My bestie & her partner are embarking on a year (+) travel adventure, and I couldn’t be more excited for them!
She DEFINITELY didn’t ask me to do this, but I decided that I would take it upon myself to create an ultimate, minimalist travel makeup & skin care kit!
As you know, developing the perfect makeup kit for travel is a challenge. You want to have enough so you feel able to get gussied up should the opportunity arise for you to be a fancy pants lady (and look luminescent and effortless on Instagram. #priorities). However, most of us have traveled with our standard beauty products, which are bulky, heavy, require an arsenal of brushes, or are prone to breakage and leaking when tossed into a bag and flown around the world.
The WORST thing is when your blush palette breaks in your makeup bag and you have a light dusting of pink through all of your goods. So this is a tricky one.
Thankfully, there are a few great options!
I am obsessed with NARS blush and have been using the standard NARS powder blush compacts for the last 8 years. For that reason, this would probably be the product I would go for. You can use it on cheeks, lips, and eyes for a simple, fresh, and sun-kissed glow. They even sell “the multiple” in their best-selling, universally flattering shade “orgasm”.
I love rsm beauty products – natural without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, these products are also organic and cruelty-free. So basically, you can feel pretty good about your “youthful glow”
stila’s convertible colour. This blush/lipstick product can be applied with fingers (therefore no brushes required). I think Lillium is the colour I prefer! I like stila lipsticks, so would definitely give this a try.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, this may be the one for you. This travel-sized blush stick is tiny and is a very practical format for application without brushes. It is only $10 CAD, but reviews are mixed on the durability of packaging.
Mascara is one of my most important makeup staples. While I have tried to concoct natural alternatives, I am still totally stuck on the Bobby Brown. I would argue that it is travel-friendly because the tube is quite small (some companies have outrageous and elaborate tubes).
There is an easy-peasy solution for eye shadow users. My first option (as someone who uses little eyeshadow) is the above NARS multi-purpose stick, which you can use on eyes. However, if you want an eyeshadow as well, the cream eyeshadows you can get at the drug store are a perfect option. For example, Maybelline has some great options in their cream pots or pencils (again applied and smudged with your fingers to minimize toting brushes around the world.
Lip balm & lip stick
I have already raved about Papaw’s in a previous post, but it is a total gem. It is both a staple beauty product for moisturizing lips, but I have also used it as a cuticle cream and an anti-chafing balm when particularly desperate. It is the only one you will need.
If you know me at all, you know I LOOOOVE lipstick more than is reasonable. I think when you are travelling and wearing minimal makeup, you can look really rad with a quick swish of a really bright lip. I always pick one splashy colour for a trip (most recently, I rocked Mac Viva Glam II throughout Budapest. It is nice to have one go-to pop of colour for the days you are feeling fancy.
Foundation/moisturizer/bb cream /sunscreen
This is another challenging category because you face a few issues. Obviously, spf is a priority, as is having a multi-purpose product that can moisturize and smooth the complexion.
Basically, this little pot is the PERFECT solution. It is a really concentrated foundation which can be layered, used as a concealer. All of those great things I mentioned earlier about the rsm Lip2cheek apply here too (free from junk, organic, good stuff). I think you get the best coverage if you use the rms brush, but you can apply with fingers and get good results. I am drooling over this product and will be my next beauty splurge once I use up my products in my makeup bag. I would apply some of my face-friendly sunscreen underneath as well.
2nd best options. Most brands have bb creams that are a great multiple uses. Here are a few examples.
SPF 35, matte finish. Definitely a leading contender.
Bobby Brown has a very similar product – BB Cream 35SPF (here) or you could try out the Bare mineral’s tinted moisturizer complexion rescue. Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer has SPF 20 and has good reviews in terms of being able to play the multiple role of foundation, moisturizer, sunscreen, while (allegedly) not being sweat-off immediately.
I know “real” beauty geeks will say you need to apply these using a beauty blender or foundation brush, but I have found it perfectly fine to apply with your fingers, so you don’t need to carry makeup brushes.
However, there are obvious drawbacks to this option. Clearly, liquids are a hassle with every flight – not only do you need to keep track of each tube in your little liquids bag, but you also risk tempting the altitude gods with the option of causing your liquids to leak brown goo all over your products. Further, some of these products are more “mattifying” than others. For people that are heat-strokers, you may want a powder for the warm climates. My standard foundation (Bare Minerals Foundation with SPF 15) will suffice, as it does have a plastic cover, so you don’t release all of your powder in the container for a powder explosion when you open up the container. The problem is that you do require a foundation brush for application and also should apply a moisturizing sunscreen on first.
Shampoo & soap
Lush bars. Sorted. I have been using the same bar for washing my hair and body. I also love the idea of using something like your soap/shampoo to be a sensory memory of your travels. By selecting a new essential oil/perfume/shampoo on a trip, in the future, the smell of that could bring you back to your trip.
Because I am the ultimate cool kid, I have re-purposed my night guard case (I know, so sexy) to carry the bar in. The advantage of this over the standard metal tin is that it has a few small holes in the bottom to let the bar breathe and dry between uses.
Cold-pressed organic coconut oil. This can be used for EVERYTHING. Makeup remover, cleanser, moisturizer, hair mask, food. Basically all the good stuff. In a pinch, you could use olive oil for a lot of these things also, but I am a coconut oil junkie and will go walk miles to ensure I have this miracle solution.
With the coconut oil and a bit of baking soda, you have a great toothpaste and (surprisingly) also deodorant. Further, you could use the baking soda as a pretty effective dry shampoo and shoe-deodorizer (for those nights when your partner’s hiking boots start to take up all the air in the room). Also, different countries and different water can have a wild effect on your hair. A bit of baking soda during your regular shampoo can work as a great clarifier to remove buildup. I know bath tubs are rare (and often not something you are keen to use while travelling on a budget), but a cup of baking soda in the bath can soothe itchy skin, including bug bites and dry skin.
Bonus: Stowaway Cosmetics
Ever since Stowaway Cosmetics launched a few years ago, I have wanted to try them. If you don’t want to spend hours at Sephora picking out your ultimate travel supplies, these tiny products may be the perfect option. These tiny lipsticks, bb creams, concealers, mascaras, and blushes are about 1/2 to 1/3 the size of conventional products, making them ideal travel companions. Let me know if you try them!
Do you have any winning beauty tips for travel? Would love to hear about them!