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Beauty Haul Diaries

The Beauty Haul Diaries: Abigail James

Ever wondered exactly what the skin pros pack in their vanity kit? Abigail James is the A-lister facialist the beauty industry has on speed dial for glowing skin. Her clientele of supermodels, celebrities and beauty editors swear by her magic hands and natural approach.

So when it comes to her own skincare routine, we want to know exactly how she switches it up when she’s on vacation (if at all). Here’s how Abigail looks after her skin on holidays. Plus, don’t miss the wonder products she packs in her beauty haul…

Q. How do you adapt your beauty routine when you travel?

A. I drop out retinols seven days before I travel and leave them at home, along with any stronger peeling ingredients. AHA’s, low level acids and physical exfoliants are fine but I’m always conscious of cutting back and possibly dropping them out so I’m not putting my skin at risk of sun damage.

Q. Must-do beauty rituals and treatments before a vacation?

A. I always have a facial about two weeks prior to flying to get some extra antioxidants into the skin and add hydration. The week before I tend to do regular hydrating masks, too. I also love the Skinfusion treatment that I do (infusing vitamins and minerals including vitamin A but not retinol) along with LED light and a quick radiofrequency boost if I have time. Depending on how my skin is feeling I’ll also add in microneedling.

Q. What’s the best way to downsize your at-home beauty haul for travel?

A. Cut down your normal routine to a minimum. Pick the products that can multi-task for your skin and decant them into small pots.

Q. Do you prefer to pack travel minis or full size beauty products?

A. Always minis – even for long-haul destinations.

Q. Do you have a plane beauty routine?

A. I always take a balm and a mini hydrating face cream or sheet mask with me.

Q. How do you combat jet lag skin/eyes when you land?

A. I don’t like wearing eye make-up when I’m travelling and I always layer up hydration on my skin before I go away. I find cool compresses and some lymphatic massage with hands or a with a cool Gua Sha are great, too.

Q. Favourite country to shop for homegrown beauty products?

A. The Netherlands – it’s great for smaller, natural brands.

Q. What’s been your favourite vacation spa so far and why?

A. It depends on what I’ve wanted from the trip – it might have been a city trip or an escape-from-it-all type getaway. The Royal Mansour Marrakech has an incredible hammam treatment. For more of a city spa with beautiful facials, I loved the spa at Address Dubai. And the Adare Manor Hotel in Ireland is pure weekend getaway luxury in such a serene location.

Q. What are your top takeaway skincare tips when travelling?

A. Simplify – choose products such as oils and balms that can multi-task, because they work for skin, hair and nails. Ditch the exfoliants and retinols – they both speed up cell turnover so you’re more at risk of potential UV sun damage.


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HELLO GLOW 🌟 Meet the Glow to Go salad I’ve launched with @wearesquirrel (we had a fun Q&A launch event!) Designed to give your skin a boost through the colder months. Packed with skin loving nutrients, flaxseeds for omega oils, to moisturise from the inside out. A whole host of colourful antioxidants & protein rich quinoa for a skin firming. Don’t live near south Ken, don’t worry it’s also available via @deliveroo & a very specially priced winter skin boosting “glow to go facial” with myself for those who buy the salad & share their Glow love on @instagram #GlowToGo #LoveYourSkin #AbigailJames #SkinFood #Instafood #skincoach #antioxidants #WinterSkin #foodlover

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Q. What’s in your must-pack beauty kit at the moment?

A cleansing wash, like CosMedix Benefit Clean Gentle Cleanser.
An antioxidant/vit C serum – Image Skincare Vital C Serum is brilliant.
A hydrating moisturiser that’s SPF-free so I can use it morning and night. I currently use La Roche-Posay Cicaplast B5.
A face balm, which can multi-task as a cleanser, face massager and eye make-up remover, like Darphin’s Aromatic Balms.
Always SPF – Alumier Sheer Hydration SPF40 comes tinted or untinted.
A hair oil, or leave-in treatment – Rahua is amazing.


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I’ve been asked what professional peel products I used on my skin. I use a number of different ranges in my treatment room so I can totally bespoke my facials. My triple layer peel using @alumiermduk is really effective at brightening, smoothing and giving back your glow. AHA’s then Lactic acid, one of my favourite exfoliating / peeling ingredients, it brightens and hydrates and is one of the most comfortable to use so a none aggressive peel when used 30% or less, you obviously do feel it on the skin but not to be scared of, It’s an ingredient you might find in some of your at home peels and masks not just for the treatment room, then layered with a retinol. I love using gentle nourishing skincare products and oils over the following week to support the skin in its rejuvenation process, I try to avoid synthetics and fragranced products on the skin as I’ve learnt these are likely to cause an irritation. #skincare #skinexpert #loveyourskin #abigailloves #abigailjames #celebrityskin #skintip #facial #skinhealth #celebrityfacialist #facialist #agewell #glowtogo #skinpeel

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The Packing Lowdown: Quickfire Questions

Travel light or over-packer?

Travel light

Spa facial or massage?


Vacation air-dry or blow-dry?


Skincare wipes, yay or nay?


Self-tan or au naturel?

Au naturel

What to Pack

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Any Questions or Tips to add?

What to Pack?