Monday, 31 March 2014

Conquering cosmetic Everest- no hold luggage required


 If like me you recoil in horror at the idea of checking luggage, your personal Everest is getting the cosmetic products you need for any business trip longer than a few days into a cabin bag.

But I can report that it is possible.  Long after I'd cracked the clothing conundrum, and way after I worked out that cashmere is the key to smart, comfortable travelling, I have finally just about cracked the cosmetics.

 Unless you look like a supermodel or are under 25, in which case I very much doubt you're reading this blog, then you're not going to want to spend a week in meetings 'au naturel'.  Jet lag needs concealing, late nights and red eyes will plague you even if you avoid dinners, drinks and the mini bar. It takes travel planning to a whole new level, but the satisfaction you will gain from pulling it off is worth the effort.  And once you've cracked it you never need to worry about it again.

The Bag
This is a key item.  You need something that will get through security checks (Heathrow is one of the toughest so a good place to start) but won't collapse every second trip. After a lot of experimentation and failures I discovered Muji's range of bags.  I use the larger one and have so far been fine (maybe twenty trips).

Bath and Shower
No need to take anything.  Even budget hotels these days provide reasonable bubbles and OK moisturiser to slap on all over to cope with all that dehydration.

Shampoo and Conditioner
This used to be where I gave in a took a hold bag.  One day I realised that the way to deal with this is to go to the the pharmacy air-side and buy a small shampoo, mousse and conditioner.  I take a tiny pot of serum (John Frieda is good but most brands make them now) in the bag with me as it lasts for ages. They don't cost much and I use them and leave them at the hotel.

Make up

There are so many great multi-purpose products on the market now.  I take Garnier BB cream and an under eye roller as I find it less chalky that Touche Eclat and a fraction of the price. Then a bronzer (I recommend Guerlain Bronzer - very subtle and you can buy small travel ones in duty free which last for ever and come with a tiny brush.  Powder blusher (again no need to put in the liquid bag) Bobby Brown eyeliner gel (in a pot, no one seems to think its a liquid) with its own applicator brush.  Mascara.  Any eyeshadow compact (the Bobby Brown travel one is excellent), one lipstick for day, one gloss for evening and some applicator brushes. Done.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour cream.  Am astonishing product and good for everything - lip salve, emergency high density hand cream for flights, cuticle cream, eyebrow smoother.  And it helps insect bites.  A travel-sized Dr Hauschka Rose Cream.  It is very concentrated - one tiny tube lasts me two weeks. A No 7 serum if like me travelling makes your skin visibly age.

Buy the atomisers from the in flight travel catalogues.  I travel with two - usually Chanel No 5 (dinners) and Tom Ford Violet Blonde (daytime).

If I've obeyed all my own rules I will have room for a pot of colour and one topcoat. Essie's are great. But I have recently discovered Essie do a whitener pen which goes on like a felt tip and looks like intense buffing.  Take a glass nail file and a buffer and you'll look very groomed.

Two travel sized toothpastes should last a week brushing twice a day. Superdrug does the best range. 

You'll probably be inside in meetings all the time but for that rare breakfast meeting in the sunshine take a tiny tube of the highest factor you can buy.  I have found a good Neutrogena one in a tiny tube  (in the US admittedly) which is Factor 70. Ultrasun do small high factor ones as well.

Once you've done a long business trip without hold luggage you'll never look back. 

The Woman in Seat 64K

Many senior women need to travel as business becomes increasingly global. We need to travel as comfortably as possible arriving safely at our destination ready to work looking smart and groomed and well prepared for the meetings ahead.  If you gaze enviously around the cabin at the smug guys dressed in their matching blue shirts, chinos, suit jacket slinging only a largish briefcase with clean pants and shirts into the overhead locker do not despair.  I have discovered through hard won experience that you can do this too.  Well one cabin bag, a laptop bag and a handbag anyway for a week's trip. 

Women travelling on business have some particular challenges.  If you're  travelling alone as I usually do then you need lightweight luggage that is easy to maneouvre around airports and train stations. I try to avoid checking luggage if at all possible.  This stems from a very bad experience ten years ago when the airline lost my bag contaning all my clothes for a week's conference in a remote part of upstate New York.  I arrived in the clothes I had travelled in and the bag was never found.  So I have learned to become the queen of the capsule wardrobe and finally have conquered the last bastion - getting two week's cosmetics in a carry on liquids bag.

I hope you find some of these tips useful.

And here's the first one -  Seat 64K.  If you're lucky enough to travel Business Class British Airways on a 747-400 (the Jumbo Jet) which they use of many of their long haul flights this is the best seat on the plane.  The upper deck is quieter, this seat has storage space under the window and you don't have to climb over anyone's legs when they're asleep if you need the bathroom.  Oh and you're closest to the steps when it comes to disembark.