My Handbag Essentials

If you have a large handbag, it’s so easy to take everything bar your vanity mirror with you on your daily ventures – after all, you never know when you might need to reapply that lippie, or spontaneously stay at a friend’s house overnight. But if you don’t like toting around a comically large Mulberry, or find that dragging your entire makeup bag everywhere is weighing you down, then it might be worth having a sort through your stash and narrowing your beauty essentials down to a few multitasking products. These are my handbag essentials for travel:

Dr Jart+ BB Beauty Balm is great for multitasking as it keeps skin hydrated and acts as a light coverage foundation. This is quite thick for a BB cream, which I think is perfect as it’s very moisturising, and gives decent coverage. Great for perking up post-partying skin. I also take NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer with me most places. It’s great because it takes up so little space, and gives me that little bit of extra coverage if my dark circles are looking particularly pandery the morning after a visit to Monsieur Raptor’s. Using this plus the Dr Jart+ BB cream eliminates the need to bring a moisturiser, primer and a foundation.

A lipstick is also a great idea, as it can really pull a look together, but that’s not the real reason I love to bring it along – my Clinique Different Lipstick is the kind of shade that can double as a blush! I just rub a little on the back of my hand, then apply it to my cheeks as I would a cream blusher. No one will suspect a thing!

I also love to include a petroleum jelly product, such as Vaseline, or this Papaya Gold Paw Paw Moisturising Balm in my bag-stash. Not only is it great for chapped lips, but can also be used for removing makeup, highlighting cheekbones, grooming eyebrows, and even as a thick moisturiser if you’re stuck somewhere overnight and your skin needs a drink.

A perfume also never goes amiss. I love Jo Malone’s 30ml bottles because they’re so dinky and handy to keep in a bag – the bottles may not be the most exciting shape, but that makes them excellent for travel. At the moment, I’m loving Blue Agava and Cacao because it’s a great Winter scent for day or night.

What bag would be complete without a resident hairbrush? I’ve had this one for years as it’s a great size and shape for storing in my handbag’s secret pouch. You could go for one of those mirror/brush contraptions, but I find them rubbish for brushing my hair, so I prefer to use a regular brush.

Lastly, not pictured here is Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Powder Compact, which I occasionally take with me on my travels to Monsieur Raptor’s when I have work the following morning. This is great because it pulls together my makeup look by mattifying the BB cream, but there’s also a little mirror and sponge included in the compact, so you don’t need to bring a separate mirror or powder applicator.

What are your handbag essentials? 

Vaseline Vs. Papaya Gold Paw Paw Moisturising Balm

Ah, Vaseline. Sluggy saviour of parched skin; constant companion, present in every bag I own, where would I be without you? My dry cheeks cry for your soothing touch, and my cracked lips crave your moisture sealing greasiness. Who could ever replace you? Why, no one…

…oh wait, hang on. There’s a new kid on the block and his name is Papaya Gold Paw Paw Moisturising Balm – he’s enriched with Manuka honey, bee’s wax and papaya extract, and he’s in a hygienic tube. Kid’s got swag, I’ll tell you that. OH, HEY Vaseline, didn’t realise you were still here. Well, this is awkward…

So how do they compare?

I bought this Paw Paw ointment on a whim whilst browsing the aisles of my local Boots. I’ve not seen this type of product in stores before, only online after reading many a fascinating article about Miranda Kerr or whatever sleb is fashionable at the moment fawning over its super duper awesome natural healing properties n’ stuff, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. What’t the harm, eh?

Papaya Gold Paw Paw 

IngredientsPharmaceutical Grade Petrolatum, Carica Papaya (paw paw) fruit extract, Bees Wax, Bio Active Manuka Honey 20+, Potassium Sorbate.

This paw paw ointment is a petroleum jelly base with added Manuka honey, known for its antibacterial properties; bee’s wax, which is great for locking in moisture; and papaya extract, abundant in vitamin’s A, C and E, all of which are great for the skin.


IngredientsPetroleum. Or, in the case of the tin above (the Aloe Vera version): Petrolatum, aroma, isopropyl myristate, aloe barbadensis, citral, citronellol, eugenol, limonene, linalool.

Okay, so regular old Vaseline is literally just petroleum jelly, and that’s totally okay. Sometimes you don’t need to mess with the classics. After all, it’s just there to provide a barrier to seal in moisture. The Aloe Vera version has added aloe extract and a few stabilisers thrown in.

In terms of ingredients, the Paw Paw ointment is the winner, with added vitamins and antibacterials which will be sealed in by the petroleum. Nevertheless, Vaseline is still a great all-round occlusive moisture sealing barrier….cream…thing. 


After applying both and leaving them for 3 hours each, here’s my verdict on how the two products performed:

I found that Vaseline stayed on longer, so I could feel it on my lips without the need to reapply, however my lips felt drier afterwards. When I applied the Paw Paw ointment, I couldn’t feel it on my lips for as long (it felt like it has rubbed off), but my lips felt softer and more hydrated.

And the winner is…

In terms of performance, the winner is Papaya Gold Paw Paw Moisturising Balm, but Vaseline is still a great do-it-all product, and if you can’t be bothered to pay the extra few quid for the Paw Paw balm, I don’t blame you. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t buy it again, and would just stick to Vaseline, but it would fun to try out, and I can see why people like it so much.

Have you tried Papaya Gold Paw Paw Moisturising Balm? What did you think of it?

Vaseline is currently £2.18 for a 20g tin at Boots.

Papaya Gold Paw Paw Moisturising Balm is currently £5.99 for a 25g tube at Boots.