When I travel, I like to keep my suitcase as streamlined as possible, and that includes my makeup bag.
If I’m traveling for a specific occasion (a wedding or something like that), maybe I’ll bring some fancier makeup options, but in general I pack the same exact things every trip.
Efficiency is key to my travel makeup routine.
I started thinking about the efficiency of makeup when backpacking after college. Space was extremely limited, and I wanted to bring as few products as possible, so I chose things that multitasked and were long-lasting (so even after 17-hour overnight bus rides I hopefully didn’t look TOO awful).
Some of these products I’ve used since that trip in 2011, the rest have been added in over the years. I’m always open to trying new things, but these have been faithful staples for awhile now. (I’m including some alternatives too for price, sensitive skin, etc.).
My Travel Makeup Bag
I start with Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Gel Balm. It’s my moisturizer, primer, and coverage in one. It also has SPF, but I put on extra sunscreen ahead of time too. In the past I’ve used a similar product from Urban Decay, Clinique, NARS, and Dr. Jart+. Personally, I think Bare Minerals looks the most natural and makes my skin feel the best out of these options, but I have friends who swear by some of the others. I’ve liked them all, I just like this one the best.
On my eyes, I use the mini Naked Basics palette. At home I have the larger one, but this is perfect for fitting in a travel bag, and has just enough colors to transition from day to night. I alternate between Benefit They’re Real mascara, and L’Oreal Paris Voluminous. The Benefit option does a lot (curls, volumizes, lengthens), while the L’Oreal option just makes my eyelashes look really full and pretty. I can’t pick between them, but either way I always pack waterproof. Harder to take off (that’s what these are for), but better for long flights and beachy destinations. During the day I’ll stick to light shadow and mascara, but will always pack a good black eyeliner to amp things up at night (and add some of the darker shadow shades).
For blush (or bronzer or whatever color you like to use on your face), I’m obsessed with Tarte Amazonian Clay products. They’re made with clay harvested from the Amazon River, then baked by the sun. I’m not exactly sure how that makes them last 12-hours, but I do know it works. You can wear this all day from a sweaty hike to the beach to dinner, and it still looks perfect. There are matte and shimmer options (I go matte because it looks more natural) and tons of shades. I buy ‘captivating’ or ‘natural beauty’ depending on the time of year and how pale I am. 😉 I also really, really love this Ambient Lighting Blush for summery destinations. It’s like a blush/bronzer/highlighter in one, leaving you all natural and glowy looking.
On my lips I’ll swipe a nude lipstick or gloss by day, and pack a brighter pink or red for night. (Lipstick is small so you can definitely bring both, but I’ll usually look at my outfits and pick just one per trip). I am addicted to and always have Smith’s Rosebud Salve in my bag too.
Finally, I dust on some Bare Minerals Mineral Veil. It sets your makeup for the day, no matter what adventures you have in store, blurs any imperfections, and gives your skin a soft focus look.
That’s it! Nine products to take you from day to night, around the world, in any type of climate and no matter what you’re doing. A few other things that are always in my makeup bag are travel brushes and a mini brow kit. There are too many adorable travel makeup bags to choose from, but lately I’ve been using this one.