How Zoe Foster learned not to be a slob on holidays

Beyonce and Jay-Z

Being early January, it’s a given that a lot of you are still on holidays. After all, it was written on the famous Vegemite Scrolls that: “Australians will continue to be on holidays, or cram their weekends with Very Fun Outdoorsy Things until the Great Australia Day BBQs have come to pass.”

(Also I know this because, whenever I go to take visiting family or friends to a café or shop or gaming arcade I really love, there is a sign on the window saying they’re on a break, and not back until January 43rd.)

Of course, it is almost certain you will have a more casual attitude to your beauty and hair routine when you’re on holidays, and I salute and strenuously encourage this. After all, why the haloumi would should we be doing full faces of makeup when we don’t need to? Preposterous. Holidays should be a break from the mundane and the mechanical, and for a lot of us, spending 15 minutes making sure we have erased all traces of wild woman bed hair and putting our face on before we set off for the day, is exactly that.


I don’t advocate entirely switching off the glamour when one is on holidays, or enjoying pleasant summer activity. In fact, I enthuse undertaking a whole new brand of allure, one that is simple to do, has high impact, and – like the clothes you are wearing, the people you are with, the activities you are doing and the food you are eating (chocolate-coated bananas and Long Island long tea if I know you) – is a little out of the ordinary.

I say this for a few reasons:

The first is because it’s fun and easy and requires very little work, so there’s no need to feel resistant, or scared. Holiday makeup should fit as seamlessly into your day as choosing which sandals to wear.

The second is that just because you cannot be bothered doing your usual labour and time intensive makeup/hair, doesn’t mean you need to walk around looking like you don’t give a shit. You’re on holidays, not invisible.

The third pertains to the fact that holidays are generally when we take the most photos, and have the most photos taken of ourselves, and when we most document our lives and collect our memories. After all, when else will you have a cocktail on that glorious deck at in Bali at sunset? Or pat that baby Sloth at the zoo? Or stand next to (insert famous and impressive and enormous monument)? Perhaps never. And yet, so often when we have these holiday snaps taken, we are wearing our daggy Holiday Clothes (I have a whole draw full of sloppy “summer” clothes that only ever seem to get a run when an airport is involved) and haven’t done one little thing with our appearance that reflects our happiness at being somewhere beautiful, on holidays and relaxed, or the pride we usually take in our appearance.

It seems unfair that a lot of the times we are all fancy faced and perfectly haired, (say work, for instance) there is no one is there to take a photo of how much work we’ve put in, and yet when there is a camera around, we are off duty, (and if you’re me, wearing a t-shirt with a olive oil stain on it, denim shorts and Converse.)

Before you start throwing packets of dense legumes at my superficial little beak, I’m not suggesting you are should wear a smoky eye to brunch. Nor that we should never have an “off” switch for our appearance. You can do exactly as you please when you’re on a break. Of course you can! Wear nothing but a lap-lap and headphones every single day if it pleases you. But, I urge you to at least consider a little bit of spit and polish during your holiday, if not for the sake of the 283 photos that result, (and of you liking roughly four of them), but so that when you’re sitting at Juicy Jim’s Jumbo Prawn House for lunch with all your dearest friends, and the sun is shining, and you’re deliriously content, you feel beautiful, and, well, I guess you could say “in sync” with how wonderful a time you’re having.


This idea of Not Being A Slob On Holidays came to me after watching a friend of mine, as we holidayed last year. She came prepared with a lovely straw hat (I had only a shitty cap for running in, as an example of my holiday supplies), lovely big Famous Person sunglasses to cover all sins/half the face, a few summer scarves, some huge (cheap, market-bought) decorative earrings and necklaces, bright, beautiful, flowing dresses, and gorgeous leather sandals. She wore only her sunscreen-saturated liquid foundation and lipstick/gloss on her face with fashion and accessory artillery through the day, and at night slicked her hair back and added some liner or shadow or lipstick. It took SO little time to put together, but she always, always looked marvellous. It was a wonderful first-hand lesson for me, about how to pack for a hot weather holiday like a grown up, but also how a few clever accessories and simple hair-dos and makeup looks can make you look and feel like one million Euro, and all in as much time to do as not doing it. (Don’t think about that one too much.)

I started to emulate her “resort” style and consequently our photos from this trip – and she made sure we had plenty – are so fun. Of all my holiday photos from all of my holidays, ever, THEY will be the ones I keep to show to my daughter, to prove mummy was a cool broad who travelled overseas and ate a lot of pesto pasta and looked a bit delicious (albeit pose-y) as she did it.

So! As we shimmy our way through the next month or so, or for your next holiday, whenever that may be….

Why not add some red lipstick or gold hoops to your straw hat and sunglasses? Why not add those outrageous earrings you picked up from Sportsgirl for $10 to a slicked back bun or ponytail with some pink or red tinted lipgloss? And why not enhance your (fake) tan with a face full of well-applied bronzer and a berry-coloured lip stain or gloss? Why not pull your ocean-wild hair into a low braid and snake it down one shoulder, instead of jamming it back into your usual pony? Why not add a deep magenta lip colour to your mascara and tinted moisturiser combo to dazzle and entrance strangers and friends alike? Bold accessories, (big hats, big sunglasses, big jewellery) simple hair, bronzer and a few coloured lip prodz are your best holiday friends.

If this is all sounding too hard, please remember that holiday beauty should be fun and easy. The result should make you feel smug because you look very glamorous and fantastic but with only the simplest tools and teeny amount of time. Just takes that little bit of effort and gusto at the start, and then you get to sashay through your holiday feeling like a bit of movie star, and looking at your holiday photos knowing you looked pretty great actually. Because you did! You really did.

Zoe Foster is an author and columnist and Contributing Editor for Mamamia. She has previously been the beauty director for both Cosmopolitan and Harper’s BAZAAR magazines, and the Editor at Large of Primped.com.au. Zoe has published four books; Air Kisses, Textbook Romance (which she wrote with Hamish Blake), Playing The Field and Amazing Face. You can follow Zoe’s tumblr here and her Twitter here. You can and should buy Amazing Face here.

Please understand that Zoe cannot respond to ALL your questions but never fear there are readers that are bound to know the answers to many of your questions so don’t be afraid to ask.