Tips for Traveling with Less Makeup

Hi, friends! If you know me, you know I love traveling but hate hauling around luggage. When I travel, I typically take just a backpack and a crossbody bag with me, so minimizing the amount of makeup I take with me is key to making sure I can bring my other essentials with me. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve come up with to reduce the amount of makeup and tools I bring with me.

Let’s be real here. Brushes can take up so much space. Forget the brushes and opt for products that can be applied with a sponge – or better yet, just your fingers. Go for products like cream blush and eyeshadow. If you feel the need to contour, take a cream contour stick with you that you can blend out with your beauty sponge. A single sponge is multifunctional, smaller, and so much more lightweight than several brushes (bonus points if it’s an almost worn-out sponge that you can chuck out at the end of your trip, making room for those souvenirs you may have picked up!). Similarly, pack a slim, retractable eyebrow pencil instead of a pomade or powder. Products in pencil form tend to take up less space than those in jars and compacts.

Speaking of multifunctional, pack products that can be used for more than one function. For example, a lipstick can double as a cream blush, even a cream eyeshadow if you’re feeling adventurous. Plus, it’ll bring the whole look together in a monochromatic way. Likewise, use a lip mask or treatment as a gloss alternative.

This next tip is crucial: use a small makeup bag that restricts the number of items you can fit inside. Oftentimes, having a large makeup bag will make it seem like you aren’t packing that many items. Using a smaller bag really forces you to see if you can remove any unnecessary products and make those adjustments.

Take advantage of samples! Those little sample packets and deluxe-sized products we often get with makeup orders? I like to save them for travel usage. They take up less room in your makeup bag, and you can throw them out once you use them up. This works for perfume as well, which can weigh a lot and be a TSA hassle if you bring the full size. However, don’t use samples of new products if you have sensitive skin and are unsure how they will react on you. You don’t want to start your trip with inflamed skin. You can go to your local Sephora store and ask for some samples (great tip for getting a small spray bottle of your favorite perfume!) or alternatively, you can purchase a set of travel containers or use empty sample jars to make your own (recommended especially for skincare products because who knows what bacteria those tester jars contain).

Additionally, choose a makeup look that goes with all of your outfits. That way, you don’t have to pack multiple colors and products. Typically, this means going for more neutral or natural looks. I love packing my MAC Sheertone blush in “peaches” because I find that it’s a natural cheek color that goes with almost any outfit. If you want to also do a dark, nighttime look, simply adding some smudged liner usually does the trick.

Instead of a palette, stick with one eyeshadow that brings just the right amount of brightness yet still adds some depth to use all over the lid. My personal favorite for this style of makeup is the Mono Eyes eyeshadow in the shade “magenta” by Aritaum. It’s such a beautiful, natural eyeshadow color with some light shimmer that looks great by itself.

Of course, I will sometimes bring brushes and eyeshadow palettes depending on the trip. These are just tips and tricks I use when I really need to limit the amount of items I bring with me. However, I do think palettes are great in the sense that you can double them up as a highlighter, blush, and bronzer with the right shades. A few eyeshadow palettes I think are great for travel are the Ciate London palettes and the Obsessions collection from Huda Beauty. These palettes both limit the amount of space between each eyeshadow in the palette. I do think the Huda Beauty ones are better for travel because they are smaller and made from cardboard, minimizing potential for damage and making it more lightweight, but my only gripe about the Huda Beauty Obsessions palettes is that they lack a light shimmer shade. This makes the overall look have more of a nighttime feel. Plus, no light shimmer shade means no doubling as a highlighter.

I hope these tips helped give you an idea of how to limit the amount of makeup you bring on trips. I used to have a bad habit of overpacking, so I can definitely relate if you struggle with this. I mean, I still sometimes do as well! As I’ve backpacked and traveled throughout the years, these are what I found work for me and so hopefully they work for you, too!

Thanks so much for reading!
Until next time,

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