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Women often struggle with makeup when they go on travel.  There are several approaches to travel makeup.

Makeup Style

No Makeup – Some women take a break from their makeup when they go on vacation.  They only take moisturizer  and face cleanser.  This method works well for adventure travel or any destination where there is a lot of humidity and sweat.  It also works well in countries where women don’t have access to a lot of makeup and you want to blend in.

Minimalist – The minimalist look usually consists of using a tinted moisturizer and one other product, either mascara or lip color.  This is a casual/daytime  look.   It works best on trips where exercise is minimal or medium intensity, and there is no need to get dressed up.

Full Face – Many fashionistas wouldn’t be caught dead without their makeup, even in the middle of the African bush.  This look is possible even when one-bagging, but it requires pre-planning and a bit of sacrifice.

Makeup Kits

Some women like to use makeup palettes when they travel.   These are available from places like QVC, and at many makeup sales counters.  Commercial palettes are expensive but incredibly convenient.  My biggest complaint is that the color combinations never seem to be quite right for me.  I also seem to use up one of the items faster than the rest of the kit

Lancome Makeup Palette

This makeup palette from Lancome is an expensive but convenient way to carry makeup.

Another option is to create your own palette using something like the Unii Makeup Palette.  This works well if you like to use a lot of solid products.  Z-palette sells a less robust version of a do-it-yourself palette.

I use a lot of liquid makeup, so I decided to create my own travel makeup kit.  It stays in my purse full-time.  This makes it easy to pack for a trip – my makeup is ready to go.  The purse kit has approximately 2-1/2 weeks worth of product within it.  When I leave for a trip I just top off my products, separate out the liquids, and put the kit in my suitcase.

A small travel makeup kit.

My small travel makeup kit is also my purse makeup kit.

The contents of my travel makeup kit

This is the contents of my travel makeup kit. Clockwise from upper left: liquid foundation, mini eyelash curler, contact lens case with cream blusher and concealer, travel makeup brush set, mascara, magnifying mirror, lipstick, tweezers, triple color eye shadow.

Makeup Techniques

Consider the following techniques if you want to create your own travel makeup kit:

Limit the makeup palette – If you have packed a capsule wardrobe you have already limited your colors.  Restrict your makeup palette to match your capsule wardrobe.  Leave the other colors at home.

Use dual-use products – There are several products that can be used for more than one application.

  • Consider tinted moisturizer or BB cream instead of bringing both moisturizer and foundation.  Tinted moisturizer is usually lighter than foundation.   You’ll appreciate this if you are going to be active or in a hot sweaty place.  It also gives you a more natural look.
  • Use wet/dry eye makeup as both shadow and eye-liner
  • Use a combination blusher/lip gloss.  In a pinch, lip stick can also be used as blusher.  Think lip crayons, lip pencils, or Nars multi-sticks.

Decant everything into little bottles and tubes

  • Use an oral syringe to decant liquid makeup into smaller containers.
  • Use contact lens cases, sample jars, and eye drop bottles for liquids.  Small bottles are available from the internet.
  • Use mini-sifter jars for mineral makeup.  These are available via the internet.  They come in 3, 5, 10, and 20 gram sizes for all of your makeup needs.
  • Use free samples from makeup counters.  These are often just the right size for travel.  I hoard any tiny bottles and jars I get.  I can put my favorite products in them later.
Tiny eyedrop bottles

These tiny eyedrop bottles can be used to store liquids such as face serum and perfume.

Small plastic jars

These sample jars are great for moisturizer or cleansing solution.

Stackable Sifter Jars

Decant dry products to save space and weight. These mini-sifter jars are a great way to carry mineral makeup.

Use miniature brushes and makeup tools

  • Invest in a set of travel makeup brushes.  Several stores sell them.
  • Use a mini-eyelash curler.  I have a small one by Sephora.
  • Use a mini Kabuki brush if you use mineral powder.
A compact makeup brush set suitable for travel

Many stores sell compact makeup brush sets that are excellent for travel.  This one is from Sephora.

A mini kabuki brush

This mini kabuki brush may be small, but it gets the job done.

Sephora mini eyelash curler

Sephora makes a compact travel eyelash curler.  Several different kinds are available at beauty stores.

Makeup Removal

Olay 4-in-1 facial cloths

These facial cloths are embedded with cleanser and toner. Just add water to activate.

There are several ways to remove makeup

  • Use a makeup scrubbing pad and decant your cleanser
  • Use pre-moistened makeup removal pads such as the Neutrogena makeup remover pads.  If you choose this option, only bring the refill kit – the plastic case is far too large and heavy for carry on travel.  Slip the pads into a zip-lock bag if you are worried about the pads drying out.  This is the heaviest option, and is bulky on a long trip.
  • Use a “just add water” dry cleansing cloth.  Unfortunately, these are becoming very difficult to find.  Most manufacturers are leaning toward the heavier pre-moistened towelettes.
  • Make your own eye makeup removal pads

Related posts

Decanting and the principle of “just enough”

Decanting thick creams and pastes using an oral syringe

DIY:  TSA Compliant Makeup Removal Pads

Updated September 14 2012 to include mini-sifter jars for mineral makeup.

Updated August 25 2012 to include examples and makeup removal prodcuts.