Turn your hand luggage into a bag full of beauty

Top brands now offer complete holiday make-up kits small enough to take on board…so turn your hand luggage into a bag full of beauty

  • Sarah Rainey rounds up the best travel-bag sized kits offerings for your holiday
  • She explains the rise of the high-end beauty box provides us with more samples  
  • These are also the perfect way to sample in luxury without investing in full-size 

Holiday packing is more stressful than ever thanks to cancelled flights and lost suitcases, with many of us opting to travel only with hand luggage.

That used to mean leaving your favourite lotions and potions and go-to make-up at home, as you fought to cram old and half-used miniatures into a tiny plastic bag.

Until now. Because the high-end beauty box is here and it is carefully curated to contain everything you need for a well-groomed getaway.

If you’ve already been away, they are the perfect way to reboot your skincare after a frazzled few weeks, without having to invest in full-size bottles of luxury kit.

Here, SARAH RAINEY rounds up the best…

If you've already been away, they are the perfect way to reboot your skincare after a frazzled few weeks, without having to invest in full-size bottles of luxury kit

If you’ve already been away, they are the perfect way to reboot your skincare after a frazzled few weeks, without having to invest in full-size bottles of luxury kit

High-end collection with an A-list touch 

Harvey Nichols Beyond Beauty- Full: The Summer Edit, £125 (harveynichols.com)

WHAT’S INSIDE: Eleven ‘holiday essentials’, worth £294. This is the first beauty box from luxury store Harvey Nichols, with each product — some miniature, some full-sized, all under 100ml. Includes a gold-infused face mask by Starskin VIP for mid-trip pampering and some Neom Wonder Balm for parched lips and dry skin.

BEST FOR: Weary, middle-aged skin in need of rejuvenation.

STAR PRODUCT: SPF 50 Sun Drops by Dr Barbara Sturm. A-listers — among them Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Moss — rave about this ultra-lightweight sun protection serum.

DON’T FORGET: While this has toiletries covered, you need to bring your make-up.

SCORE: 8/10 — the ultimate high-end haul.

Bargain bag with a bit of everything

Look Fantastic Holiday Beauty Bundle, £40 (lookfantastic.com)

WHAT’S INSIDE: An astonishing 18 products, worth more than £200, in a branded canvas bag that’s ideal for the beach. There’s a tube of This Works hyaluronic serum (15ml), Elizabeth Arden Prevage anti-ageing serum (5ml), Elemis Superfood Priming Moisturiser (20ml) and St Tropez facial mist (14ml), as well as an eyeshadow palette and biodegradable make-up sponges. There’s also an SPF 30 lip balm for your handbag.

BEST FOR: Bargain-hunters who want to try a bit of everything.

STAR PRODUCT: Too Faced’s Hangover Pillow Cream, designed to hydrate and replenish tired skin and counteract the effects of too many cocktails, while you sleep.

DON’T FORGET: The products in this selection are all pretty small, so you might need to bring bigger bottles of shampoo, shower gel, etc for a longer break.

SCORE: 10 — an eclectic-yet-useful collection of high-end cosmetics.

Summer selection covers all bases

Holiday packing is more stressful than ever thanks to cancelled flights and lost suitcases, with many of us opting to travel only with hand luggage - not anymore

Holiday packing is more stressful than ever thanks to cancelled flights and lost suitcases, with many of us opting to travel only with hand luggage – not anymore

Boots No7 Summer Glow Beauty Bundle, £80 (boots.com)

WHAT’S INSIDE: This is great value: 15 products worth £210.25, for less than half the price. It’s the ultimate summer collection, containing everything from line-correcting serum and cleanser to airbrush primer, high-shine lip gloss and even a gel-finish nail varnish in eye-catching pink. All the items, except the Vitamin C Glow Toner (200ml), can go straight into your hand luggage.

BEST FOR: Busy travellers with no time to pack.

STAR PRODUCT: No7 Radiance+ Vitamin C Daily Brightening Moisturiser. Ideal for keeping your skin dewy in hot conditions.

DON’T FORGET: Pretty much everything is covered, but you will need to bring your own bag.

SCORE: 9 — it’s hard to fault this summery selection.

Fabulous value with added treats

Next Game Changing Beauty Box, £20 (next.co.uk)

WHAT’S INSIDE: The cheapest in the line-up, this selection of seven products — some samples, some travel-sized — isn’t ample, but it covers big brands. There’s a 15ml tube of Elemis’ best-selling Pro-Collagen Night Cream, Philip Kingsley Elasticizer (40ml) for knotty post-swim hair and a 30g tub of Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm. Worth £77, it’s an indulgent collection in miniature.

BEST FOR: Brand lovers who’ll appreciate the products’ calibre.

STAR PRODUCT: Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (15ml) is ideal for tightening and boosting skin.

DON’T FORGET: Something to combat dry, chapped lips, the ultimate holiday horror. Your skin will be soft, your hair shiny — but remember to bring lip balm, gloss and liner for a perfect pout.

SCORE: 8 — great value and filled with tiny treats.

Overloaded with gimmicky goodies

The high-end beauty box is here and it is carefully curated to contain everything you need for a well-groomed getaway

The high-end beauty box is here and it is carefully curated to contain everything you need for a well-groomed getaway

Rituals Summer Box of Joy, £64.50 (rituals.com)

WHAT’S INSIDE: Thirteen products, from shimmering body oil and recovery hand-balm to cooling after-sun shower gel and a scented candle. Each is individually wrapped and designed to be opened one day at a time — like a summer advent calendar. There’s also an hourglass, so you can set aside 15 minutes a day for meditation. The items — all but one of which is under 100ml — would be £118 if bought separately.

BEST FOR: Someone with the patience to appreciate it.

STAR PRODUCT: Glow Radiance Anti-Ageing Serum, with saffron and holy lotus. It’s the smallest item but smells incredible.

DON’T FORGET: Your skin will be glowing, but there’s no shampoo, conditioner or make-up.

SCORE: 2 — too gimmicky to help with the holiday packing.

Makes scents for the teen market

Sol De Janeiro Limited Edition Beauty Box, £69 (lookfantastic.com)

Sol De Janeiro Limited Edition Beauty Box, £69 (lookfantastic.com)

Sol De Janeiro Limited Edition Beauty Box, £69 (lookfantastic.com)

WHAT’S INSIDE: The smell of summer — mango, coconut and citrus fruit — hits you the moment this box opens. It’s packed full of summery yellow-hued products. There’s a 75ml tub of celebrity favourite Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (an all-over moisturiser said to give smooth, supple skin), a tropical hair repair treatment, shampoo, shower cream and lip butter made with cupuacu, a tree from the Amazonian rainforest.

BEST FOR: Fresh-faced teenagers who’ll love the heavy scents.

STAR PRODUCT: Sol De Janeiro’s Brazilian Crush hair and body mist boasting head-to-toe scent has been going viral on social media, and this box contains a 90ml bottle of the pistachio and salted caramel blend. A lovely change to your usual fragrance.

DON’T FORGET: Your sun cream. These products may be designed to give you glowing skin, but they’re no good for sunburn.

SCORE: 6 — fun but not much of an all-rounder.

Sign up for the novelty value

Tingle Box, £10 (tingle-box.com)

Tingle Box, £10 (tingle-box.com)

Tingle Box, £10 (tingle-box.com)

WHAT’S INSIDE: This self-care subscription box is delivered each month — or you can sign up for one-off deliveries. The summer selection comprises radiance serum, moisturising bath milk powder, nude matte lipstick and shea butter balm for your lips, skin, nails and cuticles, packed inside a pretty pink box.

BEST FOR: Beauty addicts up for trying new products.

STAR PRODUCT: Cucumber make-up fixing spray by Revolution Beauty. Refreshing and essential so your make-up doesn’t run in hot weather, this is a must-have.

DON’T FORGET: You’ll need some hair products — shampoo at the very least — as those tiny conditioner sachets certainly won’t last long.

SCORE: 7 — novelty value but lacking in essentials.

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