What’s In My Washbag? Holiday Edition

To avoid any embarrassing incidents involving shoving beach towels into airport rubbish bins to meet the baggage allowance, I am packing even lighter than usual this year.
Publish date:
July 16, 2013
sun protection, make-up, travel beauty, holiday essentials, face spray

I’m off to Capriiiii! And because I’m stingy and refuse to give Grasping Low Cost Airline a penny more than I absolutely have to, I’m insisting on sharing a suitcase with my beloved. So to avoid any embarrassing incidents involving shoving beach towels into airport rubbish bins and shoes into hand luggage to meet the baggage allowance (this happened), I am determined to pack even lighter than usual this year.


The trouble with hotels is you never know whether they’re going to supply decent amounts of shampoo, shower gel and conditioner – even the most basic give you something these days, but it might not be enough to last a whole week. So I’m hedging my bets and taking just a few miniatures (yes, appropriated from previous hotel stays) and this should see us through.

I wish I was organised enough to have bought those dinky little travel sized plastic bottles from Muji, but I haven’t even got the Euros yet and that’s a higher priority, so that’s where the miniatures come in handy. Razor, toothbrushes and toothpaste (and don’t forget floss!) and that’s the bathroom taken care of.


Being the world’s laziest, least-intrepid traveller, I’m planning on establishing myself comfortably on a sun lounger and basking like a seal all day long, with the occasional dip in the pool to cool off. This does not require any make-up (although I did just get my eyebrows tinted for the first time ever!) For the evening, I really don’t want to bother with a full face of make-up. It would both look and feel weird and wrong.

I can’t bear to be totally bare-faced, so I just dab a bit of tinted moisturiser on the specific areas that need some coverage and leave the rest alone. Then I curl lashes, apply one coat of mascara and add a dab of tinted lip balm and that’s it. It might not be as dramatic as my usual evening look, it feels so much more relaxed.

I don’t bother painting my fingernails when I’m on holiday – I love seeing them totally naked and shell-pink and watching the cuticles soften from the sand. However I can’t stand polish-free toenails, they freak me out, and last year I forgot to bring polish and slowly all the polish on my toes peeled away and there was nothing I could do about it. I learned a bitter lesson my friends and am packing this lovely three-free Korres polish (£9, lookfantastic.com) for touch ups.


I am devoting another article entirely to sun protection, don’t worry. But in short: SPF50 for face, SPF30 for body for the first half of the hol, then SPF20 for the rest and an after sun (which doubles as a body-lotion-type-thing). And that’s us sharing too.


Deodorant (I’m not talking about going completely feral here folks, but I’d only bother with it in the evening.) I like this new condensed mini one from Sure. A comb. A face spray. Plasters. Antacids. (This reads like a kit list for going on Pack Holiday – “a book, spare socks, a game, a cuddly toy, a handkerchief...”)

And that’s it. I promise that’s all you need. Of course you could take salt sprays to enhance your beachy waves and a mask to protect your hair from the sun (just wear a hat for crying out loud) and perfume and bronzer and body shimmer and goodness knows what else, but the lovely thing about being away from ‘real’ life is to pare things down to the bare essentials – whatever they are for you – and devilishly abandon all the other faffy bits of everyday grooming.

In the same way that I firmly believe there’s no point fretting about what you look like in your swimsuit or bikini because (as Nancy Mitford’s nanny said) “No-one’s looking at you dear”, there’s no point fretting over your foundation or blusher or whatever, because honestly, nobody’s paying that much attention. They’re all too busy enjoying their own holidays to laugh at your shiny face or frizzy hair, so relax.