If you have ever wondered what makeup essentials you need to bring with you on a trip, the best cosmetics for travellers and even how to streamline your life and learn how to thrive with less, you are in the right place! I have spent the last year designing the ultimate Travel Makeup Guide, to travel light while still having the right stuff with you to get dolled up at a moments notice!
What if someone handed you a small bag and told you “Okay, you need to fit every single thing you use to get ready, all your makeup, all beauty products, everything, into this”. Did you just freak out a little bit inside? I feel you, because I did at first too. When it comes to beauty products, I guess I am like most North American girls…meaning the drawers in my bathroom were overflowing with tons of cosmetics and creams I was NOT using, but just wanted to keep around ‘in case'.
As we transition into full time travel I knew something had to change. Don't get me wrong I LOVE beauty products, but I just don't love the idea of dragging around ultra heavy luggage because I can't let go of random eyeshadow palettes I hardly wear.
Travel Makeup Guide – Essential Beauty Packing For Girls Who Travel
Here is my Travel Makeup Guide to pack like a jet-setting pro! First step is getting rid of the excess, second step is finding your key essentials, third step is making it all fit for travel anywhere, anytime!
Determine 'Want' vs 'Need'
First, I had to get rid of what I didn't use in order to make my ‘ultimate must have' list of what comes with me everywhere! Determining ‘want' vs ‘need' is easier said than done, but here are some tips:
Clean out 2 drawers:
Put all your makeup in one drawer. As you use it, move it to the second drawer. At the end of 30 days, the items left in the first drawer are likely not something you NEED. Use this as a template for knowing what your essentials are!
The 80/20 Rule:
If I had to make a bet, I would say you use 20% of all your products 80% of the time! Right!? I saw I had doubles of things, products so similar they could easily be reduced, old things I didn't like anymore but only kept because I paid a lot for them… etc! Focus on the 20% of products you can't live without!
Almost every country in the world will have the same beauty basics readily available, so plan ahead on what you might want to just pick up in your destination. For example, I don't mess around with cheap face creams, so I make SURE a good face cream that doesn't make me break out is always packed with me, but for something like a shimmer eyeshadow… I'll just grab a cheap one on the go if I need to! Bring what you can't easily replace and plan to pick up anything that is super easy to find and cheap to get anywhere. Most of the time I never end up needing anything because those items were usually a ‘want' more than a ‘need'. If I can't be bothered to grab it while travelling, then I likely never needed it!
Top Travel Beauty Essentials
‘Pack With Me' Complete Travel Makeup Guide
Obviously the above 12 items are not the only things I am bringing around with me full time! (thank goodness!) Here is the whole shebang, the total haul, the ultimate travel makeup packing guide and everything ‘beauty' I own! It all fits into this ONE bag
These three tools will do anything I need them to do, take up a small amount of space and are all super lightweight! I replaced by huge blowdryer with this mini one and it still dries my hair in the same amount of time, but takes up 75% less room! I am also a fan of my Nume Straightener & Nume Curling Wand
I have SUPER oily skin so I have to find products to keep the shine down. This primer makes my pores smaller and helps everything stay put. The Urban Decay ‘De-Slick' powder is literally magic for keeping oil away and for making it disappear if it does show up. I stopped wearing foundation so this BB cream is quick to put on and has SPF which I need for any sunny destination. I sometimes apply this mineral powder overtop of the BB cream if I want a more made up look. This concealer comes out of it's own brush wand, so easy to apply and very brightening as well. Also pictured: the Urban Decay All Nighter makeup setting spray for those nights out!
I wasn't using 80% of the shadows in my palettes, so I found the shades I used most and bought Sephora singles for them. Much smaller and I get more shadow. The rest of my eye tools are cheap drug store stuff! I have been using these same ones for over a decade and I love them! I find I use them a lot and can't justify the high end brands when they honestly are the same quality. My go to ‘cheapos':
In my purse at all times you will find this divinely smelling hand cream, my lip balm (super cheap) and the cutest thing on earth- the Dinoplatz blotting papers. Do yourself a favour and get them, they are the most darling and useful things! I also had stopped wearing perfume because I thought the bottles would break with frequent travel, until I found my scent in these tiny roller ball tubes! Also pictured: Cheapo mini tweezers, small nail clippers, floss, Visine.
I am so lazy at night, so I use the Neutrogena wipes to take off my makeup before bed, or even to freshen my face after working out. They are the only face wipe that doesn't cause me to breakout! The Shiseido toner has been the #1 product for me in keeping adult acne at bay. It doesn't dry me out but has mimimized breakouts by about 80%. I am hooked on this toner for life!
I have super THIN hair, but it's also naturally wavy. Recoil is freaking great for just scrunching in my hair and walking away! It will air dry to a natural (non frizzy) wave so I can give my hair an occasional break from heat tools. I use Triple Sec and Pret a Powder to wash my hair less, give texture at the root and keep oil away. (and it doesn't leave white marks on my dark hair) Hair spray is drug store, but my fav for being super flexible.
The only 2 palettes to survive the purge!
My Smashbox Contour saves me space by being my bronzer, contour and highlighter all in one! I got rid of any additonal bronzers I had.
The Smashbox Matte Eye palette has every color I need and I can just add shimmer with another small poweder highlighter I have if I want the shadows to sparkle. I use the brown on eyebrows too.
I likely should look into a better shampoo and conditioner for my hair type, but these ones have been pretty good to me the last 5 years! I use the Ever Strong thickening shampoo and the Ever Strong volume conditioner with no complaints! They seem to give my super thin hair some life. I also love the smell of this sulphate free body wash!
I used to have around 40 of them until I realized I NEVER used even half of them! I only kept the ones that would fit in the brush pouch and that I use frequently. Travel Girl Tip: I got rid of the big brush roll up case as it took up too much space. When I am at my destination, I stick these all in a cup to keep them separate and easily available. Most of the brushes are from Sephora
Beauty Hack- The ICE ROLLER
It basically does everything. Supermodels get ‘ice facials' all the time and swear by it, this is essentially a cheaper version of that, and at $13 I'm all for it!
Beauty Wise: takes out redness, stops puffiness (especially under eyes), makes pores smaller, evens tones, refreshes you, helps circulation, lymphatic drainage, etc.
Health Wise: It helps to soothe pain and muscles and tension. And it's relaxing, so that helps too!
'Pack With Me' Travel Makeup VIDEO:
What I TOSSED / What DIDN'T make the cut!
What I had to throw out or get rid of in order to start living lighter and be able to travel easier:
– I downgraded the size of my blowdryer for space. I used to have a Babylis Pro and switched it out for this teeny tiny one that was a 25% of the size, weight and price!
– I tossed the other 2 sizes of wands that came with my Numee 3 in 1. I use the medium size 90% of the time, and 10% of the time is not enough to drag around extra wands.
– Shaving cream. I will use hotel cream, hotel conditioner, my conditioner, coconut oil, or even steal Trevor’s before I carry around a huge canister of shaving cream!
– Most of my palettes. Although I LOVE eyeshadow, highlighter, contour and blush pallettes, I had to be honest with myself. I looked inside the 10+ ones I had and noticed that I only used about 20% of the colours/shades. So I either sourced the shade on it’s own, or I found a stand alone look alike and got rid of the chunky boxes!
– Nail polish. I actually hate wearing it on my fingernails (is that a sin to say? Lol!) It takes up room, I am always paranoid I will break the bottles, and it takes time and effort to piant/dry/remove. If I really need to have them pretty for an event, every city I have ever seen in my life has a nail salon, so I am sure I will be okay.
– Tons of body scrubs, bath stuff, hair products, masks, etc. You can use sand, sugar, or food for most of these things. Otherwise, I let the professionals do it when I am at a salon or spa. I can’t lug these heavy and rarely used things around.
– Foundation. I stopped wearing it. Between a quick BB cream and some powder, I am good to go! Really once you add on a contour, blush, highlighter, etc.. I am not sure it matters all that much!
– Beauty Subscriptions. GASP! Yes, I stopped my monthly Ipsy subscription. Not because I didn't love it (which I did) but because it was making me hoard stuff I didn't use. Waste not, want not.
The Best Travel Makeup Bag
Every travel girl needs a beauty bag! Something that can easily be a carry on OR placed into checked luggage, will hold all of your makeup and organizes your life.
After a lot of research, I picked my bag, the Travelon Total.
I am in LOVE with this bag. Love love love. I cannot gush enough how much it's helped me stay streamlined, organized and really light with travelling.
Here is why I love this bag and why you will too:
- It folds in half to lay flat inside luggage, not taking up much space at all
- All of the interior zippered pockets and pouches are lined, so if something explodes, there is no worry
- 2 small cosmetics pouches come out with velcro so you can easily put them in your purse, carry on, etc and then the velcro has a cover so you can even place delicate materials (like a scarf) in place of the pouches without tearing them.
- Everything has a place! So many different sizes of pockets to literally hold everything I need and I am not desperately searching for things.
- It keeps me humble. It has been my guideline for how much stuff I should honestly be lugging around.
- It hangs open, fully loaded, unto towel bars or racks.
- In the case that I want to use it as a carry on, it has pockets for my ipad, passport, change of clothes, etc.
One of the biggest benefits I have gotten out of downsizing and streaming lining my makeup and beauty products is this:
I spend WAY WAY WAY WAY less on makeup. When I have a limit of what I can carry around with me (like what fits in my bag) I don't buy things on a whim, I don't by things I don't need and I am very conservative with the products I do have.
That ultimately comes down to- BIGGER BUDGET FOR TRAVELLING! (perfect!)
What about YOU?
What are some of your beauty essentials you simply cannot travel without? Do you use any of my fav products now? Leave us a comment with some of your own travel beauty hacks!
- Disclosure: Please note that this post has affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I recommend these products only because of my great experiences with them. All of these products were purchased with my own money, none have been given to me to promote. As always my opinions are my own!