The beauty product Zoe Foster won't leave home without.

Zoe on holiday


As a seasoned traveller (oregano, for those interested), and a beauty editor, you’d think I was great at choosing which beauty products are great for travel.

And you’d be right. Well, sort of. I definitely still overpack, but I can say with confidence that my ‘essentials’ are crackers. They all work hard, deliver, and travel well.

One of these essentials is a multipurpose balm. For hair, skin, nails, lips SOS situations; all of it. To be fair, there are often two of these, one big one for the toiletries bag/body, and a smaller one for my handbag, which either proves my overpacking point even further, or exposes just how wonderful these balms are. You decide.

In the last 5-10 years, these do-it-all balms have exploded. Perfect for skin emergencies and general healing and remedying, I firmly believe ALL OF US us can benefit from one of these being in our lives. They are great cosmetically, yes, but also terrific for use with kids and babies, when camping, when in the sun, when out of the sun, when in the cold, when in the jungle, when on a plane and so on.

Aside of Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment, which mum always had a whopping great tub of for bites and scratches and rashes and chafing when we were kids (that or Rosa cream – anyone else use that?), there was only really Egyptian Magic that I knew of, and I used religiously, slapping it on like a moisturiser in winter, and using it as after sun in summer.

They are all a little different, these balms; some will excel at healing, while others are better for soothing, some will smell delicious, some will not, some will feel fantastic on the skin, some will be cloying – it depends on their ingredients and your preferences and needs.

As such, I thought I would list a few of these everything balms, which I highly recommend for travel, but also for life in general, for use as/on/for but not restricted to: nappy rash, bites, stings, cuticles, nourishing chapped lips, dry patches of skin, post-shaving soothing, stretch marks, after sun, healing scars, chafing, eczema, hydrating the tips of your hair, adding some gleam and texture to hair, or slicking annoying baby hairs into place, giving the cheeks a dewy sheen, moisturising the skin, acting as a barrier when you are dying your hair or applying fake tan, grooming your brows into place, and turning tap water into pinot noir.

1. Egyptian Magic

A celebrity favourite and one of the originals, this is touted as a ‘miracle skin cream’ and I definitely use it as a moisturiser in very dry/cold conditions, however, it might be too heavy for most, and so better kept to the usual needs, as above. Fine for sensitive skin, and full of olive oil, beeswax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, bee propolis for anti-inflammatory goodness and general soothing. And, according to the label, can eeeeeven be used in the ladygarden for rashes and so on and so forth and you know.


2. Yu-Be Moisturising Skin Balm
It lacks the delightful scent and cosmetic properties of some of the others, but Yu-Be is huge in Japan, and has been for decades. It’s glycerin-based, free of petrochemicals and has vitamins B2, C, E & camphor (which gives it the medicated scent, and which can be drying on the lips, FYI) which gives it healing and soothing properties. Yu-Be is best on cuticles, gross, cracked heels that need love, and irritated, dry skin, rather than the lips or face.

3. Trilogy Everything Balm

A gentle, velvety balm that is perfect for those expecting a baby, or with a baby, or trying to erase the marks left behind by leasing their stomach to a baby, as well as all of the usual benefits. Because of the rosehip oil and vitamin E, it’s terrific for after sun, and because of the soft texture, can be warmed a little and used as a sexy massage oil. Or even a non-sexy one. Say, more of a sporty or remedial one, even.

4. Antipodes Skin Saviour Balm

Brimming with tea tree oil (antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial) this zingy, tingle balm is good for stacks (e.g.: grazes, sores and bruises), as an after-shaving balm, healing blemishes, sore muscles and sunburn. This is a bit more… medicinal than cosmetic. Please note it comes in a wonderful looking tin, which shouldn’t matter, but does.

5. Goe Oil

A game changer. I found this stuff in Liberty in the UK a few months back and it has taken top spot in my bathroom, travel bag and List Of Multipurpose Balms. It smells like a holiday and contains every wonderful, healing, anti-ageing, soothing, anti-oxidant, regenerating, nourishing ingredient, vitamin, fruit, plant oil essence and butter known to man, woman or owl.

It contains zero nasties, and because of the large jojoba quotient, (very similar makeup to sebum) it sinks into the skin instantly. I use it on my hair, face, lips, mixed with my foundation for glow, as a makeup remover, as body oil and for sheen on collar- and cheekbones. It’s bloody terrific. Zoe for Goe…  Zoe for Goe!

Zoe is an author, columnist and porridge fan. Her books include the beauty bible Amazing Face, dating and relationship guide Textbook Romance, and three novels, Air KissesPlaying The Field and The Younger Man. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.

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

What beauty product can you not leave home without?

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