summer holiday beauty essentials (and the one i left without);

It’s rare for me to come back from a holiday with nothing to write about, but that’s exactly how I feel after my week in Mojàcar, Spain, with my family.

It’s not that I didn’t have a wonderful time. I did, but it was in that quiet, relaxing way that doesn’t really translate into CONTENT. I read a lot of books, paddled with my baby nephew and ate way too much food from the all-inclusive restaurant. My sister taught a new person each night how to play Shithead, a card game, and by the end of the week we were all hooked. We took a wander around the Old Town, but there wasn’t really much to explore so we ended up having the worst pizza with the greatest view then getting the bus back home again.

So I don’t have the usual travel blog meanderings – but what I do have is a round-up of some of the game-changing, space-saving* beauty products I brought with me.

(*YES, space-saving. I took a bit of a slagging from my sister and my niece for the fact that I brought the heaviest suitcase despite only being there for half the time, but I wore absolutely everything with the exception of one dress I packed by mistake. I like big skirts and I cannot lie.)

Summer Holiday Beauty Essentials - AfterSpa, Sonic Chic, Lanacane
Summer Holiday Beauty Essentials - Sonic Chic

First up are these ingenious cleansing products from AfterSpa, a specialist bath and bodycare brand that has just launched in the UK. AfterSpa’s products are designed to enable you to recreate the luxurious spa experience at home, and the range uses plant-derived ingredients and is cruelty free.

I’m particularly enjoying the facial micro scrubber* (£6, which has put an end to my habit of stuffing my toiletry bag with enough cotton pads to get me through a week’s worth of cleansing. This perfectly-formed product, designed for two months of use, has both soft and slightly abrasive textures, making it perfect for all skin types and ideal if you want to be able to switch between a soft wash and something more exfoliating. The soy-based foam interior allows the scrubber to lather up a storm, meaning that your favourite product goes further.

I’ve also been using the AfterSpa cleansing puffs* (£6, These are much harsher in texture than the scrubber, making them better placed for deep cleansing and not so good for those with sensitive skins. Both AfterSpa products come in what they’re calling “functional packaging”, which can be fixed above your sink or in the shower with the enclosed suction cup. It’s a really neat idea, and one that looks really lovely in the bathroom given the products’ stylish branding – as well as enabling you to hide the scrubber in particular away from visitors’ eyes, since it gets pretty manky the more you use it!

Summer Holiday Beauty Essentials - AfterSpa

Lanacane (£11, Amazon) has been an absolute game-changer for me, not only during my holiday but also, I suspect, over the rest of the summer. I first came across this miracle anti-chafing gel via London Beauty Queen and, since it was on offer, thought it worth ordering a tube to see if it worked as well to combat the dreaded chub rub as she said it did. GUYS. This one is worth the RRP. A silky-smooth gel which applies clear and dries quickly, Lanacane both soothes any existing chafing and stops further fire-y thigh-friction. I only seem to need the smallest amount, and the tube is perfectly sized to slip into a handbag if later application is necessary. No more extra layers for me on summer evenings!

It’s hard for me to get excited about toothbrushes, not least because I’m pretty tough on them. Dentists – and my mother – have been telling me to invest in an electric toothbrush for years, but given how often I need to replace my toothbrushes I’ve been reluctant to spend the money. With their Urban range of electric toothbrushes* (£19.99, lookfantastic), Sonic Chic gets around this particular problem by supplying an extra head in the box instantly giving you double the brush-time. And look how cute the available designs are!

The brush comes with a ventilated cap, making it super hygienic and ideal for tossing in your travel bag, The trouble is that it’s so pretty I want to use it at home as well.

Summer Holiday Beauty Essentials - AfterSpa
Summer Holiday Beauty Essentials - AfterSpa, Paul Mitchell, Lanacane

As a new, but very enthusiastic, member of the Unicorn Hair Club, I was a little concerned about how my rainbow locks would weather the Spanish sun. I’ve finally managed to break my daily hair-washing habit, but it’s a bit more difficult on holiday when sunscreen and sweat combine to make it practically a necessity. I’ll be fully reviewing the Paul Mitchell Ultimate Color Repair range of haircare products* soon, but I did take a minute to throw the Triple Rescue thermal protection spray (£18.50, lookfantastic) into my case as I headed out the door.

The spray combines two products, which you can clearly see from the layers that form when the bottle is left standing (so shake well before use, kids!). One protects against excessive heat, and I suspect is meant to target damage from styling tools rather than the sun; while the other conditions using Paul Mitchell’s proprietary “quinoa colour repair” complex. It’s like health food for your hair! I sprayed this onto my hair after washing, or after rinsing through with water on my non-wash days, before using the hairdryer – and while I wouldn’t want to jump to any conclusions while I’ve been operating in what is unnatural conditions for my hair, it did feel noticeably softer and more manageable even between washes.

And the one I left without…

I think the reason I forgot to lift my trusty Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray is that the bottle is so bloody big – it means that it sits on my dressing table, rather than fitting in a makeup bag to be left on whatever chair I finished getting ready on the previous morning. I was forgetting, of course, that Urban Decay had sent me and every bloody blogger you read a travel-sized bottle of their bestselling setting spray* (£10, Debenhams) back when the new branding launched a couple of months ago.

Summer Holiday Beauty Essentials - Urban Decay

Look, I was just as cynical about the concept of setting sprays until I started using a free sample of the Urban Decay one that I picked up somewhere a couple of years back, but now I feel dreadful without it. It’s not the finishing touch to my makeup – it’s the glue that holds my face together. Perhaps I’d still have sweated my foundation into the ground every night on holiday had I remembered to bring it, but it’s not exactly been baltic here either the past couple of weeks and All Nighter has saved me plenty of embarrassment. I’d highly recommend you pick up a bottle if you’re heading for hotter climes any time soon.

What are your holiday beauty must-haves?

This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and unbiased.