Sunday, July 06, 2008

Things you shouldn't do when traveling

This falls under "I really, really should have known better".

After spending a couple of days walking all over Paris and riding the Metro, it seemed like my face could really use some serious de-griming. It's not that my makeup remover and a mild cleanser weren't performing. But I had a feeling, probably more psychological than anything else, that my skin wasn't clean enough. So I turned to the stash of samples I had in my bag for something that could do the job.

Part of blogging about beauty products is making the choice of which cosmetics to test, which to ignore and what to put away to be considered another time. Occasionally, one of the places the "to be determined" items end up is a bag that gets shoved into my luggage. Just because samples are more travel friendly.

That's a mistake, of course, because a vacation (or a business trip, for that matter) is never the right time for testing a beauty product that you weren't sure about to begin with. First, you're too busy to pay attention. Also, the weather, environment and daily routines are most likely not the normal ones, so the products are not tested correctly. And, most important, if something goes horribly wrong, you might not have all the resources to fix the problem.

Back to Paris. After a little rummaging I discovered I had a little sample of a facial scrub and a clay mask from a favorite top brand. It doesn't matter which one, because this is not a product review, just a cautionary tale. That night after a nice hot shower I exfoliated my face with the cream. It wasn't anything special, despite the prestigious label. Probably a little more abrasive than I would normally choose. That should have been enough of a warning, but just like in a horror movie when you see the girl opening that door and entering the scary house, like she hasn't seen any b-movies in her life, she still goes there. So did I. I applied the mask.

It's been years since my last absorbent mask. Nowadays it's all about keeping a balance of a clean but well-hydrated face. Clay doesn't belong there, as I soon discovered. An hour after I washed off the mask, my face, stripped from any oils, good and bad, went into an overcompensating mode, trying to replenish the lost moisture. I could feel it getting worse by the minute. Thankfully, I had enough of my trusty heavy-duty cream to slather on several times that night (fighting the instinct to run to the sink and wash, wash, wash) before going to bed, which stopped the oil-fest before a serious skin freakout. The next morning everything was back to normal, and I just used my regular products, which is what I should have been doing all along.

Do you have any travel/skincare horror stories? Please share in the comments.

Image of vintage face sauna:


  1. My biggest travel mistake is thinking my usual skincare routine doesnt apply when I'm on vacation. I always end up slacking off in that I'm-carefree-and-have-perfect-skin vacation vibe. Then I return all pore-clogged and grumpy. Booh! Love the Paris posts. Keep em coming!

  2. Yikes!

    I like you, pack all of my myriad samples to take with me on trips. The only real horror stories I've had were when I forgot to take samples of stuff like shampoo and conditioner and my scalp rebelled against the stuff at the hotel.

  3. On New Year's Eve day, my best friend was getting married. We had been staying at the hotel she was using for a couple of days, reveling in the luxury of it all. The afternoon of the wedding, I (a bridesmaid and someone slated to play a flute solo during the ceremony) decided that it would be nice to look my best, so I lightly applied Lip Injection's mask to my lips.

    I was not shocked by the pain that ensued as I have used Lip Injection products before in the past. When I went to blot off the mask with my washcloth, I looked in the mirror and found that the entire lower half of my face was completely swollen and bright red. And with only three hours to go before the wedding! I must have been a little overzealous in my application.

    After applying a cold compress, most of the swelling went down...but not before the whole wedding party had a good chuckle over my excessive vanity!


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