What I Packed with Ashleigh Reddy

What I Packed

If you’ve got serious travel #FOMO, a peruse of Ashleigh Reddy’s Instagram feed @StayReddy might leave you in a cold sweat. But Ashleigh wants to inspire you, not make you jealous. This photographer, style icon and influencer thinks way beyond snapshots of your everyday vanilla ice cream cone (gelato a’ la Roma is more her style).

When Ashleigh travels, she digs deep into a place, exploring its hidden corners and above all, getting to know its people. Ashleigh’s recent posts have her checking in from Brazil, Italy, Cuba, San Francisco and Coachella, for starters. Since she travels light, keeping her skincare and beauty routine on point can be a challenge, so we asked her how she keeps it all together.

What are 3 beauty products you just can’t live without?

Oil cleanser, concealer and mascara.

What is your biggest skincare challenge when travelling?

Washing my face at night! Sometimes I am so exhausted from the activities that I can barely keep my eyes open. Makeup wipes are so handy when I'm travelling. I've also been in situations when there was no running water, so they saved the day!

Your IG feed has a lot of travel shots from hot, humid places. How does that environment affect your skin?

My skin is oily and as you can imagine, in humid environments, it becomes even more oily. I try to keep my makeup routine light and make sure to use more powder based or matte-finish liquid products. I also blot more throughout the day. I sometimes break out if I don't cleanse my skin thoroughly, especially in humid environments. The skin on my body feels great, but the skin on my face needs a little more love.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

After I wake up, do some breathing exercises or a short meditation to calm my mind, check texts or alerts (I know, I know, I should wait!) and drink some water with lemon or apple cider vinegar or make some tea. Then I get on my laptop to check and respond to emails. If I have photos to edit, I try to get them done first, so I can go about my day. If I go to the gym, I like to go around noon, which is great because there are a bunch of classes to choose from. I then hang out and co-work there, run errands or return home to work. I like to reserve evenings for attending events, catching up with friends or cooking!

What is your nightly skincare routine?

Oil cleansing, then usually a powder or liquid cleanser (double cleansing is life!), toner, spot treatment if necessary, moisturiser and sometimes eye cream. I like to use essences sometimes too, but it depends on how my skin is feeling that day.

Is it easy or hard for you to set aside time for self-care, such as the Japanese double cleansing ritual?

It depends! When I have busy weeks, I definitely lack in the self-care department. Double cleansing is seriously one of my favourite things, so I try my best to squeeze it in, even if I'm short on time. I am prone to anxiety, so I'm working on having a better morning + evening routine so I can start and end my day in a calm and relaxing way.

Are there any special skincare concerns for women of colour?

Yes! One big concern is finding sunscreen that is invisible on our skin. So many look ashy or leave a colour cast and definitely cause flashback in photos, even under makeup. Having darker skin provides some protection from the sun, but it can still burn. It's important for everyone to protect with sunscreen, especially in prolonged sun exposure, which can cause premature ageing!

Another concern is dark spots. We are prone to hyper-pigmentation and it's important to find products that will reduce those spots while preserving our melanin and not lightening or bleaching the surrounding skin.

The good thing is that more and more companies are listening and creating products catering to us, so that's a win!

You have two parallel successful businesses: photography and social media. Do you have any advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs?

Yes! I'd say, just go for it. It won't be perfect and you'll definitely hit some bumps along the way.

The most important thing that has kept me going is my belief in myself. If I don't believe in myself, how will I convince others to do believe in me? I have to believe that I am worth it and that I can do this, whatever this is. If I think that someone else's is better, instead of getting mad, I work on improving myself and my skill set.

I never stop learning and always strive to surround myself with people who are smarter and/or more skilled than me. Something else that's helpful is finding a mentor. Join a Facebook [group] with people who are established in their careers. Ask for help. Reach out to someone you admire. People are more willing to help than we think. You'll make mistakes, and it's important to learn the lessons and move forward. When there are setbacks, give yourself some time to bounce back. Practice self-care, especially when you feel yourself on the verge of burning out. It's ok to say no.

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