I flew a lot pre-COVID, usually for speaking events, and fitting my makeup in a travel bag? Damn. Near. Impossible. In cars, in planes, I was applying makeup.
It was already inconvenient, let alone with full-sized products. I hated traveling with makeup.
That is, until I switched to brands with both mini and multi-use products. Love you, MAC, but I just don’t have room for five of your lipsticks in my toiletry bag. And while I’m obsessed with you, Honest Mascara, I just don’t have room for a full-sized bottle.
It’s tempting to put up with it and squish everything around, rather than spend time trying out new products. Who has time for that!?
I did. Well, not really, but it’s my job, so I made the time to try out as many products as I could. Some I’d heard of but never tried, some that weren’t even on my radar.
If you’re about to get cramped for a trip, these travel-size makeup products will make your life easy and, yes, work just as well as your favs.
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If you need a base, choose one that’s easy to control and has SPF in it – kill two birds with one stone, you know? Milk’s Sunshine Skin Tint has SPF 30, but 0 zinc, so you won’t dry out despite the dry air. Instead, it’s filled with hydrating grapeseed, avocado, mandarin, jojoba, and olive oils, as well as squalane to boost your natural moisture.
trestique, the true 2-in-1, OG zero-waste company, created a concealer to make last-minute coverups easy. On one side is a creamy crayon, which glides effortlessly and takes care of any dark spots or zits. Flip the stick around, and you have a sponge that can blend and cover those spots that the crayon is too big for.
This double product will make others do a… double take. Yeah, I went there. The contouring Sculpt melts into your skin, allowing for easy, natural application – but it still creates a jawline that could kill. Spin it and follow up with Strobe to give you a glow that radiates, and you have a perfectly-contoured face with one small product.
Don’t pack a gloss, lip color, and blush – who has room for that on a tiny airplane or train ride? Instead, use Fluide’s Universal Gloss. The genderfluid brand doesn’t make it feminine or masculine, instead disrupting stereotypes and giving it enough matte and enough sheen to make everyone comfortable in their color.
UOMA’s Double Take is great, but if you have room for one more product, bring a small highlighter along to apply anywhere, anytime. W3LL PEOPLE’s highlighter also nourishes your skin using jojoba oil, green tea, and olive oil for a dewy glow. Use one swipe for subtlety, or build up to disco-ball-status – ideal when you only have one product to take you from meeting rooms to rooftops.
You can use a double-sided pencil, but why not go the extra mile for a compact that gives you options? (Plus, squares are great for Tetris.) Use the tweezers for a quick, shaping clean-up, then sponge on pigments to give you your desired color. It also comes with a spoolie to brush it out, so you have voluminous, natural brows in one small container, rather than three colors and a separate spoolie you can’t seem to locate.
When I can’t put anything else on, mascara is my go-to. It opens my eyes, gives me a little drama, and indicates that I put some effort into an early morning. Mascara 101 is just as good as Better Than Sex, and it comes in a mini container that fits in the corner of your makeup bag or clutch – perfect for both plane and presentation touch-ups.
You know how sitting for hours can give you a weird smell? Yeah, it’s kind of gross to be sharing air with hundreds of strangers, all of whom smell different. This perfume oil rolls on flawlessly, giving hints of rum mixed with leather and creamy milk. Carry it everywhere, and pull it out during that straight-to-the-presentation Uber ride.
Different events call for different shades of lipstick, but bringing multiple large containers for only a tiny bit of pigment is irrational. HAUS gives you five mini lipsticks ranging from taupe to scarlet, and they barely take up space. If you realllllly don’t have room, you can still pick your top two that will transition you from dressed-down suit to dressed-up cocktail gown.
There is nothing more frustrating than having to pull out 20 items from a makeup bag to find that one damn product. Stop seeing red and choose a cosmetic bag that’s clear, giving you the ability to see exactly where your mascara is hiding. Your seat neighbor will appreciate you not using the entire table during your search.
Do you have any makeup products that make your life easier when traveling? Tips for making it easier? Share your secrets with us in the comments!