Double Duty Beauty

sliced lemons

Whether or not you are the travel-savvy type who manages to jet off with hand baggage only (something we aspire to but have never mastered), or travel – certainly, as Jo does – as if headed off on the cultural Grand Tour so beloved of our Victorian ancestors, there is a great deal to be said for products which perform more than one task, in order to free up valuable real estate in that suitcase.

The marketing departments of beauty companies would like us to think that the products they make perform but a single use. (With the exception of multi-purpose balms, which we’ll come onto, and which are actually pitched as multi-taskers.) But ever since we were first closeted away at a hotel writing our debut pink Beauty Bible tome, we’ve been playing around with products to see what other tricks they can pull off. (This dates back to trying Christian Dior’s Svelte anti-cellulite treatment as a hairstyling gel. It worked perfectly.)

We suggest you have a go yourself, seeing whether you can re-purpose favourite beauty products. There’s really only one rule, actually, when it comes to experimenting: don’t apply anything to the eye zone that isn’t specifically designed for that area; eye products undergo special ophthalmological testing to ensure they’re safe – and better safe than sorry.

Here, though, are some of our suggestions for space-saving beauty products for your suitcase. In some cases, store cupboard standbys – like the humble lemon – can do double- or even triple-duty, too. But with the extortionate amount ‘cheap’ airlines charge for extra bags, has it ever been timelier to find out just what else your favourite beauty products can do…?

  • Eyeliner… can work as brow-liner and even lipliner, in a soft, auburn-y shade.
  • Lemons… are one of nature’s great beautifiers: rub halves on elbows to brighten skin, use in a hair rinse for blondes.
  • Body oil… if it’s not too highly scented (or indeed if unscented), apply to a wet cotton pad and use it to remove make-up.
  • Facial sprays… work brilliantly to damp hair down before re-styling.
  • Olive oil… can be mixed with seasalt (one tablespoon of oil to one teaspoon of salt) as an instant exfoliant. Also brilliant massaged into dry hair; wrap with Clingfilm and leave on as long as possible before shampooing out.
  • Rose-tinted lipstick or gloss… makes a great blusher – particularly at this time of year when powder often looks too heavy.
  • Eye cream… works as a lip treatment.
  • Bottles of nearly finished scent… can be used to fragrance your bath; add a little baby oil (or unscented body oil) to the bottle, and shake.
  • Eye make-up base… is good for concealing blemishes.
  • Shower gel… can be used to hand-wash lingerie and woollens.
  • Moisturiser… at a pinch, can be applied to leather shoes and then polished to give them a gleam as bright as any upmarket polish. We often rub a touch of moisturiser between palms and skim over hair when it’s unruly.
  • Hand lotion… is great smoothed onto legs for shaving; it leaves skin ultra-silky. (Hair conditioner works, too.)
  • Lip balm… is one of our favourite multi-taskers: use it as a cuticle treatment and rub a dab between palms as a frizzy hair fix. (Our Beauty Bible Lip Balm is fab for this!)
  • Powder bronzer… can be applied as an eyeshadow – a great holiday look.

And a word about multi-tasking balms… We love a specific ‘all-in-one product’ – especially around the time of holidays, travel and festivals. Our favourites on VH?

Check out Lanolips 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm (for lips, hands and all over).

This Works In Transit Turbo Balm is teeny, but fits brilliantly into a pocket to treat dry skin emergencies on heels, cuticles, elbows – and is a terrific brow-tamer, with its blend of cocoa butter, rose oil and heaven-scented monoi oil.

Pommade Divine rises to all kinds of dry skin challenges – we have friends it’s helped with psoriasis, eczema and various other rashes, but at a pinch we’ve also used it as a make-up remover (though do keep away from eyes, which aren’t keen on the camphor). Good for any dry bits, too. And just what is the word for a product that performs about 10 tasks, meanwhile…?

It should certainly be applied to Weleda Skin Food: a highly affordable, all-natural treat from the biodynamic beauty name, genius as a creamy cleanser, a moisturiser for day and night, a body lotion, hand cream (and more, more, more), with its blend of sunflower seed and sweet almond oil. We’ve heard of backpackers who’ve sawn off half a toothbrush to save space while hiking. If you’re one of them (and even if you’re not, actually), you definitely need Skin Food in your life.

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