Our 5 Desert Island Beauty Picks

You know the drill. You're stranded on a desert island (think more South Pacific than Gulf) and you can pick one beauty product to survive the journey—what would it be? 

You know the drill. You’re stranded on a desert island (think more South Pacific than Gulf) and you can pick one beauty product to survive the journey—what would it be? 


1. Creed Vetiver Geranium Cologne, $397

The number one thing on a desert island, is whatever you choose, it has to last. So while it may seem super smart to choose sunscreen, I hate to break it to you—it’ll be gone in a month. Not so, with this very pricey cologne. My wife got me a bottle as a present almost two years ago and while I admittedly don’t use it every day (not every day is a Creed day, is my motto), I’m still astounded at how long it’s lasted. And while it’s pricey, it’s just more concentrated and better smelling than most colognes. And imagine the look on the cruise ship that sees my signal flair and picks me up when they realize how nice I smell after all that time as a castaway. —Neal McLennan, Food Editor


2. Mac’s Fling Eyebrow Pencil, $21

It was always the perfect mascara—in my case, Mac’s Zoom in black, which manages to be both perfectly stay-put, lengthening, as well as easily removed at the end of the day—until I discovered Mac’s Fling eyebrow pencil ($21). I literally purchase these in sets of two, for fear I’ll run out and have to go even one day without it. It’s a skinny little pencil that’s self-sharpening—delicate enough to fill out my ’90s brows (damn you, ’90s fashion!) and still look natural. Which is just the look I want should I be suntanning on a desert island. —Anicka Quin, Editorial Director


3. Kevin Murphy’s Hair Resort Beach Texturizer, $29

Appropriately enough for a “desert island” beauty pick, Kevin Murphy’s Hair Resort beach texturizer (available at local salons) is intended to make your hair look like you’ve been frolicking in the sand and surf. I love it mostly because it gives my too-fine hair the ideal amount of grit and texture, but also because the coconut and citrus scent gives me a little hit of the tropics even in the dead of winter. —Stacey McLachlan, Executive Editor


4. Calvin Klein CK IN2U Eau de Toilette, $30

I have a particularly weak sense of smell, so when I found a perfume that received compliment after compliment from anyone close enough to catch a whiff, I felt as though I’d hit the jackpot. That is, until a few years ago, when I learned the scent had been discontinued. Despite searching for a suitable replacement, I never quite found anything that compared to the sweet-but-subtle smell of grapefruit, sugar orchid and amber. Imagine my surprise (and absolute delight), then, when I happened to stumble upon the illusive Calvin Klein perfume at a Walnut Grove drugstore just two weeks ago. On sale for $19.99, I practically ran to the check-out counter—and walked away with two bottles. Desert island or not, I can’t live without it (and now I won’t have to!). —Kaitlyn Gendemann, Staff Writer


5. SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50, $46

My fellow VanMagers have lost the plot, as obviously the most sensible thing to bring with you to a desert island is sunscreen (regardless of what Neal says). I know it’s not the sexiest choice, but someone’s got to be practical in the face of starvation, dehydration and death. The beauty twist on my pick is this: sunscreen specifically formulated for the face is a hard mix to get right. It has to be strong, like SPF 50 and beyond, non-greasy, have a light scent—if any—and for all social occasions this side of civilization, it can’t be so chalky and thick that it never rubs in. I also found that a lot of sunscreens I’ve tried felt like they were burning my face (before getting in the sun) because my skin just didn’t agree with the chemical combo. This is why I’ll be packing the SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense tinted sunscreen. It goes on light (no residue, no greasiness, no rubbing in) and there’s no burning, plus it’s slightly tinted so it’s evening out the complexion too (because the best desert island beauty pick is a double-duty desert island beauty pick). Lastly, you only need a tiny amount in the morning, so my 50 ml bottle will last me for months. —Julia Dilworth, Associate Editor