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The Grooming Essentials For Every Kind Of Trip

Whether partying on the beach or climbing a mountain, MR PORTER has everything you need to pack

For the perfectionists among us, packing a suitcase is the very pinnacle of neurosis. Overlooking essentials or relying on the ersatz offerings available at your far-flung destination (a black-market bottle of Hai Karate? Ukranian ball talc?) only disrupts your precious downtime. Time is best spent exploring or relaxing, not using Google Translate to decipher whether you’ve just purchased shampoo or face wash.

In an effort to make sure you’re equipped for every eventuality, we’ve compiled a selection of grooming essentials for every kind of traveller, from the adventure seeker to the globe-hopping businessman

The beach holiday

It seems almost redundant to mention the necessity of sunblock for a beach holiday. Yet most people don’t fully understand which sunscreen to use or, indeed, how it works. In fact, adequate sun protection has a tendency to slip as the pace of island life takes over.

First, some science. The tan that denotes a successful beach holiday is the result of UVA rays that have triggered cells called melanocytes to start producing a brown pigment called melanin. Melanin is the body’s defence mechanism against burning and a way to prevent rays from penetrating deeper into the skin where they can cause long-term damage. UVA also happens to cause signs of ageing, thanks to its ability to break down collagen and elastin (this process is technically referred to as photoageing). UVB rays, on the other hand, cause superficial damage (sunburn) and are responsible for non-melanoma skin cancers. It stands to reason, then, that you need a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays for as long as possible.

Arguably the most luxurious sunscreens on the market are from Sisley – Paris. Products such as the Super Soin Solaire Facial Youth Protector SPF50+ leave no streaky residue, moonlight as an anti-ageing product and provide unsurpassed broad-spectrum protection. Hampton Sun’s SPF55 Continuous Mist does an equally good job of protecting you from UVA and UVB rays, and, since it comes in a spray format, you can reach trickier spots without employing the aggressive handiwork of your beach mates. And remember that you’re not safe even when it’s overcast, so it’s worth investing in a milder SPF moisturiser, such as Malin + Goetz’s SPF30 Face Moisturizer. Whichever product you opt for, be sure to apply either product at least 20 minutes before you go outdoors.

The other essential is aftersun. Even if you haven’t burned or turned lobster red, know that most of the damage caused by sun exposure is going to be invisible. Not only will Sisley – Paris After-Sun Care help skin cool back down and extend the life of your coveted tan, it will also help repair damaged cells. 

The activity holiday

Hard jobs require big hammers. If your idea of time out involves tearing through Normandy on two wheels or scaling a cliff face on the Costa Blanca, then you’re going to need industrial-strength products that can keep up with the adventure. To that end, hardwearing formulas are less about beautifying and more about protection.

Hours spent on two wheels may culminate in an unpleasant case of saddle-specific soreness, a condition that can be alleviated with an ultra-dense moisturiser that’s rich in shea butter and/or glycerine. Granted, Buly 1803 Pommade Concrète Balm is intended for your hands and not the rash between your thighs, but it works a treat on chafing (and on runner’s feet, too).

Seasoned climbers, on the other hand, will know that any contact with moisturiser will diminute their performance because bone-dry skin is essential for grip. But that doesn’t mean your palms can’t smell nice. Lather up with Bamford Grooming Department Hand And Body Wash, which blends smoky wood notes with cassis and vetiver. You’ll also need to maintain an even skin thickness across the palms and fingers. While calluses are necessary for climbing, they can get too thick and tear the adjacent skin. Monitor your mitts and file down any excess growth with the tools in Czech & Speake’s Leather-Bound Manicure Set.

When you’re done climbing and need to go about the job of repairing your paws, crack open the aforementioned tube of Concrète Balm.

The city break

Exploring the streets of a city means you’ll be exposed to a whole host of pollutants and environmental aggressors. The World Health Organization determines air quality by measuring something called particulate matter, and cities including Riyadh, Delhi and Xingtai are among the worst offenders when it comes to exceeding safe limits. That doesn’t mean London, LA or Paris are clean, or that the various pollutants you’ll encounter there won’t affect your skin. Emissions and exhaust fumes are likely to cause sensitivity or dryness and a great deal of free-radical damage.

The best way to offset free-radical damage, the precursor to premature ageing, is with an antioxidant that you can take in pill or powder form every day. Perricone MD Superberry is one such potion and it derives its antioxidant potency from raspberry, blueberry and acai. I’m a great advocate of a next-generation antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD for short), as found in BeautyWorksWest’s Youth supplement.

Given the amount of urban grime that will collect on your skin, it’s equally important to up your cleansing game. Used both morning and evening, Foreo Cleanser For Men detoxifies the skin by way of micro-algae and peptide extracts from moringa seeds. If you want a deeper scrub, Sisley Buff And Wash Gel is an effective cleanser-exfoliant hybrid.

If you’ve face-planted on the streets of Delhi, then you’ll probably need a couple of rounds of Dr Sebagh’s Deep Exfoliating Mask. And possibly a tetanus jab.

The party holiday

Partying on your home turf entitles you to 24 hours of hungover downtime in the privacy of your own bedroom. But the party doesn’t pause when you’re on holiday. Ever. You’ll need superhuman stamina and a box of grooming tricks to counteract the drinking, late nights and sugary foods. Preventive care is always sensible but, to be honest, you’re going to need some reliable quick fixes if you’re a day over 30.

Malin + Goetz Detox Face Mask is an essential pre-party product. Unlike clay masks that have a tendency to zap skin of moisture and oil, the oxygenating agents in this formula tickle the surface of the skin and deliver a brighter (and deceptively sober) complexion. Best of all, it takes no more than five minutes to deliver visible results.

You’ll also need to capitalise on what little sleep you manage to snatch during your holiday. Allies Of Skin 1A Overnight Mask accelerates the skin’s natural repair process so that tired, dull or ashy complexions are remedied by morning (your only job is to make sure you put it on your face before you crash). Concocted for worn-out skin, the balm works just as well on blemishes and sorts out jet-lagged skin in a jiffy.

And as for those dark circles, stock up on Tom Ford Beauty’s Concealer Stick and simply cover up the signs of excess. 

The business trip

Looking like you mean business, even after a short-haul flight, is no small task. You will be judged on your appearance as much as your credentials. This means even the slightest sign of fatigue should be tackled before you’re face to face with a potential client or employer. Air travel and skipping across time zones do not help you in this matter.

Cabin air does a great job of depleting skin of hydration, so you’ll need a heavy-duty moisturiser that will keep working throughout the day. Sisleÿum Anti-Age for dry (or normal) skin minimises signs of fatigue, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and even doubles up as an aftershave balm (and at 50ml, it’s hand-luggage friendly, too).

If you’ve made a transatlantic commute, then remedy the outward signs of jet lag with Sisley Eye Contour Mask, a mixture of pro-vitamin B5 and arnica extract that reduces puffiness and lessens the appearance of dark circles. If the lack of sleep has left your face pale or ashy, sparingly apply Tom Ford Bronzing Gel to the top of your cheekbones, the top of the nose and the top of the forehead for an artificial but highly convincing sun-kissed glow.

The rest, as they say, is down to you.