Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to the fab ‘Travel Beautifully with Estée Lauder’ event at their spectacular offices in Fitzrovia (they have an open fire in the lobby, for goodness’ sake). I don’t consider myself to be a beauty blogger, but I’m certainly interested in all things travel beauty so I was delighted to attend and find out more about the brands under the Estée Lauder umbrella and pick up some pre-flight pampering tips. I think what many of us don’t know, when we’re browsing the huge area of brands at World Duty Free when we’re travelling, is that many of them offer – and actively encourage you to try – loads of different pre-flight treatments, workshops, walk-in demos, make up lessons and much more!
I started at the Smashbox counter, and I was really interested in their ‘Prime Time’ ten minute service in which you can learn how to get camera ready skin with their award winning and best-selling primers. In her weekend beauty article in the Guardian, Sali Hughes recently recommended their new Photo-Finish Foundation Primer – Radiance. I was asking because a) I don’t use a primer and b) I’m nervous about anything with the word ‘radiance’ in it, in case that equates to shiny or blingy. After a quick application I could totally see what all the fuss was about: the primer adds a moisturising, smoothing, line-blurring layer, allowing your foundation to go on smoothly and stay put, and eliminating the need for line-clogging powder. I’m completely sold and the radiance primer is now on my thoughtful spending list for when I next have birthday or treat money to spend. A little spritz of the fabulous Photo-Finish Primer Water, and I was good to go.
The Estée Lauder counter offers travellers a wealth of free mini treatments and workshops, including the very tempting sounding ‘instant glow/instant matte’, promising techniques to achieve a flawless face, and ‘fatigue fighter’, showcasing Estée Lauder’s #1 technique for eyes, to revive, brighten and energise. I had a lovely chat with the therapist about how Advanced Night Repair should be the one thing you splash out on, skincare-wise, even when you’re really on a budget, and she also mentioned their new Advance Night Repair Eye Masks which look amazing for travelling.
Airport Clinique counters offer product, skincare and makeup advice and mini-treatments. My favourite was the ‘moisture makeover’, a five minute miracle promising to ‘quench thirsty skin with a burst of refreshing hydration’ The treatment infuses skin with deep and lasting hydration with Clinique’s Moisture Surge products. I also found out that Moisture Surge is fab used in conjunction with your normal moisturiser for an additional moisturising boost, and is even great pressed gently into your skin over makeup if you’re feeling dry (another great tip for plane travel).
My absolute favourite treatment was from the super-friendly girls at La Mer. Now I know many of us are often intimidated by the higher end brands – I know I am – but I was really surprised to hear the therapists at La Mer saying that they love to encourage people to come and browse and chat about the products, and they’re happy to provide all sorts of lovely pampering treats before you board your flight, EVEN IF you’re not planning on buying any products. Now I know this seems a bit counter-intuitive, but I guess they’re thinking that once you’ve experienced these deliciously scented, truly effective products, you might well indulge at another time. I sometimes get John Lewis vouchers, and I’m seriously considering saving them up for a couple of the products used on me.
I had the ‘arrive hydrated’ treatment which basically promises travel ready skin: it’s a personalised, refreshing facial treatment that aims to combat in-flight dehydration ensuring you arrive energised, and I was blown away. A couple of drops of The Treatment Lotion were pressed gently into my skin, followed by The Concentrate, which soothes and restores, and the therapist also recommended The Renewal Oil (not sure of the order of application, sorry, I was too busy being pampered). All the La Mer moisturisers give the same moisturising benefits, but come in four different textures: the original Ultra-Rich Cream, which leaves the skin dewy, a Moisturising Soft Cream, to give a luminous finish, a Moisturising Soft Lotion for a satin finish, and the Ultra-Light Gel, which is the one I tried, and left my skin feeling velvety and soft. My face felt so plump and fresh looking after my facial, it didn’t need any makeup and still felt wonderful the next morning. La Mer offer other little ten minute treatments like a ‘hand and arm indulgence’ and even a little five minute ‘La Mer to Go’, which promises to be ‘the quickest way to refresh and re-energise both eyes and face before you fly’.
For hand and arm indulgence, though, look no further than the Jo Malone counter. You absolutely cannot beat the lovely little consultation you have with the very knowledgeable therapists about what perfumes suit you. I had ten minutes of blissful sniffing and trying on before deciding to have my delicious hand and arm massage with products scented with the classic Lime, Basil and Mandarin scent (although the brand new Myrrh and Tonka fragrance is amazing: it’s warm and sensual, and reminded me of being on holiday somewhere exotic: hot sand, spice and a hint of vanilla sweetness). I would suggest that, if you’re flying – you leave out the final spray of fragrance: although it’s delicious, sometimes scent on a long plane journey can be cloying. The therapist suggested maybe spritzing your scarf or a hankie in your bag to sniff when you need a lift during the flight.
Another thing about purchasing travel beauty items at the airport is that they often have exclusive gift sets and offers that you won’t find anywhere else. The clever make up artists on the MAC counter showed me their brand new Look in a Box collections, available in loads of different colourways. The kits include a combination of products including lipstick, eyeshadow, mascara and eye pencils, in various looks, from nudes to intense colours, all for much less than you’d buy them individually.
The MAC artists at the airport also offer 10 – 15 minute demos (based on availability) on things like classic, neutral smoky or trend eye looks, the art of eyebrow styling and shaping, face contouring, creating a neutral/dramatic lips, etc, so don’t just ask them about shades, they’re all really willing to share their knowledge.
And finally – phew, so many things to share! – another thing you might not know is that you can order your favourite products online. Just visit worlddutyfree.com to pre-select and reserve items to pick up at the airport. So handy if you’re in a hurry, and there are loads of free gifts and special offers too.
Massive thanks to the lovely Estée Lauder for inviting me, and for my gorgeous Bobbi Brown palette. I had an absolute blast xx