How I Travel: Beauty Edition

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As a makeup enthusiast, traveling creates a bit of a challenge for me. I love to have ALL THE OPTIONS! but I’m also super paranoid about over-packing. I recently traveled for work, cramming an entire week’s worth of supplies (clothing, entertainment, and cosmetics) in a 19″ rolling suitcase. I know, I was shocked too!  Here are some things I found helpful:

  • Vera Bradley’s 3-1-1 Cosmetic Case. The last time I traveled for work, my quart-sized Ziploc bag ripped open as I was going through security. Embarrassing? Absolutely! One of the TSA agents was kind enough to track down a replacement bag and I then spent almost ten minutes trying to cram all my cosmetics back into the bag, while waving people in line past me. Not Fun. I randomly found this Vera Bradley case at one of the stores, deeply discounted due to a pattern being retired or something.It’s amazing. It’s life-changing. I want everyone to get one.The shape alone! It’s perfect for all those travel-sized bottles and tubes since they can actually stand up on the flat bottom. I can also cram my decanted indie perfumes in all the nooks and crevices between bottles.  Powders can sit flat, which is good for stacking smaller things on top.  Mascaras and eyeshadow primers (and any slightly longer tubes) can lay across the top.  I was pleasantly surprised at just how much can fit inside this bag! And it zips shut!
  • 10ml dropper bottles. I purchased a bunch of these dropper bottles awhile back to share some skincare products with friends and they have been so useful in so many ways! On my recent trip, pretty much all of my liquids were decanted into a dropper bottle, including my Too Faced Comfort Matte foundation.  They’re small, so they fit well into the Vera Bradley bag; I had about four or five of these sitting on top of a small CoverFX powder. The bottles are simple to use — fill, add the nozzle, screw on the cap, bam! For labels, I wrote on a piece of Scotch tape, placed that on the bottle, then put another strip of tape over the label to help protect the writing from rubbing off with use.
  • Squeeze travel bottles. These bottles have two features that I find useful: suction cups and built-in labels.  Not every hotel has a handy ledge so the suction cups keep everything where I need it. The built-in labels are great because they don’t wash off or get smeared or whatever. They’re built into the lid and are easily rotated; this is useful if you’re solo on one trip (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion) or traveling with somebody (you both could have shampoo and conditioner or whatever combination that works for you).
  • CoverFX Mattifying Prime & Set Kit. I’m a big fan of travel-sized goodies and this is a great set for me. I wound up really loving the primer — I bought a full size! — and the powder.  The spray was kind of meh; the nozzle didn’t provide enough of a mist and I don’t think it really helped my makeup. I plan on keeping the small primer tube and refilling as needed; it fits in just about any bag and saves precious space compared to the full size tube.
  • Travel eyelash curler.  While I don’t love my travel curler as much as my normal one, this is another great space-saving tool that easily tucks into your bag. I definitely recommend experimenting with it before you leave behind your precious curler; it took me a few uses to get familiar with it.
  • GlamTech palettes. I have a few different sizes and have found all to be extremely useful.  I keep my eyeshadow palettes with me, mostly out of fear of damage, and the GlamTechs are wonderfully sturdy. The magnets are strong so they do a great job of keeping the lid in place and I don’t find them to be incredibly bulky.  I store most of my pressed eyeshadows in the 35-pan palette and typically travel with either the 12-pan palette or the 7-pan flower-shaped palette.
  • Rollerball bottles.  I’m the unofficial decanter extraordinaire for my friends so I constantly have a large stash of 3ml rollerball bottles at any give time.  I love these and am working on moving most of my indie perfume collection to rollerballs.  Halving perfumes with friends not only saves me money but the 3ml bottles are super travel friendly.  I also have an endless supply of organza bags so I tuck a few perfumes into a bag, fit that into my liquids case, and bam! A variety of smell-goods for any trip! Aliexpress and eBay have the best deals that I’ve found; I stick with glass rollerballs as well, as I’ve found that stainless rollerballs tend to leak like nobody’s business.
  • Lush tooth powder. Toothpaste is one less thing to shove into my liquids bag! Plus, I love the spicy clove flavor of the Atomic powder. I plan on trying the tabs next! (Lush also offers mouthwash tabs!)
  • Cordless lighted travel mirror. Admittedly, there are probably better ones on the market but, for $15, this one does the trick. It’s dimmable with a removable magnifying mirror.  The base and mirror are two separate pieces to make it easier to lay flat in a suitcase; the mirror is still a bit bulky, so I’ve only been able to fit it in my checked bag or my carry-on for 3-day trips. It’s supposed to angle but the joint is loose so mine really only sits either fully tilted up, or fully tilted down; not a deal-breaker but minorly annoying depending on where you’re doing your makeup. However! Not every hotel has great lighting (surprise surprise) so this is a must-have for me.

Whew! There you have it! I’m a big fan of getting the most bang for your buck and being able to squeeze as much variety into my cosmetic case is incredibly satisfying!

Do you have any travel tips or hints to share?