Traveling presents a few unique beauty challenges. Climate changes, sleep deprivation, stress – not to mention packing limitations, can all combine to make a hot mess. Add this to the fact that most of the time we travel for one of two reasons: Either for work, in which case we usually need to be polished and presentable; or for pleasure. If your travel is fun-related, then you’ll probably want lots of pictures, some even featuring yourself. You’ll also be meeting new people, or possibly visiting old friends. Either way, your makeup should put your game-face on, be effortless, portable and chic.
1. BB Cream
BB Creams are a new(ish) kind of ‘foundation’ that blends skincare with makeup. This “two birds, one stone” approach is great when you’re on the road, since you won’t need to pack foundation primer and daily sunscreen (beach bums should go for some extra SPF, though). Plus, you can apply it with your fingers, so you can skip the separate foundation brush or sponge. Because the coverage of most BB Creams ranges from light to medium, you’ll still need a great concealer to cover any outrageous blemishes and inner eye circles. The BB Cream I use and recommend is Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35.
Traveling can be hard on your skin, with jet-lag, extra stress, and skipping your regular nighttime skincare routine – a long-lasting, build-able-coverage concealer will help to hide a multitude of sins. My hands-down personal favorite, Kat Von D Tattoo Concealer, will conceal acne, under-eye circles, birthmarks, and even tattoos. The blend-able formula also will apply well with your fingertips. Just be sure to select the exact shade to match your skin.
3. Cream Eyeshadow or Primer
Before applying eyeshadow, I always use some kind of base or primer on my eyelids to keep the mid-day creasing at bay. Usually I choose between Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Cream Shadow, which lasts around eight hours and can be a finished eyeshadow look on it’s own; or Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, which keeps shadow in place until the end of day two. If I were to choose between the two products which one I’d rather have on a trip, I would personally go with the Cream Shadow. Either way, use your finger-tip to blend a small amount over your lids, then set with powder.
4. HD Powder
Setting all your prep work (Foundation, Concealer and Eye Shadow Primer) with powder is essential to lock the makeup in place, and gives a soft matte finish. Any HD powder containing 100% silica will work well, one I use is Make Up For Ever’s HD Microfinish Powder. When using HD powder, use a kabuki brush and gently dab the powder to the skin as swiping across your skin disturbs the makeup underneath. Do not apply heavily with a powder puff, sometimes called a “theater set”, as this can cause flash photography to cast a white pallor to the skin in photos.
5. Blush/Bronzer Duo
Pack a blush/bronzer duo to create a healthy, summery glow all year-round. Long flights and lack of sleep can make anybody a little green around the gills. Perk up your complexion with your favorite blush and bronzer. Even though I embrace my pale, bronzer is great to help blend in a slightly off foundation color (either by bringing some extra color to your throat, or by dusting it around your hairline and under your cheekbones to fix a too-light foundation) or just to help you fake looking sun-kissed. (Because we would never destroy our skin for the real thing, right?) A great color combination is Urban Decay’s Naked Flushed, which includes universally flattering shades of blush and bronzer, both with a satin finish, as well as a semi-shimmery highlighter.
6. Eye Shadow Palette
What I look for in an eye shadow palette is something matte (which I’m partial to, in general), and with certain required colors: a color that can be used to fill your eyebrows, a highlight color, a mid neutral, something dark brown which can be used as a daytime liner or a more dramatic contour, and a true black for doing a smokey eye, or to use wet for a cat eye liner. I love Urban Decay’s Naked Basics Palette, as it includes several great neutral colors with intense color payout (meaning, a little goes a long way). Your palette can include one or two shimmery colors, but matte neutrals will be more versatile for traveling.
7. Gel Eyeliner
I like gel liner for it’s versatility. You can use it like a pencil liner to tight-line your lashes, giving subtle definition to the eye, and/or mimic a liquid liner to create a cat eye. If you chose a long wearing formula like Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner it should keep you looking fresh all day. For myself I prefer black (DRAMA!) but softer color options are dark brown or even charcoal grey. Remember to pack only one to keep your bag light.
Pack your favorite mascara. Spring for a new tube before your trip, so it’s nice and fresh. I love Maybelline Lash Stiletto Voluptuous Mascara, which is build-able, to range from natural to quite dramatic. Avoid waterproof mascara in general, unless your trip will include daily trips to the beach or pool. If you do opt for something waterproof, be sure to pack the appropriate eye makeup remover. I’m quite addicted to my eyelash extensions, and instead of mascara I use an Eyelash Extension Sealant. It doesn’t work exactly like a mascara, but I use it to hide any shadow fallout that lands on my lashes and makes them look muddy or powdery.
Lip gloss is versitale in that it’s moisturizing, so you can skip lip balm. Plus, if you choose a sheer gloss, you can wear it “natural” with your own lip color shining through as a soft pinky color, or you can put concealer or foundation on your lips befor applying your gloss, and you now have a beautiful glossy “nude” lip look. My personal favorite gloss is actually a lip plumper with a very subtle shimmer, Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Polish. My color of choice is “Katie” because it has a hint of pink to boost the natural color in my lips.
10. Bold Lipstick
The last item in your “Makeup Must-Have Travel Kit” should be something just for fun. For me, a bold, matte lip color can really change any makeup look, and, depending on your eye makeup, can be a fun, flirty daytime look, or something super sultry for night. Choose your own favorite color: right now I’m loving red, but you could do a strong pink or even a vibrant orange. The formula should be long wearing, but not intimidating to reapply while you’re out and about (say, after a meal.) I really love OCC Lip Tar, and my favorite color is called NSFW (Not Safe For Work), an intense true-red. If you are definitely not a bold lipstick kind of girl, reach for a vibrant eye liner or shadow instead. It can be something colorful, like a teal eyeliner, or maybe just a glittery shadow.
These 10 makeup essentials will allow you to create dozens of different looks, from professional, to whimsical, to seductive. Keep everything packed in a quick-grab pouch, along with any brushes or tools (q-tips and tweezers, for example) you need to use them. This way you can quickly toss them into your purse, gym bag, or suitcase, all at the last minute.