I love traveling, but the packing and general logistics can get extremely exhausting. However, that doesn’t stop me from being in constant motion. For example, this year I was only “home” for a total of 65 days. The rest of the time I was traveling both domestically and internationally… and, more often than not, the inter country flights I take are almost always 12+ hours long. The good news is that due to nothing else than just doing it so often, I have come up with a travel beauty system that seems to work. Please keep in mind that I essentially live out of a suitcase these days, so my products need to work for all environments. This is my new normal and there was a lot of trial and error involved in the process. Without further ado, I give you my picks for the 17 best beauty products for travel.
I’ve tried the most expensive matte lipsticks out there, but this $6 one by NYX is by far the best. I typically use a cream lipstick underneath it so it doesn’t get that matte lip “peeled” look after heavy wear. However, this color and texture of this lip cream beats out even the fanciest brands.
This primer doubles as an acne treatment and comes in a travel size! The gentle natural acne-fighting ingredients are just what I need to keep skin clear without lugging around extra products. Use this before applying foundation.
Once again, the drugstore wins! I thought I had lost my mind when I tried this foundation on a whim. I was using Giorgio Armani Silk Foundation when I ended up getting stuck overnight somewhere without my makeup. I ran to the drugstore to find something for the day. The woman working at CVS recommended the Fit Me! Foundation, so I bought it, expecting it to be decent for a day but nothing more. Oh no, not only did it blow my expensive foundation out of the water, it taught me a good lesson when it comes to cosmetics: department store brands do not always mean superior products. This is the only matte foundation I’ve found that truly dries matte in a way that doesn’t look cakey or thick. It’s got a velvety finish that is shine-free and feels like real skin. I’m not sure how they did this, but every time I try to look for a more expensive foundation, I end up going right back to this one.
This is a great way to get SPF and a moisturizing cream into one product that also adds color. You can skip the foundation I’ve listed above if you just want a little pigment/coverage, or you can apply both. Most tinted moisturizers don’t work hard enough in the hydration department to be used in lieu of a regular moisturizer… except for this one. This comes in both full and travel/sample sizes, which is a huge bonus!
We are coming back to the drugstore products again! “Color Tattoo Metal” is a gel shadow by Maybelline that stays put during and post application (don’t worry about shadow getting under your eyes when applying quickly, like with a powder). I use just two colors when traveling: Barely Branded and Bad to the Bronze. (You can apply using either a brush or your fingers.)
I know some people are really hesitant to travel with these gel pots, but I’m not exactly sure why. I think they keep everything clean and simple. MAC’s brown gel liquid liner is pretty much the best stuff on the planet, and it lasts an insanely long time. If you’re dead set on staying away from a liner pot, Marc Jacobs eyeliner is the ONLY pencil that stays put and is long-wear. Both are great options, I just prefer the gel pot the best.
I know a lip primer may seem like overkill when traveling, but it will keep lipstick looking fresh for several hours, and less applications means a lot less stress for you. This stila lip primer is the only primer I’ve used that works for both matte and glossy looks. In addition to this, it is has a plumping effect.
This blush has a cult-like following and I totally understand why. It’s universally flattering and goes onto cheeks extremely easily. You can put this one on without even looking and you don’t have to worry about the pigment overpowering your face, it’s that natural.
I never used to think primers mattered that much, but boy was I wrong. No one needs their eye shadow to crease… ever! Too Faced is one of my favorite primers; it comes in a travel size that still lasts longer than you’d expect.
A classic never dies. I don’t care how much money you want to spend on a mascara, this one is better. The only thing that compares is the Chanel mascara, and it’s such a minuscule improvement that it isn’t worth the huge price difference. Just get this one, okay? (I also like this in the dark brown and classic black.)
This powder is easy to travel with and works better than any others I’ve tried. I know everyone loves the Laura Mercier loose setting powder, but I’m not a fan. Check this one out if you want something that blots well and doesn’t give off a too “done” or ghostly look.
If you were only going to grab one thing from this list, I’d say buy these. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this two-in-one makeup removing system. The wipes work like any other makeup removing towelette on one side, but other the other it has micro-spheres that work like a mini micro-dermabrasion system. It gently exfoliates and sloughs off dead skin cells with very minimal work.
I cannot tell you how much I love this powder. I use it on the plane to take a “dry bath” in the bathroom. I use it in my hair as a dry shampoo (which, btw, works better than any spray-on kind I’ve tried). Basically, this stuff is the shit. It’s great for any sort of travel…you’ll even get off of a 14 hour plane ride feeling fresh.
Keeping skin hydrated on the plane is always a daunting task. Drinking water is obviously going to be the key to keeping dryness at bay, but Caudalie grape water is designed to hydrate and soften the skin better than other facial spritzes. It works great in-flight for an
extra dose of hydration.
Taking a bunch of huge liquid bottles can end up being more trouble than it is worth. It’s better to put concealers, foundations, and creams in smaller containers for travel purposes. I love this colorful 6-pack of contact cases by Equate. You can keep the items organized by color, which makes all products much easier to find in your travel bag.
Say goodbye to those annoying blue oil-soaked papers. The Blotterazzi by beautyblender is an reusable oil absorbing sponge that works better than the classic disposable sheets. It comes with two sponges and a hard-shell case that makes it even easier to transport in a purse or small bag.
I keep all my makeup in one bag to keep things simple. I hate using ziplock bags for my cosmetics during flights partly for this reason. I recently grabbed a TSA approved Sephora Zip Bag for my flights, which ended up being extremely helpful. It is big enough to fit my entire cosmetic routine and is durable enough to use as a travel bag. Plus, it’s cheap.