So, you are about to embark on a travel adventure and you can’t decide on the best makeup to take with you. You need to pack as light as possible, and you like the idea of being natural and makeup-free, but you also want a good solid kit that enables you to create both casual and dramatic looks.
Firstly, let’s start with the makeup packing rules:
- No powders – powdered eyeshadows, bronzers and blushers, etc will break, unless they have thick and resilient packaging. (The eyeshadow and blusher quads that I packed all broke within my first two weeks of backpacking). Try to stick to gels, solids and mousses as much as possible.
- Avoid brushes if you can – they are high maintenance as they need to be washed frequently. Plus, they take up valuable space.
- Choose makeup that can be used for more than one purpose – Can you use your eyebrow pencil as an eyeliner? Do you have a lipstick that can also double up as a blusher?
- No once-in-a-lifetime designer products – I can’t count the number of times that I have met a girl in a hostel who was distraught because she lost her Chanel foundation or Dior eye palette. Never take anything that you care about. Drug store products are your best friend.
- Try to find products with sturdy packaging – many makeup palettes and quads have flimsy plastic packaging that cracks all too easily.
(If you want to read more about other beauty essentials such as hair products and skin care, I have already got you covered in a previous post).
Without further ado, here is my list of makeup essentials:
1. BB Cream or tinted moisturiser – these are incredibly moisturising and offer good coverage, but are also perfect for creating the “natural backpacker” look. Plus, the packaging is lightweight and slots nicely into a small makeup bag. I recommend Garnier’s BB Cream as it has a slightly heavier coverage than other BB creams.
Tip: If you have oily skin you may find some of the tinted moisturisers a little too greasy. You may also find that compact powders break/explode in your bag. Maybelline’s Dream Matte Mousse Foundation is a good two-in-one compromise as it is a soft/dry formulation that offers great coverage and takes away shine.
2. Concealer – I prefer solid cover up sticks because you get more use out of them than liquid formulas. My favourite is Collection 2000’s Cover Up Stick (shade ‘Light’).
Tip: buy your concealer in a slightly lighter shade than normal so that you can also use it for contouring and under your eyes, as well as for covering blemishes.
3. Neutral cream eyeshadow – neutral colours are best because they look great with a tan and go with any outfit. Cream eyeshadows (as opposed to powdered eyeshadows) are easy to apply, don’t break and stay on your skin longer. I love Maybelline’s Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze.
4. Eyebrow pencil – brow kits are good, but you can double up a eyebrow pencil as an eyeliner when you need to create a more natural look. I use MUA’s in the shade ‘Brunette’.
5. Gel eyeliner – some people may prefer to take a simple black kohl pencil, but I find gel eyeliners more versatile – you can use them to create an elegant liquid “wing” on the top lid, and you can also use them to line your inner lids. Either way, black eyeliner is the best way to create a dramatic look. I use Maybelline’s gel eyeliner in black.
6. Black mascara – because what would a makeup kit be without mascara? Take your pick, but I swear by Maybelline’s Falsies mascara.
7. Bronzer – in my opinion, contouring is the best makeup trick in the book and bronzer is not something to leave behind. I recommend using a liquid formulation. However, I currently use Bourjoise Declice De Poudre Bronzing Powder. It’s the one single powder that I have taken with me that hasn’t broken because it has thick packaging.
Tip: on the days that you want to create a casual, summer-kissed look, simply sweep a little bronzer onto your eyelids.
Highlighter – This isn’t an essential, but I use a highlighter instead of carrying a lighter eyeshadow. Highlighters can be used for standard contouring on your cheek bones, but they can also be used on your brow bone and the inner corners of your eyes. I use Accessorize’s ‘With Love’ highlighter.
Tip: To give your skin an all-over glow, simply mix a tiny bit of the highlighter with your foundation or BB cream on the back your hand, and then apply to your face like normal foundation.
Lip Butter – a cross between lipstick and a lip balm, Revlon Lip Butters are basically made for backpackers and travellers everywhere. I use the shade Cotton Candy.
Other makeup-related products that you need to think about:
- Makeup bag – pick something small that doesn’t take up too much space in your backpack.
- Pencil sharpener!
- Compact mirror/hairbrush – pick a compact mirror that has a cover otherwise the mirror will get scratched. Another alternative is taking a small brush that has a mirror built into it – two items in one!
Want to know about what hair and skin care products to pack? Don’t worry, I’ve written a full beauty essentials post for you.
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