Beauty hacks for the expat woman

After my last post on getting makeup ready in a rush, I’ve had a few Expaters get in touch for more beauty tips.

I’m not a makeup pro, I’m no #instabeauty, but I do know a thing or two about getting ready with three screaming kids clinging to my ankles. Here are a few of my fave quick fixes, hacks and tips:


  1. Apply hair oil the night before washing your hair. A good lightweight oil washes out easily and leaves your hair much smoother and more nourished than any conditioner. And besides who has time for a conditioning treatment in the day? I love RODIN by RECINE luxury hair oil, a light weight blend of sweet almond, jojoba, neroli, rosemary, juniper and sunflower oils ($70 USD for 30ml).
  2. Use dry shampoo even when your hair isn’t greasy or dirty to add volume and texture. My favourite is Klorane’s dry shampoo with oat milk ($20 USD for 150ml).
  3. If you suffer from eczema, dandruff or scalp psoriasis, apply treatment shampoo to the affected area only. Treatment shampoos strip the hair, including those oh so fabulous highlights.


  1. Don’t wash your face in the morning. Assuming you’ve removed your makeup properly the night before, showering or rinsing with water is enough. Over cleansing can strip the skin of natural oils, causing irritation, dryness or even encouraging your skin to produce excess oils to compensate.
  2. Check your make up in the mirror from different angles. Step back, check in the natural daylight. The orange mask isn’t a good look.
  3. Wash your makeup brushes every week. They’re breeding grounds for bacteria and need to be cleaned regularly. Baby shampoo works well, then leave them to dry flat (not upright). If the bristles get dry a regular hair conditioner works well.
  4. Use a little face oil before applying tinted moisturizer or foundation to prevent pilling. JK7’s golden face oil (£680 for 15ml) is expensive, but a little goes a long way and trust me, it’s the most incredibly luxurious treatment for your face.


  1. Try an eyelash lift. Eyelash lifting lasts longer and looks more natural than falsies. And they look better when growing out. The only issue is the one hour wait with smelly dye. Don’t try this at home, kids.
  2. Swap white waterline eyeliner for a more neutral colour. It’s way more flattering, natural and effective. I use ROCK ‘N’ KOHL nude eye cheat by Charlotte Tilbury (£19 GBP)
  3. Prevent eye shadow creasing by applying concealer on your lids. Zao Organic’s concealer ($31.40 USD with case, $22.50 USD for refill) doubles as the best eye primer ever. Oh and in case you get asked by your friends, the packaging is made from sustainably harvested bamboo.

Hands and nails

  1. Keep a tube of hand cream in the car. Apply whenever you’re in traffic. (Or get into the habit of using when you’re on the metro). My all time favourite is QMS Medicosmetics Hand Care (£20 GBP for 75ml) which soaks in faster than other traditional creams and is medically formulated to hydrate much deeper down.
  2. Store your nail polish in the fridge. It lasts longer, especially if you live in a warm, humid climate.
  3. Use natural mosquito repellents, at least on your hands. I’ve tried and synthetic versions always strip my varnish and my skin.
  4. Date night and you’re out of nail polish remover? Apply glitter varnish over the top for a quick glamourous cover up. Leighton Denny’s Tinkle Twinkle packs a punch and are certified vegan.Lips
    1. Use lipstick setter. If you’re like me and don’t have time to reapply lippy during the day, a decent setter will really help. I use the iconic Lipcote setter (£3.99 GBP for 7ml).
    2. Blend a drop of peppermint oil with your lip balm to plump your lips. As you’re using it (sparingly) on your lips, go for the best quality oil you can afford. I like Neal’s Yard Remedies Peppermint Essential Oil (£8.00 for 10ml).
    3. Gently rub your lips with a soft toothbrush before applying balm and lipstick. This exfoliates, encourages blood flow and prevents your lips chapping.

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