City Charms (your complete beauty guide to a city vacation)

The city unfolds its own set of charms, be it the excitement of the bustle or unravelling the finest eating joints, hippest pubs and groovy dance clubs. But the pollution, dust and grime can do a whole lot of damage to your skin and hair. Just a little beauty care will ensure that you look your best throughout your sojourn.

Expert talk:

Dr Anup Dhir, Senior Consultant Cosmetic Surgeon, Apollo Hospital, Delhi: In the city, it is the pollution and sun which are the main factors at play. Using an umbrella if sunny is important to protect your skin. A sunscreen (a good quality one with SPF 30 and above) should be a part of your daily skincare routine. Also, opt for a good quality invisible hair oil which works to protect the hair while also giving them a lovely sheen.

Makeup Artist Vydurya Lokesh of Artistry by Vydurya: City is where the drama works! Go all out and soak yourself into the spirit of the season and the city. Pull out your best outfits, put on some glitter liner to keep the focus on eyes and a matt lipstick to keep your makeup looking fresh for long. Also, don’t forget an extra spray of glow tonic over your makeup for the sheer glow. Use the right skincare products underneath the makeup application and have lip as well as face makeup handy for a touch-up. Lastly, pay attention to well-groomed brows to get a polished look.

Traveller Talk

Ritkia Suri: In Indian cities, dust and pollution do affect my skin but I have no concerns in developed nations. For the above regions, I keep my face cleansed and moisturised with a layer of sunscreen in the morning. I have a very strong liking for Korean brands, they are the most are suitable for my face. My favourites are The Face Shop, Nature Republic and Laneige. For my tresses, I prefer to use Phyto. Since I have straight hair, it gives me the right lustre and bounce.

When it comes to makeup in the city, I always do a little bit of enhancement to my eyes with a kohl pencil, coloured or otherwise and sometimes a bit of compact that is the closest match to my skin.


Do not neglect your skin during your city trip, there is a lot to be tended to!

Concern: Exposure to the sun

Sun exposure is not only a concern for the beaches but also your city destination. Along with giving you an unwelcome tan, the UV rays can cause pigmentation as well as early ageing. Ekes!

Remedy: Ensure that you make space for sunscreen (preferably an SPF 30) in your bag while discovering new places in the city. Apply a generous dollop on the exposed parts of your body and give it time to set before you set out. Else you would land up attracting the dirt and grime. Also, wait before you dab on anything else the skin. Trust us, your skin will thank us for those fifteen minutes. And if you are constantly exposed to the sun, reapply every two hours.

Concern: Dirt and grime build up

Have you ever noticed the amount of black that comes from your hand after washing it at the end of the day? Now imagine all of that gunk on your face – it’s a recipe for skin disaster.

Remedy: If you are on the go, it is essential that you wash your face least twice a day. Better still, before you step out, after coming back to your room and prior to going to bed. We suggest that you go for a gentle cleanser that will do its job without being harsh on the skin. And as tempting as the hotel cleansers are, make sure you get your recommended one that suits your skin type.

Keep a gentle exfoliation handy for those days that you feel that you have been a special magnet for all the dust out there. Having said that, refrain from exfoliating your skin every day. If you are out for long hours you can even use facial wipes to get rid of that grime. Just do not forget to dab on your sunscreen post that.

By the end of the day, you can also go for a charcoal mask as it will penetrate deep to remove the impurities your face has attracted. Another concern that stems up from the layers of dust is clogged pores. This can further cause breakouts. So, post-cleansing, go for a light toner (cucumber or rose water based is ideal) and follow with a moisturiser.

Pollution side effects

The pollution levels of most cities are alarming and can lead to the development of free radicals, which in turn damages the skin and makes it age.

Remedy: One of the best ways to beat free radicals is loading up on the antioxidants (both internally and externally). So, when you are selecting a product search for the word ‘antioxidant’. Ingredients like green tea and pomegranate are loaded with this goodness.

A serum is also effective as it usually contains a powerful dose of the required nutrients. Just a couple of drops can go a long way. Also handy are sheet masks as they address several issues at once including hydrating your skin and rejuvenating it. Plus, there are so thin, you can easily put them in your bag. For dullness, look for products that are packed with vitamin C and for loss of moisture something with aloe vera and hydrochloric acid works wonders.

Our picks for skincare products 


Your hair too needs protection from the dust, grime, pollution that you are likely to encounter.

Concern: Sun exposure

The harmful rays of the sun can damage the hair and scalp leading to hair loss.

Remedy: Hats, beanie and scarves not only make a style statement but also help protect the scalp from direct sunlight. As for the tresses, it’s best to use a protective serum before you step out. Along with giving you that extra sheen, it will safeguard you from the outside hazards. Another safe bet is using a leave-in conditioner with an SPF. You even get heat/sun protectant sprays specifically for this purpose. It’s best to put it half an hour prior to stepping out. And do not forget to use a wide tooth comb to ensure that the product is spread evenly.

Concern: Dirt and grime

Along with your skin, the hair too will hold the dirt and grime of the day. This, in turn, can deteriorate the health of the scalp leading to itchiness, dandruff and hair fall.

Remedy: Shampooing is an obvious solution, but what kind of shampoo makes a huge difference. Also, overdoing it will strip your mane of its natural oils. Go for something that moisturising, gentle and free from parabens and sulphate. Stick to a product that suits your hair type (frizzy, dry, oily). And no matter what the hair type, do not forget to use a nourishing conditioner to lock in the moisture. And if you are super busy and pressed for time, keep a dry shampoo handy! Once back, use a deep cleansing shampoo to get rid of all the build-up.

Concern: Pollution’s side effects

In the city where the pollution levels are higher, the toxins in the air enter the scalp and hair creating havoc.

Remedy: The word you are looking in your hair products is ‘detox’ as they help in undoing the damage to an extent. You can go for plant-based extracts and ingredients such as shikakai, apple cider vinegar, coconut milk and similar. Another concern of hair is dry, brittle and lifeless hair. So, go for a hair mask, something with bentonite clay can work wonders to remove impurities and nourish the hair. Hydrating and deep conditioning masks are a good idea too to replenish the tresses and give them that bounce.

Our picks for hair care products 

Makeup and hairstyling tips

Do not let your vacay come in the way of flaunting the makeup. Just keep these tips in mind.

Makeup for the day

The trick of day time makeup during your city travel is to look natural with just a hint of colour. You want to look good but not made up.

Base: For the day in the city, you can stick to a lightweight foundation that will give you coverage but at the same time not look cakey. Apply a primer for a longer stay of the makeup and smoother application. It will also help minimise the appearance of pores which become worse due to the sweat and grime. To avoid carrying too many products, you can opt for a foundation with SPF or a tinted primer.

Lips: Think sheer, gloss and cream-based lipsticks as they will go beautifully with the day time look. Depending upon your personality you can choose from the spectrum of nudes, pinks, plums to bright lipsticks. By the end of the day, you do you!

Eyes: For the day time, it’s best to go for single coats of mascara. And just a stroke of kajal can really open your eyes and give it definition. It can be doubled up as an eyeliner too.

Hairstyling: Instead of the hassle of setting your mane with a styling or blow drying product, simply use a texture spray when your hair is wet and scrunch it. Or opt for a serum for a natural yet glossy finish.

Other tips:

  • Instead of a blush or eyeshadow, go for a bronzer that can work as a highlighter and eyeshadow.
  • A two in one lip and cheek tint too can be pretty handy and can be used for a bit of eyeshadow too!

Makeup for the night

Planning to paint the town (city) red? These tips might come handy!

Base: Now is the time you can bring out a full coverage foundation. In this manner, you can skip the concealer if you do not want to carry too many products. You can use the bronzer of the day for a bit of contouring. It won’t exactly recreate the look of a contour kit but will certainly give more definition to your face. Blend it on your forehead, cheekbones and jawline.

Lips: For a glam look, go for shimmers and sparkle whereas if you are a goth chick think deep reds and wine hues.

Eyes: Depending on how strong you plan to keep your lips, you can go heavy or light on the eyes. Either go for brown or glitter eyeshadows or simply use the lipstick on your eyes (just a hint of it) for the monochromatic look that is really trending these days. Apply several coats of mascara and you are good to go!

Hairstyling: For that perfectly set hair and enviable locks you can carry a hairstyler that serves the dual purpose of drying and styling!

Our picks for hairstyling and makeup products 

There you have it, don your beauty best this city vacation!

Article by – Prajna Rao

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