When you spend as much time on the road as I do (33 countries in the past six months!), you really need to start shoring up your beauty game. To begin with, I’ve learnt the hard way that carrying your entire dressing table onto a flight is not very feasible (trust me, I’ve tried!). And even if you have packed and repacked and rechecked all the essentials, there will always be that one time when you forgot an acne buster and a huge red zit popped up. Or a nail’s snapped and there’s no emery board in sight. Or you’ve run out of hair conditioner. There could be a zillion things, big and small, and fortunately everything comes with a solution. An easy, effective and cheap-as-pennies solution, if you just know where to look.
Lip balm works for EVERYTHING: Lip balm is the one essential I would never leave home without – I’ve used it as a stand in for hair wax and to tame flyaways, on the cheekbones and down the brow bone as highlighter, mixed with a little blush to create a lit-from-within rosiness and swiped onto the lids in place of eye shadow. AND it also hydrates your lips!
Zit zapper: This is one I turn to all the time when my Prids is away and there is one of those mammoth under-the-skin pimples looming. Visine normally comes to the rescue, since it constricts blood vessels under the skin and helps bring down inflammation. Also works for bug bites and under eye circles.
Concealer 101: Run out of concealer? Mix a pinch of loose powder into liquid foundation. This will make it thick enough to cover up flaws.
Diversify your foundation: If, on the other hand, you’ve only got a full coverage foundation on hand and really need something lighter, mix it with some moisturizer. It will give you a more sheer and natural effect.
Blot it up: Then there have been times when I’ve landed up in a super-hot place (Phuket and Bali, here’s looking at you!) sans any oil blotting sheets or primer. And the resulting streaks down my face were not pretty. The local ladies in Bali suggested applying a little corn starch to the skin before foundation and it really worked a charm!
Blush-time: Cherry Jell-O may be one of the most innocuous grocery store products but it does some wonderful double duty as a blush. Simply mix it into your moisturiser or balm and swipe on for a healthy glow.
The brow game: Sort out raggedy eyebrows by dabbing a bit of moisturiser on a mascara wand (or even an old toothbrush) and using it to brush them into place.
Sketch it on: Another brow solution? No. 2 pencils are the perfect graphite shade to sketch in natural eyebrow hairs. Sharpen one to a point and draw in lightly for a finished brow.
Highlighter to go: Eyeshadows work brilliantly as a substitute for highlighter. In fact, I often turn to this makeup hack even when I have a full complement of highlighters on hand. That’s because ‘shadows come in far more hues, which makes finding the perfect balance between pink and gold much easier.
Root job: Yet another use for eye shadow? As a root touch-up for dark tresses.
Go for the glow: When you’re out of a body illuminator, simply mix your body lotion with a little olive oil for a soft, all-over sheen.
Conditioner quandary: Out of conditioner? You’ve actually got multiple options. (1) Plain and simple olive oil or coconut oil. (2) Mayonnaise (all hotels and restaurants will have tiny packets of these!). (3) Hand lotion, in an absolute pinch.
Off with your makeup: Olive oil is actually a serious beauty lifesaver on the road – massage it into your face to wipe away even the heaviest eye makeup.
Simple shampoo: And if it’s shampoo (or water to use it!) you’ve run out of, choose between baby powder and oatmeal. Sprinkle it on your roots, then brush away after 5 minutes for no-rinse hair cleansing.
De-puff the peepers: Travelling and puffy eyes seem to go hand-in-hand for me. And what really helps is popping a metal spoon in the refrigerator (or in a glass full of ice!) till it’s chilled and then placing it over your eyes, curved side down. The frosty metal works as an instant de-puffer for even the most fatigued peepers.
Nail it: Jagged nails and no emery board? Use the strike plate on a book of matches instead.
Super-glue a nail: And if a nail actually chips or cracks, stick it back with a drop of super glue till you can reach your tools. If possible, follow with opaque nail polish to make it look flawless.