Travel Makeup Bag Essentials

Before, when traveling I was afraid that I would forget something that I needed or not have enough options so I would pack a ton of stuff. It made it difficult to find the things that I actually needed! Now, I’ve paired it down to just the essentials.

Going on a trip soon? Just nosy about what I pack in my travel makeup bag? If so, read on!

I’ve been traveling a lot recently for away rotations, so I thought I might share the products that I find to be essentials for looking put together while also not taking up too much space.


Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H Makeup: When I am wearing scrubs on a rotation, I don’t usually wear any foundation. However, I like to have some on hand for clinic days when I am dressed professionally or in case I want to go out. This is typically the only foundation I bring to travel because it is so reliable– perfect shade (I wear 100N), transfer-proof (won’t get on my white coat), and medium coverage that can be built up without looking cake-y or sheered out for a natural, lighter finish. It has a fairly matte finish but doesn’t leave my combination skin looking dry or powdery. Most importantly, this stuff easily  makes it through 12-15 hour shifts without breaking down on my skin.

Make Up For Ever Full Cover Waterproof Concealer: This stuff is the bomb and is the mainstay for scrub-days. It works beautifully under eyes and on zits or dark spots, has excellent coverage, and is actually waterproof. I love it so much more than my other concealers for being in the hospital because it doesn’t rub off with sweat or even when I wear a mask during surgery.

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Translucent Pressed Powder: This is an old favorite, and I use it almost every day whether I am traveling or not. This is a newer one, since I panned and completely finished my last one. It does exactly what a setting powder should– takes down the tackiness of anything on your face, reduces shine, and helps to hold everything on. As far as powders go, it is mattifying without being overly drying or powdery…and it does seem to blur my pores some. When I am wearing scrubs, I usually just wear concealer with this powder instead of foundation for a very natural look.

Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer: The perfect shade of bronzer for fair skin and it smells like chocolate. ‘Nuff said. I don’t go for a bronzed look, but a touch of this really helps to add some warmth and dimension to my face.

MAC Powder Blush in the shade Blushbaby: This is such a great neutral pink. I tend to pack this when I can only bring one blush because it doesn’t clash with warm or cool toned lipsticks or eye looks so it is very versatile. The formula is smooth and easily buildable.


Covergirl Clump Crusher Mascara (Very Black/Water Resistant): This is my go-to travel mascara because it really doesn’t flake or clump at all and does a fantastic job of defining eyelashes, adding some length and volume, and holding a curl. The water resistant version definitely holds a curl better but removes easily with water and face wash, so isn’t exactly water proof. While I love my Heroine Make mascara (review here) for more dramatic looks, it can be challenging to remove…and after an all-night call I just am not up for messing with makeup remover.

Benefit Gimme Brow/Essence Make Me Brow: I did a full review of these products here, but the long and short of it is that they both work nearly identically for me. I’m trying to use up my Gimme Brow so I packed it with me this time. Both products have teeny tiny brushes that distribute just the right amount of product and hold to give some definition to the brows but only take a few seconds to apply. Because who has time for Dip Brow at 4:30 in the morning?

Naked Basics 2 Palette: This little palette has everything I could need for a month of basic eye looks. It has my favorite ever crease and transition shades, a nice light shimmer shade, as well as darker colors to make a smokier look for going out. As an added bonus, the packaging is so tiny that it fits easily into my makeup bag. If I am planning to go out frequently or have a special occasion to attend, I might throw in one of my other palettes with more shimmer shades and color (like the Too Faced Chocolate Bar), but this palette can easily get me through a month on its own.

MAC Lipstick in Twig: This is one of those lipstick shades that seems to wear differently on everyone who wears it. However, on me it is a very pretty rosy mauve that doesn’t seem too fussy or dressed up but still can help dress up an entire look. For a non liquid lipstick, it has nice staying power and tends to fade to a nice, even stain. If I had a special occasion, I might pack a red in addition to this shade…but for an away rotation month this is perfect.

Fresh Rose Lip Treatment: As you can see from the picture, this tinted lip balm gets a lot of wear. It is very hydrating and gives a lovely sheer wash of pink that is perfect for waking up my entire face. Plus it smells like lemonade! This is usually all that I wear when I am in the hospital, and it usually sits in my scrub or white coat pocket. The Covergirl Oh Sugar lip balm in Caramel is another favorite that is more neutral than pink.

Well, that’s everything! It all nicely fits into a medium-sized cosmetics bag that I got as a gift with purchase from Clinique years ago. What do you all usually pack when you are traveling?

3 thoughts on “Travel Makeup Bag Essentials

  1. Thanks for comparing gimme brow to the essence one. Been looking for a good eyebrow mascara and I think I’ll definitely try the essence one before splurging on benefit. I was also interested in the glossier one but they don’t ship to Canada yet

    Liked by 1 person

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