How to Pack Makeup for Travel

Anyone who travels with makeup has likely had a terribly experience by which a bottle of liquid foundation breaks, soaking through your makeup bag and onto your clothes, or a container of loose powder cracks, dusting everything in your makeup kit and making for a messy retrieval. The last thing you need when you're on vacation is to have to replace your clothing and makeup the minute you arrive at your destination. It's an expensive and time-consuming hassle that most of us would rather avoid, if possible. So you need to take extra care when it comes to packing your cosmetics, and here are just a few tips to get the job done right.

For starters, pare down your beauty routine. If you're like most women you have a plethora of products filling your cabinet. But when you travel you have to necessarily lighten the load. So think about what you're really going to need on a daily basis and just bring those items along. Still, this could include foundation, powder, blush, mascara, eye shadow, eyeliner, lipstick, and gloss (not to mention all the tools you need to apply them, along with any preparatory products like primers). And each item is one more thing that could explode in your luggage.

But you may be able to consolidate even further. For example, you could try a two-in-one, liquid-to-powder finish style of foundation. And instead of lipstick and gloss you could simply use tinted, moisturizing balm with a bit of sparkle. You could even go for a lipstick and blush combo like Stila's Convertible Color Lipstick/Blush, which comes in a small compact for about $25. And rather than bringing individually packaged eye shadows, get a slim case that has several colors included. These tricks will provide for less fuss when packing and potentially a lot less muss.

Now, on to the packing phase. The real question here is whether you will bring your makeup in your carry-on or store it in your checked luggage. You should always try to keep your makeup in your carry on for safety (especially considering the way baggage handlers toss and stack luggage). But if your case it too big or you've already filled your carry-on with other items you can still find ways to protect it. For example, if you're bothering to check a bag, why not get one large enough to accommodate a hard cosmetics case? This will allow you to seal items into plastic baggies (to avoid leakage should they break or spill), line compartments with bubble wrap (for extra padding), and of course, bring liquids in larger than 3-ounce bottles. Since travel insurance won't cover clothing ruined by broken cosmetics containers you'll definitely want to make sure there is the least chance of breakage.

Of course, if you pack light you might not have to take up a large portion of your checked luggage with a massive makeup case. Most pharmacies have a section that features makeup bags, some of which have multiple, plastic-lined, zippered pouches specifically to keep items separated should one leak (and to keep the spillage contained). These travel bags are a great way to store your makeup while you globe-trot, and many roll or fold for convenient packing.

(Guest Post by Carol Montrose)

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  1. great tips...i have horrible experiences with these things while travelling

  2. Anonymous9:06 AM

    For me, part of the fun of travelling is not having to wear that much makeup because you don't as often run into people you know so you don't have to worry about impressing anybody. I would just stick with mascara, lip stick, face wash, and some hair bands. Travelling is a much more enjoyable experience if you don't pack a lot and waste you could be spending having fun on your vacation tearing apart a luggage bag trying to find an eyebrow pencil.

  3. Beena9:09 AM

    Moisturizer,foundation,loose powder,lip gloss,mascara,eye shadow,eyeliner.Facial wash and very few brushes.

  4. When I’m travelling, I don’t usually wear much for eye makeup, so I brought a neutral pallet so I could just do a simple eye look for day, but I could darken it up if we were going out. I brought 2 eye liners, a black and a brown. I decided to go with liquid liners because I just find them quickest and easiest to use. But to be honest, most days I skipped liner all together. If you’re like me and have sparse brows, you’ll know that some sort of brow product is essential. I prefer powder because it’s super quick! Last but not least, mascara (and don’t forget your lash curler!). Depending on your destination, you may want to bring a waterproof version.


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