I have a great deal of travel planned for the rest of the year. There’s my book tour, a few international business trips, and of course, the holidays. Because climates can change drastically from one stop to the next–the duration of each trip differing as well–I try to tailor my makeup and skin care to include versatile products that can get the job done no matter where I’m visiting.

Product overpacking is something I’m all too familiar with, but over the years I’ve fine-tuned what to bring and what to leave home. Being an effective packer means bringing essentials (those that nourish and stay put) and maybe one or two ‘might needs’ to play up your wardrobe and your makeup for unexpected occasions. I’ve shared how to refresh your look while on the plane–now it’s time to cover the travel makeup musts! Here are the items you should have in your luggage that will leave you with a flawless finish and keep your bag clutter-free.

Traveling Beauty: Makeup Bag MustsMario Badescu Oil-Free Moisturizer / Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint / Josie Maran Black Oil Mascara / Shisheido Eyelash Curler / Ole Henriksen Grease Relief Cleansing Cloths / Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment / em Michelle Phan Waterliner Eyeliner / Lancôme Fever Lip Shine / Revlon Nail File / em Life Palette Travel Compact

  1. Moisturizer – A hydrating moisturizer that nourishes skin leaving it looking healthy sans makeup. Since you’re sticking to the basics when on-the-go, a glowing face with a touch of color will look a million times better than one caked in product. Try a vitamin E lotion or Mario Badescu Oil-Free Moisturizer for a light-weight base that won’t clog your vulnerable pores.
  2. BB Cream – A light BB cream with strong coverage will help keep your skin intact while adjusting to its new environment and even out your complexion. Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint has a touch of shimmer for a dewy flawless finish and contains SPF, which is always necessary no matter where you go.
  3. Mascara & Curler – A waterproof mascara that can handle any climate (for those unexpected rainy days or humid vacation destinations) and brightens tired peepers from red eye flights or too many late nights exploring. Don’t forget an eyelash curler that gives us those amazing, perfectly curled lashes. Josie Maran Black Oil Mascara nourishes and strengthens with argan oil while setting your lashes for a full day of adventure.
  4. Facial Wipes – An exfoliating facial wipe like Ole Henriksen Grease Relief Cleansing Cloths. The exfoliating beads slough off dead skin and impurities from your new surroundings and the smooth side refreshes the skin, clearing away the day’s makeup. 
  5. Hair Mask - A hair mask that gives you a blast of deep conditioning to restore shine when you’re gone a week or more. Bringing along a sample sized mask will give your hair the boost it needs. On a night in when you’re reviewing the city’s map, apply a hair mask and you’ll be well on your way to your best travel hair yet.
  6. Pencil Liner - A pencil eyeliner that can be used to created everything from a smoky eye to cat eye to a barely-there natural eye. Since liquid liners are harsher, a pencil liner should always make it into your bag. If your color of choice is brown, you may be able to use the shade for filling in brows and a little contouring as well.
  7. Tinted Gloss - A tinted gloss for when a bold lip might not appropriate, but sacrificing color entirely makes you feel blah. Bring along a rosy or peach gloss that can instantly beautify and accompany any occasion. The Lancôme La Laque Fever Lip Shines do just the trick.
  8. Nail File – A file that can preserve manicures by gently removing snags with a few strokes–No need to fixate on a broken nail when you have a file by your side. I always have one in my travel bag no matter how short my nails. If you’re going mostly makeup-free on your trip, having perfect nails is an excellent way to still feel polished.
  9. Travel Palette – A travel palette like em Cosmetic Life Palette compact lets you select your favorite eyeshadows and cheek shades for all the color you’ll need. Select basic everyday shades and pop one bold hue in for daring beauty days. Travel compacts are small and prevent the likelihood of a bulging bag or lost makeup. Use my shatter-proof trick to make sure makeup arrives just as it left.


Now that your makeup bag is covered, make sure you’ve got all of your carry-on essentials, here.

What is your travel beauty bag essential? 

<3 Mish

Beauty, makeup

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