Sunday, 16 September 2018

The Travel Makeup Bag

The biggest reason the blog has been so quiet this summer, aside from the fact that it was 1.2 billion degrees out for most of July and August, is because I was never home. Just about every Friday for the last three months have involved me coming home from work, quickly packing, and hitting the road to whatever family thing/party/camping was planned. On the Fridays I wasn't going anywhere, it's because I was either already there or leaving on Saturday. While I've been very happy to have to much to do over the summer, I've been dragging the last couple of weeks because I just wanted to spend time at home, enjoying my town in the summer (when it's the nicest it will be all year). But all this travelling has allowed me to do something I'd fallen out of really good practice in building: the travel makeup bag.

I'm a planner. I do not like surprises. I will run through every possible thing that might happen to me during a trip, no matter how long or short, and then make sure I'm prepared. Just in case. So while I make adjustments for what I know I'll be doing (like camping or just visiting family or going to a party), I also try to bring a couple of items that could fill in if something unexpected comes up. Like we're camping but we decide to go to a bar in the closest community - yeah, I'm going to want to throw on some mascara and a tinted balm. If I'm enjoying a family weekend but we end up having a last minute party, I'm going to want to have a brighter, long-lasting lipstick to look a little more dressed for the occasion. 

The easiest packing jobs for me is when I'm travelling for work, since the bright lipstick I prefer to wear in the library can do double duty if I end up doing something unplanned that requires more of a statement.

When I pack to go somewhere, I usually prefer to bring two bags: one for my night routine and one for my morning routine. The morning routine one being where my makeup goes, of course. I'm still not totally satisfied with my makeup bag situation for the morning, so if anyone has any suggestions for a medium sized bag with a few pockets/pouches, let me know. There are a few things that I have to shuffle back and forth between bags: contact case, glasses, and comb, but I find the two bag setup works well. I'm not going to go into detail about my skincare, since it's all mini or decanted versions of what I detailed in this post.


I've been living a foundation-free life for the last two months (which has really helped me return to a healthier relationship with my skin), which means fewer things in my makeup bag, which means more efficient packing. Because even though I have a car now and can pack as haphazardly as I like, as long as it all fits in there, I still like to use smaller bags and take up as little space as I can with my belongings. I credit the joy I get out of this to my five years in grocery retail.

My base these days consists of concealer if needed, a little bit of powder, and once everything else is on, a finishing powder. Surprisingly, the ones in my current rotation are all things that I've started using this year, after a fairly long period of having the same base products. 

I started using the Sephora Collection Make No Mistake Concealer in Fleur de Sel this spring, and I love it. It's highly pigmented, but blends well, and you don't need very much of it. I  bought it to replace my beloved by oxidized and kind of going off Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX01. The Sephora one comes in a tube, which I think is more hygienic and easier to preserve the product. I'm really only interested in concealer for hiding pimples and residual redness, and this is great for that.

I also added MAC's Next to Nothing Powder in Light to my collection this spring, after reading posts from Lena of Faceonomics on Instagram praising it highly. Light is dangerously close to being too dark for me, so I think I'll be shelving it in the winter, but here in the summer, it's been great for providing my t-zone with a little extra help to stay satin but not greasy. 

I swear there are three swatches there. L-R: Guerlain Méteorites in in Clair, MAC Next to Nothing in Light, Sephora Make No Mistake in Fleur de Sel

My third base product, and the thing that melds it all together, are my Guerlain Méteorites in in Clair. I've been toting the whole tin around all summer, but recently sprung for the pressed compact for travelling, thanks to some PC Optimum points. I typically don't like to get travel versions of my makeup, since I don't really see a need, but in this case: the pressed compact will be in all ways better for when I'm not in my usual set up at home. After this summer, I felt it was worth it for me. 


This is very dependent on where I'm going and what I'm doing, but generally, I bring mascara, eyeliner, brow gel, and some sort of one-and-done eyeshadow if I think I might need something to step up my look. My usual travel and/or weekend eye look these days is a swipe of mascara and the brow gel to hold my unruly brows in place, but I always bring an extra something if I decide I want to step up my look a little more. 

I'm in the midst of trying out mascaras from the minis I have, but my true mascara love these days is Glossier Lash Slick. It's perfect: darkens my lashes, keeps them separate, makes the fluffier, and is basically my lashes but better. But because I have so many minis right now, I'm not repurchasing it till I get through the stockpile (but I'll probably crack in a few months). Currently using Lancôme Monsieur Big mascara. It's okay.

The next two items are long time staples: Glossier Boy Brow, the only thing I've put in my brows willingly since I got it in July of 2017, and the gimmicky-sounding Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2 in 1 Lash Boosting Eye Liner & Serum in Deep Brown. I hate the attempts to convince me this will make my lashes longer, but it's an amazing brush tip liquid liner. Since I don't do wings or like a heavy liner, I use Deep Brown for some easy definition that looks a little more natural.

L-R: Physician's Formula Deep Brown, Glossier Slip, Urban Decay Grind, Laura Mercier Rosegold, Laura Mercier Amethyst, Laura Mercier Vanilla Kiss, Laura Mercier Au Naturel, Tocuh in Sol Grace (liquid), Touch in Sol Grace (glitter), Touch in Sol Titania (liquid), Touch in Sol Titania (glitter)

In terms of colour cosmetics in the eye category, I usually bring a couple of things: some glitter and one or two one-and-done eyeshadows, or a couple of cream shadow sticks that can make a look together. I largely prefer cream or liquid shadows in general these days, and have mostly gotten rid of powder shadows, but I definitely won't bring powder shadows with me on a trip. The fewer brushes I have to bring with me, the better. 

The last few times I've gone anywhere, I've brought Glossier Lidstar in Slip (my very favourite Lidstar of all) and Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liner in Grind, since they pair well together and also stand alone nicely. For something a little more complex, I'd bring my mini Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks. For the next weekend away I have planned (for a concert), I'll be bringing my new Touch in Sol mini Metallist duos, since they have both glitter and a liquid shadow in them. 


I also prefer to bring creams or liquids when it comes to my blushes and highlighters, though I have two powder blushes that go with absolutely everything (Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure and Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Paaarty). I've been bringing Paaarty with me a lot this summer, since it's such a natural, warm glow on me. If I ever pan this mini, I'll be getting a full size because I love it that much. 

Hourglass Mood Exposure, Tarte Paaarty

L-R: Mood Exposure, Paaarty

The last few trips I've taken, however, I've been bringing multisticks for my blush/lip colour, to cut down on the number of products I pack. My current three multisticks are NARS The Multiple in Orgasm, for a more glowy look, and two of the Shiro Multisticks, which I've really been enjoying, in Wu (a cherry red with very fine gold, almost invisible, shimmer) and Lovelace (a light bright pink). The Multiple is more like a powdery cream, while the Shiro ones are closer to a real cream. All three tend to fill out the needs I might have. However, I've come to the conclusion that I don't like the cardboard packaging of the full size Shiro Multisticks: I find the product harder to apply from the tube, and the tube doesn't feel like it's going to stand up well. They are smooth and easy to blend, but the swatches do not indicate that at all.

Highlighter-wise, I've been trying to use up my Glossier Haloscope in Quartz this summer, so it's been the highlighter I wear pretty much every day and the only one I bring on trips right now.

L-R: NARS Orgasm, Shiro Wu, Shiro Lovelace, Glossier Quartz


In addition to my multisticks, I also like to bring a few other lip products. You know, in case I haven't full anticipated everything I might like to have. This is the category I definitely way overpack in. I usually bring a clear lip balm with me for morning and evening wear while I get ready - lately it's been Hurraw! lip balm Moon Balm (Blue Chamomile Vanilla). I also bring a lip scrub, currently Mountain Madness lip scrub in Peach & Coconut Milk. This a solid oil with very fine sugar in it, and I use it to prep my lips. 

I lean toward longer wearing lip products for travel. Since my routine is disrupted and I'm never quite sure when and how I'll be able to reapply, plus I usually anticipate a lot of eating and talking, I focus on things that I know can withstand meals and drinks. Lately, it's been Peripera Peri's Ink Velvet in Sellout Red, which I got recently in Halifax and adore; and Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayons on Night Mauves (for more neutral looks) and Fram-bois (for bolder looks). If I decide not to bring the Ink Velvet but still anticipate needing a red, I bring NYX Super Cliquey Matte Lipstick in In the Red or any Bésame lipstick, because those things do not budge ever. 

L-R: Peripera Sellout Red, NYX In the Red, Bésame Victory Red, Bésame Cherry Red, Marc Jacobs Night Mauves, Marc Jacobs Fram-bois


The three brushes I end up bringing with me are my Zoeva 142 Concealer Buffer (I have two of these, so whichever one is clean), and two of the Hakuhodo + Sephora brushes: the Ougi (fan cheek brush, for Tarte Paaarty) and the Kusabi (wedge powder brush, for the Méteorites). I know the Hakuhodo + Sephora brushes weren't popular, but I love them, so thanks everyone else for hating them and letting me get the ones I wanted on sale (I also have the Kotsubo, the small teardrop powder brush, which I use for powder highlighters).

Top to bottom: Kusabi, 142 Concealer Buffer, Ougi

I've got a super brief reprieve from travelling most weekends right now, but I'll be hitting the road for most of October, largely for work, and I'll be sure to show on Instagram what made the cut as the weather gets cooler and my tastes shift to reflect that.


  1. I always wish I liked cream products better than I do precisely for the purposes of travelling! I bring as few brushes as possible but I just prefer powder eyeshadows and blushes, which bulk up my bag considerably. I am really into the Glossier Haloscope, though, and I do bring that travelling. Mood Exposure is the best travel blush! (Who am I kidding, it's my favourite blush ever.)

    1. Between Mood Exposure and Paaarty, I'm not sure why I have other blushes. If they came in liquid or cream for travel, it would be perfect. My love of creams and liquids is newfound, though. But I'm really digging them.


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