Travel Ready: Skin 

Regular readers will be overwhelmed by my increase in post frequency – how many posts do I have to do to officially state that I’m making a comeback?!

Anyways, jokes aside, I’m excited to post more than once in 6 months! 2017 is turning out to be a year of travel for me, so another travel post seems fitting. Prior to my last post, I was prepping for Nepal, and now I have another country in sight – #blessed. Unfortunately, overseas travel results in dehydrated skin and break outs for me, so I’ve learned over time to shamelessly take a range of skincare abroad with me.

Moisture

Flying dries out skin big time, so commit to something that will give you serious rehydration. Drinking water is obviously key, but you can further aid that with a serum. The Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum is great for this – if you are a regular Clarins user, you may be able to get a sample of this for a trip, or get a mini-version in a gift pack. I don’t necessarily use this all year round, but it is great for when you are travelling. I apply this day and night soon after a flight.

Sun Protection

Invisible ZincI admit, I don’t wear sun protection on my face all year round, but on days where I will be outside a lot and during summer, I try to use a face cream with SPF. When I’m on holidays, I’m out and about a lot more than usual, so need some serious protection. QV Moisturising Face cream is SPF 30+, and is light enough to wear after a hydrating serum, and under makeup. If I am going to be in serious sun, I use Invisible Zinc (SPF 50+) and avoid applying any face makeup. QV is great for something less intense –  it’s non-irritating, and you won’t need any additional moisturiser on top.

Break Outs

Unfortunately, my skin breaks out quickly and easily. For this reason, I really can’t afford to leave my overnight spot treatment at home.
I’ve recently converted to the Dermalogica Special Clearing Booster (prior to this I was using the Overnight Clearing Gel). This stuff is great if you can feel something coming, or if something does pop up and you need it to be gone asap. It’s small, and can fit into your clear carry-on liquids bag.

The Final Layer 

Anybody who is yet to use the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (BFB) is missing out, big time! This is a cult product and has never needed a sponsored ad in it’s lifetime. Think of this as a moisturiser, a clear BB cream and an instant face lift. I use this on top of a moisturiser; I think of it as almost like a protective film – perfect when the air quality is compromised, and you have pores to think about. It tightens and brightens, and gives you a youthful glow – great if you are trying to avoid wearing too much makeup while on holiday. This stuff needs to be carefully applied – avoid rubbing it in as much as a moisturiser; it really does sit on the skin.

Pamper 

Now, am I even me, if I don’t suggest a mini-pamper? You’re away from home, away from the usual demands of life, so treat your skin with some TLC. A sheet mask takes up minimal space, and can help your skin when it’s been ravaged by a pressurised air cabin as well as changes in food, water and air quality. Pack one per 7 days that you are away (i.e. if you are away 2 weeks, pack 2), and no doubt, you will find some time to use this – you can thank me then for the suggestion. Sheet masks take up a lot less space than a tub face mask, and I personally find them more intense than a liquid/clay mask.

Skincare while travelling seems so indulgent, but it’s easy to do, and the pay off is worth it. Travel size bottles/jars make it light and small enough to fit into your on-board luggage, so there is really no excuse. Don’t return home looking like you were living in a hut without running water (unless of course, that is exactly where you were living)!

And as always, if irritation occurs, discontinue use. 

So you want to start a brush collection? (Eyes)

Makeup brushes, one of my greatest beauty loves! I have to start the post with thanking my colleague for the inspiration. We were caught in the rain leaving work the other day, and she asked me in passing if there were any MAC brushes I recommended… Errr, makeup brush recommendations in the rain? This is a conversation that needs to be had in drier conditions, because it’s definitely not a quick discussion. Now, she asked about MAC brushes, so it makes sense to naturally start there, and work our way through – this will be part of a series of posts about brushes. Obviously the prices of the brushes I mention today will make most people scream, but fear not, I will eventually get to some more budget options.

My love of brushes started way before my makeup collection grew. It was before the time of YouTube tutorials and #beautybloggers, so I’m not sure where the interest came from – I just had this strong feeling that brushes would be a really key component of my love of makeup. I got my first MAC brush set for my 18th birthday from my brothers – one was travelling overseas quite close to my birthday, so that was my request. 10 years later, I can tell you I still have all the brushes, and use 4 out of the 5 – truly an investment that paid off. They were a little disappointing in that they shed more hair than I expected, but Mr. Google told me that was because they were part of the Special Edition (SE) range, and were of an inferior quality to the full-sized (and therefore full-priced) MAC brushes. I’ve never purchased another SE brush set, and instead saved my pennies for the regular product instead, and the difference in quality is quite noticeable – minimal hair shed, and noticeably softer hair. Anyways, that’s enough about how and why I love brushes.

Today, I’m going to detail 3 excellent eyeshadow brushes that I really rate, and think are worth the investment. They are ridiculous in their  cost, so if you have a friend or family member off to the US, MAC brushes are the thing to request – light and easy to bring back, extremely easy for someone to find for you, and essentially half the price of the Australian pricing.

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MAC 217 Blending Brush
This is literally my Holy Grail in eyeshadow brushes. There is really nothing else like it on the market. I’ve even tried to find other MAC brushes that might come quite close (286 Duo Fibre Tapered Blending Brush for those hardcore fans out there), and it didn’t come close. Anybody who loves (or requires, in some people’s cases) a smokey eye, this is the brush for you. If you only buy ONE brush from MAC in your lifetime – make it this one. The difference this makes to any heavy eye look cannot be compared to any other brush in a kit – it softens and really polishes off the look. I personally don’t use it a lot to apply colour (I use the 286 for that), and instead try to keep it as naked as possible, so that it can really do its best blending work with no residual colour present. It’s essentially a fluffy white brush that softens up any harsh lines or over application of shadow, but does this in the most magical way possible.
RRP: $37.00

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MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush
Now this is one of the brushes that came in my beloved Special Edition collection all those years ago. It has been used with much love and enthusiasm, so much so that the top of the brush came away from the handle of the brush! Thankfully the brush hairs weren’t effected, and it can still be used – the full-sized one is on my list from the US this year. Now this is your standard eye shadow packer. I have two brushes in this same style – short, but firm and tightly packed hairs. None of this sweeping movement that you get from the 239, but just pure packing on of colour. The hairs are quite thick, so what I like to do is use one side for light shades, and one side for dark shades. Lately my go-to eyeshadow combo has been the Bourjois Cream to Powder shadow as the base, and the Rimmel Scandaleyes in Bad Bronze – so one very light shade, and one very dark shade, but both creamy, so needing lots of packing. One side gets used for the light Bourjois shadow, one side gets used for the darker Bad Bronze shadow – no colour transfer. This has been an everyday work look, so ain’t nobody got time to spot clean a shadow brush!
I don’t think that MAC are the only uses to do such a style of brush – I have a Lancome version that is very similar, but it definitely doesn’t have the firm packing ability that this brush has. I’ve always used this for very dark shades on the outer eyelid, and anytime I’ve used any sort of cream shadow (MAC Paint Pots, for example). So, keep your eyes peeled for a similar brush – keywords being short, thick and firm hairs. If you can’t find it anywhere, go for the MAC one.
RRP: $48.00

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219 Pencil Brush
Now, my final brush is just a little favourite of mine – it’s definitely a non-essential, but this also depends on how serious you are about eyeshadow. My favourite feature is definitely my eyes, and I enjoy trying out some different looks, and spending some time on my eye makeup. So, for someone like myself, I think this is worth it. For someone who doesn’t own a single brush, then this is definitely not necessary, and not something I recommend early on. This is another firm-hair brush – but angled like a pencil, as the name suggests. I generally use this on my inner corner, or when I’m doing a really heavy smokey eye, and want to go back towards the inner corner with some lighter shades. It’s precision is amazing – holds product beautifully, and really gets into those smaller spots. I don’t often apply eyeshadow under my bottom lash line, but if I ever do feel compelled, this is the brush for it. I’ve tried the 215 Medium Shader brush for the bottom lash line as well, but that is just too firmly packed for my liking. I have extremely sensitive eyes, so the 219 Pencil Brush has just the right amount of packing to reduce product fall, but still soft enough to use on the more sensitive parts of my eye. I haven’t even investigated any dupes from another other brands, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled to see if there any worthy companions. To be honest, this was a USA request from a friend a few years ago, which is why I frivolously got the MAC version without looking for any cheaper options. Let me know if you’ve seen anything like it.
RRP: $45.00

All MAC products are available at MAC stores and counters (located within Myer) across Australia. They also have an online store which has free shipping for >$100.00 order (and often have >$50.00 free shipping specials).

Thanks for reading the first part of my brush collection series. I did forewarn you that the prices may make you extremely angry, but I feel minimal guilt with MAC brushes. They should last you easily over 10 years, you will start using them every time you want to apply eyeshadow, and you’ll be shocked at what a difference they can make to your final look.

Until next time, readers…

*Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a professional makeup artist – just a simple lover of products. I am merely giving my thoughts and opinions on makeup brushes for the average citizen, as a fellow average citizen.

(All photos in this post courtesy of Google Images)