The Essential Packing List: Makeup Edition

As I write this, I’m packing for another trip. I am thankful that this year has been full of travel for me. I’ve enjoyed seeing new places and learning about new cultures. But it’s also been full of packing lists and along the way I’ve picked up some travel packing tips as well. The first packing list I draw up is one for my makeup.

Going on vacation doesn’t necessarily mean taking a break from looking put together and making a packing list helps me streamline the items I want/need to take with me depending on whether I’m travelling for work or on vacation. If I had it my way, I would take everything with me because, y’know options. But luggage weight restrictions won’t allow that and hence this packing list. I’ve broken down this packing list so it works for just about any kind of travel. Except maybe backpacking. I don’t do that.

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The Essentials
The first items to go on the packing list are the essentials. These are the products that will go with you whether you’re on vacation or on a business trip. Think of these as the lynchpin of any makeup look. For me these are eyeliner, mascara, kohl, brow fillers, lipsticks, glosses, setting spray and of course foundation. They are the essentials for my signature looks and I reach for them frequently, so that’s what goes in first. If you use a primer and setting powder or a contouring kit everyday, then you should pack that too. 

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Cover the bases
When I travel I like to choose my foundations based on the weather. If it’s going to be hot, I’ll choose a long-wearing one with a slightly matte texture like that MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation because I don’t want to be fussing with my makeup when I’m out and about. But if it’s slightly cooler, I’ll pick a hydrating one like the Illamasqua Skin Base or the MUFE Ultra HD Foundation that also give a dewy finish. I’ll also carry a slightly lighter product to even out my skin tone like the Bobbi Brown BB Cream or the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream just because I like having the option of having something lightweight me in case I need it. A recent addition to the makeup packing list is the Bobbi Brown Cushion Compact. It offers great coverage, is lightweight, stays put the entire day. Just what you want when travelling.

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Colour coordinate
When it comes to packing colour cosmetics the key is to carry a little bit of everything. Choose a couple of bright lip colours, as well as a few neutrals. With those as you gauge, pack the eye shadows and eyeliners. This way you’ve covered a nude lip, bold pout, deep eye, neutral eye and can go with a deep lip and smoky eye should you feel like it.

Some of my go to colours are Illamasqua’s Vintage Metallix in Embellish, which can be used as a wash, layered on or as a base for a beautiful shimmery smoky eye. Another colour I’m currently obsessed with is Moonshot in Manhandeling, which is almost skin colour on me. Both of these are long wearing and don’t crease. I’ve worn them the whole day to come home and find they look as good as when I put them on in the morning. Of course there’s also the MAC Fluidline gel liner in black, because nothing is more versatile than a cat eye. When it comes to lipsticks the MAC Huggable, CLIO Lip Tension and Shu Uemura Laque Supreme and STILA Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick always make the cut.

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The Extras
This is the part you can get creative depending on how much space and/or weight you have – pick a blue eyeliner, deeper blushes, bronzers, highlighters, contouring kits – anything you feel like adding on to what you’ve already got. Keep in mind, what is essential to one may be extra to another. There are no rules. Go with what makes you look and feel good. My extras always include highlighters and bronzers. I’ll carry them on a vacation but probably not on a work trip unless it includes dinner or some assured time off.

Lastly, I would like to stress this packing list is just a guideline to what you could take with you. I used to pack a bunch of stuff and come back to find I used exactly five products from the kit. This packing list helps me streamline my packing process as well as choose products I know I am going to wear.

One final packing tip, don’t try any new products while travelling. Your skin is already stressed from the flight, new weather, water and food. You don’t want to add another new element. This goes for your skincare as well.

I hope you find this as helpful as I do. Now that you know what makeup you’re taking with you, find out how to pack it so it doesn’t shatter in your bag.

4 Replies to “The Essential Packing List: Makeup Edition”

  1. Love this post, I can completely relate to the travelling restrictions. I also prefer to carry multi tasking products such a lip and cheek stain/tint. Or carry matte lipstick which can be used as blush (with decent blending effort). All in one palettes (blush, powder and contour) are a complete life saver.


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