Keep it simple this summer by packing only beauty essentials

Sunscreen - check! But what else do you need on holiday? Not much, but that doesn't stop most of us over-packing. Often when we go away we take more than our daily favourites, figuring we may just need that extra item, or have more time than usual to try out a treat. Most often these extras go unused and in our mad packing frenzy we find we've forgotten the toothpaste.

If that sounds like you - not just me - then use the same decluttering principles we are often extolled to apply to our wardrobes. Haven't used it for a while? Lose it. Doesn't do double-duty? Then it's a luxury you can live without. Too precious to venture out in? Leave it locked up.

For a beauty kit that avoids the whole caboodle start with the basics and depending on destination add in a few appropriate indulgences. But there's no point going against type; if you prefer to wear makeup then you won't be happy leaving it behind for a week or two. Just lighten the look and the load a little. At the beach a regular wearer of foundation might substitute a tinted moisturiser - or try one of the new BB creams, which are better at combating shine while providing camouflage.

Alcohol-based fragrance is best not worn in the sun; try using a lightly perfumed body moisturiser or oil instead as this will do two jobs and save space in your toilet bag. A gradual tan moisturiser is a versatile alternative.


Hair products should be kept to a minimum. I sometimes take a hair mask that matches my shampoo rather than a conditioner because it does the conditioning job but with added treatment benefits that sun-frazzled hair soaks up. To tame the frizz that being outdoors often encourages, a lightweight smoothing or styling cream or spray can be a handy addition, but use one with in-built UV protection. If you insist on bringing your heat tools then don't forget a thermal protection product which can help with control as well.

Trial-sized products are well worth setting aside for holiday use. Here are a few other things worth factoring in:

Lip balm with sunscreen - One with a light tint will save you taking too many lipsticks or glosses (of which two colours should be plenty, one an everyday neutral shade and the other more colourful).

All-purpose balm - Use this to rub on any dry bits as needed, such as cuticles, heels, and elbows and lips at night (when you should take a break from lip products with sunscreen). Balm can double as a mask for very dehydrated facial skin, but look for a nice plant-based one.

Makeup removal wipes - Saves carrying two or three cleansing and toning bottles, including eye makeup remover. Handy also as a face-freshener at the beach or when travelling. Avoid ones with alcohol as they can be drying.

Day or night - Stick with using a purpose-built moisturiser as well as sunscreen if your skin is dry, but don't bother with separate day and night versions if you're away for just a few days. Ditto serums and eyecreams, unless you're addicted.

Prep and prime - Lash tints and spray tans will get you looking the part in advance, but if you're away for a while remember to pack waterproof mascara and tan top-up. Or make a New Year's resolution to be more natural and less high-maintenance for a bit.

With the added costs Christmas brings, it's a good time to think about simplifying your beauty needs, at least for a bit. Don't stock up on expensive new products: stick with what you've got or check out budget items.

Here are a few widely available options to check out:

1. Garnier BB Cream Oil Free - $17.49

Garnier was the first company to introduce a Blemish Balm (BB) cream to New Zealand several years ago; since then practically everyone has brought one out. This new oil-free version will appeal particularly to those looking to combat grease and shine. In light and medium shades it rates SPF15 and offers an even-tone matte finish thanks to absorbent mineral pigments. Those with drier skin may prefer to stick with tinted moisturisers for more illuminating, though often less effective, coverage.

2. Nivea Visage Q10 Plus Tinted Day Care - $19.99

Before BBs, tinted moisturisers were the only real colour alternatives to foundations. They even out the complexion a little and provide radiance, but as many are so watery they run right out of the bottle. This one has a nice creamy texture and offers decent moisturising and a natural-looking tint. It also has an SPF15 and boasts Q10 which has a role in cell growth so it may help skin health.

3. Nivea Daily Essentials Fragrance Free Facial Cleansing Wipes - $9.99
These are a perfume-free alternative suited to sensitive skins while those with oily complexions might wish to check out Nivea's Pure Effect Exfoliating Wipes ($11.04). Other economical options include Swisspers which does coloured wipes and Yes to ... with its various ranges offering different skincare properties, including blueberries ($12.99) with added antioxidant ingredients.

4. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Night Calming Cleansing Towelettes - $12.99

This wipe stands out on the shelf with its lavender package, the colour chosen to highlight that it has a soothing light lavender fragrance. The wipe itself does a decent job removing makeup, including waterproof mascara.

5. L'Oreal UV Perfect Daily Moisturising Lotion - $15.29

A smart young former babysitter who now works with beauty brands tells me this is her favourite everyday base. I wouldn't rely on the SPF50, given it is a secondary sunscreen, but she says since wearing it she hasn't been sunburned. The finish is illuminating, but the light fluid would be best on skins not crying out for a richer drink.

6. Oasis Rhino Repair - $34.95

This balm has quietly gathered a following for its effective natural treatment of chapped and troubled skin, including on babies. It contains manuka honey, calendula and aloe vera, offering healing and soothing solace.

7. Dove Summer Glow Moisturising Lotion - $9.29

With small amounts of the key self-tanning ingredient as well as moisturisers, this builds up colour in a controlled natural- looking way over several days. Sort out any bits your swimsuit has covered. Gradual tanners help your tan look even for longer or use a faster developing product (Garnier and L'Oreal Sublime do good ones). There comes a time when all tanners tend to wear off a bit patchy, so between applications and exfoliations keep legs well moisturised to downplay this.

8. Nivea Express Hydration Body Lotion - $6.69 for 250ml

A light but lasting formula with a delicate lotus scent. Those with drier skin can step up to the richer, heavier Rich Nourishing Body Lotion from this century-old skincare specialist company.

Stockists: Supermarkets, variety stores and selected pharmacies, with Oasis from selected health food stores and pharmacies, see stockists at