I still can’t believe that just two weeks ago I was halfway across the world in beautiful Jaipur, India celebrating the launch of Clinique Moisture Surge Eye Concentrate. Even after I got the initial invite and was approved for a tourist visa, I kept thinking to myself: there’s no way this can be real life. One of my lifelong favorite skincare brands wants little ole’ ME? To come on a trip with them to INDIA? Talk about a total pinch me moment!
I first started using Clinique when I was in middle school and suffering from terrible dry skin and eczema flare ups on my face and neck. Discovering Clinique Comfort on Call moisturizer was like finding the Holy Grail. I had tried everything under the sun and it was the first all-over face cream that truly quenched my parched skin and helped soothe irritation. I remember being absolutely devastated Clinique announced it was being discontinued. I was in college at the time and despite being totally broke, I booked it to my local Sephora to buy every single last jar they had available.
It was sooooo upsetting and I didn’t think I’d be able to find another cream I liked. I had no choice though– I knew I’d eventually have to find make a switch and since I’d had good luck with Clinique previously I started testing other products from the brand. That’s when I discovered Moisture Surge Intense Hydrator— Clinique’s amped up version of their cult-favorite moisturizer specifically for those with dry, irritation-prone skin. Hallelujah! It’s funny to think that if Comfort On Call had never been discontinued, I probably wouldn’t have discovered the Moisture Surge line or maybe even invited on this trip!
Okay enough back story. Time for the good stuff!
So why did Clinique fly a bunch of bloggers from all over the world to Jaipur for a skincare product launch? Well, Jaipur is often called the “Pink City” thanks to the pink sandstone palaces and historic structures that canvas the town, and the Clinique Moisture Surge collection is also known for it’s pretty pink packaging– a perfect fit! What the Clinique team created in Jaipur was truly a #PinkOasis (good hashtag right?)
I won’t lie. Getting to Jaipur was a trek! We flew direct to Mumbai from Newark (15 hour flight) and had to stay overnight in Mumbai before continuing the next morning to Jaipur (just a 2 hour flight.) It basically took over 24 hours to get to our final destination, but it was so worth it!
Clinique set up home base for us at the famed Rambagh Palace hotel. If you’re thinking wow this place looks like an actual palace you’re correct: it’s the former home of the Maharaja (aka KING) of Jaipur. Just look at this suite!!! Totally fit for a princess 😛
Our first night in Jaipur kicked off with a #PinkOasis-themed welcome cocktail party in the hotel garden. I had anticipated it being beautiful because I mean, it’s Clinique and the products always have such gorgeous packaging. but I didn’t expect the incredible party I walked into that evening. To enter the gardens you had to pass across a stone terrace where you couldn’t miss the massive Clinique C logo mural– all made from real hand-placed flowers– covering the floor. The party had a live drum and dance performance, there were candles dotting every path, pink cocktails and rose was flowing, oh and there was a tall wall filled with monogrammed purses for each blogger. Want to know what was inside each bag? A Clinique Moisture Surge Eye Concentrate, of course!
Similar to the intense hydrator, Moisture Surge Eye Concentrate hydrates skin for an entire 96 hours, but the difference is that it’s formulated specifically for the delicate skin around the eyes. It plumps, brightens and works to prevent premature aging. While many moisturizing eye creams can be thick and take hours to absorb into skin, this one is sooo light and cushiony. I apply it as a last step in my morning skincare routine and right away can continue on to makeup– it wears really well under foundation and concealer, both of which tend to dry out my skin when I have to wear makeup all day.
That first night cocktail party was the perfect way to jump into the next two days of adventure. Clinique put together an incredible itinerary for us that took us to some of the most famous landmarks and attractions in Jaipur. Here are a few highlights!
Probably the most recognizable monument in Jaipur and for good reason! Hawa Mahal palace was constructed in 1799 of all pink and red sandstone– contributing to Jaipur’s nickname of “The Pink City.” The Maharaja at the time had it built so royal ladies in his household could observe the street and public life below without being seen themselves. Fun fact: the palace has 953 windows!
There’s no better place to get a glimpse into the culture of Jaipur than the Patrika Gate. It was actually built quite recently in 2009 with the intention of showcasing the history of the state of Rajasthan (Jaipur is the capital city) through art and painted murals. The gate is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen! Every inch of it is completely unique and a color-lovers dream.
While the Hawa Mahal and Patrika Gate were quite small, the City Palace is very expansive and you could easily spend hours wandering the manicured gardens, colorful courtyards, pavilions and temples. Similar to the Patrika Gate, everywhere you looked was unique and completelyd different! It’s a landmark revered for its beautiful blend of Rajput, Mughal and European architectural styles and a must-see place if you visit Jaipur. It was commissioned between 1729 and 1732 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and part of the palace is still privately used by the current royal family!
Caffe Palladio has become one of the most recognizable restaurants in Jaipur thanks it’s distinct interior design and exotic menu that fuses Italian/Arab cuisine. We had a private dinner here one night and are group dined on homemade hummus, shish kebabs, slow-cooked tagine and tabouleh.
Jai Mahal Palace
After a long morning touring Jaipur, the Clinique team hosted the most beautiful afternoon garden party for us at the Jai Mahal Palace– another one of the city’s top luxury hotels. The highlight was hands down the massive Clinique Moisture Surge chessboard!
Suján Rahmahal Palace
Ever wondered what it would be like to live in a palace? We were able to get a glimpse into just that when we visited the Suján Rahmahal Palace. It’s now a luxury boutique hotel and the interiors are absolutely exquisite! We had lunch here our second day in Jaipur and spent the afternoon by the pool– dreamy right?
It was here that we also got to try on and be fitted for own customs saris to wear to dinner the last night. I loved how the Clinique team paired each blogger with one of the attending Indian influencers who helped us pick out our looks while explaining the history & different customary ways of wearing saris. Fun fact: all of the saris were handcrafted and hand-dyed by Vasansi, a local brand in Jaipur, specifically for our trip. It was really rewarding getting to meet a bunch of ladies who actually made the saris– they were so sweet and I just hope I did mine justice!
Rambagh Palace Hotel
I loved that we were able to stay here! Similar to the Suján Rahmahal, the Rambagh Palace was once– you guessed it– an actual palace. The rooms were so opulent and really made you feel like you had stepped into another era. The grounds were just gorgeous and I loved how in the gardens there were just peacocks roaming around with their feathers out. Jaipur was hot. Like 110+ degrees hot and the Rambagh Palace was such an oasis. It’s crazy to think that places this beautiful really exist!
One of my favorite moments from the trip was the dinner we had here our last night. I didn’t think Clinique could top the welcome cocktail party, but believe it or not they did. Every bloggers and their guest wore the sari they had picked out earlier that afternoon and we dined under the stars in a tented pavilion. Fresh flowers hung from the ceiling and coated the floor while tea lights adorned the tables.
During dinner local performers treated us to an incredible traditional music and dance. It was so beautiful and the perfect way to end the trend! But of course that wasn’t the end. I should’ve know that Clinique would take things to another level– just when we thought the night was over, we were told to talk outside the tend. FIREWORKS. Yes, the trip ended with a live firework show that we watched from the Rambagh Palace lawn. SO magical.
I honestly can’t thank Clinique enough for this incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m not sure I would’ve ever had the confidence to plan a trip somewhere so unknown to me as Jaipur and the entire week was an absolute dream! What the Clinique team put together for us halfway across the world was beyond a scale I could’ve ever imagined. They thought of every. little. detail. and I’m so grateful I got to be a part of it, all in celebration of one of my favorite things: SKINCARE!