Travel Makeup Tips


For the longest time, I struggled with packing makeup for travel. I would try to cram as much as I possibly could into the largest makeup bag I owned. Then I arrived at my destination, didn't use half of it, and still had to lug it around everywhere with me. What was I thinking?? When I started to travel often for work, I smartened up and streamlined the process. So here is what I carry in my travel makeup bag, and also some tips!

Everything in the photo above stays in my travel makeup bag all the time. I travel, be it for work, fun, weekend away, or overnight stay, often enough to warrant having a travel makeup bag ready all the time. In fact, my entire packing process really only takes about 30 minutes because I have clothes I always tend to gravitate towards when traveling, and everything else I need is always ready.

Tip #1: Stock up on sample sizes. Given a free sample during your last beauty purchase? Instead of using it, save it for travel. Building a stash of perfectly curated minis of all of your faves doesn't happen overnight, but it's totally worth the patience. If you love a particular brand, either Christmas time or gifts with purchase are a great way to get a bunch of minis at once. The checkout line at Sephora has a TON of mini sizes and is a great place to stock up before traveling.

Tip #2: Pack multi-use products. The Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick can be used as foundation, light concealer, or touch ups, and you can just use your fingers to blend. I've also got a mini Stila Convertible Color that can be used for cheeks and lips.

Tip #3: Purchase doubles of your favourites. If there is a product that you really can't live without, or a miniature just isn't available, it's a good idea to purchase a duplicate for your travel bag. My favourite full sizes that have earned a permanent spot are the Chanel Les Beiges, Hourglass Arch Brow, and Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer.

Tip #4: Pack a few odds and ends. Depending on where I'm going and for what reason, I'll then grab a few products from my makeup collection at home to toss in for travel. For my most recent trip to Amsterdam, I also packed Tarte's The Sculptor for some definition, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder as an alternate setting powder and highlight, Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette for unlimited eye options, and a Chanel Khaki eyeliner for a pop of color.

Tip #5: Don't overdo it on the lip products. We all know lip products are my weakness, but all you really need is a neutral option, a bold option, and a tinted balm. I keep this cute little Rebecca Minkoff bag in my purse to corral in lip products, so I just switch it over when I travel. For this trip, I packed Dior Addict Lipstick in Diablotine and a natural Rimmel lip pencil for a neutral, Mac Lady Danger lipstick and High Energy lip pencil for a bold, and Dior Addict Lip Glow for a tinted balm. I also keep a retractable lip brush in this pouch.

Tip #6: Invest in good quality travel brushes. While I try to pack products that don't really require any brushes (or come with them), a good set of travel brushes is nice to have. Major brands like Dior, Lancome and Chanel usually come out with a set around Christmas time. My mini set is from Bobbi Brown and came with the cute little case. I also packed this dual-ended Tarte brush for blending out my base.

So minus the lip pouch, all of this fits into my teeny makeup bag (from a Sephora 500 point perk) that measures about 5x4x3 inches. Not bad! Ok, now I really want to go away again! Le sigh.

What products can't you live without when you travel? Any other tips?



  1. "I would try to cram as much as I possibly could into the largest makeup bag I owned. Then I arrived at my destination, didn't use half of it, and still had to lug it around everywhere with me. "

    This is me exactly! Hahaha...It's so hard to part with my makeup. I always think what if I need this and don't have it but no, I end up not using most of them. =P
    Great tips!

    amadea |

    1. Haha I know! It's always the "what if"s that get me. I really never pack more than this these days, unless I've got some serious formal events to go to.

  2. Birchbox and samples from Sephora make up a lot of the skin care and makeup that I take with me when I travel :) A palette or two and my brushes!

    1. Right on Carolyn! You really don't need that much when you travel, and the minis are oh so handy.


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