Since graduating college last year I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time to travel. In the past year and a half, I completed not one, but two month-long tours across Europe, spent over a month road tripping out West, drove along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway and visited a number of U.S. and Canadian cities along the way. The more I travel, the better I get at packing. Packing light is key to fuss-free travel. These days I only bring a small carry-on suitcase and handbag even if I’m gone for over a month. An essential part of any packing list is makeup. Though I am always tempted to bring more than I need, I like to keep things simple. Here’s what I lug around the globe in my makeup bag. I’ve even included a little review for each!
My current foundation is the It Cosmetics CC Cream, a favorite of many beauty bloggers. I like it but am not as wild about it as everyone else seems to be. I keep it around because of its high SPF and travel-friendly packaging. As someone who forgets wearing sunscreen regularly, I love using this as a backup. I wore this religiously while in scorching hot Southern Europe and I never got sunburned!
I cheat a bit by bringing two concealers with me. However, I desperately need both! My undereye bags are naturally a deep shade of purple-blue. It’s difficult to find concealers that can successfully hide them. The NARS concealers are the only ones that I like. I use the Radiant Creamy Concealer first to even everything out and go back in with the Soft Matte Concealer for extra coverage.
A translucent setting powder is a must-have in my makeup routine. It keeps my face from sliding off when out and about. My current favorite is the Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot. This finely milled powder leaves my face mattified but never cakey.
Bronzer & Highlighter
I ran out of one of my go-to bronzers, the iconic NARS Laguna, earlier this year (*sob*). I’d been eyeing up the Charlotte Tilbury Bronze & Glow duo for ages and figured I’d take the plunge. It’s wonderful, but far too beautiful to travel with so I’m looking for another option. And as beautiful as the highlighter is I rarely use it. On the plus side, the massive mirror is perfect for my on-the-go makeup application. For now, it’s OK, but I need a bronzer that’s more suitable for travel!
Blush is a new discovery of mine. I never felt the need to use it on a daily basis. That is until I found this little blush in London last fall. The Bourjois blushes might be small, but they are so crazy pigmented that you only need a tiny amount. I have a few other blushes in my collection but this is the only one I bring with me on trips because of how compact it is. The shade I have, Rose Amber, is such a perfect everyday pink that goes with any lip or eye look so you don’t have to lug around other blushes.
Until this compact Smashbox palette came into my life, I used to bring my slim, but large LORAC Pro with me. I love my trusty LORAC Pro, but I realized I wasn’t using all of the shades and it was fairly bulky to travel with. The Smashbox palette is the perfect travel companion for those who love matte, neutral eye looks. Some of the shadows double up as eyebrow powder too. The eyeshadow quality is another strong suit: highly pigmented and easily blendable. A must-have for any travel makeup bag!
Where would we be without eyeshadow primer?! I never leave the house without it. There aren’t many great ones out there, I’m afraid to say. My favorites, the Urban Decay and NARS, are the only ones I can recommend. Right now I’m using the Urban Decay to use it up.
Another product I just can’t live without! Traveling means long days outside sightseeing so keeping your makeup as intact as possible is a must. I’ve tried a number of primers throughout the years (the Makeup Forever HD and Smashbox ones come to mind) but the Benefit Porefessional is the best out of all. Plus, I love how small it is!
Back in my high school days, I wore liquid eyeliner every day without fail. These days I don’t wear it often but I do like to carry one around in my travel bag just in case I want to switch up my look. The one I’m using at the moment is the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liner. Not my favorite as its a bit too runny but it does the trick.
A good black mascara is a must. My all-time favorites are the Covergirl ones! They separate and lengthen my lashes without clumping, flaking or smudging.
Lipstick is one of my weakness in the packing department. I tend to go a bit overboard, bring five and only use one. From now on, I limit myself to two. One red, one neutral. Right now, I bring my mini NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, my most worn red lip, and my Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor in Kisses, my go-to mauve pink lip.
I’ve tested my fair share of lip balms over the years. Afraid to report that none have wowed me. The best out of the bunch is the classic Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. Still searching for the right one! So tempted to get the NUXE Reve de Miel one!
My old go-to foundation brushes were the Shiseido one and the Real Techniques one. Both are great options, but this Sigma Kabuki is miles better. It’s big, but that means it only takes me thirty seconds to blend my foundation in.
Eye Shadow Brushes
I pack two eyeshadow brushes in my makeup bag. A crease and a shader brush. Both of these are Sephora’s own brand, a good pick for mid-range brushes. They aren’t my favorite, but they’re all I have at the moment!
Since discovering the Eco Tools Powder Brush four or so years ago I haven’t even bothered to invest in another brand. It’s super affordable. The bristles are soft and dense. So much to love about it!