Packing for travel is no easy task, especially when you are committed to fitting everything you will need (whether for a quick weekend getaway or a months long backpacking trip) into a single carry-on. Luckily, I have no problem going minimalist and pride myself on being a light packer. But, even though I can go without most superfluous travel items, there is still one thing (or several, actually) that is a must-have for me: makeup.
I’d like to think that I’m capable of roughing-it (like gorilla-spying in the African jungle for a week… and yes, this is on my travel wishlist!). But the truth is that I’m a girly-girl at heart and don’t like to step out the door without a fresh face and having prettied-up. Who said backpackers can’t be glamorous too?!
After many trips over the years (including trips where I brought along an entire train case worth of makeup), I have finally narrowed down the contents of my (very small) makeup bag to the few essential items that will keep you looking fresh and fabulous even if you haven’t managed to find a shower in 3 days.
Here are my travel makeup essentials, in order of importance (according to me). I also put together suggestions for each item, from the affordable drugstore range to high-end if you’re willing to shell out top dollar. (But my suggestions may be limited as I have brand loyalty to a few highly trusted brands).
1. Moisturizer – A jar of moisturizer is not exactly compact, but to me, it is absolutely a necessity. Especially since I tend to have dry skin. Just choose a moisturizer that works for both day and night. For this reason, I do not use a moisturizer with SPF (we’ll get to the SPF part in a bit) as I don’t need any junk clogging up my pores while I sleep at night. I prefer an all-natural brand… something about being better for the skin…
2. Lip Balm – This one is self-explanatory. Your lips are bound to get chapped. So bring a lip balm if you don’t want to walk around with dry, flakey, bleeding lips.
3. Concealer – Trust me on this one: nothing will make you appear more well-rested and fresh-faced as some concealer under the eyes. If I bring NOTHING else (except for moisturizer and lip balm, of course), this is the single product I would bring with me.
Suggestion: Benefit Cosmetics Boi-Ing
4. Pressed face powder with SPF – This is how I prefer to wear my SPF. Of course, you probably want to carry along a bottle of sunscreen too, but those can make your face super greasy. If I’m not out in the sun all day, then a face powder with SPF is all I need. This 2-in-1 gives your skin the coverage it needs (no need to bring liquid foundation!) while protecting it from the sun. I use Physician Formula’s Healthy Wear foundation with SPF 50, for its high SPF rating and hypo-allergenic formula. And plus, the compact comes with a tiny application brush, eliminating the need for a separate brush.
5. A double-duty cheek/lip cream – Nothing makes a girl look more lively than a rosy complexion. A lip/cheek cream is incredibly versatile. And the only tool you will need is your fingers (hooray! no packing a powder blush AND a brush). Here’s a bonus tip I picked up: colored lipsticks do the job too! This works surprisingly well. I use the Revlon lip butter on my travels and the creamy color gives my cheeks a glowy, flushed look. Just pick a color that you can wear everyday (I prefer a gloss finish).
6. Cream eye-shadow – Here’s why I’m advocating a cream shadow: if you bring powdered shadow, most of us know by now that they don’t go on well without a primer. A cream shadow will eliminate having to pack a shadow palette and a primer. Again, pick a color that you can wear every single day… whether it’s a neutral taupe or bright purple is up to you. :)
7. A single black eyeshadow, and 2 brushes – This will be more versatile than a black eyeliner. A black eyeshadow can be applied to the outer V and crease (with a crease brush) to instantly transform your look to a sexy, smokey night look. Or it can be applied to the top and/or bottom lash line as eyeliner (with an angled liner brush). And as a bonus for me, as someone with black hair, I also use whatever is remaining on the brush to fill in my brows.
The only 2 brushes you will need to go along with the eyeshadow. Suggestions: any brushes found in Sephora or Ulta will do
And lastly, if there is extra room, you may want to throw in an eyelash curler, though I find it a bit of a hassle during travel. Mascara also did not make it onto my list (even though I know most girls will consider this a beauty faux pas of the highest degree), because I don’t want to pack the make-up removers required to wash the gunk off.
So there you go – these are the only beauty products you will ever need. So you never have to wander around with sallow skin and dark under-eye circles again. So you can confidently strut around that fabulous city with the best of them.
Happy and glamorous traveling!