Packing Light for Prague

Posted on November 25, 2017 under Life

My last few trips I did not bother to pack light makeup-wise, either because I didn’t have to or because I felt I needed options. This weekend, however, I’m going to Prague for purely touristy reasons, and I thought this would be the perfect time to exercise some restraint. As with all my European weekend trips, I pack entirely in one small school-sized backpack, so I really need to streamline my makeup to make room. I thought I would share my very minimal makeup bag today.

I can easily fill a liquids bag with skincare, but I know that when I’m walking around all day and sleeping in a hostel dorm room at night my desire to keep up with a complex skincare routine is zero. So my liquids bag – which is from Muji, by the way – reflects a back-to-basics approach.

The skincare steps I cannot do without are cleansing and moisturizing. The Caudalie Vino Perfect Serum from this year’s Sephora birthday gift will help boost the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra moisturizer to keep my skin nice and hydrated. I’ve never had issues with dry undereyes until the past month or so, so I decided to bring the Biotherm Homme Eye Depuffer (which, by the way, is a nice gel eye cream even if you’re not a man). I got a sample of the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor which I’ve been saving for travel, since obviously my poor dead hair requires a lot of moisture. I don’t have any travel-sized shampoo right now, so I’ll have to pick one up at the airport.

The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream is such an easy, fuss-free foundation that it was a no-brainer when it came to choosing which base product to pack. The packaging is also incredibly travel-friendly. For concealer, Maybelline Master Conceal works under the eyes and on blemishes.

I can’t be without Milani Eyeshadow Primer, and Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a staple for me as well. The Lancôme Hypnôse Drama mascara mini is convenient for travel, and I like the mascara as well. (Lancôme mascaras are so hit and miss to me, but this one is a hit.) Finally, a fresh tube of Essence Lash and Brow Mascara to keep my brow hairs in place.

And then the rest of my makeup easily fits in one small bag, which is a point of pride when I am prone to overpacking.

For the cheeks, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure goes with everything and is a perennial travel staple for me. This is the most beautiful flattering blush colour in the world despite how “meh” it appears in the pan. I’m not sure if I’ll bother with highlighter, but I figured I’d give myself the option. Glossier Haloscope in Quartz is easy to apply without brushes and it gives a very natural effect, so I thought it would be perfect for travel.

Urban Decay Naked Basics is probably the most boring travel palette choice in the world, but it’s small, practically indestructible, and foolproof. I decided to add an eyebrow pencil into my repertoire mainly for travel purposes, so I don’t have to mess around with a brush and pomade when I’m on the go. The Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner in Universal Taupe is one of many ABH Brow Wiz dupes, and it works for me.

Forgive me for being extra and packing two lip balms. Overnight, my lips need the heavy-duty power of Nuxe Rêve de Miel, but during the day I prefer something a little lighter like Vaseline Lip Therapy. In an uncharacteristic move, I am committing to a single lip liner – Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Enchantment – and a single lipstick – YSL Rouge Volupté in #17. I love moisturizing lip products when I’m travelling, and the soft berry shade of #17 makes it a perfect candidate for this trip. I usually like to pair the Rouge Voluptés with a liner underneath to increase the staying power a bit, so I’ll likely just wear this combination together each day.

I tend to really overpack brushes, but this time I cut it down to the essentials: Magic Collection Oval Brush, ColourPop Blush Brush, ColourPop Blending Brush, ELF Crease Brush, ELF Eyeshadow C Brush, ELF Eye Contour Brush, ELF Small Smudge Brush, Elf Spoolie. Wow, I do really like ELF brushes, don’t I?

(By the way, I definitely washed that foundation brush after I took this picture!)

In case you were wondering about cleansing, I did buy a pack of makeup wipes from Superdrug. I hardly ever use wipes, but I just think washing my face with an actual cleanser while travelling is more hassle than it’s worth. My skin is pretty resilient, so I think it’ll survive. I love using actives on my skin, but I know that I can get away with just makeup wipes and moisturizer for three nights. It’ll make my life easier!

Anyway, I’m off this evening with my nice light makeup bag. I’ve wanted to go Prague for years, so I’m really excited that I could finally make it happen.

What’s in my travel makeup bag? Wedding edition

Posted on July 15, 2017 under Thoughts

As this post goes live, my friends Paige and MJ are getting married. This is exciting enough as it is, but I’m also officiating the wedding. I thought this joyous occasion called for another “What’s in my travel makeup bag?” post.

A note on semantics: I’m writing this post in advance (no wifi at our Airbnb, plus I will be busy, plus they are literally getting married AS THIS POST GOES LIVE, and I will obviously be present), so everything will be in future tense.

So, the wedding is in a small town halfway between Montreal and Ottawa, and I’m travelling by train. I’m also rolling this into a little side trip to Montreal, so I’m packing for that as well. I’m travelling by train, so there are no liquid restrictions.

First, I want to show off my makeup bag because it’s seriously the score of the century. I got it for 90% off – it totalled $2.50. And it’s actually pretty cute! I feel silly buying a makeup bag when I have so many that I’ve accumulated through my three years working in cosmetics, but this one is special. All my other makeup bags are envelope-style, which means that when I pack them to the brim I have to empty them out to find whatever I’m looking for in the dark cavern.

This makeup bag, on the other hand, has a clear pocket and the shape allows me to see what’s inside of it a lot more clearly. And it has a mesh compartment at the top that’s perfect for brushes. I’d go with a different makeup bag when packing light, but you can’t really go to a wedding and pack light in the makeup department, can you? This bag fits SO MUCH, so it’s perfect for this occasion.


For base I’m going with my longest-wearing product: Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation in Alabaster. I did buy it pretty much specifically for the wedding, which seems silly, but I don’t want to worry about my makeup melting off my face! Because I’m extra, I also packed my Serum Foundation from The Ordinary because I’m definitely not going to feel like putting on the Hourglass foundation when I’m going out for St. Viateur bagels in Montreal.

In terms of concealer, I was feeling cheap when I ran out of my NARS RCC and replaced it with Maybelline Instant Age Rewind in Fair. I had this once before in the brightening shade and didn’t like it, but the shade Fair works a lot better for me. I’m also packing my Maybelline Master Conceal for blemishes, although I’m hoping I won’t need it! Going high-low with the skin here: a $56 foundation and two Maybelline concealers.

Overall I’ve been loving loose powder, but it’s a pain to travel with and doesn’t lend itself to quick touch-ups. For those reasons, I’m packing my Rimmel Stay Matte.

For blush I’m going with two from Hourglass: Luminous Flush, a peach that I’ll be wearing on the day of the wedding, and Mood Exposure, which is my favourite blush ever. (You all know this, I’m sure, and you should assume that I will bring Mood Exposure on every trip I ever take!) I could probably get away with just Luminous Flush, but I don’t know what type of makeup I’ll be doing on the other days of my trip and Mood Exposure is a safe, goes-with-everything option.

I’m of course bringing my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light. I’ve actually kind of been off contouring lately, but obviously I’m going all-out glam for the wedding and probably if I go out with my friends in Montreal too! (Actually, when I go out with my friends I usually do, like, red eyeshadow and forest green lips, but contouring just adds to the over-the-topness of that vibe.) I’ve decided to pop in my Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer – I don’t know if I’ll end up using it because I’m bronzer-ambivalent, but it can’t hurt to have it.

I’m also highlighter-ambivalent, but a wedding surely demands it. I’ve selected two options from similar colour families: the Glossier Haloscope in Quartz, which is probably my favourite highlighter, and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone, which is a little more blingy and which wears better. I might layer them or I might just go with Becca, but the Haloscope is a good casual product. Like, I’m not going to go all in with the SSP to go eat a bagel, you know?


Boring things first: I would be nowhere without my Milani Eyeshadow Primer. I’m not sure if I’ll use liquid liner on the day of the wedding, but I will want it at some point during my trip, so I’ve thrown in Stila Stay All Day in Intense Black. I will want to tightline with Marc Jacobs Highliner in Blacquer, as it’s a step I never miss. The NYX Wonder Pencil in Light will brighten up my waterline nicely. And of course, I bought my favourite mascara, Clarins Truly Waterproof, specifically for the wedding. It does amazing things to my lashes, and waterproof is a must at a wedding!

Speaking of lashes, I have the Ardell Knotted Flares. The last time I wore false lashes I was in university and I peeled them off at 5am and slapped them onto the nearest surface. This time I’m going with a few placed strategically. Lash glue is just the one that came with my Tanya Burr lashes, because it’s what I have. (I actually totally would have worn those lashes if I hadn’t run them into the ground.)

My brow products are so standard I should stop mentioning them: Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Tough as Taupe and L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel. I hate how much I like this brow gel, because it’s $15 and that is absurd. L’Oreal needs to humble itself and calm down with these prices.

I love my Modern Renaissance palette something fierce, and it has everything I need for both a softer wedding look and something more interesting should the compulsion grip me during my trip. When I’m in Montreal for some reason I am drawn to do crazy makeup, so the berries and reds in the palette are a safe bet.

Other fun things: NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Sapphire and two ColourPop Super Shock shadows in Paradox (a red berry) and Animal (a neon orange).

Wedding glam: Stila Magnificent Metal Liquid Eyeshadow in Rose Gold Retro because it is oh so beautiful and this is probably my best excuse to wear it. The Lise Watier 24 Hours Glam Eyeshadow Stick in Satin Glam is perfect for a strong inner corner highlight.


Even when I pack light, I go overboard with lip colours. I just never know what I’m going to be feeling, you know? This time I’m packing two options for the day of the wedding (Revlon Balm Stain in Romantic, a warm sheer red, and NARS Audacious in Brigitte, my perfect peach), an easy moisturizing colour for travel days (YSL Rouge Volupté #17, a true staple in my travel makeup bag, which I pair with ColourPop Lippie Pencil in Contempo), and a few fun colours to give me options: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Electric Poppy and Little Mix by Collection in Perrie. Somehow I forgot to include the latter two in my picture, but you can see them swatched below:

L-R: Revlon Romantic, NARS Brigitte, ColourPop Contempo, YSL #17, Charlotte Tilbury Electric Poppy, Collection Perrie. On my lips Revlon Romantic is more obviously red; because it’s sheer the colour looks a lot lighter on my pale inner arm.


Tweezerman has me covered with their eyelash curler and tweezers. I don’t know if I’ll actually need to sharpen anything, but if I do, my NARS sharpener has my back. Finally, I’m bringing my Quo Blending Sponge for the stick foundation.

I tend to pack every brush I’ve ever touched in my life when I travel, and I didn’t cut back too much here:

Face brushes: Magic Collection Oval Brush, Quo Deluxe All Over Powder Brush, bdellium tools 787 Duet Fiber Large Tapered Blending Brush (great for undereye powder), Real Techniques Duo Fiber Powder Brush, Real Techniques Cheek Brush, The Body Shop Fan Brush, ELF Small Stipple Brush.

Eye/lip brushes: ELF Eyelash and Brow Wand, million-year-old Forever 21 angled brush, bdellium tools 766 Blending Brush, MAC 217, ELF Crease Brush, Elf Concealer Brush x2 (best brush ever for packing shadow on), Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, Elf Eye Contour Brush, Real Techniques Bold Metals 201 Pointed Crease Brush, Real Techniques Smudging Brush, Quo Crease Blending Brush, Lise Watier Eye Contour Brush, Real Techniques Accent Brush, Real Techniques Detail Brush, Elf Small Smudge Brush x2 (amazing for the lower lashline), Real Techniques Lip Brush, ELF Lip Brush.

Will I use all of these? Probably not, but it’s good to have options.


I separated my skincare/toiletries into a different bag just for ease of access. I really like using my Glossier pouch for travel because it’s cute and functional. I do have a TSA-approved clear bag from Muji, but the Glossier one is cuter.

For skincare, I mainly went with travel minis just to save space, since full size skincare can be so bulky. That said, I am not one to ever skimp on my skincare routine, so I still brought a lot…

I got my Caudalie birthday gift from Sephora last month, which was perfect timing for the trip. I actually really like how the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet layer under makeup. In my real life I have an eye cream for day and one for night, but in my travel life I’m bringing Biotherm Homme Aquapower Eye Depuffer for both. Nivea lip balm is basic but necessary!

I have weaned myself off Lancôme Bi-Facil in favour of La Roche-Posay Respectissime, but the travel minis sure come in handy! I repurposed an empty sample of the Vichy micellar solution and filled it with some good old-fashioned Bioderma Sensibio. For real cleansing I’m bringing my mini of the La Roche-Posay Cleansing Milk. I normally favour an oil followed by a gel, but I can’t be bothered when I travel.

For nighttime I’m bringing along my Hyaluronic Acid from The Ordinary for general hydration as well as their Lactic Acid 10% for an exfoliating step (not pictured ’cause I’m stupid). Normally I have a separate night cream, but I’ll use the Caudalie just to save the space. If I feel I need it, I can use my Squalane from The Ordinary, which I can also use as a body moisturizer and on the ends of my hair. And, obviously, I could never even fall asleep without my Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm…!

I’m also bringing these Life Brand sheet masks for me and my friends so that we can have a fun girls’ night the day before the wedding. I don’t really think these masks do anything other than moisturize, but there’s something about sitting in your Airbnb farmhouse with four of your friends with a sheet mask on and a glass of rosé in your hand, you know?

I forgot to photograph my sunscreen, but I’m bringing Vichy Ideal Soleil Ultra-Fluid SPF 50 for the face and La Roche-Posay Anthelios Lightweight Lotion SPF60 for the body.


Hair-wise, I decanted a bit of my Light Blue Shade purple shampoo and my current hair mask (Ice Cream Restructuring Mask with Keratin), since my hair demands very specific products. (The D and N labels are leftover from when I used these containers for day and night cream on another trip!) I’m also bringing my Olaplex Number 3 so that I can have the most perfect, damage-free hair in the world. Honestly, I could cut down most of the products I’m bringing, but my hair is so damn high-maintenance these days that it’s a pain when I travel.

Hairspray is one of those things that you just can’t decant, but my full-sized bottle is huge and bulky so I was forced (forced, I say!) to buy a mini. I was going to go with Elnett, but when I saw that the travel-size was $7.99 I decided to cheap out on the $2.99 TreSemmé because what the goddamn hell.

On the other hand, I packed my full-size dry shampoo because fuuuuuck mini Batistes are expensive as shit and I already have two bottles of the full size on backup.

I inherited this travel-sized hair straightener from my mom a million years ago. I use this technique to curl my hair with it.

I have clear elastics and bobby pins in case I want to do anything fancier than quick curls. Super exciting, right? The black headband is essential to keep my hair out of my face when I’m doing my makeup.

And that is everything! Phew. Being in a wedding requires a lot of shit, huh?

PREVIOUSLY: Gallivanting around Europe makeup bag | Funeral/graduation hybrid makeup bag (pretty similar to this one, actually, but with way worse photos)

What’s in my travel makeup bag? 2016 edition

Posted on June 02, 2016 under Lists

The last time I did one of these posts was back in April 2015, and that was in the context of the frequent European weekend jaunts I did when I was studying abroad in Glasgow. Tomorrow I’m departing on a six day trip which will take me to Kentucky for my uncle’s memorial service and then to my university graduation. Since we’ll be flying from Kentucky to Montreal, I’m packing as light as possible while considering the two very different occasions I’ll be making myself up for.



This is a no-brainer since I am not a hoarder of base products. I’ll be bringing my Make Up Forever Ultra HD Foundation, L’Oreal True Match concealer (for under the eyes), Maybelline Master Conceal (for blemishes), and my brand-spanking-new Rimmel Stay Matte Powder (absolutely necessary in the heat of Kentucky in June). Those are pretty much the only base products I own, so this really was an easy choice. Or non-choice, as the case may be.



I have a tendency to want to bring every possible shade of blush with me when I travel, but I’m not listening to that urge. I’m bringing only two, Hourglass Luminous Flush (a glowy peach that’s perfect for summer) and Mood Exposure (a warm brownish shade that goes with everything). I’m also bringing my Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Moonstone since I also feel that it goes with anything. Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow is a no-brainer for me since it’s my perfect contour shade; The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in Matte 1 is the only bronzer I own, so once again I don’t even have to think about it. (If this were just a trip down south I wouldn’t bother with the contour and just use bronzer instead. I also probably could cut out Luminous Flush, but I didn’t say this was going to be the most minimalist makeup bag ever.)


I promise the bronzer isn’t that orange in real life.



For my eyebrows I must have my Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Tough As Taupe, which is still the BEST colour I’ve ever found for my brows. I’ll top it off with Rimmel Brow This Way in Clear, though that’s more because it’s what I have on hand than because it’s a particularly good product.

Obviously I’m bringing my NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, because I would be nowhere without it on an everyday basis, let alone in 100+ degree Kentucky!

For everyday use, I’m bringing my beloved Urban Decay Naked Basics palette, which hardly sees a day without use. I imagine I’ll be using this for most of my trip: my go-to look is Venus all over the eyelid, Naked 2 in the crease, and a slightly more precise application of Faint on the outer corners. Again, were I only going to Kentucky this would be the only eyeshadow I packed, but I’m also tossing in my LORAC Pro palette for my graduation: I’m planning on using Gold, Sable, and Espresso. Strictly speaking I could probably just bring this and get everyday looks with Cream, Nude, Taupe, and Mauve, but for very simple neutral looks I just really love having my Naked Basics on hand.

I’m bringing four eyeliners: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner for my lashline, Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil to tightline, and Stila Smudge Stick in Damsel and Little Mix by Collection Rock It Glitter in Leigh-Anne for my graduation look.

The mascara that I’m currently loving is Clarins Truly Waterproof. It gives me a really nice lengthening effect on the lashes and doesn’t get clumpy at all.

Finally, I’m packing my Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter false lashes for my graduation.



Lip products are my weakness, and I find it hard to pack less than a lipstick a day for a trip. However, I have edited this batch down to an easy-to-wear neutral (NARS Audacious in Brigitte, a new-to-me peach with a hint of brown), a sheer berry that’s super easy to apply on-the-go (Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté in 17), and the red that I intend to wear for graduation (Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Red Carpet Red, of course). I’m also bringing two lip liners, both by Rimmel: East End Snob for use with the first two lipsticks, and Red Diva to pair with Red Carpet Red.




Tweezers are a must wherever I go; Tweezerman currently owns my heart.

I have very straight lashes so I won’t go anywhere without an eyelash curler. This one is also by Tweezerman.

I’m bringing my Quo blending sponge for foundation, though I’ll probably use my hands most of the time because it’s quicker and sometimes I’m too lazy to go wet the sponge. (This is why people hate millennials, isn’t it?)


For face brushes, I’m packing my Real Techniques Multi-Task Brush for blush, Duo-Fiber Brush for bronzer, Contour brush for, well, contouring, and Kabuki brush for powder. I’ll also be bringing my bdellium tools 944 for highlighter.


For eyes I’m bringing my Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush (for all over application), Angled Shadow Brush (for application of imprecise crease colours), and Detailer Brush (for inner corner highlight). Rounding out the eye brush category are my ELF Concealer brush (for packing on the shadow), ELF Small Smudge Brush (great for the lower lash line), Lise Watier Eye Contour Brush (for more precise outer V/crease work), and of course my beloved MAC 217 (for blending). I’m also bringing this old Maybelline mascara wand that I’ve been using as a spoolie since my first year of university, as well as an old Forever 21 angled brush which is surprisingly the BEST for applying brow pomade.

For some reason I find it really hard to be minimal with brushes, especially eye brushes. And, FYI, I washed all of my brushes immediately after taking these pictures, so don’t judge me too harshly.



I would be lost without sunscreen; this one is La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid and has seen better days. (It’s almost empty and expires in the fall, so I’m using it up.) In the spray bottle I have some micellar water (this one is by Vichy because it’s what I have on hand). I also have sample sizes of the La Rohe-Posay Makeup Remover Milk and the Lanôme Bi-Facil eye makeup remover. In the jars are my current day cream (Avène Hydrance Optimale Légère) and night cream (No7 Beautiful Skin for dry skin).



My hair is currently the perfect platinum blonde, so I’m bringing a hardcore purple shampoo: Light Blue Shade. In the pot is Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco Deep Hydrating Treatment, which I’m currently trying out (and liking!).

Then, we have two lip balms: one thinner for day (Arbonne Lip Intelligence*), and my favourite thick nighttime balm (Nuxe Rêve de Miel, of course). I have to have my current nail colour (Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Gilty Party) lest my polish chips before my graduation. Finally, I have a pack of Joe Fresh blotting papers because “Kentucky in June” and “standing outside waiting to graduate for four hours” both seem like situations with the potential for a lot of sweat.

And that is it for the makeup and toiletries. Which is admittedly a fair amount! It would be a lot less were I not graduating somewhere in this whirlwind 2500km round-trip. Anyway, I probably will not check in here until after I have graduated, so take care until then! Next time you hear from me I’ll be coming at you as a human with a degree.