The beauty of travelling is that you get to meet a lot of people. But never have I come across a (female) traveller who’ve shared their beauty must haves when packing for their next adventure. Or at least a (female) traveller who likes to admit their girly-girl side.
Now, I wouldn’t call myself an expert suitcase/luggage/backpack packer. Nor am I a beauty expert. No ma’am. But having travelled solo, in a tour group and backpacked in many countries, I tend to reach for a handful of go to beauty essentials to make sure that I’m photo ready.
C’mon admit it, who doesn’t like the occasional selfie in front of a pristine beach [insert appropriate photo filter here].
Look, I’m not talking about excessive beauty products, but just enough to get you ready in less than 10 minutes and look fresh during those long hours of sightseeing, latte sipping and stranger chatting.
Face Lotion or Moisturiser
Having oily to combination skin, the thought of adding another layer of product to my face makes me cringe. Finding the right face lotion with SPF benefits can be difficult. A few hundred dollars later, my skin finally found its match – three actually.
The Biore Nourish Moisture Lotion with SPF 15 provides a light hydration and does not clog your pores. This lightweight moisturiser is oil-free and has vitamins A, C and E.
Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief is a tad on the exxy side. What I love about this is the gel formulation and long lasting hydration. My skin feels moisturised and ‘tight’ all day. It loses points in the packing department, as its bulky and heavy glass jar is not practical particularly when you need to pack lightly.
The ancient Egyptians were onto something when they named the aloe vera the “plant of immortality”. There are numerous studies you can find online highlighting the benefits of this wonder plant. Banana Boat® Pure Aloe Vera Gel is one of my faves for treating sunburn. I’ve also been using it as an alternative to the standard face moisturiser. It’s super hydrating and has a cooling effect on the skin.
BB or CC Cream
There are so many blemish balm (BB) and colour correcting (CC) creams out there. You need to try out different brands to see which product will suit your face. I tend to leave my heavy foundations behind, rather opting for two types of these beauties depending on the climate – L’oreal Nude Magique BB Cream gives you a matte finish, perfect for those hot and humid climates; Garnier BB Cream for Oily to Combination Skin for those drier climates. Both have slimline tubes to make it easy to pack or carry in your day pack should you need a top up. Both buildable products if you want more coverage. And it looks natural in pictures.
The only downside is that there are not a lot of shades to choose from.
If your face is more or less flawless (lucky you), the Stila One Step Correct is perhaps all you need. It’s not a CC Cream per se, but it does help neutralise any redness or yellow tinge on your face.
A tinted moisturiser may be an alternative, although I haven’t found one that I like so I can’t vouch for it.
All-in-one Face Palette
Again, so many brands and palette sizes. I usually pack a make-up palette that has a lot of nude/natural/neutral eye shadows and cheek blush. One of my BFFs gave me a Stila Travel Palette Collection with the Stila IT Girl illustration on the cover. Unfortunately, I hit pan on it so I had to throw it out. I took that with me during my South America trip. There’s quite a selection so you will sure to find one that will compliment your already beautiful face.
The purse-size Too Faced Glamour To Go Palette (Dream Edition) also came in handy during my travel to Europe in 2011.
Tarte recently launched the Limited Edition Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye & Cheek Palette which I think might be good – I have yet to get my hands on it.
The great thing about make-up/face palettes is that the lighter (brow) shade can double as a cheek highlight, and the darker (corner) shade can double as eyeliner. The cheek blush can double as a lip colour.
Face Oil Blotting Sheets
In the public’s eye, you may look silly dabbing paper on your face, but trust me, these will be your lifesaver on those long haul bus rides or hours of sightseeing. I’m not a fan of those bright blue Clean & Clear ones, but I am a fan of the Gatsby Powdered Oil Clear Paper. It has this absorbent powder to remove sweat and oil from your skin. Unfortunately, we can’t get it here in Australia so I always order mine from eBay Philippines because they sell it in bulk.
Cheek and Lip Stains
Make people think that you have naturally plump lips and rosey cheeks. Lipstains is, in my opinion, the best beauty product ever created. Sometimes a tinge of colour is all you need to look fresh, and will make people think that you actually made an effort.
I have loved the The Balm Stainiac Hint of Tint in ‘Beauty Queen’ ever since I saw a review on Andreaschoice YouTube channel. It gives you a natural looking tint, despite its blood red colour – don’t be put off by this. It has a gel consistency and not drying on the lips at all. It does dry quite quickly so you need to work it as soon as it hits your pretty face. One application will last you through many cups of coffee…or cocktails.
Pink Nude Lipstick
I know I’m contradicting myself given #4, but if there is a tiny bit of room in my bag, I tend to sneak MAC Frost lipstick in ‘Angel’. This pink nude shade is great on all skin tones and completely changes your look, particularly if you’re going for the smokey eyes look.
Not to be confused with lip gloss, proper lip balms contain medicated ingredients to aid in or soothe chapped lips. Lip gloss, however, gives you more of an aesthetic benefit to give your lips that shiny appearance – not a fan!
I’m not quite sold on the Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment and Vaseline Petroleum Jelly range, mainly due to the oily feel of it on the skin. Granted, it does have (or has been said to have) a lot of benefits particularly the Pawpaw ointment.
I tend to opt for Evolution of Smooth or EOS Smooth Spheres in ‘Sweet Mint’. Packed with a lot of ‘freebies’ – Gluten free, Paraben free, Petrolatum free, Phthalate free – and antioxidant-rich vitamin E. And the packaging it so darn cute!
Flutter your thick, long lashes with Clinique’s High Impact Waterproof Mascara in ‘Black’. The travel friendly sample sizes come as gift with purchase, but you can find them on eBay.
Travel Make Up Brushes
To be honest, I usually only pack a small Kabuki and angled eyeliner brush. I usually use my fingers to apply eyeshadows or BB/CC Creams, using the Kabuki for powdered cheek blush and angled eyeliner brush doubling as eyebrow brush.
This will be your lifesaver inbetween washes. When you’ve been hiking/trekking for days without access to a proper shower, this will become your go-to item.
Of course this is just a guide and an insight into my make-up/beauty bag. Not all of you will agree and in some cases, you might actually give me some of your recommendations. In which case, drop me a line below.