Makeup and skincare is heavy and traveling with it is always a challenge for me. I am thinking I may not need as much as pictured on the left. I certainly hope not. But it is not just the makeup; it is also the skin care, hair care and nail care that adds to the difficulties of packing for traveling on a plane. One of my favorite things to do when traveling via air is to ship a large flat rate box to my destination with the smaller, heavier items. This works well if you’re going to a single destination for at least four days (in case the box does not arrive on time). By mailing the smaller heavier items ahead of time, you don’t have to schlepp these things around and you don’t have to deal with the 4 oz or less TSA restrictions in case you’re carrying everything onto the plane. Empty travel containers come in all shapes and sizes and can be found at Amazon, drugstore.com and most local shops such as CVS or Walgreens. I love to use the empty Molten Brown bottles that are in the travel size. Bobbi Brown Empties are a lovely set (a little pricey but it comes with a funnel and labels).
My first plan of attack is to gather up small plastic bottles 4 0unces or less and small jars. I keep my empties washed and stashed in a small shopping bag with handles hanging on a hook in my bedroom. When I am planning my travels, I put the shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, eye cream, moisturizer, etc. into these empties. Then I use First Aid Adhesive Tape and a fine line sharpie and write down on the adhesive tape what is in the container. I used to think I would not need to label everything – wrong. You really don’t want to put facial cleanser on as a moisturizer. This I know from first hand experience. In order to not waste my products, when I return from a trip, I use these small containers until they are empty, then wash and store for the next trip. You may need to replace the tape after washing, but more than likely they will have a different product so that point is moot.
Another thing I do is make lists. When I find a good combination of eye makeup and face makeup (FOTD – Face of The Day) I keep a list of it. You can keep your list on Excel, or a word processing program (Word – in columns) or just write it down on a piece of paper in columns, face, eyes, lips. It may sound like a bit of work but once you have this list, you can keep it, add to it or change it if you find a better combination. When you have your list of a good face day, just toss the products you wrote down into your cosmetic case and you will have all you need. Now comes the tricky part. Finding the right size case to carry you precious items around.
For a two or three night trip, a small case will work, one that holds at least five brushes and two days of “looks”. You will need a liquid foundation brush (if you use liquid foundation), a powder brush for bronzer and blush and at least three eye brushes, fluffy, angle and dense. More nights away will need a bigger case and, unless you’re going to wash your brushes every day, more brushes. I like cases that keep the eye products and face products in separate compartments, it’s easier to find what I need that way.
Now you’re set with your case, your small containers and your brushes – what makeup do you take? Of course this depends on where you’re going, and what you’re going to be wearing. I find it is easier to figure out what makeup to take if I plan my clothing first. Once my clothing items are decided upon, it is easier to plan what shades of shadows, blushes and lippies I will be needing. I try to keep the colors either warm or cool which makes it easier to narrow down the choices. Obviously where you’re going will be a huge factor in what you bring. If you’re going to be out on the town, you will want more shimmer and sparkle than if you’re headed to a spa retreat. Activities are important – hiking the Andes, won’t need as much as if you’re clubbing in Las Vegas. Climate will also be a factor. Warm, humid climate means more powder products. Cold, dry climate means more moisturizing products. Geography will also play a part in deciding shades. Sunny California, beachy Florida will want brighter shades on the eyes, Headed to Boston? Might want to go with the more reserved neutrals.
That said, for a trip of more than a week, going to a city, planning on several nights out, I would recommend taking three foundations. One foundation should be a BB or CC Creme with sunscreen and moisturizing properties. You may not need a face primer with the BB or CC Creme. Use this for the days you’re in a recreational mode. If you can find a primer with sunscreen, that is always helpful. For the foundations, one should be a serum or sheer style such as Laura Mercier Smooth Finish, Chanel Vitalumière Aqua or Bobbi Brown Serum. If you’re using a mineralized powder foundation then of course you won’t need these, but I would recommend that you have both sheer and more coverage options. One foundation should be at least a medium coverage for the evenings to give a more polished look. Something such as Tom Ford or Bobbi Brown Skin foundations. If you don’t like liquid foundation, a solid cream foundation such as MAC Full Coverage Foundation, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation in stick form or Guerlain Lingerie de Peau. The new cushion foundations such as Lancome Miracle Cushion or AmorePacific are easy to travel with and provide a medium coverage. Two concealers, one liquid, one solid, one bronzer and two blushes should get you through a week or so. I like to take a shimmer highlighter that I can also use on my brow bone. Add a translucent powder and you should be set for the face.
The eyes require a primer. Some creme eye shadows such as MAC Painterly and Bobbi Brown creme shadows can also be used as a shadow. A black or dark brown liner and perhaps a color, depending on your style, are necessary. The right color of brown shadow can be used for your brows and can be used in the crease of the eye. I also like to take a shimmer shadow for the evenings and a dark shadow for added depth. If you’re short on space, you can wet most dark shadows and use them as a liner. Gel liners can be used as mascara if you have the MAC 205 Mascara Fan Brush. There is a video on Youtube by Cora (VintageorTacky) showing how to use gel liners as colored mascara. Here’s the link if you’re interested in watching this. Vintageortacky Retro Winged Liner & Blue Lashes Makeup Tutorial. Gel liners can also be sheered out and used as a primer for a smokey eye look or a colorful playful eye look.
For the lips, a neutral and pink or coral lip liner, nude and pinky or coral lipstick and medium hued gloss should cover all activities, day and night. If you love the red lip then by all means bring a red lipstick and liner. Just make sure it’s matching the clothing you’ve packed.
For brushes, I prefer a brush roll or the plastic brush canister that MAC sells at their pro shops. The MAC Brush Canister is brilliant. It can be made as tall or short as you need it. If you travel with this you can also keep the clean brushes separate from the used brushes.
One last word of advice on traveling with cosmetics – they can break. If you’re concerned about that expensive Chanel Highlighter or Tom Ford Foundation, you may want to leave it at home. If you really want to travel with it, pack the breakable bottles in bubble wrap and put as much foam or bubble wrap as possible into your cosmetic case to keep the products from shifting. Keeping your lovely cosmetic items from shifting will help to keep breakage down. You may want to put a piece of scotch tape around the top of any bottles to keep them from opening. I also put bottles with liquid into their own baggie in case they do open, they won’t damage anything else in my bag.
I’m just about packed and headed out for a flight – where will you be traveling to?