8 Travel Makeup Tips + Beauty Essentials For Travel

8 makeup travel tips + beauty essentials for travel
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If you’re as obsessed with beauty as I am, you probably wouldn’t be caught dead without mascara, sharp eyeliner, and powerful af liquid lipstick that doesn’t budge for anything. Bringing all that to another country or even another city can sometimes be a struggle, especially if you have enough makeup to feed a small town, if they ate makeup. When I embarked upon my trip to Ireland, it really took me some time to figure out what I was going to take and what was going to stay, and how I should organize things. I wanted to pack all my essentials so I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to purchase them abroad, but at the same time I didn’t want to feel like I was hoarding things into my carry on that didn’t need to be brought along. If you’re planning a trip and this totally sounds like something you’d fight yourself on, here are my tips for packing makeup. Oh, and by the way, I’m also sharing a short list of all the beauty essentials that are legit essentials that everyone should pack for a trip — whether you’re a makeup maven or a once-in-a-blue-mooner. It definitely helps to have these items, and some of them are things that people FORGET to pack!

1. Bring just three shades of lip color.

Can’t decide which of your 100 tubes of lipstick to bring along? A good rule of thumb that I like to follow is to always bring just three shades of any lip color: one natural; one “fun” color; one “sexy” color. The natural color is great for everyday wear and professional settings. The “fun” color is great for day trips and excursions, and going on best friend dates and other fun activities. It’s sometimes that color that your mom looks at you weird for wearing. And your “sexy” color is great for dinner at restaurants and just going out at night. This is NOT the time to bring that shade you never, ever wear even though it stares at you from your makeup bag. If you don’t wear it at home, you probably won’t wear it somewhere else. Save yourself the space.

Related: 7 Matte Lipsticks Under $8

2. Invest in makeup remover wipes.

These are AMAZING! They’re so great for quickly removing makeup after a long day of hiking, walking, running, and flying. My personal favorites are Elf makeup remover wipes ($3 at most stores) and the Neutrogena makeup remover wipes ($6.99 at some stores). I wear stubborn foundation that’s literally meant for 24-hour wear and these products actually manage to get it off. If you won’t be away for very long, purchase a mini pack of wipes. Makeup wipes aren’t something that you want to purchase in another country because they can be quite expensive, so make sure you pack a little more than what you think you’ll need. Q-tips are also a great thing to pack.

3. Read the TSA’s rules for traveling with liquids.

When I was preparing to travel to Ireland this winter, I read and re-read and then re-re-read these rules online because THEY TREAT CERTAIN MAKEUP PRODUCTS AS LIQUIDS and you need to be aware of this if you’re flying. Essentially, liquids must be kept in 3oz containers and all the containers need to be able to fit in a quart-sized resealable bag in your carry on. If you plan to carry more than 3oz of liquid, it MUST go in your suitcase. Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to leave behind a beloved product! The rules are very strict so make sure you pay attention to what you have. Items that count as liquids are: mascara, liquid or gel eyeliner, liquid lipsticks and lip gloss, liquid foundation and concealer, and primer. Basically, if you have to squeeze it, pump it, or stick a wand applicator in it, it counts as a liquid.

4. Don’t bring anything you’re afraid to lose.

I would probably lose my shit if I lost my Naked 2 eyeshadow palette because those do not come cheap! Plus, the palette is quite large, so of course I didn’t pack it. If you’re worried about losing a product you paid a lot of money for, then that’s probably your gut telling you to pack something else. I did pack an eyeshadow palette that I paid like $3.99 for and the shades were all super perfect.

5. Pack products that do more than one thing.

Instead of packing foundation AND moisturizer, pack a tinted BB or CC Cream. If you usually use several products to build up coverage, invest in one product that’s meant for full coverage so you aren’t packing extra bottles and adding extra weight.

6. Pack minis. 

Minis are such great space-savers! Plus, you won’t have to worry about losing your full-sized product because it’ll be safe and sound at home. I know some products may be hard to come by in mini form, but if you can find them, they’re definitely worth purchasing, especially if your trip isn’t going to be for more than one month.

7. Invest in a brush roll. 

This is probably the one thing I didn’t do when I travelled to Ireland and I definitely wish that I had. Brush rolls are great for organizing and storing your brushes. They’re the fancy cases that you see a lot of makeup artists sporting. I never realized how gross it can be to just toss your brushes in the same bag as your cosmetics. You run the risk of having them collect more germs this way. I’m definitely going to invest in one for my next trip.

8. Pack products that are already favorites. 

This is NOT the time to try out a new brand of foundation or a primer you’ve never used before. Stick to the things that you know already work great for you, because if while you’re away you find that the new product isn’t what you wanted it to be, you might end up spending extra money looking for something else to use in the meantime.


  • Dry shampoo
  • Bobby pins + hair ties
  • Sunscreen + face wash
  • Lip balm
  • Coconut oil (if you can)
  • Q-tips
  • Nail file

What are your makeup travel tips and beauty essentials? 

Related: 10 College Beauty Essentials, How To Be Money Smart While Studying Abroad

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  • Nicole DaRosa

    yes to #5!! BB cream was my best friend when I was travelling Europe a couple years ago. To save room and have more options, I also like the idea of bring a lip palette along. Something like the ones from Maybelline or L’Oreal. Lots of colors to choose from and their all in a compact place!

    • Totally agree, Nicole! I’m going to have to invest in a lip palette for travel, haha! I’ll definitely take a look at some from Maybelline and L’Oreal like you mentioned. Thanks for the tip! =)