Grooming buys that are actually worth taking on holiday

Holiday washbag essentials
Finlay Renwick

Want to look and feel stylish in the sun? Meet your must-pack wash bag checklist for summer survival 

So, you’re off on holiday – that’s nice! Some sun, some sea, a cold drink on the balcony as the others get ready for a night out. The perfect refreshment as the warm night draws in, the cicadas start making those noises cicadas make and you allow your mind to drift towards what kind of enormous grilled fish plucked straight from the Adriatic that very morning might be on the menu at the restaurant down the harbour. Bliss.  

While you might have just the right shorts and selection of T-shirts for a few days in the sun, it’s also essential to consider what’s going on in your wash bag. It might sound simple, but picking out a few quality pieces of grooming kit can both enhance how you look and feel on holiday and, most importantly, help keep you safe in the sun. 

Remember: the only lobsters we want are on the menu in that little restaurant down by the harbour…


The wash bag

You know how the old saying goes: ‘A wash bag is for life, not just for Corfu’? Or something like that. Basically, buy a quality one and you should be set for many happy holidays to come. Made in Italy from a supple-grained leather that will wear like a good pair of shoes, this wash bag is just the thing for keeping your kit in check and looking good on the marble counter in the hotel bathroom (always an important factor, if you ask me).


The fragrance

One of the great joys of holiday grooming is discovering a new scent ready-made for warm weather. Something light and zesty that makes you think of Tuscan orange groves and dreamy white sand (maybe not together).

Launched in 1999, Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Arancia di Capri Eau de Toilette is a classic for good reason. It blends crisp and summery top notes of citrus (Sicilian orange, mandarin and lemon) with the Italian perfumer’s signature petitgrain (an essential oil extracted from the leaves of a bitter orange tree), plus a drop of musk for variety. A Mediterranean summer holiday spray, if ever there was one.


The sunscreen

A proper sunscreen with a high SPF is vital in brighter climates than ours, but it should also be part of your everyday grooming routine, even out of the sun. The right one is non-sticky and can be applied just as easily as your regular moisturiser.
Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel SPF50 is a light and quick-absorbing daily sunscreen that can protect against the sun and the pollutants of big city life. It also works as a rock-solid base before applying another dose of sunscreen if you’re planning on hitting the beach all day.

You’ve only got one beautiful face!


The hair product

If you want tousled, sun-kissed locks like Brad Pitt just before the cameras start rolling, or simply non-greasy hair with a bit of texture, then sea salt spray is what you’re looking for.  Murdock pretty much invented the genre. A few spritzes of this salty elixir and you’re good to go (no need for heavy waxes with this around).


The night-time cream

Even with the most thorough SPF routine, after a day on the beach your face will need a bit of a helping hand to recover come the evening. A little bit denser than a daily moisturiser, a decent night cream will seep into your skin as you sleep, leaving it supple, revived and repaired.

With avocado cream, almond and jojoba oil, plus vitamin E thrown in for good measure, Neal’s Yard Remedies have made a nourishing and unfussy bedtime cream for holidays and home.


The shower gel

If you’re staying in a really good hotel, there might already be something top notch on the bathroom shelf. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stung by sub-par shower gel. (*The world’s tiniest violin plays somewhere in the distance*) If there isn’t, make sure you pack your own, because a quality tube of special ‘holiday’ shower gel is worth the hassle. I wouldn’t usually recommend a 2-in-1 option, but for maximum efficiency and quality (the big two), Clarins has your body and head covered.


The face wash

If you’ve spent all day topping up on sunscreen, the last thing you want is to hit those crisp, white sheets with a greasy face. Applied in the morning or evening, Clinique For Men’s classic face wash has a gentle formula that cleans out pores without drying the skin, returning your complexion to its blank canvas glory.

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