The products and beauty regimen that make traveling easier whether for a weekend getaway or 6-week trip around Europe.
Sometimes I wish I was the type who would just go completely without make-up while traveling, but what can I say – I like makeup. It makes me look more awake and if traveling with my husband, it’s nice to look a little more dressed up if we are doing dinner out. Still, less is more when it comes to makeup on the road and I usually drastically pare down what I bring with me while traveling compared to what I use at home.
My makeup routine for traveling is now so simple that it is fast and easy for me to grab what I need and quickly pack. I also never have to worry about it fitting in my carry-on bag, and I still feel like I have enough products at my disposal to keep me covered, but I don’t need to worry about my makeup and beauty routine taking over my travel day – or my suitcase.
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Here are my travel makeup and beauty must-have products and why:
BB Cream instead of Foundation
Foundation is too heavy for me while traveling. If I’m traveling around a tropical island or Europe during one of its summer heat waves, I don’t want to worry about my foundation smearing across my face or making me feeling hotter and more stifled than I already do. BB Cream is much lighter than foundation, but still provides some coverage. It also includes sunscreen so you don’t need to pack a separate face sunscreen. It is fast to put on since it is sheerer than regular foundation and most brands come in a standard under 3 oz. size that means you can pack it in your carry-on.
- I use Clinique’s BB Cream.
A Great Concealer
Concealer is my secret weapon. A high-quality concealer hides under-eye circles and blemishes well and pairs well with the BB Cream meaning I don’t miss my regular foundation all that much. Plus, concealers pack a powerful punch, but generally come in a little tube meaning it’s easy to stick in a purse or makeup bag for your carry-on suitcase.
- This is one of my favorite concealers for travel – it covers well and moisturizes, which is always a plus while traveling. Plus, it’s in an easy to pack container.
Chubby Stick Eye Shadow
Powder eyeshadows can be messy, are prone to breaking in a bag, and take time to apply properly (at least for me anyway). That’s why like stick eye shadows. They’re super fast and easy to apply – just swipe across your eyelid — and can work as undereye liner, too. Plus, they’re incredibly easy to pack. I have to go with Clinique again for this one. I love their chubby pencils and use them at home, too, instead of traditional powder eye shadows.
- I use this color all the time. Natural and pretty.
If you have amazing cheekbones and a rosy complexion maybe you can skip blush, but I like how much more awake and put together it makes me look. Like a cream stick eyeshadow, cream blush is less likely to break in your bag and is quick to put on. I don’t wear blush everyday while traveling, but like to have it on hand to put on in evenings. Cream blush also works well over the BB Cream.
- Here’s a rosy option in a small compact. (Plus, it doubles as a lip tint!)
- And a stick version.
Lip Balm Over Lipstick
Flying and changes in climate are a recipe for dry lips. Therefore, I’m not a huge fan of taking up space in my suitcase packing various shades of lipstick and prefer packing a heavy duty lip balm with sunscreen. The sunscreen part is a definite must if going somewhere tropical – sunburned lips are pretty painful.
- Hard to go wrong with this classic brand or this natural brand.
- Can’t totally give up the lip shade? Get this tinted lip balm.
- Spending a lot of time in the water? Make sure your lip balm is water resistant, too, like this one.
Eyelash Curler Over Mascara
Ok, in theory an eyelash curler takes up more room than a mascara, but mascara drives me crazy when traveling. It’s annoying to take off, or I forget I’m wearing it and tiredly rub it into my eyes after a long travel day, or I pack it and then can never bother to put it on anyway when I’m excited to get out and start exploring. An eyelash curler keeps me looking more awake and is non-messy.
Makeup Remover Cloths
I like packing these instead of the usual face wash I use at home because they’re one less liquid product to fit into my Ziploc baggie and they remove makeup and dirt. Plus if I’m staying somewhere with a shared bathroom, this is one less trip to the sink.
- This is my favorite brand since it’s gentle on my skin.
Your Favorite Lotion
Lotion you use at home. I don’t like messing with lotion I use since I feel that affects my skin (and breakouts) more than switching up other products. Instead I put some in a tiny container for weekend getaways (I like using empty sample jars from makeup gift packs), or a larger (but still under 3 oz) bottle. Generally the BB Cream gives me enough moisturizing that I can get by with bringing the sample jars and just use it on extra dry spots on my face, but you may want a larger bottle if going somewhere with an extra dry climate since you can use it as body lotion, too, in a pinch.
- This is the lotion I use (a classic, but goodie!).
Shampoo and Conditioner
I have bangs and how they cooperate generally depends on what shampoo or conditioner I use. So I usually don’t trust that the hotel brands will work well for me and pack my usual shampoo and conditioner in little bottles. On the trips I have long fringe, I do get lazy sometimes and opt for the hotel supplied stuff, though I still usually throw in my bag a small bottle of conditioner I get in the $1 section at Target. Unless it’s a high-end hotel, don’t count on your accommodations having conditioner – many only have shampoo!
Get a clay-based styling product. It doesn’t count as a liquid so you can stick in the whole jar if you have room and are in a hurry, or you can put stuff into a smaller makeup sample jar. I am obsessed with R+Co Badlands dry shampoo paste. It works as a dry shampoo but also gives amazing volume and texture. Perfect for traveling.
I wear contacts (someday I’ll hopefully get Lasik, but that day hasn’t happened yet!) and used to always stress about tearing a contact or losing one while swimming in the ocean, even if I had a backup pair (what if I lost that one, too?!).
Plus, after a long day of traveling, my eyes were always itchy and my contacts dry. So annoying. Then I discovered 1-day contacts. Not only do they make my eyes feel better all day long, they are also so much easier for packing. I split some up between my carry-on bag and my purse so I don’t worry if I lose one (I’ll still have some in the other place) and I don’t have to pack a bottle of cleaning solution and a case.
Also, I still ALWAYS pack my eyeglasses even if I don’t plan on using them. If I somehow lose my contacts or get an eye infection that makes it so I can’t wear contacts, I’m going to be glad I have my eyeglasses so I can, you know, actually see the sights I’m traveling to see.
Whether you’re headed to a city or beach, don’t forget sunscreen. Not much ruins a vacation faster than a bad sunburn. If you’re city touring, put it at least on your shoulders, but don’t forget the top of your thighs if you’re going to be sitting outside quite a bit for any length of time. If you’re lounging on the beach, slather it all over. Even if you don’t burn easily at home, you may find your skin doesn’t react the same way in a different area of the world, particularly if you are closer to the equator.
Also, if you’re going in or near the ocean, please don’t bring the spray kind as it can be toxic to the ocean’s ecosystem. I was recently on a snorkeling tour in Hawaii that wouldn’t even allow guests to bring this kind of sunscreen onboard the catamaran.
- Instead, bring a titanium oxide or zinc oxide based sunscreen. Bonus: it works better, too, since it sits more on top of your skin instead of being absorbed.
So there you have it! My travel makeup and beauty routine. What’s the one product you can’t travel without?
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