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Staff Picks

What’s Inside Our Wash Bags

The MR PORTER team reveal the travel-size items they can’t leave home without

There’s been a noticeable change of mood at MR PORTER’s London HQ this week, because sunlight is actually coming out of the sky and in through the windows. The downside is there’s now enough ambient light to see just how pale and bedraggled everyone has become over the winter. On the plus side, it’s meant we can start thinking about popping off to places for the weekend. Which brings us to our wash bags and what needs to be in them. Scroll down for our considered selection of items that will help us to a) save our faces, and b) have a jolly nice time of it while we’re at it.

Now this is a wash bag that says, “I’ve arrived”. And yes, the fact that I just wrote that sentence probably means I have been doing this whole thing for too long. So long, indeed, that I’m going to need to stuff it full of things to counteract the general wear and tear of life. That means regenerating face masks from M.E. Skin Lab – rather extravagant, but they do work – and Sisley - Paris’ sublime all-in-one Sisleÿum Anti-Age moisturiser, which is perfect as a quick post-shave balm because it contains exfoliating salicylic acid to prevent blemishes and ingrown hairs. Then we turn to the wise men and women of the medical profession: night cream from Dr. Jackson’s, eye cream from Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, pills from Perricone MD – actually, anything from a doctor. Bring me more doctors! More! I am literally dying here!

This year, I’m taking on a new challenge: travelling solo. The thought of a one-man adventure is a little terrifying, so I’ll need my day-to-day essentials to keep me fresh and feeling good about myself. I’ll start my day with some music in the background and clean my teeth with Marvis’ Whitening Mint Toothpaste. A pea-sized amount will do the trick. Once you try it, there’s no going back. Le Labo Santal 33 eau de parfum is a comforting scent I’ve been hooked on since I first purchased it last year. My skin tends to become dry fairly easily, particularly during the colder months of the year, so I’ll be using the Tom Ford Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer to hydrate and condition my face. It smells great and can be used in the evening, too.

I’m always on the road with MR PORTER, and I never leave home without a cleanser, a face oil and a moisturiserAesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste, formulated with lactic acid, rosemary, evening primrose and lavender oil, is perfect to exfoliate and cleanse the skin. After exfoliating, I apply an oil. I recently discovered Pure Rosehip Oil by Grown Alchemist. It contains lots of omega 3, 6 and 9, which help prevent wrinkles, and it is perfect for cold weather and the dry air on planes. Then I apply Le Labo Face Lotion, which is light and non-greasy and smells lovely. I stash them all in this camo Valentino wash bag.

We all know luggage is fair game for the kind of people who like to size others up, along with shoes, condition of finger nails and the other indelible markers of style or slovenliness. But we tend to be less precious about our toilet bags. Well, I have news for you. People do notice them. Especially in shared-bathroom situations, such as a holiday with pals, or the gym. So get a nice one, such as this organic cotton, leather-trimmed number from Want Les Essentiels. It is rather pretty and – this is crucial, given the thing is pretty much destined to get a rogue toothpaste mark on it at some point – not too dear. I keep mine packed for quick weekend escapes. I always take this Sub-Zero De-Puffing Eye Duo from the brilliant skincare company and purveyor of high-end facials, 111Skin. After a long flight it makes me look less like a withered husk and more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. For that, I am ever grateful. I also think this Neroli Portofino fragrance from Tom Ford is pretty peerless. It just reminds me of pleasant holidays with nice people. The danger of pleasant holidays with nice people is that you overindulge. Thus you must look after your skin, and that must begin with a good face cleanser. There is none better that Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser. It washes the sins away. Hallelujah!

I’m not known for the tidiness of my desk, and that is partly down to the number of grooming products that populate it. Indeed, as I type this there are enough fragrance samples in front of me to drown a small capybara. So when I have to edit it all down into a wash bag-sized range of essentials, it can be difficult. It’s important that bottles don’t leak when they get jiggled around in your bag and that they’re small or light enough to travel with. Grown Alchemist’s Matte Balancing Moisturiser is probably the lightest moisturiser I’ve tried – perfect for after the gym – and Sachajuan Hair Wax will sort your mop out in a jiffy. Smelling great should not be overlooked, so a 10ml vial of Frederic Malle Cologne Indéléble is an ideal portable fragrance. There’s room for more in this capacious NN07 wash bag, but for the purposes of this article, I’m exercising restraint.

I keep saying that I am my best self on the road. And, for my sins, MR PORTER seems happy to test this theory. In the first few weeks of 2019, I’ve done stories in Puerto Rico; in Charleston, South Carolina; Jackson, Wyoming; Dallas, Texas; and Los Angeles. And I’m moving, so I’m not here for your packing hacks. I’ve been travelling with everything I own. But if I’m living out of my suitcase, I am really counting on the toiletry kit to keep me halfway presentable. The bags themselves (I use two) could use an update and this Tom Ford pebble-grain kit in black looks like it would weather well and hide the odd spill or lotion-splosion. What’s in the bag, of course, is all important. Apart from a good toothbrushtoothpaste (Marvis Mint) and an inexpensive face scrub, my line-up of goods is always changing. These days, I’m using the CBx Lightweight Moisturizer from Perricone MD, which has a nice, almost nutty scent and a soothing finish. It’s a good counterpoint to the Dr. Dennis Gross Skinacre Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum that I’m trying out to see what it does to ye olde complexion over here. If this dries out the face a tad, I’ll use another layer or two of the above moisturiser. I’ve also added in Le Labo Shower Oil for another layer of hydration on the body before I add whatever hotel body cream is on offer, and then I’ll slip my robe back on for another cup of coffee or two.

Try these

  • Gucci Monogrammed Coated-Canvas Wash Bag

  • Mulberry Leather-Trimmed Camouflage-Print Canvas Wash Bag

  • Berluti Scritto Leather-Trimmed Nylon Wash Bag

  • James Purdey & Sons Leather-Trimmed Nettle Cotton-Canvas Wash Bag

  • Montblanc Sartorial Jet Cross-Grain Leather-Trimmed Shell Wash Bag

  • D R Harris Full-Grain Leather Hanging Wash Bag