top of page

Post-Holiday Makeup

Updated: Jan 9, 2020

We spent nearly a month in Mexico this summer (Guadalajara and Punta de Mita)and loved every minute of it. Unfortunately we weren't there at the right time of year to see the Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations but this fantastic but slightly disturbing example of carnival makeup reminded me of a common problem we all suffer from when we return to the UK after our hols.

After weeks of rocking a beach-babe look, a tanned face, tousled hair and a dab of lip gloss just doesn't translate well in the grey light and hard-edged streets of London. What looked healthy and natural in warm holiday sunshine looks grubby and disheveled in overcast UK. We grab the straighteners and reach for the make-up bag but our trusty foundation seems to sit on top of our bronzed complexion like a mask and eye make-up looks gaudy and overdone.

After much experimentation I managed to find a way to wear make-up before the tan fades but without the carnival effect. Here are a few tips for how to be tanned and glam at the same time.

Moisturise like heck!

No matter how well you looked after your skin on holiday it will be drier than it was before you left. This prevents make-up from blending properly and causes it to slide around on the surface of your skin and show up every little flaw. Use a face oil at night as it sinks in deeper than cream.

In the mornings I recommend Elemis Total Glow Bronzing Moisturiser. I really love this brand, it's been my go-to for all things skin care for a few years now and I have no reason to change. This cream makes an excellent satin-matt base for foundation with the added benefit of maintaining your holiday glow. Best thing is it comes in travel size so you don't have to waste the rest when a tan starts to look decidedly dodgy in November!


Until your skin loses its slightly leathery texture use a primer on dry patches or all over.

I like this benefit POREfessional primer. It evens out the skin tone which is always darker on my nose and cheeks after a holiday and adds a pretty pink glow. It seems a bit counter-intuitive to use this as it slightly lightens my tan but that just helps to makes the bronzing step seem a bit less weird!

Skip the foundation

Yes that's right, no foundation. Actually all you'll need is a dab of concealer under your eyes because if your holidays are anything like mine, any hope of catching up on sleep will have been eroded away by compulsive frozen-margarita-making sessions followed by

I like this one by benefit. It comes in a good range of shades and is so easy to apply. Just use it on areas that look a bit patchy and on those post-holiday shadows.


Wait, what??? Why?? Well you can't use a normal face powder as you would be setting off down the carnival performer route again so bronzer is now your best friend. Also, as it wears off during the day no-one will notice as your naturally bronzed complexion will be revealed.

This one by Stila is matt and seems to be the perfect shade for me (I have light). I tend to avoid the ones with a shimmery finish as it can look really unnatural and over-the- top for daywear.


Finally a touch of blush actually freshens the whole look up and makes it look nice and finished. I got a sample size of this one in my Birchbox this month and after many failed attempts at finding a blusher that looks good with a tan, this one is spot on.

Benefit produced a travel sized one of these this summer and it retails at £12.50. This one does have some tiny gold flecks in it which add a subtle bit of sparkle to your cheeks and it smell delicious (pink grapefruit and vanilla apparently)!


I have found that as long as you stick to beach/shell/sunset colours you can still pull off full eye makeup fairly successfully. I use a light golden slightly pinky cream eye shadow stick on my eyelids and a similar less shiny colour up to my browbone. I then add a more sandy warm tone to the outside of my eyelids and bring it slightly around the outside edges of me eyes. I then use a darer brown and a small flat brush to define just above my top upper and along the actual line of my lower lashes. No Eyeleliner. Far too heavy and unnatural. A touch of mascara is all that's needed to frame it all.

I am a selfie-phobe and very happy to admit it. You will never find a photo taken of me by me anywhere on this blog or my instagram. I did however manage to take a reasonable photo of my eye makeup done exactly as described above and have cropped it so it really is JUST my eyes. I have also done the rest of my face as described above so you can see the effect on my forehead!

Now I have to work out how to deal with that frizzy mess on my head!


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page