reclaim at the other side, by only taking hand luggage when you can.

I fully appreciate that this decision brings with it one of the biggest bug bears of travelling.

The 100ml limit on liquids in hand luggage is up there with delays, early check-ins and lost luggage as universal pet peeve.

Along with the rest of the world, I curse the day the 100ml rule was introduced. At the time, I was travelling between Dublin twice a month and used to have a little chuckle to myself at the amount of Guinness gift sets being confiscated by delighted looking guards at baggage screening.

I understand the security concerns, but having argued with one guard one too many about whether mascara counts as a liquid, I can safely say that I have become an expert in this area.

So rather than empty the contents of your carry-on across the airport floor in a desperate bid to avoid having them confiscated, how do you pack your essentials into Borrower-sized bottles?

How do you downsize your make up bag for travel and are so-called multiple products a good alternative? Whether you have a city break coming up or you’re already counting down the days until the October break, read on for my top tips on how to travel light, but in style. In other words: Economy budget, First Class look.

Bottle it up:

The obvious solution to a space issue has to be the plastic bottles that enable you to decant your own products into airline-approved sizes. Boots and Superdrug sell these in sets or alone, allowing you to buy what you need. It’s a great way of ensuring you can take your favourite products with you without running into problems with officious security officers. Keeping in mind that you should only be using a pea-sized amount of face and eye cream, and a 10 pence-sized amount of shampoo and conditioner, the amount in these bottles will more than comfortably see you through a week’s use.

Perfume wise, invest in an atomiser. You can get these relatively cheaply online and means that you can take your favourite scent with you without sacrificing much needed space. While it may be tempting to stock up in Duty Free, remember that you’ll have to bring that perfume back with you.

Pack wisely
Pack wisely

Saviour samples:

Many beauty counters are more than happy to hand out sample products. Sometimes you don’t even need to buy anything from them; just say you’ve heard about their moisturiser or toner and wondered if they had a sample for you to try at home. These little wonders will last for a week and will take up a miniscule amount of space in your toiletry bag. The only downside of this is that the samples often come in sachets, meaning a lot of product can go to waste. So rather than cutting them open, simply take a pin and pierce it. This way you can squeeze out the required amount (normally a miniscule amount) without the rest of the product congealing, seeping out or generally going to waste. It may not say Aberdeen on my passport, but I am an Aberdonian at heart.

Always remember to swipe toiletries from hotels you stay at – they’re factored into the cost of your room after all! While you may not need them at the time, they’re the perfect size for at least a few uses. Similarly, many glossy magazines give away travel-sized products, sachets of foundation, face cream and perfume. Products generally last between six months and two years depending on how they’re stored, so if you keep them somewhere dark and dry, you’ll have a little haul that you can dip into when you’re heading off.

Take the freebies, you've paid for them
Take the freebies, you’ve paid for them


Miracle multiples:

So-called multiple products do, to borrow a well-known slogan, what they say on the tin. These products can be used for more than one purpose, saving you both money and space. Nars is the leader with its cult stick, The Multiple. While coming in at a not inconsiderable £29, it acts as blusher, bronzer, highlighter, lipgloss and eyeshadow.

You’ll find that your existing products can be hiding a secret double–life though. A brown eye pencil can line your eyes, fill in your brows and, when used lightly, define your lips. A couple of dabs of lipstick on your cheek and you have a creamy blush. Foundation plus face cream equals a tinted moisturiser, ideal for when you want lighter coverage in sunnier climes. The Queen of all multiple products though? Vaseline. That little pot will heal your lips, remove eye make up, highlight your cheekbones and collarbone, and give you glossy eyelids, all for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.

BEAUTY Oils 09312965042


Go native:

Better still is to travel with nothing and stock up on the other side. Easy if you’re staying somewhere with a supermarket; harder if you’re headed for a deserted island. Most products are international now, so while the branding may change, you should be able to recognise your regular shampoo with an Italian name.



Keep it simple:

It may seem as if I am now telling you to discount all of the above, but if you’re going away, look at it as a chance to strip everything back. Who wants to be spending ages in the bathroom when you could be sipping sangria on a sundeck or exploring a new city?

Do you really need to wash your hair every other day?

Or would a dry shampoo work just as well? Do you need a full face of make up when a bit of BB Cream and mascara will work just as well.

I spent several months backpacking years ago and in the whole time I was away, I never wore make up and only washed my hair when I really needed to.

When I look at the pictures now, I’m not focusing on the bags under my eyes; I’m just remembering all the amazing sights and experiences.

Make sure you enjoy it
Make sure you enjoy it

In closing then, just remember when putting together your essentials that everything has to not only fit inside the freezer bag-sized plastic bags, but you must be able to seal it. So don’t go too crazy with the samples and happy travelling!