I've clocked my fair share of air miles this year to places such as Germany and Canada with a few city breaks in between (even covering the insta-perfect vacation here). Whilst I love the thrill of travelling - one aspect always gets me down, packing! Previously I've written about what to bring (here and here) but as someone who only travels with hand luggage, packing toiletries is always tricky.
Attempting to get all your favourites into a tiny resealable plastic bag is bad enough. But watching in horror as your salon grade pomade gets thrown into the trash is even worse! Trying to find decent grooming products that are 100ml or less is an unwelcome challenge to the regular traveller.
I've tried every excuse; "Look my hair's a mess - I need this gel!" or even "It's prescription!" to no avail.
Enter the Grooming Kit Winter 2016 from MR PORTER, hand selected by the team to include 12 essentials for your daily routine. Packaged in MR PORTER's signature white box, it makes the consummate present for the guy on your list who, "has everything". For me, it was the perfect accompaniment on my recent trip to Venice and Florence.
The kit includes ; Dr Sebagh's Serum Repair
I challenged myself to travel with only the kit, the only product in the kit over 100ml was Bamford Grooming Department's Hand and Body Wash. This is probably for the best, as the bottle is too beautiful to be banging around in your Dopp kit. The grooming products were all neatly packaged inside a clear MR PORTER resealable bag, so once you've removed the above wash, you can head straight through security.
Once I arrived in Venice, the only two products I needed to complete my grooming routine were toothpaste and hair gel.
The kit contains Bumble & Bumble's Sumotech hair pomade, (which a few friends of mine swear by) unfortunately for my textured hair it's not quite enough!
A bonus of the kit is that with a face scrub, wash and flash rinse you're covered no matter your skin type. If you have normal skin like me (that adapts to new products quickly) the washes and scrubs work wonders on opposite days.
I really loved all the products in the kit, and while I won't bore you with a full review of all 12; I'll list some of the highlights here. From Cliniques charcoal wash to Lab Series' Age rescue + face lotion, my skin was left smoother and tighter for the duration of the trip and the following days in London.
M.E. Skin Lab's Plasma 27 Bio-Lifting Cell-Restoring Sheet Mask
Seriously one of the best face masks I've ever used. Beauty blogger friends of mine are forever giving me sheet masks to try, and with no luck. The masks always slip off my face, end up torn to bits and with half the serum left at the bottom of the sachet. The M.E mask is different in a few key ways, it attaches behind the ears and neck for maximum staying power and the mask is saturated enough (without being sloppy) to hydrate and restore the face. This combined with regenerative plant-based Liposomes, Proline Amino Acid and Centella Asiatica makes for a truly elevated sheet mask.
REN Skincare's Flash Rinse Facial
To test it's full effects, I saved the flash rinse facial from REN for the flight home. Shortly before descent, I snuck to the lavatory to freshen my face for the journey home. I could see the effects almost immediately and after researching REN skincare, I found that it synthesises collagen, thus removing that grey, dull complexion one gets when from air travel or a late night. Ideal for toning imperfections and rehydrating after a flight. The vitamin C helped me look and feel revitalised after a few days of carb binging and Campari Spritz'.
Some of my other favourite products from the kit included; the Oribe shampoo (a handmade solution using watermelon, lychee and Edelweiss flower extracts) that worked with my colour treated hair and added strength and shine to my damaged ends.
Baxter of California's Under Eye complex was another sweet find, as dark circles are one of my biggest [only ;)] problem areas. With a full schedule in Venice, late nights drinking bellinis and Venetian Spritz to early morning photo shoots and museum tours, a quick application of this every morning was all I needed. Caffeine and seaweed extract combined to minimise under-eye puffiness and circles.
Penhaligon's Deodorant was another welcome surprise, generally "designer" deodorants just don’t work for me. I've tried the variations from Cartier, Marc Jacobs and Burberry and have found that for maximum protection (and not just a great scent) to stick to the drugstore brand. Penhaligon's with its natural notes of lemon, lime and lavender did the trick and even held up for the long haul of airport to airport.
The MR PORTER grooming Kit is a considered collection of elevated products to cover all your grooming needs. In just a few short days I noticed a considerable improvement in the elasticity (it comes loaded with products containing collagen boosters!) and appearance of my skin. It also introduced me to a host of luxury grooming products and lines that I plan to add to my routine. I even have the #Selfies to prove it (more on that later!)
The price is also a key factor here, for just £75 you get 12 products that have been hand-selected by the MR P team of experts. £75 which for reference is only slightly more than the cost of the first item in the kit; the Dr Sebagh Serum Repair (£69).
Whether you're getting the MR PORTER Grooming kit for yourself or giving it as a gift, it will make a welcome addition (if not total replacement) to any existing grooming routine. The men in your life will appreciate you every time they catch a glimpse in the mirror, or feel the tautness of the skin on their face.
You could even bundle some of the items for stocking fillers (or a secret Santa gift!) and keep a few products for yourself. Or better yet for just £75 each, you could order two (with same-day London delivery and gift-wrap) so that this holiday season you can give and receive.