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The Ultimate Guide to Skincare & Makeup for Travel

People have been inquiring how I can take such high-quality photos on the go and here’s my secret: Make-up.  Shocker right?  But there is some prep work that goes into my beauty routine to battle breakouts and other skin imperfections BEFORE they happen.  

Traveling constantly really does a number on my skin because of all the drinking, eating, hiking, swimming, sun exposure, etc, etc… so how can I look like a model in the middle of a small village in China with the least amount of effort possible?  

First, you need an awesome camera. Second, you need to have an awesome lineup of travel-friendly makeup and skincare products.

The Best Makeup for Traveling

1. bareMinerals READY To Go Complexion Perfection Palette

This kit of complexion essentials is powered by bareMinerals’ proprietary SeaNutritive Mineral™ Complex to deliver antiaging benefits for softer, smoother, younger-looking skin—all with innovative solid mineral technology. 

Item # 1551126 Color: R310- Medium Tan (Tan cool skin tones) Price: $49.00

travel makeup bareminerals

–  Foundation SPF 20  – Touch Up Veil SPF 15  – Bronzer  – Luminizer  – Correcting Concealer SPF 20 – Mini Precision Face Brush  – Mini Tapered Face Brush – Makeup Clutch


Asia can be incredibly humid OR insanely cold so I need something that can handle both spectrums, while keeping my skin protected, free of blemishes, and properly hydrated.

The bareMinerals READY line has SPF already incorporated in their products AND the SPF won’t make your skin oily like most moisturizers with SPF.  

The powders actually slowly melt into your pores as the day goes on so you’ll receive flawless coverage without the same weight as heavy liquid foundations, but mineral makeup still doesn’t clog your pores while you’re on the go!  I’m assuming because of some type of sorcery.


This set doesn’t offer intense coverage for people with acne issues.  While it will help prevent future breakouts, if you’re eating poorly (which is normal for vacations) or have issues with cystic acne, bareMinerals won’t be able to cover up everything completely.

RoutineHow to Use In Your Routine

Use the concealer to hide blemishes or spots. I use my fingers because I’m lazy, but a brush is recommended.  Next, contour your cheeks by using the angled brush.  

Dip the contouring brush into the bronzer, place the brush under the apples of your cheekbones, and swipe upwards to the edges of your eyebrows. Don’t worry if it’s too dark because we’re going to blend in a second.  

Feel free to apply the bronzer to the edges of your face that kiss the sunlight; such as your temples, jawline, and nose. You can also contour the edges of your boobs to make them look bigger… but that’s another blog post entirely.

Next, rub off the bronzer on the contouring brush on a napkin/something dry, and then dip it into the luminizer.  Put the brush on the apples of your cheeks and move upwards, towards the ends of your eyebrows.  

The luminizer should be parallel to your bronzer. Next, take the soft round brush and dip it into the Touch Up Veil. Brush the veil over the areas get oily and use it to blend the luminizer and bronzer together.  

I like to contour my cheeks more dramatically so I add one more light swoop under my cheekbones for drama. Because everyone loves a little drama in their life.

2. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Glow & Set Travel Kit

This awesome travel-sized kit contains all your Charlotte Tilbury favorites. It includes the travel-size setting spray, the travel-size Hollywood Flawless Filter & the travel-size Airbrush Flawless Finish setting powder. 

There’s a reason that celebrities and models all over the world trust Charlotte Tilbury to keep them looking fresh and photo-ready. This convenient set allows you to prime, set, and finish until your heart’s content while you’re out on the road.

Essentially if you’re wanting to have gorgeous glowing skin while you’re running around a new country, this is the travel kit to get.


One of the best things about this travel kit is that the Hollywood filter, setting spray, and powder are all super lightweight. If you’re in a hot country or just want to feel as if you’re not wearing any makeup at all, these products are the ideal choice.

Also, there are plenty of shades for you to choose from, so you can perfectly match your skin tone.  

It also includes aloe vera, so it keeps your skin refreshed and moisturized. It’s super soothing and keeps you looking smooth, poreless, glowing, and all-around Instagram-ready no matter where you are. 


Realistically, it’s a very small travel kit. A lot of people comment on how small the powder is for the price, which honestly, I do get. I don’t tend to buy travel-size-specific stuff as it’s more expensive.

It’s normally more cost-effective to buy full-size versions of the products and transfer them into reusable, refillable bottles and containers. These products are super great to use when you’re traveling so you can buy the bigger bottles and transfer them as necessary.

How to Use In Your Routine

So, according to Charlotte Tilbury herself, she recommends starting with the Hollywood Flawless Filter. You can either apply it underneath or mixed in with your foundation.

If you want a more highlighted look, you can apply the Hollywood Flawless Filter on top of your foundation, as you would a regular highlighter. So, hit up the top of your cheekbones, your nose, and your cupid’s bow.

To use the Airbrush Flawless Finish, you’ll want to brush the powder along any oily areas, such as your nose and t-zone, to even out your glowy look. You’ll look super dewy and fresh even if you’re in a really hot country, running around all the tourist hotspots. 

Finish everything off with the Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray by spraying from six to eight inches away. You can also put this on before you put on your makeup to keep a level slate. Remember, steer clear of the eyes! 

I‘ve lived abroad for many years and love helping others find work abroad and figure out their “Move Abroad Plan.” Check out my class below to get you started ASAP!

Move Abroad Master Class

3. IT foundation 50+ SPF

It’s super important that your makeup, especially your foundation, has a good level of SPF protection when you’re traveling. As a general rule, you should always protect your skin wherever you are, but when we’re away and want to look our best, trying to balance face-specific sunscreen with liquid foundation, setting sprays, and powders, can get really messy. 

This super lightweight foundation is imbued with factor 50+ sun protection – one of the highest you can get! Look photo-ready and sleek while keeping your skin safe from the elements. 


It’s super lightweight and has both anti-aging and sun-protecting properties, and who doesn’t love that? There is a range of different shades, with user images so you can match your skin tone and needs accordingly. 


Some people have said that it can be a little runny or powdery depending on your skin, so if you have sensitive skin or are particularly oily or dry, it might be worth choosing something else. 

How to Use In Your Routine

To apply, it’s super easy. Just take 1-2 pumps and use a brush or beauty blender to get even coverage over your face, neck, and decolletage. Make sure you apply it on clean skin so you can get an even look.

4. Benefit Roller Lash Mini

Who doesn’t love having such full and long lashes when you’re out and about? Mascara can make all the difference to a look, making your eyes look brighter and tying your makeup look altogether.

This Benefit roller lash mini uses a special hook and roll brush to effortlessly shape and thicken your lashes. 


So this mascara has so many cool features in such a small tube. It keeps your lashes in place for up to 12 hours, which is great if you’re out and about on day trips and not heading back to the hotel in between.

It also contains provitamin B5 and serin, which are both linked to conditioning your lashes and keeping them strong and bright whether you’re wearing the mascara or not.


As with any travel-sized item, it’s always the question of value for money. Especially considering you can take full-size mascaras on flights in your hand luggage.

The only reason that the mini is so useful is that if you’re out for dinner and only have a small bag, it doesn’t take up a ton of real estate. Or if you have a lot of liquids to bring with you while traveling and you don’t have enough space in your TSA-approved liquids bag.

How to Use In Your Routine

Apart from stabbing yourself in the eye with the mascara wand, it’s pretty hard to mess up using mascara. It’s basically going to be one of the last items you put on your face before applying the setting spray or powder. I always curl my lashes before applying mascara as well.

Use a steady hand and keep your eyes open, and the hook and roll brush will do the rest. 

5. Milk Mini Bronzer Stick

When we’re traveling, we normally have to whittle our makeup bag down to a more manageable, lighter size. That’s why this Milk mini bronzer stick is so good. It combines as a bronzer and contour stick. Two products for the price of one!


Besides being two products in one, which is always a great thing to look for when thinking about your travel makeup bag, this stick is designed to work with the contours of your face, and glide effortlessly across – no brush required!

It’s super soft and gives amazing coverage that lasts all day long, which is exactly what we need!


So, this is a small product, there’s no getting around it, but as it’s a stick, a little goes a long, long way. The other thing is it currently only comes in two shades, so that’s super limiting.

Hopefully, they’ll expand their range moving forward, but at the moment unless you fit into one of those two avenues, you’re out of luck.

How to Use In Your Routine

Like any good contour, it’s all about the bones. Apply to the cheekbones, browbones, and nose. You can either blend with a brush, sponge, or your fingers if you’re trying to keep your makeup bag nice and light.

If you want to use it as a bronzer, you can continue onto your collarbones, arms, and legs. Get that golden glow while you’re waiting for the natural tan to kick in!

Move Abroad Starter Kit

The Best Skincare for Traveling

1. The Inkey List Retinol Eye Cream

If you’re traveling all over the place getting red-eye flights, spending your days on long trains, or staying in hostel dorms with some not-so-great roommates, then chances are you’re going to be looking less than fresh.

The Inkey List Retinol Serum helps your skin look bright and plumped up, making you look super well-rested even if you’ve had three layovers in three days!


One of the major pros of The Inkey List Retinol Serum is the price point. It’s a steal considering how little of it you use each day. The thin tube is perfect for traveling or putting in your clutch bag in a pinch. It also works for a wide range of skin types including sensitive or oily skin.

That makes it ideal for whatever climate you’re heading into. 


Some people have reported that it’s split in warmer conditions, so keep it cool and shake it up before you use it. On the whole, it’s a great price point for the product and keeps away those dreaded bags under your eyes. 

How to Use In Your Routine

After you’ve cleansed your skin in the evening and gone about your usual skincare routine, apply a pea-sized amount of serum to your eye crease before you put your moisturizer on. Then you can put your regular nighttime moisturizer on and settle in for the night. Easy!

Tips for Traveling with Makeup & Skincare Products

When you’re traveling out and about with your makeup, there are some key things you’re going to want to think about. Here are some of my best general makeup travel tips that you definitely want to pay attention to!

1. Don’t Travel with Too Much Powder

Whether you’re just traveling with a carry-on or you’ve got hold luggage, your bags are going to get thrown around a lot. If you’ve got a ton of compacts with powder in them, the chances of them getting smashed or breaking up is pretty high.

Nothing ruins your unpacking more than opening up your suitcase to find ground-up powder all over your clothes. It’s like when you bring shampoo and the lid pops off. Not fun and it’s super expensive to replace your powders.

Bring one or two that you really love, or decant a few powders into a reusable palette. You can buy travel-friendly empty palettes that you can fill with whatever products you like best. 

2. Bring a Small Travel Makeup Mirror

Okay so trust me on this one, even if you’re staying in great hotels, with lush bathrooms, you cannot guarantee that the mirrors on the wall will be in the location you want. Trying to put on eyeliner over the top of a large sink is not ideal. Neither is the full-length mirror that’s on the other side of the room to the window. 

When you’re putting on makeup, you want plenty of natural light and you want to be able to move it around from different angles. So, normally the answer is a compact mirror, but honestly, I’m not a fan of these.

You have to either balance them at a weird angle or hold it and try to put on your makeup one-handed. It’s not ideal either way. You really want to buy a collapsible mirror with its own stand.

There are plenty of great ones out there and they can fold down to the width of a passport, so they fit seamlessly in your carry-on. You’ll thank me when you’re not craning your neck to get the ideal angle.

3. Get Products that Do More Than One Thing

If you want to save space when you’re traveling, the easiest way to do so is to buy combination products. Think about products like the Milk mini bronzer stick – you get a bronzer and contouring stick all in one. It’s efficient and, more often than not, it’s economical.

All that money you can save on combination products, you can use to help fund more future travels. What’s not to love about that?

4. Check the Temperatures

Not all makeup products do well in ambient temperatures. If you have any products that you know won’t do well in the heat, like lip balms or lipsticks, maybe switch to a lip tint instead. Same way if you need to keep your makeup in a fridge to keep it in peak condition.

It’s fine if you’re in a hotel room that has a mini fridge but if you’re in a hostel, you might not want to leave your good makeup in the communal fridge – labeled up or not!

Also, look at the temperature of your destination so you can look after your skin appropriately. If you’re going to a cold place and you have dry skin, make sure you bring products that pack the moisture in.

If you’ve got oily skin and you’re going to a hot or humid country, make sure you have something with more of a powdery vibe to soak up the extra oil from sunscreen and other heat-related skin products.

Private Coaching Session

5. Get Your Items Doing Double Duty

Much like bringing products that do more than one thing with you, if you can make your existing faves go a little bit further, it saves a ton of space in your makeup bag.

Things like dabbing a bit of your lipstick on your cheekbones as a matte blush or using a bit of eyebrow powder for eyeshadow and so on.

There are plenty of examples, but make sure you test it out before you travel – you don’t want to be stuck out in a new place with half your key makeup products missing, or not knowing how to use them while you’re out there. 

If you make your makeup work a little bit harder and get creative, it’s going to lighten your load so much. If you’re not sure where to start with multipurpose makeup uses, hit up TikTok and Pinterest for all the makeup hacks and tricks. Some of these makeup influencers are straight-up witches – it’s insane! 

6. Buy Products While Traveling

Depending on where you’re going, there will be some big name-brand stores. For example, if you’re coming to Europe, there is no shortage of cosmetic stores and many of the brands are international or European-based anyway.

It’s likely that you can get all your favorites over there, avoiding any run-ins with TSA or having to decant your faves into the teeny tiny bottles. It’s especially worth it if you’re exploring for a couple of weeks or longer – those travel-sized ones aren’t going to last the full gap year after all!

Of course, depending on your brands and products of choice, they might be European in the first place. Paris, after all, is the birthplace of so many huge makeup companies.

Same if you’re heading out to Asia, there are a ton of Korean skincare products that are now super popular in Europe and the US that you’ll be able to find with ease.

If you can’t find the exact products, why not try a few samples or get a makeover while you’re there – you might even find a new product of choice. 

Well, there you go. Everything you need to keep your skin looking fresh, well-maintained, and natural. Keep these tips and products in mind when you’re packing for your next trip and you’ll have a whole stack of photos and selfies that will look out of this world.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on a 24-hour bus, spending your weeks on trains, or getting a ridiculously-timed flight, you’re going to be looking fresh and runway ready in a pinch! Fake it till you make it darlings!


Wednesday 13th of August 2014

Aaaaaaand what awesome camera do you have?

Vanessa Elizabeth

Wednesday 13th of August 2014

Panasonic Lumix!!


Wednesday 13th of August 2014

I like how compact this is but it does look a bit small. How long does this palette usually last you?