Beach Essentials

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‘What would you take with you on a deserted island?’ I must have heard that question a million times before. To be fair, it is a puzzler. What would you consider important enough to take with you on a deserted island? Now imagine, rather than a deserted island, you’re on an idyllic private beach at a 5 star resort in paradise. Perhaps not the same thing, but it’s close enough; which explains the dilemma that I encountered on my recent travels.

I’m a firm believer that the contents of someone’s beach bag have a strong correlation with their personality. Being the obsessive, compulsive, slightly over bearing freak that I am, I tend to take everything but the kitchen sink with me. However this time round I tried my very best to be good, taking only the ‘essentials’. I use the term ‘essentials’ very loosely as I probably exceeded the amount of products that a normal person would take. However, the products listed below are genuinely what I need when I’m sunning myself on a tropical beach. Me, high maintenance? Never…

Garnier Ambre Solaire Ultra Light Dry Mist Protection £8.50

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I cannot stress enough how important sun protection is, even for women of colour. I know plenty of sunscreen-phobes who genuinely believe that if they don’t have pale skin, they don’t need sun protection – WRONG! Darker skin contains higher levels of melanin; which protects the skin against effects of the sun such as skin cancer and premature ageing. However, our bodies only produce an SPF factor of up to 13.4; which is far too low to protect us from sun damage. Wearing a sunscreen of SPF 30 or above with UVA and UBV will ensure that your skin stays as healthy as possible.

From creams to lotions, I’ve tried many different formulas available on the market. However, I had yet to find one as easy to use as the Garnier Ambre Solaire Ultra Light Dry Mist. As the label suggests, the formula is super light and absorbs instantly into the skin. I hate the sticky/greasy feeling that most sun protectors give you, but this spray feels very skin like and is pretty much transparent. The icing on the cake is that it’s water proof; which is perfect for someone like me who never thinks about reapplying their sun protector once I’ve had a dip in the pool.

LA ROCHE-POSAY Thermal Spring Water £7.00

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This is one of those products which seems indulgent, but once you start using it you’ll wonder how you ever went through life without it – a bit like what my husband first thought of me (I joke). Developed with micro-droplets of the brand’s unique water, this spray provides you with a refreshing burst of instant calm for skin that craves hydration, soothing and cooling. Suitable for men and women of all ages and skin types, it contains a high concentration of selenium to give you protection against free radicals and the environmental damages.

I can understand that some will think that £7.00 for what is essentially a water spray is ludicrous, but this spray contains vitamins, anti-oxidants, minerals and trace elements; which has healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only is it a life saver when your skin is feeling the effects of the sun, but it also works great as a makeup setter/refresher.

Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream SPF 25 in Medium £30.00 / Benefit Posiebalm Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm £14.50 / Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara £5.99

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Makeup on the beach has always been a slightly taboo subject. Many women shudder at the thought of piling on the makeup when at the beach; which is perfectly acceptable, you do you boo! I however, need a little something on my face so that I don’t scare the fishes away. I’m not talking cake face here, just a few little cosmetic tweaks.

Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream SPF 25 in Medium gives me beautifully even toned skin with added sun protection. Unlike traditional BB creams, the formula isn’t greasy or runny; which is a bonus point for me as I want something that will ‘stick’ to my skin during the heat. It feels more like a luxurious cream rather than a face base as it promises to revitalize dull complexions. The colour selection isn’t great (Light, Medium and Dark), but the formula blends easily into the skin and gives you a very natural finish.

Benefit’s Posiebalm is an oh-so-cute poppy pink tinted lip balm; which provides hydration and a sheer wash of colour. Containing mango butter and sodium hyaluronate, your lips feel smooth, soft and glossy. The packaging is faultless, but then again, that can be said about all of Benefit’s products. The stick formulation makes it easy to apply on the go and eliminates the possibility of it melting in the sun like most potted lip balms.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara is the waterproof alternative to the famous original formula. Adding a few coats of this wonderful mascara to your lashes ensures that you look wide awake and ready for all those selfies on the beach.

Compact Mirror price unknown

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Fact of the matter is, everyone needs a compact mirror at all times. It’s all fine and dandy when you have a £30.00 BB cream on your face, but if you’ve got a smearing of sand across your forehead, you’re going to look pretty stupid. Compact mirrors ensure that you’re embarrassment free at all times.

I bought this little 3D rose shaped compact from Beauty Base many moons ago. Not sure if they still have them or what the price was, but you can pick up something fairly identical from eBay. Super cute and super functional.

Victoria’s Secret Coconut Passion Fragrance Mist £8.50

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What would a holiday be without the tropical scent of coconuts; which is the reason why I opted for Victoria’s Secret Coconut Passion Fragrance Mist. Notes of coconut, vanilla and lily-of-the-valley are blended together to create this super sweet, almost good enough to eat fragrance. I’m a huge fan of the Victoria’s Secret Body Mists as they’re long lasting, but don’t overpower you like a strong eau de perfum. The bottle is fairly chunky and perhaps not very travel friendly, but the plastic bottle does make it slightly easier to transport. I love spritzing this whilst I’m on the beach to invoke my inner VS angel, but mostly to rid myself of the mosquito repellent smell.

The Body Shop Peppermint Cooling Foot Spray £6.00

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Much like the LA ROCHE-POSAY Thermal Spring Water, this spray is designed to cool and refresh tired feet. Containing extracts of peppermint oil, this perfectly sized bottle is a life saver when you’re in a hot environment.

I don’t know about you, but my feet tend to swell slightly under the hot sun. Super annoying and it makes for a slightly uncomfortable squeeze in my heels, but spritzing some of this cooling foot spray, especially when I’m sunbathing, ensures that my feet stay refreshed, cool, odor free and intact of its normal size. It works just as well on plane journeys when your feet are feeling slightly parched and in need of some hydration.

Soap & Glory Hand Maid Antibacterial Hand Cleansing Gel £2.50

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Not just my beach bag, but any bag that I own harbors a small bottle of this in their deep, dark crevices. Hand sanitizers are a must, especially when you’re going from beach to pool bar/restaurant. It kills 99% of bacteria that you naturally accumulate throughout the day and although it contains alcohol, like most hand sanitizers, it’s non-drying and quite moiturising in fact.

As with most Soap and Glory products, there’s a wonderful citrus smell; which is not overpowering by any means.

Havaianas Top Metallic Rose Gold Flip Flops £20.00 / Primark Black Crochet Floppy Hat £4.00

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Havaianas Top Metallic Rose Gold Flip Flops were destined to be mine as soon as I set my eyes on them. I love anything rose gold and that goes for shoes too! So comfortable to wear and looks great against tanned skin.

Primark’s Black Crochet Floppy Hat was the ultimate bargain. I found this gem during a random Primarni browse. At a mere £4.00 I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to purchase it, even though I had no where to wear it to at the time! Sun hats are perfect for keeping cool whilst on holiday and protects the delicate skin on your face from sun damage.

Prada Oversized Minimal Baroque Black Gradient Sunglasses £241.00

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Much like my flip flops, I fell in love with these sunglasses from the first moment that I saw them. I mean, they’re so over-the-top and fabulously camp they’re almost offensive. So of course I needed them in my life. They certainly make a statement…and if they didn’t…I made sure they did!

Papaya Gold PAWPAW Moisturising Balm £5.99

Massive epic fail here – I forgot to take a product shot of this. I know, I know, bad beauty blogger! Nevertheless I can promise you that this product is by no means lesser than any of the other products mentioned (it’s the small red tube in the bottom right of the first image of this post). This is a multi use product; which cures a enormous amount of aliments at a mere swipe. Enriched with Bio Active Manuka Honey 20+, this waxy balm soothes, relives and moisturises dry, sensitive and irritated skin. Use this on sun burns, chaffing, cuts/grazes and even chapped lips. You only get 25g in a small handbag-sized tube, but it certainly goes a long way. I used the tiniest of drops on my peeling, sun burned shoulders and sure enough, my skin was right back to normal the next day. So impressed by the wonders of this product, it has now become a permanent resident in my handbag – you know…for all those sun burns I get in London *pulls a sarcastic face*.

What are some of your beach bag essentials? Comment below!