“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.”
You may or may not know this about me, but I’m a bit of an beauty product junkie. Not to the extent I used to be (I’ve gotten so lazy with make up) but I’m still a dedicated devotee to overpriced lipsticks and moisturisers.
So, the first time I flew with just carry on luggage was a bit of a shocker. I can only take one plastic bag of liquids? at 100ml? HOLD ME. Seriously, I had no worries about fitting in enough clothes, just a mild panic about only taking one type of cleanser.
Having now survived the trauma of limiting my beauty products for a several trips (please hold the applause and calls for a damehood) I’ve found a few firm favourites for travel. I’m going to run through a few here, leaving out the boring stuff like deodorant and toothpaste (which I 100% put into my boyfriends luggage, to make more room for the good stuff.)
Coming with me
First up, (and most boring to discuss) a cheap set of travel bottles from Amazon. I love buying beauty products, but I’m not about to go buy mini-sizes of all my pricey favourites just for a trip here or there. These are great for decanting some of your products, I generally use them for shampoo, conditioner, cleanser and toner.
This is probably my favourite foundation: Laura Mercier Silk Crème Moisturizing Photo Edition Foundation. (Why are foundation names so excessively long?) It works great with my skin type, it’s good coverage, lasts well and doesn’t dry my skin. The packaging is also ideal for travelling, because it’s small and lightweight, unlike a lot of fancy glass foundation bottles. If your goal is to squeeze as much as possible into your lil plastic bag of liquids, this is a good one.
My lips are prone to dryness at the best of times so I need a lip balm when I fly or travel. Nuxe Reve De Miel is my favourite. This probably isn’t the smallest and lightest packaging, but like we’re told as children, it’s what inside that counts. This is by far the best lip balm I’ve ever used. It doesn’t sting sore lips, it stays on the lips for a long time, it smells great and it doesn’t feel oily.
Rosehip Oil is a really safe option for my skin: it’s moisturing without being too heavy so I don’t have to worry about breaking out, or about my skin drying. You only ever need a tiny bit of the oil at a time, so it’s great for travel because the bottles are usually small. Also it’s not as expensive as some of the other serums/moisturisers I use, so if it smashed I wouldn’t be as upset.
Traditional lipsticks over lipglosses or liquid lipsticks. It doesn’t take up any of your liquid space and I don’t need to take additional brushes to apply it. It also lasts longer than a lipgloss and isn’t as drying as a liquid lipstick. My favourite lipsticks at the moment are Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution – they’re matte but don’t feel dry on my lips. I’d take up to 3 colours, one of them more bold.
I’d take a big powder palette that has a good-sized mirror inside. Hotels do not always put their mirror in the friendliest of places. I don’t usually powder my face as I don’t like my skin to be too matte, so I’d pick a bronzer. Nars Laguna is an oldie but a goldie. The packaging is slim so it doesn’t take up too much room.
Mascara – If I could use only one bit of make up, it would be this. Of course I’m taking it with me! I usually layer a few different mascara, but if I could only take one it would be Benefit They’re Real.
Eyebrow pencil – I’d use a pencil instead of a gel or powder. Smaller, doesn’t need an additional brush and it’s liquid. My forever favourite is Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. It’s nice and thin so I (hopefully) don’t end up with clown brows. I’d also shape & tint my eyebrows before I travel, so that they don’t need as much attention while I’m getting read.
Highlighter – It makes me look like I’ve made some sort of an effort in the morning. In my opinion Becca highlighters are the best, Opal or Champagne Pop being my colours of choice. However, they don’t travel that well and smash easily, so for that I’d suggest a slightly cheaper option like theBalm Mary Lou Manizer Luminizer. It’s a great highlighter and around £10 cheaper than Becca – I’ve also never had it smash.
Eye pencil – They’re small, and if I want to make a little bit more effort it can make me look more ‘made up.’ I like the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On pencils as they go on smoothly and last pretty well.
Hair straighteners – My hair is a bit (a lot) crap when it’s left to it’s own devices, so I have to straighten it out or add in some more curls with hair straighteners. I use GHDs.
Make up brushes – I’d try to keep it as few as possible. A beauty blender, a bronzer brush, a highlighter brush. I like brushes by MAC, Zoeva and Real Techniques. I try to remember to put them at the bottom of the wash/make up bag because there’s nothing sadder than seeing the bristles of a £30 make up brush caught in the zipper.
Staying at home
Eyeshadow – I would say that 99% of the time I’m too tired, busy or lazy on a trip to do full-on makeup, so I don’t need eyeshadow. It also saves space on having to take 2-3 different eyeshadow brushes too.
Hydrating mist – (such as Caudalie Beauty Elixir) As much as I love this in the mornings, it’s not a necessity so it stays at home.
Hair serums/sprays/treatments – I just take a good shampoo & conditioner. Again, I don’t spend much time styling it when i’m away, and it will survive a few days without any extra treatments.
Shower Gel – Any hotel I’ve stayed at so far has supplied this. I don’t suffer from dry or sensitive skin on my body, so I’m not that fussy about what I wash with: generic hotel shower gels are fine for me.
Flannels – I wash off my makeup and cleanse with a hot cloth/flannel. I leave them at home because a hotel will either have a flannel or a hand towel I can use. I know they don’t take up much space but I don’t really like having damp flannels in my bag.
Perfume – I worry the pretty glass bottles will break. Also it gives me an excuse to buy one at duty free, right?