The Best Makeup for Traveling

A fragrance lovers dream


While I wouldn’t call myself “well traveled” I happen to know RDU and Chicago’s Midway airport quite well. I tend to make a couple trips a year back and forth between those two airports.

I’ve definitely experienced the “oh my gosh my shampoo exploded” moment like Ross did in Friends. You’ve seen every episode of Friends from all 10 seasons multiple times, right? Oh you own all 10 seasons too? Cool, we can remain friends.

Perhaps I’ll work on a post about traveling with hair products, but today I’m sharing a few tips for traveling with makeup.

My motto in life is “KISS” which I’m sure you know is “Keep it simple, stupid” from Michael Scott on The Office. Wow, two classic television show references and I’m only seven sentences in to this post. You should also know I just paused in the middle of writing this and spent a good 10 minutes looking for a clip of Dwight explaining the KISS motto but I couldn’t find it.

Let’s get back into it, shall we?

I’m traveling to NYC soon with my husband for a quick weekend get-a-way and I’m only going to carry-on. I can’t remember that last time I only carried on my luggage. It wasn’t unusual for me to travel with my shears because I would usually end up doing a haircut at whatever destination I was going to, so I got used to checking my bag.

ForΒ our weekend in NYC I’m filteringΒ what I usually use on a daily basis in order to only bring travel friendly products to “KISS”.


When you are thinking thought what makeup to bring, try to consider products that multi-task and are not liquid. Of course, if you need to bring liquid you certainly can, but it’s much less risky to pack thick creams or simply dry products.

One. Tarte Amazoninan Clay Airbrush Foundation in light beige. I shared a full review of this foundation here. I love that it’s full coverage but still really light on the skin. No risk of spilled liquid foundation with this powder formula!

Two. Tarte Buffer Airbrush Finish brush. It’s just the perfect brush for the foundation.

Three. L’Oreal Visible Lift Serum Absolute Concealer in light. I seriously love this concealer for under my eyes. On top of my Bobbi Brown corrector, of course.

Four. Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow stick in Pearly Taupe. This is such a versatile product. It can be blended out to look like full shadow on the eyelid, or used as a soft liner along both the bottom and top lash lines.

Five. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush. This is simply the most beautiful blush I’ve ever used. And it doubles as a bit of a highlighter so it’s essentially two products in one.

Six. Shu Uerma eyelash curler. Because if that wasn’t it my makeup bag I would panic.

Seven. Smashbox Always Sharp waterproof Kohl linerΒ in black. While this isn’t the softest liner I’ve ever used, I love that it’s a twist up and is always sharp. I ALWAYS forget to pack a pencil sharpener in my travel makeup bag, so this liner is perfect for traveling as well as everyday use.

Eight. Anastasia Brow Pencil in cool taupe. One of my favorite eyebrow pencils.

Nine. Nars Creamy Concealer in Vanilla. I like this concealer for blemishes or dark spots best.

Ten. Smashbox Beauty Exposed Palette. So I bought this palette at beauty store within an outlet mall that I now realize may only sell discontinued products? I can’t seem to find this palette anywhere online! A similar alternative would be the Photo Op Eye Enhancing Palette (there is one for blue eyes, brown eyes and hazel eyes).

Eleven. Bobbi Brown Corrector on Porcelain Peach. If I’m going for the tired, under-eye circle look I don’t need this product. But if I want to look rested, this is essential.

Twelve. Sonia Kashuk Medium eyeshadow brush. This is perfect for applying shadow all over the lid.

Thirteen. Sephora blending eyeshadow brush. I use this brush for my crease and outer corners. Here is a similar option.

Fourteen. Sephora Crease brush. I prefer using this brush to blend my shadows together or apply highlight under my brows.

Fifteen. L’Oreal False Fiber Lashes in Black Lacquer. A bold and lengthening mascara.

Sixteen. Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush and Powder brush. I love using this brush with blush or highlighter.

Seventeen. Pixi Eye Zone Brightener. This is a newer product but I love how it brightens up my eye area.

A lot of these products are low-risk for spillage, which makes traveling all that much simpler.


When deciding on the right eyeshadow palette to bring, pick one that is versatile for day and night. You really only need a few shades of eyeshadow to create a couple different looks.


Grab a blush that has a highlighter mixed in like this one. Not only does it save you a step when you are applying your makeup, but it leaves a little more space in your bag for a different product.


If you are like me and always forget a pencil sharpener, look for twist up eyeliners. The biggest downfall in twist up liners is that they tend to be rounded on the tip after a few uses, but the self-sharpening aspect of this one solves that problem immediately.

Instead of packing my makeup in 1 large bag, I choose a few small bags. It’s a little bit easier to cram a few smaller bags into tiny spaces in my luggage than try to squeeze one large bag in without feeling like I’m crushing everything.

What isn’t pictured here is any of my skin care or other beauty products that I’ll need to cram into a quart sized bag to get through security. I’m seriously nervous that I’ll only have 2 oz of hairspray instead of my usual 16 oz. I wish I could say I was kidding about that, but I’m not. #hairstylistproblems.

If I was checking a bag, I would bring my Caudalie Beauty Elixir because it’s perfect for refreshing after hopping off an airplane. I’d also pack the Pink Innocencia body lotion by Sonia Kashuk because I cannot stop wearing that these days.

If you have any upcoming summer travels that require a flight, I hope this helps you as you think about packing your makeup!


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Divya says · 05.23.14

This is my favorite kind of post! Its so difficult to narrow down makeup to carry along on vacations.. I am too scared to break a few things on the way! I find multi taskers the best bet!

Lipstick Queen Saint Eden Review | TheConscienceFund

Angela says · 05.23.14

I always have a hard time trying to decide what to bring. My family and I go to Cuba for a week each year, and every year I vow to bring less and less stuff the next.

I am also really interested in the eye brightener you wrote about. I will keep my “dark eyes” on the look out for it.

Arielle says · 05.23.14

When I’m traveling I certainly go for multitasking products! I try to do combo palettes and pair down on things, too!

Alli says · 05.23.14

So, Friends and The Office are two of my all-time favorite shows. Ever. My best-friend has all 10 seasons of Friends and when we lived together we watched it ever. single. night. Now, the hubs and I watch The Office whenever we get a chance πŸ™‚ The only reference missing for me was Gilmore Girls! And I love knowing which products you recommend. There are a few that are on my list to try soon. Thank you so much!

Natalie says · 05.23.14

Kate! good news. FAA regulations allow liquids up to 3.4 oz in your quart sized bag. That’s at least a bit more hairspray πŸ™‚ Regarding your Caudalie beauty elixer….I personally have found that individual liquid products that I have forgotten to remove and claim from my carry on (i.e. A bottle of hand sanitizer or a facial spray) have always made it thru without confiscation. Another really great idea is to purchase a few of the travel sized perfume atomizers (Sephora has them in their online sale section now) for small portions of spray products. I’m a frequent flier so I feel these are pretty tried and true. Have a fantastic trip πŸ™‚

Sarah says · 05.23.14

I fly very frequently for work… The liquid rules basically don’t exist anymore. TSA never checks! In over 20 flights this year, never have i had an issue. I pack any size liquid I want and never take them out of my carryon to be checked. I’m tempted to leave my shoes on next time and see if they are now ignoring that rule too!

Elizabeth says · 05.23.14

There actually are some security lines where you don’t have to remove your shoes or jacket! It’s amazing. And yes, I have had the same experience with the liquids. Seems like no one cares anymore.

Justina says · 05.26.14

It depends what airport. My grandma just got nabbed for packing her full sized lotion in her carry on. I think that was in Milwaukee.

Anna says · 05.23.14

I’ve got a holiday planned for the end of the year and think it’s going to be a carry on only one. It’s my first time travelling just carry on so these tips are really helpful! Will definitely be coming back to this post closer to travel time x

Jessica says · 05.23.14

Like I didn’t adore you enough already…. “MAJOR SHAMPOO EXPLOSION!” haha Friends is my all time most favorite show, nothing can ever replace it. πŸ™‚

Carrie Kociencki says · 05.23.14

Have a great trip! Thank you for all the tips. I couldn’t agree more with Kiss. Love multi purpose products.

Christina Storm says · 05.23.14

Love this! Thanks for sharing!

The Style Storm
<3, Christina

Taryn says · 05.23.14

You need to just start a shopping cart on Sephora and let us place an order for all 17 items! Thanks for the great tips!!

Whitney @ Come Home For Comfort says · 05.23.14

The closest I can come to the KISS clip from The Office:

Dwight: “The best advice you ever gave me was, ‘Don’t be an idiot.’ So before I do something I ask myself, ‘Would an idiot do this?’ If the answer is yes, I do not do that thing.


Kristen V. says · 05.23.14

I love that you mentioned Friends! Best. Show. Ever.

I also love the new blog format, I wasn’t able to comment before from my phone. πŸ™‚

Joy H says · 05.23.14

Beware – I had an airport attendant pull my eyelash curler from my carryon and throw it away!! Maybe they aren’t as strict now, but that was quite a shock!

Mary says · 05.23.14

OMG I would die if they pulled out my Shu Uerma curler and tossed it! Esp since it was always out of stock and I had to wait forever to order it. EEEK! When I fly in June I will def pack my Maybelline curler instead!! Thanks for the warning!

Kate says · 05.23.14

I would also die if I watched my eyelash curler get thrown in the trash. It’s my most essential beauty tool!

Holly says · 05.23.14

I read your sentence about your shampoo exploding and immediately thought of Ross Geller. Then I kept reading… You own all 10 seasons too? I knew I liked you for a reason. πŸ™‚

Julie says · 05.23.14

My husband usually carries less liquid products than I do. So if I want an extra hairspray, I just put it in his bag. Thanks for the great suggestions!

Sarah says · 05.23.14

I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, and for some reason today is the first day I noticed your new “pin it” image that comes up when you hover. I have to say, I love it! πŸ™‚ It’s perfectly cheeky. πŸ™‚

Tayler says · 05.23.14

When you said shampoo explosion, I totally thought of Ross, and much to my delight, so did you. Haha! I will never stop loving friends!!! And what a great post with summer vacations coming up!

Sarah says · 05.23.14

Michael always says K-I-S-S, keep it simple, stupid. Great advice, hurts my feelings every time.

Zara says · 05.23.14

I loooove this post. :O The palette is my favourite among them.

Julie says · 05.23.14

I’d love to see the bags you use and how you pack it all in. My problem with packing makeup is that it gets all mixed together in my bags and then it’s not easily accessible whenever I get around to using it. I have to dig through all my brushes, etc.

KIm says · 05.24.14

I agree with the makeup bag packing! I downsize but takes so much time “digging” for what I need. Tried one bigger bag, smaller bags…haven’t found the right system as of yet. Help with this, please?

Sara says · 05.23.14

Great tips! Funny you mentioned The Office. For the longest time I’ve thought you reminded me of someone, but I could never quite figure it out. Then one day it hit me, “Pam”! πŸ™‚

Kate says · 05.23.14

I feel like Angela would be more appropriate. Given her love of cats.

Lindsay @ The Newlywed Notebook says · 05.23.14

These are great tips! I’m still LOVING the Tarte foundation your recommended in your post a few weeks back. I’m interested to try the blush/highlighter too. I saw your post on it on Instragram this morning and I’m intrigued. πŸ™‚

Kristine says · 05.23.14

I bought the Tarte airbrush foundation and the kabuki brush that goes with it. The sephora lady told me the little kabuki is for the powder and the bigger brush you have pictured is for the liquid foundation only… I’ve found the coverage to be really heavy and was wondering if maybe the fluffier brush you have would make it a bit lighter??

Kate says · 05.23.14

Huh, I haven’t heard that. Spend a bit more time buffing instead of adding product to lighten it up a bit!

Isobel says · 05.23.14

Great list, I’m taking a lot of interest in number two..always on the hunt for new foundation brushes! x

Lucia says · 05.23.14

I just wrote a similar article on what’s on my MUST list for travelling + how to be convenient with make up πŸ™‚ check it out here:

xx Lucia

Jennifer says · 05.23.14

What a helpful post! I have periods of time where I travel frequently for work, so I keep a separate makeup and toiletries bag stocked and ready to go, along with a spare curling iron, in my suitcase. That way I never forget anything. I traded in my thin, plastic makeup bag for one that is more padded to avoid any makeup container breakage. That said, I tend to ziploc anything very liquidy inside it – I once had a bottle of nail polish break! Also, it’s kind of amazing how little product you can use over a few days – I’ve brought extra trial size bottles of lotion, shampoo, etc. just to realize I barely made it through half of the first one!

Katie says · 05.23.14

I am a chronic over-packer. I’ve been working on getting to carry-on only. My number one tip for short trips is to buy the multi-pack of different color contact lens cases from Target. I squeeze a single-use of shampoo and conditioner in there, even moisturizer and foundation. I can get about three days’ worth of foundation into one side of one case. They stack easily and take up very little precious real estate in my quart sized baggie.

linda says · 05.23.14

I do the contact lens case packing as well. I packed all of my mosturisers and foundation like that when we went to Europe and it worked like a charm!

Kate says · 05.23.14

That is absolutely GENIUS. Thank you for this tip!

Debbie M says · 05.23.14

Try the Mindy project. So funny! My new love!

Meg says · 05.23.14

Have you ever tried Mary Kay products? Do you find them comparable to any of your favorite products?

Laurel says · 05.23.14

I laughed so much at the “Ross” part!

Love this blog!

Katelyn Johnson says · 05.23.14

The episode of the Office you are searching for is after Jim goes to Stamford and Dwight takes Ryan on his first sales call. they are in the car after Dwight’s series of “tests” at his beet farm. I’ve sen every episode more than I’m willing to admit πŸ˜‰
Annnnd I own all 10 seasons of Friends too, so we can be besties!

Laurie says · 05.23.14

okay, Kate and Friends! Blush brush question… does anyone have a problem with their blush brush “blossoming” or flattening out from the center? Am I just really abusive or any suggestions???? Love this blog!

Kate says · 05.23.14

It may be a quality issue, or you are pressing too hard? Try Sonia Kashuk brushes-they are great!

dichtbijbloempje says · 05.23.14

I absolutely love that you put in the link of the “major shampoo explosion”

Love your blog!

Jackie says · 05.23.14

Omg please make more Friends references on your blog!! Not only do I own all 10 seasons and have watched every episode a thousand times, I even know creepy stuff, like what color shirt Rachel was wearing in season 6, episode 5… It’s a disease really.

Kate says · 05.23.14

Loud and Clear sister. I’m right there with you.

Kara says · 05.23.14

Love this! I’m running out of my NARS creamy concealer so I definitely need to order some more!

Lisa Smallridge says · 05.24.14

Great post… But did I miss something? What about lipstick? Can’t live without that!. I always carry a pink/mauve, apricot & brown/russet .. those 3 colours cover every wardrobe choice. (For me, as a fair-skinned green-eyed blonde). For total minimalism: eyebrow pencil, mascara & lipstick do the trick!

Jennie says · 05.24.14

Kate, what about your lips? Although I’m sure your lip gloss or whatever you’re using is in your purse, I would love to know what you love these days! I just love your product recommendations…oh, and pictures and stories of your sweet baby boy!! πŸ™‚

Kay says · 05.24.14

If you’re worried about your hairspray, you could always do the classic “get off the plane and immediately run to ulta” move. Especially when you’re traveling with a guy, they really love that! πŸ˜‰

Sometimes I carry-on my bag on the way to my destination and check it on the way home when it’s not as important that everything be so quick!

suzanne tornvall-sager says · 05.24.14

Enjoy NYC…my home-city…have been in NC for 17 years now. I hope you have a food tour planned….just look online if you don’t. It’s a great way to see “The Village”, and even better to scope out restaurants you’d like to try! (samples…)
Safe travels!

jencam says · 05.24.14

I think the PhotoOp Palettes by Smashbox are a great alternative to the Naked Basics palette. I like the Smashbox colors much better. Also, Too Faced Naturals palette for eyes.

Michelle says · 05.25.14

Had a similar experience of a big bottle of bio-oil leaking the whole lot out in my husbands suitcase after i begged him ti take it!needless to say he was not pleased!

KARA says · 05.25.14

I have just posted my essentials for airplane flights it’s only four natural based products . I lov your post some great tips I hadn’t even thought about for make up
Will subscribe
Best wishes from London !!

Tracie says · 05.25.14

Do you use all your concealers under your mineral foundation, or do you put some on over it? I don’t know how to best use liquid/cream concealers and powder foundation at the same time. Thanks

Rebecca says · 05.25.14

My husband and I just vacationed to California for a week, and I was bound and determined to only take a carry-on. I always feel better when I know where my luggage is. I followed the TSA 3-1-1 rule, but forgot about some eye drops I had in my purse. No one said a word. No one asked me to take the bag of liquids out either. I noticed someone using a large ziploc bag, and no foul to him. Very interesting these “strict” rules. They did make me take my shoes off. Other than that it was smooth sailing. πŸ™‚

It was so freeing to limit myself to just a carry-on. I wore everything I packed, which never happens, and I didn’t run out of toiletries like I thought.

You are allowed a bag along with your carry-on, which was super helpful. To the airport I brought a backpack along with my carry-on bag, and I kept my toiletries and make up in there so they were easy access. That way I could put on moisturizer on the planes, and have my makeup right on hand. My purse fit right inside one of the back pockets. It was perfect!

Leann says · 05.25.14

Love Friends!! Knew exactly what episode you were talking about! Totally knew there was more then one reason I liked you and your blog!

kary says · 05.26.14

This is the kind of thing that most women are looking for. Something where they can bring and organize their make up set, because women really wanted to bring almost all of their make up just to look fresh and pretty even after a tiring day. But bringing all the make up sets inside the bag would mess up all the things inside. And i guess this is the perfect solution for problems like this.

Maybe you could also visit my site. Just click the link below. Thanks! πŸ™‚

Justina says · 05.26.14

How come you didn’t bring your usual Cover Girl Mascara?? Did you find a new favorite?

Jennie says · 05.26.14

I have become a huge fan of carry-on only this year after a few non-relaxing work trips where I changed European hotels or cities almost every night. It made life soooo much easier. A great product for conserving space is the Go-Tubbs in the small size- perfect for moisturizer, concealer, powder foundation, or things I cannot be without like Papau Cream from Australia that I buy in large tubs. It cures/heals everything (sunburn, rash, cold sores). Using these little guys I can get all my makeup in my purse makeup bag! This was an added bonus after a long work day when I needed to freshen up my face – I did not want to have to be indiscreet and open my suitcase in front of the handsome Italian men I was with!

Allison says · 05.28.14

I love that blush and eyebrow pencil! I need to try that concealer
Allison from

Siri says · 05.28.14

Hi there! I discovered your blog by accident. Love your posts about skincare and beauty products. Especially love this post and really dig the Smashbox palette you shared. Definitely easy for travel. Wish they still carried this palette. Thank you for the tips and inspiration. I hope one day to make my blog something to share with the world. =)

Abul Kashem says · 03.08.20

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