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)


There are 4 responses to “What’s in my travel makeup bag? Wedding edition”

  • Last wedding I went to, I flew to Saskatoon and tried to make due with what I could jam in my carry-on. Hahahaha worst idea. I was the MC, so people would be looking at me for a portion of the day, and I was stressed about that and making sure I had everything I needed, and still jet-lagged as hell. Aaaaah. It was fun. I hope you had a good time!

    • Oh, that’s stressful! I’m really good at packing in a single carry-on, but for a wedding the makeup situation requires something more than minimalism. (That may be an understatement…) And I had a great time, thanks! Such a fun little trip. Now I’m back in the real world and it’s sad.

  • Hi ! I’m a reader from France ! I just saw you use the biotherm Homme (product for men) for your under eyes : is it because products for men are stronger, better for under eyes ? I wonder that because if it’s better, I have to try men products ;)
    Thank you !

    • No, the only real difference between skincare products for men and women is the fragrance and how they’re marketed. Skin is skin! I just got it as gratis from work and I decided to use it on myself because there are no men in my life who would use an eye cream, haha.

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