How Much Makeup Do You Bring With You When Travelling?

How Much Makeup Do You Bring With You When Travelling?

© vladimirfloyd

One of my guilty pleasures when perusing YouTube is checking out travel videos. I like to see what people bring with them when travelling. It could be what they have in their handbag, carry-on bag or even handbag.

Why, of course I’m nosy! Aren’t you? 😛

A very popular search term is “what’s in my travel makeup bag?” and whilst I cannot be 100% certain that these people are serious about bringing that much makeup with them when travelling, I’d say I’m about 90% sure a lot of makeup is taken along.

I don’t know about you but it astounds me the amount of makeup one needs when travelling especially when it’s just a short break. For example, in a particular video I saw, this YouTuber brought somewhere along the lines of 3 eyeshadow palettes, 2 cream eyeshadows, 3 mascaras, 1 blush palette with 6 shades, 1 lip palette with over 10 shades, 3-4 foundations and so on. I’m not even exaggerating. You’d think she was packing her makeup for a long trip, right? Her trip was less than 2 weeks long. In a lot of cases, that amount could be one’s entire makeup collection!

This begs the question: how much makeup do you bring with you when travelling?

I don’t bring a lot of makeup with me when I travel. The most I’d bring in terms of eyeshadows is the Urban Decay NAKED palette because of its versatility. Even then I usually only end up using 1-2 shades. These days when I do travel, I only bring one Maybelline Colour Tattoo with me, a couple of eyeliner pencils for the quick smoky-eye (usually ends up unused), one blush, one eyebrow pencil (with a brush at the end) and one foundation/BB cream. The most I’d bring would be 2-3 lipsticks.

The reason why I bring so little? Well, first of all, I’m on holiday so who cares what I look like, eh? No, really, I can’t be bothered to put on lots of makeup during a holiday plus I’d like to get as much rest as possible since I tend to walk a lot when sightseeing. Less time for makeup = more time for sleep. That is a proven formula, thank you very much!

Another reason why I bring so little makeup with me is so that I can buy new makeup when I’m at my destination! And isn’t that a better excuse? 😉

Travel Makeup Bag Japan

My travel makeup bag during my recent trip to Japan

For my last holiday, I couldn’t decide on the foundation I wanted to bring with me. I certainly wasn’t going to lug two bottles of foundation with me for just a 12-day trip so I did the next best thing instead. I decanted a bit of both foundations into an unused contact lens case. This way, I didn’t have to choose between the two foundations. Easy peasy!

I tend to focus a lot more on skincare when I’m travelling. It’s usually the time when my skin goes haywire on me. It gets very dehydrated from air travel, blotchy and pimply from the change in weather and temperature so as much as possible, I stick to my usual skincare products which I decant to travel-sized bottles. My skincare items can end up being quite heavy so it’s imperative I keep my makeup to a minimum.

Plus it’s more fun adding makeup to your shopping list! 😀

But enough about me. What about you? How much makeup do you bring with you when you travel? The absolute minimum? Or the kitchen sink?

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42 comments… add one
  1. LeGeeque

    LOVE this post. Bare minimum. Even on a recent work trip, I brought along only: 1 foundation, 1 loose powder, 1 concealer, 1 blush, 1 lipstick, 1 tinted lipbalm and 1 regular lip balm. 2 brushes – 1 for blush and 1 for loose powder. Like you, I prefer to have my skincare with me rather than makeup. Good skin >>>>> ,makeup!

    1. Tine

      Haha thanks! I reckon with good skin, why even need makeup? I didn’t use any eye makeup at all in Japan and since my skin looked pretty all right (thank goodness!), barely used my foundation as well even though I decanted into the contact lens cases. I purposely brought the cream blush just so I only need to bring just one brush with me and that’s for powder! 😛

  2. Wendy@BlushandBarbells

    I’m ashamed about how much I brought with me on this business trip, but then again it’s already been 6 weeks and could be even longer.
    I went on a month-long trip to SE Asia a couple of years ago and packed only a little bit. I should have used that as a guide!
    You’ve totally inspired an upcoming blog post…once the work hours die down a bit….
    Wendy@BlushandBarbells recently posted..Sunday SocialMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Six weeks is a long business trip and I totally understand if you bring more with you especially when you have to look presentable on a daily basis. I would definitely pack more too if I need to make sure I look good when I’m away from home.

      Can’t wait to read what inspired you!

  3. issy

    For me it depends on why I’m travelling!

    If I’m going on a holiday where I want to relax, I’ll take the bare minimum, with some basics so I can do a slightly fancier look for a night out.

    If I’m in a tropical place, I will take even less – as I usually find it too warm to even wear makeup most of the time!

    If I’m travelling for work or an event then I will take more makeup. Still a basic kit, but tailored to the more polished look I have to achieve.

    And yes – excellent skinare is a must for me when travelling! 🙂 The planes and aircon cause my skin to go into meltdown, so I always pack extra soothing bits and pieces.

    1. Tine

      Oh yeah, if I’m travelling for work, then for sure I’ll bring more than what I brought for my holiday. I definitely need a lot more than that to look more polished! As for skincare, if I’m flying, I always pack 1-2 facial sheet masks and must put one when I’ve arrived at my destination. This helps with the dehydrated skin from the very dry plane air. 🙂

  4. Angie

    I am guilty of bringing too much. Too, toooooo much. Just this past weekend I went away for one night and brought half my bathroom. My excuse is ‘product testing’ hehehe. Love the foundation in the contacts case idea, I have so many of these cases floating around doing nothing, perfect use for them!
    Angie recently posted..Black Chicken Balm of AgesMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha I’ve been guilty of those more than once so you’re all right. 😉 Old contact lens cases are brilliant for being able to bring two different foundations with you without needing to bring the actual bottles. Don’t have to worry about spillage either. I usually just leave the contact lens case behind because the oil content in foundations make the plastic cases hard to wash.

  5. Chelsea

    I pack so little when I travel. Foundie, 1 blush, 1 eye palette, 1 mascara and if I’m lucky, a brow pencil. I’m with you – I’m on holidays, who cares what I look like?
    Chelsea recently posted..It’s Time To Say FarewellMy Profile

    1. Tine

      High five Chelsea! My sentiments exactly. 😀

  6. plue

    depending on where I go and what i am expected to do there, the amount of makeup I bring along varies. It can be from no makeup to just a few staples I use daily (no mascara, eyeshadows or liners though) to a full blown one if I have fancy dinner and what nots.

    i don’t skimp on skincare when I travel and sunscreen is a must!!! Oh yeah I also need to bring along a heavy duty body lotion cuz I normally get such dry scaly skin all over my legs! Must be an aging thing >.<
    plue recently posted..Happy Chinese New Year & Huat Ahhhh!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Nah, I get that too. The skin on my legs get very dry during holidays so I’ve been bringing heavy duty body lotion with me too. Oh for sunscreen, remember not to decant them. Best to bring them in their actual packaging. I have to remind myself not to do it even though my bag’s heavy. That’s one thing I can’t compromise. 🙂

  7. Dawn

    Yes! I’m always amazed by the sheer variety and amount that beauty vloggers on Youtube feature in their “whats in my travel make-up bag video”. I watch it mainly for reviews and curiousity 🙂

    I tend to be a very light packer, even for my clothes for travel!
    For make-up I’ll bring:
    1 foundation powder, concealor, brow pencil, mascara, eyeliner
    1 eyeshadow quad (2 if I feel really fancy!)
    4 lip items (an assortment of lipbalm and lipsticks. Lol I’m a lip girl!)

    And of coz my skincare and moisturiser, that is essential when I’m travelling to a country with dry climate.

    1. Tine

      Hahaha I watch those videos out of curiosity too! Such sticky beaks we are. 😛
      I’m still learning to pack light in terms of clothes because I really tend to overpack in that department. Slowly getting there!

      1. Dawn

        Haha its alright! I’m notorious amongst my friends for being the minimal packer, and end up freezing and with a runny nose due to the cold weather. HAHA

  8. Mardi

    I try to take the bare minimum but I always end up chucking in one more eye palette “just in case” and then there’s the brushes… I love my Real Techniques brushes but they are so bulky!

    1. Tine

      Oh I know all the “just in cases”! My luggage is usually full of “just in case” too. Yeah the RT brushes are fat at the bottom which makes it difficult to pack into makeup rolls. Sigh.

  9. gio

    I like to travel lightly, so I bring only the bare minimum. Foundation and concealer, an eyeshadow palette with both bright and neutral shades, mascara, a blush, and a couple of lip colours. As for skincare, I just pour some of my fave products – moisturizer, cleanser, sunscreen – in small jars or tubes. If I need more, I can always buy it wherever I am. Actually, I’ll go shopping anyway to check out new products that aren’t available at home. 🙂
    gio recently posted..Product Review: Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Midnight Cowboy Rides AgainMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Haha isn’t that one of the best part of travelling, to go shopping and see what’s not available back home? I’d even peruse local supermarkets for budget beauty finds!

  10. Sue

    I try to bring minimal too. Foundation, eyeshadow (or color tattoo), eyeliners (a couple coz I can rotate the colors) and like you, it’s shopping for new goodies when travelling.

    Love your idea of decanting the foundations into unused contact lens casing. I’ll be travelling in a couple of weeks and I’ve been a little torn over 2 of my fav foundations. Now, I can bring them along just fine with your idea!
    Sue recently posted..Micellar WaterMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha glad my contact lens idea helps! Why bring two full-sized bottles of foundation when you can just decant them into two opaque sections and bring the case? Easy peasy! Less weight = more shopping! Ahem. 😛

  11. Efrain

    Well I don’t package a lot but because I don’t have many stuff, but if I had a lot; I think my travel makeup would be:
    -2 powders (one with lighter coverage and with higher coverage to use as a foundation)
    -2 blushes (yes I want to bring two, a boy needs options)
    -1 concealer
    -1 bronzer (I think that when I have bad face a little warmth helps me)
    -1 brow product
    -2 eye liners (black for tightline and beige for the waterline, I haven’t tried this combo but I think it can look well).
    -4 brushes (for both powders, one for blush and one for bronzer)

    Now I think I’d carry a lot but I’m only taking one liquid product so I think it’s good.
    Efrain recently posted..Los imprescindibles en belleza cuando falta tiempoMy Profile

    1. Tine

      That’s about the extend of makeup I’d bring with me too minus the bronzer and one extra powder. Other than that, yeah it’s good! 🙂

      1. Efrain

        Well, now that I’m thinking about it, you’re right I think that one powder with two different brushes is enough.
        Efrain recently posted..Los imprescindibles en belleza cuando falta tiempoMy Profile

  12. Norlin

    Actually I think I bring more skincare than makeup when I’m travelling. Having said that, it also depends on where and how long I’m travelling of course. With makeup it’s the usual basics – BB Cream, blush or multi-use products & mascara. Plus my never fail Naked palette.
    Norlin recently posted..Going Almost NudeMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Me too. Skincare’s a lot more important to me especially when I’m travelling. I don’t even have to be on a plane, it’s like my skin knows I’m away from home and it will go haywire regardless. It’s all psychosomatic I tell ya. 😛

  13. Paris B

    I could be travelling for work or for fun and I still only bring the bare minimum. I make sure I have a good base (concealer, foundation/BB, powder) 1 blush, 1 eyeshadow palette or a stick shadow, brow pencil, eyeliner. Maybe 2 lipsticks. That’s about it. I’m really low maintenance when it comes to makeup and when I travel for fun, I barely wear any except maybe a base. When it’s for work, I put a basic, neutral face on. When on holiday, I’d rather be out there having the time of my life than fussing about with makeup and wondering if my liner is running. Half the time, when I see pics & videos of the amount of stuff people carry, I wonder if they really do, or if it’s just for shock value. You know how it is online 😉
    Paris B recently posted..Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er : The Precision Pen Waterpoof Eyeliner that is a kind of magic!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Haha I know right? When I see the videos, I’m like woooaaahhh are you serious? Do you really bring that much with you? So many palettes! Isn’t one supposed to be a do-it-all? Not surprised if they’re all just for show. 😛

  14. Ozlicious

    I actually take quite a bit of makeup with me when I travel! I hate going to new places and feeling dowdy or unkempt. Also, one of my favourite things to do when I’m holidays is SHOP! And I feel like shop assistants help you out a bit more if you look like you’ve put a bit of effort in. And lastly – holidays are full of photo opportunities! I don’t want to look back at my photos and wish I’d looked a bit better in them. On a normal holiday (being – a bit of city shopping, one or two spa visits, a bit of market browsing, a beach visit, and a bit of poolside hanging) I would bring:
    – BB Cream
    – Mineral powder foundation
    – Setting powder
    – Eyebrow palette
    – Black liner
    – Mascara and possibly lash primer
    – An eyeshadow palette
    – At least one bronzer or maybe two (one flat one for contouring and one with a bit more shimmer for bronzy glowing cheeks)
    – At least two blushes (one pink, one peach)
    – An illimunator
    – A whole bunch of lipsticks and glosses (which I take with me basically everywhere anyway)

    Which brings me to the reason I visited your blog today Tine! I’m visiting Malaysia for the first time in September and I need some hot tips and I’m hoping you will be so kind as to share your knowledge! I will be spending most of my time in Penang. Not only do I need to know the best places to eat and do some sightseeing, but most importantly – I need to know the best places to shop and spa! Also, are there any particuarly good products available in Asia that I should try out? I’m 31, combination skin which can tend towards dehydration and dryness in places, and pale complexion. I am a beauty therapist so I have my everyday core skincare routine pretty down pat, but I am open to trying new masques, cleansers, treatments, body products, makeup….anything really! I have an insatiable appetite for beauty shopping. I would really appreciate some pointers! Oh, and if you know of any spas that have good reputations I would love to know about them as well. 🙂

    1. Tine

      Hello hello and yay, you’ll be visiting my hometown Penang! Eat lots, that’s what the city is well known for. The good food! As for spas, to be honest, I rarely do spas when I was still living there because back then, I just didn’t have time. But the ones I did go to were pretty good. Try Danai Spa. My bridesmaids treated me to a great spa treat there and it was amazing. I’ve heard about Deluxious spa but haven’t tried it out.

      For beauty shopping, try Watsons and Guardian pharmacies (especially Watsons because they’re stocking a lot more Japanese brands these days compared to Guardian). Sasa is not bad for beauty products too if you can stand the annoying sales assistants who just won’t leave their browsing customers alone 😛 . Skinfood and The Face Shop (Korean beauty brands) are not bad either. In terms of facial sheet masks, try My Beauty Diary (available at Watsons and Guardian). Sunscreens, try Biore and Skin Aqua. For makeup, I like Majolica Majorca (available at Watsons). Eucerin is a good brand for skincare. I don’t have any specific product to recommend at the moment because I haven’t used most of this in a while but from what I can remember, those brands have pretty good stuff.

      Have fun! I miss Penang heaps!

      1. Ozlicious

        Oh thank you Tine! I’m so excited to explore Penang. I’m glad to hear that there are a lot of Japanese beauty products there, and being that I live in North Queensland I really appreciate a sunscreen that is light in texture (because thick sunscreens + combination skin + humidity don’t mix). Are Japanese sunscreens the best? Are there any you could recommend? I am so excited about checking out the drugstores and chain stores! My suitcase will be full of sheet masques when I come home!

        I am staying at Deluxcious so I will be sure to check out their spa!

        It’s funny, you must have read my mind with your post today about Japan because my fiance is there at the moment for the first time! He’s loving it. 🙂

        Thank you again!

        1. Tine

          Haha I just blogged about my favourite Japanese sunscreens today so do check it out! Oooh you’re staying at Deluxcious? Cool! I’m not sure if they’re still running their restaurant because I remember frequenting it many years ago and the food’s pretty good.

          Have fun! 😀

  15. Victoria

    I always bring the bare minimum when it comes to makeup but I will add on more if the holiday includes a wedding like the one I recently had in Kuching. So its usually one foundation, one loose powder, 2 blush in different shades, one eye palette, one eyebrow pencil, one eyeliner, one mascara and 2 lipsticks in different shade. I tend to concentrate on skincare more although I would not travel with full size skincare bottles if possible.

    1. Tine

      Yeah good idea to bring travel-sized skincare by just decanting them. I try my best not to change up my routine even though I have a lot of deluxe samples I can bring along with me. My skin tends to act up when I’m away from home so sticking to what works is best.

  16. Beauty Box

    I’ve brought the minimum and I’ve brought the kitchen sink – both don’t work out for me esp for long trips. I tend to shop a lot more for cosmetics if I bring the bare essentials (I love variety!) but I find it so hard to locate something I want if I have an overwhelming number of products in a bag. I would definitely bring a versatile eyeshadow palette – with colours and neutrals, e.g. UD’s Vice palette to satisfy all beauty scenarios. 😉
    Beauty Box recently posted..Big USA Drugstore Makeup Haul + One Luxury Buy (Can You Guess What It Is?)My Profile

    1. Tine

      A good eyeshadow palette is more than enough methinks because you can do so many looks with it. It’s funny when I find people bringing 3-4 palettes for a short trip. I guess it’s for that “what if” situations. What if I want to do this look? What if I’m in the mood for that look? Oh I don’t know. Isn’t it harder to decide what look to go for with so many things? 😛

  17. Kay

    I brought a few products to my australia backpacking trip for 2 months. Tinted sunscreen, compact powder and powder blush. Yes, only three products. And I lugged one big bagful of skincare. I feel if my skin is good enough, I don’t need to put on a lot of makeup to enhance it. Heh

    1. Tine

      Ding ding ding, nail on the head, Kay. Nail on the head. With great skin, to be honest, you may not even need makeup!

      1. Kay

        Haha I don’t mean it that way. I just feel I don’t need additional makeup because there’s no special occasion for it 🙂

        1. Tine

          Hahah I totally get you! 😀

  18. Florrie

    I’m traveling soon and I’m literally only bringing mascara and lipstick. I don’t usually wear that much makeup, and I’m going to a really hot place were I’m gonna be in a pool or a the beach 99% of the time. Plus it’s a holiday. You shouldn’t have to worry about how you look, you should be relaxing.

    1. Tine

      Wow you have a leg up on me; you bring a mascara! If it’s a beach holiday, I wouldn’t even bother with that. 😛

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