Similar to a lot of you out there, I truly enjoy traveling. I love daydreaming about destinations far and wide, adding yet another city to an ever-growing mental bucket list. Fortunately, the past couple years I’ve had the pleasure of visiting quite a few places across the U.S. In a couple months, I’ll be taking an international trip for the first time in six years. I’ll be sharing my adventures, travel outfits, and beauty tips/new brand discoveries along the way so stay tuned!
With frequent weekend trips (either for a short road trip or by flight), I have honed in on what works for me when it comes to travel makeup. Real talk, this will not be a minimalistic makeup approach. This is my current, “slightly streamlined” makeup bag that I have been taking on trips. Travel makeup pares down the no-fail reliable products with a small bit of items that I’m currently testing. Keep reading for these mini-reviews.
Primer—Dr. Brandt Pores No More: The type of primer used will vary on the climate of the travel destination. I’ve been going to warm weather places so I chose a mattifying primer that aims to minimize pores and shine. With someone that has dry skin, prep with the normal skincare, and this should work well.
Foundation—Make Up Forever Ultra HD Foundation: When traveling, it’s likely that you will want to take photos and document the experience (I know I do!). The MUFE foundation provides medium but buildable coverage that was formulated to photograph well. With a satin finish, it would be suitable for most skin types. I’ve been wearing this for years and it pairs well with different primers and powders. When it comes to bases, I’m an all-or-nothing type of gal. I’ll either wear medium coverage or nothing at all. If you prefer sheer coverage (especially in humid climates), opt for a BB or CC cream that has a built-in SPF.
Concealer—NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: This provides medium coverage for dark circles after late nights. In a pinch, swipe it over the face and blend as a substitute for foundation.
Face Powder—Mac Mineralize Skinfinish Natural: This adds just a touch of coverage without making the skin look cakey or dry. It slightly blurs imperfections. If needed, prep the skin and wear the powder alone for light coverage.
Powders—Kat Von D Shade + Light Face Palette: This powder sets and contours the face beautifully! The powders are thin and blend nicely without looking muddy. I mix the banana and peach shades to set the undereye/concealer. I use the pink powder for a very natural highlight or to set foundation if I don’t have any on hand. The first, cool tone shade is my contour shade, the second warm shade can be used as a bronzer, and the third can be used very lightly to deepen the contour. Of course those with different skin tones would use the palette differently. Individual pans can be purchased for use. I would recommend at least the cool tone contour shade in Sombre.
Bronze, Blush, & Highlight
Bronzer—Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer: Sorry for those that have seen this bronzer so many times! This powder is buttery and the shade is not too warm or red-tone. I use the shade “Bronze” (four shades available), which is the perfect balance between contouring and bronzer.
Blush—Mac Blush in Buff (discontinued, similar color here): I bring some iteration of a nude pink blush when I travel; it is subtle but buildable, which complements various makeup looks.
Cream/Stick Highlighter—Pinch of Colour Honey Glow Waterless Balm: Depending on destination, I usually choose just one highlighter. For an extra dewy but natural highlighter, I like using this Honey Glow Balm. This is not for those that want a perfectly defined highlight that stays put all day. It has more of a subtle, undone effect and does migrate just a bit because of its dewy formula. Also, it smells like actual honey!
Powder Highlighter—Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop: When the temperatures creep up and I get a bit more tanned, I pull out the cult favorite Becca highlighter in Champagne Pop, which is a light gold with peach undertones. The formula is super buttery and melts into the skin while delivering a serious gleam. I use it sparingly and blend well to a slightly more wearable (for me) glow.
Liner, Mascara, & Brows
Liquid Eyeliner—Stila Stay All Day Liner: This brush-tip applicator is easy to manage. It doesn’t bleed, transfer, or smudge on me. It lasts a good 10 hours on me without fading. With a good makeup remover, it can be taken off without tugging.
Mascara—Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara: This is a new favorite mascara. It is a wet formula and is prone to smudging and transferring upon the first two weeks of opening up the tube. However, after it “dries out” a bit, it helps to lengthen lashes and slightly volumize. With the exception of the initial phase, it doesn’t flake or transfer.
Brows—Benefit Brow Zings & Glossier Boy Brow: This duo has also been discussed at length on the blog. I use a combo of the wax and powder in the Brow Zings to shape, define, and fill in the brows while the Boy Brow helps to volumize and tame. For casual or quick looks, I’ll just swipe on the Boy Brow and be on my way.
Eyeshadow—Marc Jacobs Eye-Conic Palette in Fantascene (LE): This eye shadow palette is limited edition for the summer, however, Marc Jacobs’ permanent palettes are some of the best formulas I’ve used. There is a bit of kick-up, but tap the brush to prevent fallout. The colors are pigmented, and the mattes blend beautifully.
This spring, I have been drawn towards peach, clay, sepia, tawny rose, and such warm toned shades when it comes to makeup and clothing. This slim and sleek palette is an easy travel companion. Use the mattes for a simple, daytime look or layer on the duo-chrome pink-gold (last shade) or the penny bronze (third to last) for impact. Although, this is a warm toned palette, I feel like I can create a couple different looks without needing to use other shadows.
Facial & Setting Sprays
Facial Spray—Mac Prep + Prime Fix Plus: I bring a travel-sized one as a facial spray before makeup to prep skin, after powder application to meld everything together, and sometimes as a skin refresher. It can also foil eye shadows for an extra boost of shine (it pairs well with the Marc Jacobs shadow).
Setting Spray—Urban Decay All Nighter: When I travel, I will wear makeup from early mornings all the way into the evening. I don’t like to touch up makeup. What I apply initially is what I want to last until removal, the UD All Nighter Spray helps to extend wear and is a must-have for hot and humid climates. I take the travel bottle with me everywhere (not pictured).
Lip Balm—Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Honey: The lip balms have been a favorite. They are a bit glossy, have a nice citrus scent, protects with SPF 15, and adds a hint of color for an undone look. I’ve recently tried the shade tint Honey for the first time, and I am in love. It is a mid-tone nude brown but has a sheer to light opacity. Yes, a my-lips-but-better color.
Lip Gloss—Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb: This gloss is not too sticky and has subtle shimmer to give dimension to the lips. In terms of color, it layers well with the lipstick below.
Lipstick—NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Soleil De Pluie (LE): This brown terracotta shade is limited edition, but I enjoy lip color that comes in a pencil form. It is easy for a precise application.
Beauty Blender: A must for application of foundation and concealer for seamless blend into the skin. It can also be used to apply cream highlighter.
Face Brush: This is a generic one that I’ve had for many, many years. The shape of this one is perfect to use for setting powder and blush (when turned to its side)
Wet N’ Wild Contour Brush: The angled shape provides a precise chisel for contour and bronzer. It can also be used for more concentrated blush application.
Elf Small Tapered Brush: This $3 brush has the perfect density and fluffy texture to set concealer with powder. It fits the contours of the face while providing a light dusting of powder.
Sigma Tapered Highlighter (F35): I use this brush to apply powder highlighter on the cheekbones, browbone, bridge of the nose, and cupid’s bow. It picks up just the right amount of product.
Lash Curler: I am not particularly partial to a specific brand, but a lash curler in general is a must.
Mac 286: I use this synthetic duo-fibre blending brush for non-precise crease and transitional shades.
Mac 213: This fluffy brush is an eyeshadow brush must! It can be used to build the crease, dust on the lid shade, and to blend.
Elf Crease Brush: This inexpensive brush is used to apply precise shadows in the outer-V or lower lash line.
As you can see, my toiletry bag has been lovingly used. I enjoy the three compartments to keep items organized; I use one for makeup, another for skincare and toiletries, and the middle component holds makeup brushes and small miscellaneous items like hair ties, bobby pins, and perfume samples. It can fit a significant amount of items and is easy to access needed items.
There’s my travel bag. Leave your favorite travel makeup (or packing tips) below so that I can check them out!