Beauty on the go: The complete travel makeup guide
Wanderlust is something many of us have. Traveling to see and experience new things is one of the most enriching things in life, and nothing compares to the feeling it gives you. Traveling away from home may also come with obstacles when it comes to your beauty routine, but it doesn’t have to. We have created this all-inclusive guide to help you learn how to travel without compromising your beauty routine, no matter how extensive your travel makeup routine may seem. As difficult as it may be to live out of your suitcase, it doesn’t mean you have to let your travel makeup and hair game suffer.
Travel makeup limitations
Unfortunately, while traveling by air there are limitations on the size of containers of liquids you can have in your carry-on. According to the TSA website,
“You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.”
Unfortunately, you’ll have to skip putting your favorite big bottle of body lotion in that bag. However, you can put whatever you want in the bag that you check! Make sure you put any liquids or creams into a plastic bag in case they spill because of the varying air pressure during flight. You don’t want to open your suitcase and be greeted with shampoo and shaving cream covering your favorite clothes, gross.
When packing your suitcase, remember to bring essentials and not everything you own. These plastic bottles are perfect for bringing shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, or anything else you might need. While it might be tempting to bring every makeup brush you own, try to bring only a few that you can use for multiple things. Invest in a large cosmetics bag to make sure you can fit all travel makeup in one compact place. Find one you can use for years, and that has many different travel makeup compartments for every item you might need. Try to pack your suitcase one thing at a time, and situate everything so it fits perfectly like a puzzle. Prioritize! You know yourself better than anyone else, so bring only what you know you absolutely need.
Keeping your travel makeup routine in check
Sitting on a plane for hours sucks. Driving in a car for hours sucks. But while you’re sitting and sucking, your travel makeup and hair doesn’t have to! Sitting in the same stale air doesn’t do your hair or skin any favors. There are lots of things you can do to combat any skin or hair problems you might have during your flight or drive.
If you have oily skin, your t-zone getting greasy is going to be your biggest problem. In your purse (carry-on if you’re on a plane) pack a few things that will help! Oil-blotting sheets will become your bffl if they aren’t already. When you notice yourself starting to look like you just worked out because of the oil, take a small sheet and gently blot over the areas with the most of it. This will mattify your face without messing up your makeup! Also, carrying some blotting powder can take the shine down a notch with a little re-application if you have time.
If you have dry skin, that tight feeling within your skin probably haunts you. It’s one of the most uncomfortable things, ever. Aside from using a good moisturizer, having a hydrating facial spray on hand will save you. Spritz it all over your face just like you would with a setting spray. The burst of hydration will leave you feeling refreshed, especially if it’s hot outside. If you’re struggling with extremely dry and flaky skin, consider bringing some exfoliating makeup wipes with you. Taking off the makeup and dead skin on your face will give it an opportunity to heal faster.
Chances are you won’t have a lot of space to do any makeup touch-ups. To make everything more simple, pack a small zipper pouch with only essentials. Mascara, powder, tinted lip balm and a nail file are a few of the things you could find useful throughout your journey. One other important thing is a cute compact mirror. If you don’t have access to a bathroom (or you don’t want to use the disgusting one on the airplane), having your own mirror will make everything easier. Carrying mini versions of your travel makeup will cut down on the bulk in your purse, but also make your touch-up time faster. The smaller, the better.
When it comes to hair, you will probably be leaning back against a head rest on the plane or in the car giving you some flat roots…ugh. But don’t worry! Dry shampoo will save your life in many different ways. If you have a problem with an oily scalp, spritz some dry shampoo throughout your roots and let it soak in for a few minutes before brushing through it lightly with a compact brush. If your hair is looking extra flat, dry shampoo comes to the rescue again. Turn your head upside down and spray some everywhere. Not only will it make your hair smell amazing again, it will pump up the volume and revive your entire look. If your hair looks good, chances are everything else that could go wrong is less noticeable.
Multi-purpose travel makeup products
Almost every product you use can be used for more than one thing. When you’re trying to consolidate the products you will be bringing on any trip, keep in mind how you can manipulate them to do whatever you want. Just because a product is used mainly on your lips, doesn’t mean you have to only use it on your lips! Don’t be afraid to get creative with the products you love.
Cream blush can actually be used for many different things. The obvious one, blush (duh). If your skin is looking a little tired and dull from traveling, dabbing some cream blush over the apples of your cheeks will make you look much more awake (and cute). You can also use this product as a lip balm! The pink tint will add life to your chapped lips while moisturizing at the same time. Lastly, you’ve probably guessed it by now: eyes. Adding the shimmery wash of pink across your lids will brighten up your eyes and also make you look a lot more put together than you really are.
While liquids are typically annoying to travel with, liquid bronzers are worth it because of how versatile they are. You can use it as bronzer around the edges of your face, contour, eyeshadow, blush, or even mix it in with your foundation for a glowing-from-within look! The possibilities are endless, and you’ll never worry about losing that bronzy color.
Not only does brown mascara offer a more natural and toned down lash, it can be used as eyebrow gel or eyeliner. After using a few swipes on your lashes, take it up to your brows for some quick definition and color. If you have a small eyeliner brush, dip it into the tube and use the mascara as a liquid eyeliner. While it’s not the ideal product replacement, it will work really well in a bind when you have nothing else and you’re trying to consolidate your travel makeup.
Hand lotion does wonders to dry and cracked skin all over the body, but there are so many other ways to incorporate it into your travel makeup. Mixing a bit with some eyeshadow instantly gives you a cream eyeshadow. Also, using a tiny drop of lotion to blend out eyeliner can create an easy smoky eye with a few touches. You could also put some of the lotion in your brows to moisturize them and keep them in place. If the lotion is gentle enough, mix some in with your foundation to create a tinted moisturizer with all of the components you love about both. Really, there isn’t anything you couldn’t use lotion for. Bonus points if it has sunscreen!
Where are you going?
The climate and conditions in the destination you’re headed to matter a lot when deciding what to bring with you. Hot and cold weather calls for completely different products, just as beach trips and hiking days do. Knowing at least some of what you will be doing on your trip will be super helpful when packing your beauty products.
Going to the beach obviously requires lots of sweat and water-proof makeup (if you plan on wearing makeup at all). Applying minimal products is ideal, since there really is no need for full-on glam for the beach (unless you’re into that, you do you girl). A light BB cream is perfect for evening your skin tone out, adding SPF and moisturizing your skin all in one. But if you get oily easily, powder products are probably best for you. Use a powder foundation that has SPF in it to knock out shine and protect your skin all in one. Using a light bronzer to enhance the tan you’re working on will look natural and pretty, but keep in mind that everything you put on your face should enhance your natural skin tone. As for eyes, waterproof mascara is obviously the go-to. A few swipes, and you’re ready for the beach!
Spending a lot of time on your hair before the beach will probably be a waste of your time. Windy, wet and sandy, the beach will do all the work for you. One tip is to curl your hair the night before, so when you wake up you have loose beachy waves. The wind and saltwater you encounter all day will do all the work for you. Don’t forget to bring some good hair ties to create a messy bun or a messy side braid if your hair starts driving you crazy.
If you’re traveling somewhere with mountains and plan on hiking, the most important thing you can bring with you is sunscreen. While looking cute (or totally chic) while hiking is fun, it shouldn’t be the biggest thing you’re worrying about. On a hike you will most likely be out in direct sunlight for most of the time, so protecting your skin is just as important as if you were laying out in the sun! If you really want to apply makeup before your hike, stick to waterproof everything. Tinted moisturizer or BB cream with SPF will work best, as well as waterproof mascara. Be minimal though, since you’ll be sweating a lot makeup is almost pointless.
As for your hair, a pony tail will be your best bet. If you are hiking or climbing, the last thing you want is your hair falling in your face every two seconds. Tease your hair at the crown a bit, then tie your hair up either high or low, depending on your preference. You could even opt for a cute French braid if a ponytail is too basic for you. Keep it simple!
If you’re going to a big city, you know how hectic life can be there! You probably won’t have much time to do many touch-ups, and you’ll need your makeup to last all day. After applying your makeup, a good setting spray will help to extend the wear of your full face. Also, bringing a small cosmetics bag full of essentials in your purse will allow easy access to everything you need. Stock it full with small touch-up items, like tinted lip balm and blotting powder. If you’re planning on going out at night and won’t have time to get ready before, bring a few things to take your look from day to night. A black kohl eyeliner, a small eyeshadow palette, blush and a darker lip color will all add a little smoky edge quickly before you head out on the town.
Unlike beach or mountain travel, you have a lot more freedom with your hair! Curl, flat iron, crimp or leave it natural for a day exploring the city. Depending on how much time you have, do what works best for your hair. You probably have a routine and specific things that you know look good. Go with those. If you’re using a heat tool, make sure to use a heat protectant spray to prevent damaging your hair, and keep frizz away.
If you’re lucky enough to be traveling to a place where adventure is your main plan, can we trade places? Whether you’re backpacking, sky diving, camping, or any other unique activity you might have restricted access to normal things you would use every day. In extreme cases, you may not even have access to a shower! Bring only what you truly need. Dry shampoo can hold you over for a few days and keep you looking and feeling fresh. If it were me, I would probably only bring mascara and sunscreen depending on the type of living space I would be in. Any extra makeup products will only take up room, and you probably won’t even have many chances to use them.
Similar to mountain travel, keep your hair simple! Going on adventures is all about the experience, not looking cute (well, usually). A cute ponytail or French braid will keep your hair out of your face no matter what you’re doing, while still looking good.
Your travel makeup routine
No matter where you’re going or what you need, you can follow these basic routines. Alter the products and even the order in which you use them, but essentially these guidelines will help you breeze through your travel makeup routine while away from home. There really is no need to stray too far away from what you usually do!
Since you probably won’t have a ton of time to get ready no matter where you are, consider showering at night before bed. Braid your hair while it’s damp to reveal beachy waves when you wake up, or just touch up some crazy pieces with a flat iron or curling iron. The amount of time you will cut out of washing and blow drying your hair in the morning will be useful when you want a little more sleep (which is always).
As for skin care, following general steps before you apply makeup is actually super important. Having a clean “canvas” for your makeup to sit on will make it apply so much easier, and it will look much more flawless. Start by using a gentle cleanser to get the dirt and oil off of your face that has been sitting there all night. Then, use a very gentle exfoliator all over. This is what will make your makeup apply smoothly, since all the dead skin will be long gone. Next, moisturize! You know your skin well, so choose a moisturizer that you know and love. Make sure you give it about twenty minutes to sink into your skin before applying foundation.
As for travel makeup, keep it simple enough that you can enhance it later in the day for a night time look. Simple eyeliner and mascara will be perfect for the daytime, allowing you to add eyeshadow and darker eyeliner later. Lip color is also something you can easily switch up! Following the normal makeup routine you usually do at home is your best bet.
Throughout the day
When you’re gone all day without access to everything you brought with you, it can be difficult to keep your makeup looking on point for that long. Bringing a small bag of touch-ups will save your life! Take a look at everything you used that morning, and pick out things that will fade away the fastest. Things like lip color, powder and blush can run away fast, so bring those to touch up throughout the day. Day to night makeup is often something you need to do quickly, so add some darker products in there if they fit. Dark lipstick and eyeshadow are the main things that will take your look to the next level, so try to keep it at that to save room.
Keeping a mini bottle of dry shampoo in your purse will prove to be very helpful throughout the day. Spritz a little on the crown of your head for a scent refresh, as well as more volume and less grease. A few hair ties could never hurt either.
When you finally make it home from a long day of traveling (hotel, friend’s house, or anywhere else alike), we bet you’ll be dying to crawl in bed. However, removing your makeup before you lay your head down is really important! If you sleep with makeup on, your skin doesn’t get a chance to repair itself overnight while you’re whole body is resting, and it doesn’t get the proper oxygen it should. Basically, you’ll get wrinkles and acne faster if you don’t remove it.
Use a makeup removing wipe to get rid of stubborn long-lasting products like lipstick or mascara. Then go in with your favorite cleanser to get everything else off. Using a toner next is an important step. Toner balances the PH in your skin that may have been altered during the day due to environmental factors, preventing it from becoming super oily or super dry. Next, moisturizer is important to bring moisture back into your skin. Choose one that’s a bit thicker than the one you would use in the morning, since it will have all night to soak in and really work it’s magic. Trust us, if you consistently do all of this at night before bed, you will wake up with the most beautiful and glowing skin, no matter how busy you get during your trip.
Knowing how to maintain your beauty routine while traveling only goes so far, and you need the right products! We’ve put together the perfect shopping list that includes everything you might need (plus more). You may already have some of these products, but if you don’t, add what you think you’ll need to your existing collection. Investing in certain travel products will make your trip so much easier and more convenient, especially if you travel often.
- Oil blotting sheets
- Blotting powder
- Hydrating facial spray
- Exfoliating facial wipes
- Cream blush
- Liquid bronzer
- Brown mascara
- Hand lotion
- BB cream
- Tinted moisturizer
- Powder foundation
- Light bronzer
- Waterproof mascara
- Setting spray
- Tinted lip balm
- Black kohl eyeliner
- Eyeshadow palette
Hair care essentials