My travel makeup bag

Posted on April 12, 2015 under Lists

One of the primary reasons I chose to do my year abroad in the UK was its proximity to other places. I’ve travelled to quite a few European cities, and even wandered off the continent to Northern Africa! And right now I’m in Iceland (see Instagram for proof), although tomorrow evening I will be reunited with Toronto.

It used to be that when I travelled I’d bring at least two makeup bags stuffed with products, never sure what I might want to use. (That goes for my suitcase, too.) Now, I’m down to one makeup bag and one backpack every time I travel, because I know what’s practical for travel and what I consider to be the barebones necessities for doing my makeup while abroad.

There’s no better way to illustrate this then to show you what I brought with me to my trip to London and Brighton last month!

Face Products


Powder or powder foundation: Due to liquid restrictions and mess factor, I don’t do my entire cleansing routine when I’m travelling. I never feel like wipes adequately get liquid foundation off. Add that to the facts that liquid foundation takes longer to apply, is messy, and doesn’t always hold up super well throughout long days of sightseeing, and you can see why I tend to banish it for the purpose of travel! Depending on how my skin is doing, I’ll bring either a powder just to mattify, or an actual powder foundation.

Concealer: I use a heavier concealer for any blemishes and then a light, illuminating one for under the eyes. I love my L’Oréal La Touche Magique Highlighting Concealer enough to let it take up precious space in my liquids baggie!

Neutral blush: Without fail, I always bring my Lancôme Blush Subtil in Sheer Amourôse with me when I’m travelling. It’s the perfect slightly warm rosy pink that goes with anything, and it’s so slim and compact. There’s no way I’d want to take something like a Benefit boxed blush with me when travelling!

Bronzer: A good bronzer is such a multi-tasker! Besides the obvious, it can work as a contour or an eyeshadow. I often use a neutral cream eyeshadow as a base and then pop some bronzer into the crease – it’s so easy, but very put-together. I find The Body Shop’s Honey Bronzer perfect for this purpose since it’s not so warm that it can’t be used as a contour or crease colour in a pinch. I also find that since I’m doing my makeup quickly and not focusing too much on a flawless base, a quick sweep of bronzer over the high points of my face helps me look healthy and alive! I love tricking people into thinking I don’t retreat into my lair when the sun comes out… (Just kidding. I’m primarily of German and Irish heritage. I’m pasty. It’s in my genes.)



Brow product: Duh. My brows are my first thing I do every day and I could not live without them! I use the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe for this job. Sometimes I bring a product that doesn’t require a separate brush for application, such as Benefit’s Gimme Brow or the Soap and Glory Archery pencil, but this past trip I felt like having my ride or die on hand.

Eyelash curler: Just because I’m travelling doesn’t mean I am not VERY, VERY interested in having perfectly curled lashes! Some things cannot be sacrificed.

Mascara: Normally I’d actually bring a sample size just to save room, but this time I was feeling my Illegal Length.

Eyeliner: Sometimes I’ll go without packing eyeliner, but lately I have been feeling in an eyeliner-ific mood so I bring it with me to complete all my looks. Plus, I feel like I can get away with slightly heavier eyeliner on travel days since my eyeshadow is so quick and simple. I love Stila’s Stay All Day always and forever, especially on long travel days when I have neither the time nor inclination for touch-ups.

Eye primer: When I was in Warsaw I forgot my primer and my eyeshadow creased horribly after only a few hours. I was sort of glad, in a sick way, because it reinforced that, yes, the $30 I spend on my fancy NARS primer is TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Neutral eyeshadow palette: I alternate between bringing a single cream shadow (which I use with bronzer in the crease, as I said above) and a small, multi-tasking neutral palette. Lately I’ve been loving my Naked Basics palette for travel. It has every colour you could possibly need to create a simple, unassuming eye look – and the darkest shade can even be used as eyeliner, saving space in that horrendously tiny liquids bag. (I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but in Canada I always get away with bringing a gallon-sized baggie through security, whereas in the UK they are super strict about using their provided quart-sized bags.)



Lip liner: I always bring Rimmel’s Eastend Snob with me, because it’s my favourite lip liner. It’s so versatile! It’s fairly similar in tone to my natural lips, so it works under any lipstick without changing the colour, and it’s so creamy and comfortable on the lips that it’s beautiful on its own as well.

Neutral lip colour: I tend to bring an easy, don’t-even-have-to-think-about-it neutral lip colour with me when I travel and just use that every day. I recently wore down my trusty Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie, my go-to travel lip colour, so lately I’ve been using the L’Oréal Extraordinaire by Colour Riche in Molto Mauve, which is a pinky mauve that’s so easy to just slap on! It also looks great over Eastend Snob.

Bold lip colour: Depending on who I’m hanging out with and what I’m planning on doing, I might bring a more in-your-face lip colour for any special outings or occasions. A favourite of mine is Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution lipstick in Red Carpet Red, because the formula is so amazing and comfortable and the colour is just a classic that will work for pretty much any situation, especially with the more neutral eye and cheek products I bring with me when I travel.

And there you have it: my easy, no-fuss-no-muss travel makeup bag!

(Also, you may notice that these pictures were taken with a nice camera. I used Aisling’s camera to take pictures for a few posts when I was down in Brighton, so you may be seeing some nicer pictures here and there. It has reinforced that an entry-level DSLR needs to become a priority for me when I have some disposable income! After using her camera, my iPhone 5 seems pitiful in comparison.)

There are 8 responses to “My travel makeup bag”

  • Fab collection. I’m immensely jealous of your Charlotte T lipstick!!

    I usually don’t bother with eyeshadows at all when I’m on holiday. I’ll take a liquid eyeliner to do flicks if I’m feeling fancy, but otherwise I just go for brows, mascara and lips :) shadow just seems to much effort haha! xx

    Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle Blog

    • I always feel soooo high maintenance for doing eyeshadow when I travel, but I really like doing it! Eyeshadow is one of those things that’s very fun for me, so even though I usually do something quick and simple, I like to still have it on. That said, if I’m running late eyeshadow is the first thing to go. ;)

  • Ahhh I kinda want to trade my Naked2 for the basics one you have. I only ever use the same couple of shadows anyway, if at all! What’s your take on powder foundation staying on better/longer than liquid? I haven’t used powder foundation in my adult life, only as a kid for ballet recitals, so I don’t know what they’re like — but have always been curious about the difference.

    Btw I love Charlotte Tilbury! I will be hitting them up when I’m back in the UK soon. If you haven’t tried it, their foundation is super awesome. This is, coming from someone who is kind of terrified of/too lazy for foundation/”face makeup” 95% of the time. Goes on like a charm, not heavy and lasts well.

    • Yeah, Basics is AMAZING if you’re not super adventurous with your eyeshadow – it’s so tiny and compact, and every single shade is extremely wearable.

      I think powder generally lasts better, and wears off more evenly than liquid. Of course, it depends on the foundation and skin type – oilier skin will eat liquid foundation way faster than powder, but powder can end up looking cakey on drier people. I’m on the dry side of normal so I just make sure I’ve moisturized really well and it’s usually fine!

  • Pingback: What's in my travel makeup bag? 2016 edition » My Darling Clementine | Canadian Beauty BlogMy Darling Clementine | Canadian Beauty Blog

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