For my trip to Sri Lanka this past September, I really thought ahead of time about what I would need in my bag. It was one of those vacations where we were planning on doing a lot of everything. I knew we were going to be spending time in a city (hello pollution), on a beach (spf is necessary), and out to fancy dinners, so it seemed like I needed everything I’ve ever purchased. I try not to over pack in general, regardless of how long I’ll be away, because it does tend to be a bit of a pain through customs and immigration at airports. I probably spend too much time thinking about the right things to bring, but it’s just something I love to organize.

When my packing was all said and done, I think I did pack too many beauty products. While I was unpacking my luggage after arriving at home, I realized that there were a few items that I used religiously, every single day of my vacation. In among the eyeshadows I brought that I didn’t use and the foundation I brought that I never touched, these five products were my saving grace while I was away. They kept me looking appropriate for dinners, hydrated, and healthy so that when I returned home, I wasn’t in need of a body detox to set my skin right. If I’m being honest, I think I would have been okay if I brought these five items and nothing else. Well, maybe add deodorant and a bar of soap to the list – but you get my point.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (Serum): I’ve blogged about this before but I don’t give this product nearly enough credit. This serum has completely transformed my skin! It has become a staple in my skincare routine, morning and night, regardless of what other products I use. Bringing this with me on my trip was the best decision I made. It’s always a challenge traveling from Canada to hotter countries because the sun is significantly stronger. This serum completely saved me skin on my trip. I tried to slather my face in this before bed, especially on days where I knew I had too much sun, and it healed my skin quickly. I know that this serum is a favourite for many bloggers, so perhaps talking about it is becoming a little typical. But in my opinion, of all the skincare items I use now and have used in the past, this is the one with the fastest and most consistent results. It’s magic.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara: I wrote a post a while ago about products from my past that I don’t purchase or use anymore, and a different high-end mascara was part of it. I stand firm behind my opinion that drugstore mascaras are comparable to high-end. I received a travel-sized version of this mascara by Tarte in a little gift set and decided to bring it with me on this trip for ease. I fell in love with this! The formula is light and thin. With two to three coats, my lashes were never heavy or clumpy. It lengthened, added volume and kept the curl all day (and I have quite straight lashes!). It also was easy to wash off, which is a huge bonus for me! I used this on so many days where we were going out to dinner and I just did not feel like wearing make-up at all. I’m contemplating buying at least another travel sized version of this so I can enjoy it for a bit longer.

Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant: One thing I cannot stand is dry skin of any kind, and unfortunately, spending lots of time in the sun only intensifies that problem. I anticipated this and bought this thick moisturizer by Vaseline to bring on my travels. I left Canada with a full tub, and came home with barely any left in just two weeks. My whole family ended up using this after spending too much time in the sun in the Maldives. It soothed our dry, itchy skin and helped heal our painful sunburns. I wouldn’t say this is an everyday moisturizer because it is quite heavy and thick, but for days where your skin is so dry that it’s almost painful, this stuff is what you should be using.

OGX Tsubaki Blossom Conditioner: I love beachy waves, but my hair and salt water do not mix without tangling half of my head first. I know that using conditioner is questionable for many. Some conditioners are too oily and others aren’t strong enough to do anything, but this one is just the perfect amount of light and effective. This is my regular conditioner even on days where I’m not on vacation, but I was able to truly appreciate how well it worked while I was away. I was shocked that despite the high humidity, constant sun and repeated exposure to salt water that my hair was rarely frizzy or dry while I was away. I have to give credit where credit is due – this conditioner works so well for me.

Tarte Pack Your Bags Undereye Patches: I can’t describe to you how exhausted I was the day after I arrived home from Sri Lanka. Our flight landed around 4 pm on a Friday, and I tried my best to stay up until a regular bed time that evening. I was a zombie the next day! After waking up, I decided to throw on these patches just to get rid of the puffiness. Sometimes, I think sheet masks and undereye patches can be a real gimmick. It’s hard, especially in the eye area, to notice any results. I can’t believe that these actually worked. They were cooling on the skin which felt so lovely. They had enough serum infused that once I removed them, I was able to gentle massage the remainder into my skin for added hydration. I saw a noticeable decrease in puffiness in the 15 minutes I used these. They’re definitely worth the money.

Desperately needing sunglasses – photo by @catmaikeup


It goes without saying that I would absolutely recommend these products, especially if your skin or hair is going through an especially trying time. They’re good transitional products – great for any time of year when your body needs it most. I’ll be bringing these wherever I go from now on!

What are your most reliable products? I’d love to learn of more that are perfect for vacation purposes! Especially hair products actually…I’m sorely lacking in that department.

Deanna xo

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