Yep, I 100% meant “survive”.
See, it was during a recent trip to Maldives, aka Paradise in the Indian Ocean, that I really pushed my skin to its limits. Between unintentionally basking in the sun and all that UV damage, the perils of seawater during diving and snorkelling, or just being out in the open, my skin has never felt so dehydrated. No kidding, I was applying a hydrating serum 4 times a day (I don’t know if that’s a good thing). Most of the time, my usually-healthy skin felt parched, rough, and obviously, really tan after a week.
But you know, waking up to views like that made the holiday completely worth it! And I do have my
forward-planning nature paranoia to thank, because I brought along an entire stash of skincare items. Three bags full. Literally.
Here are the 10 essential skincare items that were invaluable to me during the trip — which you might find very useful on your next beach vacay or summer holiday too:
1. A versatile, fuss-free cleanser
Therefore, cleansing oils and makeup-removing cleansers. I really like how fuss-free they are — just massage onto your skin, watch the magic of all your makeup coming off, and rinse! No need for cotton pads that your resort may not provide. Both shu uemura’s and Fresh’s are cult classics that I can always count on, plus they never sting my eyes!
As for the double cleanse method, it’s a little more effort but works particularly well; the first step, a cleansing balm, helps break down and remove all traces of makeup, impurities (like salt deposits), and SPF, so that the second step, a luxurious cream, can really get to work on your skin. With Pixi’s product, my skin felt thoroughly cleansed, and even silky-soft after.
2. A hydrating serum
I brought along Pixi’s Hydrating Milky Serum and just loved its lightweight texture and how quickly it disappeared into my skin. The milky formula contains nourishing ingredients such as jojoba oil, rose flower extract, aloe vera, and glycerin that holds in moisture, all of which left my skin with a nice soft surface that’s now primed for my moisturiser.
Belif’s product is more of an essence, but still a hydrating one that restores and strengthens the skin barrier along the way, especially after cleansing your face. As for Shiseido’s upgraded Ultimune, I’m currently in the midst of trying it — the smooth texture is certainly a plus, along with its innovative method of boosting my skin’s immunity so it remains strong and healthy against anything potentially damaging.
3. Gel moisturisers
At night, or after a day in the sun, gel moisturisers feel extra pleasant on your skin too; we all know that refreshing cooling sensation they provide. LANEIGE’s renowned sleeping mask delivers intensive moisture while revitalising tired skin as you’re sleeping, and with its calming scent, both you and your skin will feel way more well-rested in the morning.
NIVEA’s latest sunscreen is an eye-friendly formula that boasts none of that unpleasant white, chalky cast that comes along with most drugstore sunscreens — a win for those with darker skin tones then.
I like Shiseido’s for its near-invisible, non-sticky or greasy texture so my skin never feels like I have an extra layer on, and gotta say, the proprietary WetForce technology as well. This makes the sunscreen go beyond simply “water-resistant”, and instead, its sun protective powers get boosted when in contact with water. Great for living in the tropics, eh?
5. Anything aloe vera
There’s a reason why this is so often the first thing you think of when treating a bad sunburn — the natural remedy’s immediately soothing and relieves pain and inflammation, has healing properties that repair damaged skin cells, and even forms a protective layer that hydrates and holds precious moisture within the skin. With minimal side effects too.
My tip would be to immediately treat any sunburn before it has time to escalate. Go for the clear, jelly-like gels and be generous when slathering it on; you’ll feel less of that searing heat, redness, itchiness or discomfort — it’s that effective. You can also further hydrate your face with The Body Shop’s oil-free moisturiser too, since it contains sustainably-sourced aloe vera. I’m still undergoing the 5 stages of
grief sunburn and learnt the hard way — you shouldn’t have to.
6. Detoxifying products
It’s good to start with an exfoliator or deep cleanser, one that gently sloughs away dead skin cells and impurities. Caolion’s Magic Black Powder Sparkling Wash Powder purifies your skin with its signature ingredient, the micro-fine graphene powder. As for Mamonde’s 1-min bubble mask, the formula reacts with oxygen in the air to create micro bubbles that help lift away dead skin cells and impurities for a clearer complexion.
Then, keep a clay or mud mask at hand too as these are really effective in drawing out skin impurities and excess oil. Fresh’s Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask is my go-to when it comes to making my skin feel less slick and grimy, and it even helps in preventing breakouts if I spot a zit forming.
7. A tinted moisturiser / skin tint
More lightweight than foundation, with perhaps less coverage, they still do their job of blurring pores and evening out your complexion such that your skin looks like it’s naturally filtered. You can read what the NYLON team thought about Shiseido’s Tinted Gel Cream here.
Pick those with a dewy finish for that summer glow! Now, you’ll be able to pull off an enviable, confident nonchalance while lounging on a deck chair.
8. A multi-purpose lip balm that works
9. Something for your hair & body
Kew Organics’ product contains camelia seed oil for its nourishing, cell-recovering properties, and comes in a useful spray that gets absorbed quickly into both your skin and hair. Then, there’s Percy & Reed’s multi-tasking Wonder Balm that does everything you need it to; it’s like a primer for hair and helps with hydration, shine, smoothness, high humidity protection, anti-frizz, definition, and tames hair with a light hold. Pretty sure that’s more than what one generally needs.
10. A mist
After coming back from being in the water for a couple of hours, I realised my skin really needed that extra hydration, and that means going through the whole process of applying my serums and day moisturisers — this would be way less tedious if I had a mist at hand. It’s like a magic wand that hydrates the skin in seconds, hassle-free! Who wouldn’t want that?