The Panel: Good goods
When it comes to packing for holidays; you always have too much. And you'll always have more when it comes to packing to come home, even if you think that you haven't bought anything!
Toiletries are something you can easily adjust in order to travel light, though most of us seem to be tempted to bring the contents of the bathroom cabinet. Travel-size products really are the answer. They not only weigh mercifully little on the way out, but you can also enjoy the strange thrill of using them up as your holiday comes to an end. It's a shallow kind of closure, but closure all the same.
In weighing up the various travel kits on offer, what matters is that the products are ones you will actually use. Also, take care that the mini sizes contain enough product to get you through your holiday, or you'll only end up buying more stuff. Further, if you're going to branch out from your usual products, choose carefully and don't do anything too radical. Remember: you're looking for a break, not a breakout.
Bliss lemon+sage Sink-Side Six Pack, €28, Harvey Nichols, D16, or see www.blissworld.co.uk
The value of this six pack is its head-to-toe nature, comprising 30ml plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body butter and face wash, as well as a small soap. There's a week's worth in each, and the lack of a face cream means you're spared the fear of what straying from your old faithful will do to your face. "I love the sharp but savoury scent and the citrus is very holiday-ish," said a panellist. "Small enough bottles for a carry-on bag, too."
Best Tan Top-Up
He-shi 3 Step Discovery Kit, €21.25, Brown Thomas; selected department stores; salons nationwide
Three 50ml hits of he-shi's impressive tanning products, which will leave you sun-kissed even if you prefer to play it safe in the sun. The pack comprises a skin-prepping body wash, liquid self-tan and a gradual tanner to colour topped up. "I always bring a self-tan on holiday, otherwise I'm blue-white until day five," a panellist said. "And this is a great way to carry several products without tipping the check-in scales."
Best Skin Sampler
Ren Kit for Combination Skin, €25, Arnotts, D1; or tel: (01) 461-0645 for stockists
A handy way to try a skin-care range that is making quite an impression in Ireland, without spending too much. This sampler offers three 15ml tubes -- a moisturiser and two high-performance masks -- as well as a larger tube of rinse-off cleanser. "Anything I've tried from this range, I have loved," said a panellist, "and this is a chance to try a change without too much of a cash commitment."
Best Journey Rejuvenators
Guinot Travel Secrets, €25, lo-call (0818) 719-303 for stockists
A moderately priced pouch of this high-end range, with products that keep in mind the concerns of skin that is jaded by travel and unaccustomed climates. The pouch of moisturiser, eye cream, a body mist, a cooling leg gel and a 100ml bottle of One-Step Cleansing Water amounts to a parcel that covers both the necessary and the simply nice. "Very generous sizes for the price," one panellist said. "The kind of kit that could convert you to the brand."
Best for the Boys
Discovery Clarins Men Travel Kit, €10, Clarins counters nationwide
A good price for three products -- After-Shave Soother, Active Face Wash and Moisture Gel -- that should get any guy through seven days away. A knacky way to find out if he really cares to take premium-level care of his complexion. "I liked the fact that these are things I'd normally use, and not fiddly nonsense I have no call for," said one male panellist. "And there's also room in the pouch for other essentials."
Pictured, from left: Discovery Clarins Men Travel Kit; Bliss lemon+sage Sink-Side Six Pack; Guinot Travel Secrets; He-Shi 3-Step Discovery Kit; Ren Kit for Combination Skin
Sunday Indo Life Magazine