But if you barely have time to even write a pre-holiday to-do list, or your vacation prep is more likely to include a last-minute dash around the beauty aisles in Duty Free, fear not — simply go for a cheat option instead.
These seven SOS products will help you feel confident in a flash.
THE CHEAT: Dr Ceuticals Firm & Sculpt Arm Gel 150ml, €15.33. (Boots.ie) If those good intentions to lift free weights five times a week rapidly went out of the window, there is a Plan B. This gel won’t work bingo wing-melting magic overnight, but spend two minutes applying it twice a day in the run-up to your holiday, and your skin should feel tauter. For maximum results, massage into your upper arms in circular upward motions. Allow to dry before dressing.
THE CHEAT: Manuka Doctor ApiBronze Anti-Cellulite Bronzing Gel, €20.29 plus P&P) (manukadoctor.co.uk). Daily dry body brushing really does help diminish cellulite, but it’s a ritual that can easily fall by the wayside. Smooth this lightweight gel over your legs for a two-in-one treatment. Pay special attention massaging into bottom and thighs, to help reduce dimpling. The golden glow develops in one hour, so pack it in your suitcase to extend the effects while you’re away.
THE CHEAT: Fake Bake 5 Minute Mousse, €26.99 (Boots) Self-tan is the instant route to a slimmer silhouette. This genius speed-dry mousse eliminates the need for the overnight biscuit-pong wait. Just five minutes is all you need for the tan to develop, meaning you can apply on the morning of your departure flight. Smooth on with a self-tan mitt to avoid tell-tale orange palms.
THE CHEAT: Nair Argan Oil Bikini & Underarm Glide-on, €5.49 (Boots). Stray hairs and swimsuits are not a good mix. If you haven’t had time to book in for a professional wax, this roll-on formula is a happy hair removal fix. For a mess-free finish, twist up the no-touch applicator, smooth on and rinse off for fuzz-free skin that lasts for up to seven days.
THE CHEAT: Scholl Velvet Smooth Express Pedi Electronic Foot File, €49.99 (Boots). If you’ve found time to shop for new sandals, fancy feet are a must. For the next best thing to a date with a beauty therapist, see off sandpaper soles with this nifty DIY tool. Smooth the rotating roller over hard skin for baby soft tootsies in five minutes flat. There’s even a tool for extra course skin, if more groundwork is required.
THE CHEAT: Barry M Sunset Daylight Curing Nail Paint & Topcoat, €5.99 each (Boots). Never make the mistake of painting your fingernails right before you pack. If you’re really pushed for time, prep talons at home and then paint with this Barry M formula, which comes in eight shades, from the comfort of your hotel balcony. To achieve a gel-like finish, the polish and two-step top coat cures in natural daylight, for super-glossy nails that’ll be chip-free for up to 10 days.
THE CHEAT: Vita Liberata Passionflower & Argan Dry Oil Face Serum in SPF30, €30 plus P&P (www.vitaliberata.ie)
No time for that pre-plane facial? Pack this luxurious dry oil serum in your case for an instant dewy glow before you hit the beach. With a non-greasy formulation, you can massage into your face each morning before your sun protection for an extra layer of broad spectrum SPF.
MAKE pores an open and closed case. Our testers put three pore-shrinkers on trial:
* Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector, €26.50
I like that this product comes in two skin tone shades, or just a brightening option. I go for the ‘Invisible Light’ shade and apply before my foundation, targeting open pores. It instantly minimises them, making my skin look incredibly matte and clear.
* Benefit POREfessional Face Primer, €34
As somebody with very visible pores, this product’s a game-changer, like a velvety polyfiller for the face. It goes on easily, but don’t be tempted to use too much or it becomes heavy and cakey — a tiny half-pea-sized amount gives a smooth, silky base.
* Kiehl’s Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate, €56 (Arnotts)
This product smells lovely (slightly mentholated) and doesn’t leave a greasy residue. After two weeks using it underneath my moisturiser, my skin feels more taught, but whether my pores have become tighter is hard to tell.
If you’re in the market for a new foundation, Vichy have you covered, whatever your skin type.
Its brilliant Teint Idéal range has three formulations, each geared to different complexions. The cream foundation is aimed at drier skins while those with normal/combination should opt for the lighter Fluid, €22.50.
Both formulations can be layered up to build coverage while still giving a dewy finish.
The third foundation is a Powder Compact, €25, and is for those with skin that tends to oiliness. It feels wonderfully retro to use a sponge and compact powder but there’s nothing old-fashioned about the formulation.
Any worries that the powder would cake were banished as it’s so finely milled, diffusing evenly across the skin. Those looking for full coverage will likely be disappointed but it does blot out shine and even skin tone on-the-go.
Perfect for summer, the Fluid is light enough to wear everyday without feeling like you’ve loads of make-up on. It gives a radiant finish, contains SPF 20 and comes in a range of five shades. I’m sold.
The Teint Idéal range is available at pharmacies nationwide.