Cosmetics and beauty products can be a tricky thing for many backpackers. Especially for those of us that aren’t just concerned about our skin’s health but also our appearance. We want to capture as many moments on camera as possible and make sure our face is as on fleek as the scenery. I travel like a backpacker, meaning I mostly travel light and I’m not usually just lounging around. On a given trip you may find me parasailing, skydiving or snorkeling. (Hopefully scuba in the near future)! So my travel beauty essentials need to be easy-to-use, beautiful and EFFECTIVE. Honestly, is there anything more frustrating that a beautifully packaged, highly marketed product that simply doesn’t work?! I’m sure plenty examples pop in to your mind. *wink wink*
I’m not usually someone who wears an exorbitant amount of makeup day-to-day (though sometimes I like to have fun with the dozens of eye palettes I continue to buy for some ridiculous reason). So I usually wear even less but traveling. But there are certainly a few concerns that I address to feel confident when I’m on the road… First and foremost: My barely-there eyebrows! (I’m a child of the 90’s and was a victim to over plucking. WORST TREND EVER: RAZOR THIN EYEBROWS!)
Having a beautiful face doesn’t start with makeup but starts with good skincare. So I’m going to share with you my travel beauty essentials that I always carry with me. From skincare to makeup.
If you want to look glowy, gorgeous and put-together in all those vacation photos, these will be the products to snag ASAP.
This post is not sponsored and the opinion are all my own. All of these products are ones I have purchased, used, and swear by.
DISCLAIMER: I have (mostly) dry/dehydrated, acne prone skin. I have some light acne scarring and my main skin concerns are skin texture, brightness, break-outs and managing my weirdly oily forehead. So please keep that in mind. I’ll try to note alternatives for those with oily skin as much as possible but I may not be able to speak from personal experiences for them.
Travel Beauty Essentials: An Excellent Setting Spray
We’ll start with one of my all-time favorite products: Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray. This bad boy isn’t cheap, ($33 for 4oz) but it’s worth every penny. It’s like setting your makeup with hairspray but wayyy better for your skin. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty beauty gurus and bloggers talk this product up. And there’s an excellent reason; Because it honest to god just the fucking best! Whether you have dry, oily, or normal skin, you’ll find the right spray with their 3 different formulas. The product promises makeup that looks freshly applied for up to 16 hours and it truly delivers.
I purchase the full size bottle and pour some into a travel-size spray bottle for my trips so it fits well into my cosmetic bag.
A Powerful (Yet Gentle) Chemical Exfoliant
Between all the different climates and environmental pollutants that can clog your pores while traveling, you may find yourself breaking out if you aren’t thoroughly cleaning your skin at the end of the day.
Whether it be sun damaged cells, salt from the sea or just plain old dirt, a good chemical exfoliant is an excellent way to slough off your old face and start anew each day!
My end-all-be-all is the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel. If you find yourself not so happy with your current face, get a new one with these bad boys! Okay, not reallyyy. But they are absolutely incredible which is why I keep forking out $88 for them! I’ve tried plenty of other similar products and nothing compares to these ones. I pack enough to use for each day of my trip but sometimes only use it every other day. If I ever start making videos for this blog, it will be to rave about this product and show some before & after shots. They are certainly a travel beauty essential of mine but also just a regular beauty essential that I never go without.
Travel Beauty Essentials: A Heavy Duty Moisturizer
A heavy duty moisturizer doesn’t necessarily have to be a heavy moisturizer but it does need to do a lot of heavy lifting! It’s no secret that the cabin of a plane is brutal on drying out one’s skin. Traveling to different climates–warm or cold–can also really dry out one’s skin, as well as any potential sun damage you may incur. So it’s absolutely crucial that you have effective moisturizers in your travel cosmetics bag.
Personally, I use a night and day moisturizer. The night can be heavier since I won’t be putting anything on top of it. But my daytime one needs to be ultra moisturizing and absorb quickly so my makeup isn’t sliding everywhere.
For a night moisturizer, I use Peter Thomas Roth Cloud Cream. (1.7 oz for $52 at Sephora). It has a ton of Hyaluronic Acid which pulls moisture out of the air while you’re wearing it. So be aware that you may not want to wear this if you’re sleeping with open windows in a highly polluted area. I absolutely love this product… And so do all of my friends who I let use it while we’re on the plane. Many have actually purchases their own. It feels like a dream and is SO moisturizing. I’ve gone through 3 jars and continue to re-purchase.
For a daytime moisturizer, I currently use Korres Wild Rose Brightening Priming Moisturizer. ($45 for 1.01 oz at Sephora). This helps my makeup stay on all day, gives my skin a bright, glowy look, and deeply moisturizes without feeling heavy or slick.
Travel Beauty Essentials: Sunscreen, duh!
Above all else, one travel beauty essential you must never forget is sunscreen. And would you believe, that I have yet to find one that I truly love! I’ve tried dozens of brands including moisturizers with SPF and tinted moisturizers and have yet to find one that I find lasts, is effective and here’s the real kicker; also doesn’t make my skin break out.
What are your suggestions? Do you have a sunscreen you love that you can also wear over moisturizer / under make up? Let me know in the comments!
A Blush with Serious Staying-Power
I’m very pallid in my face–meaning I don’t have a lot of color. In fact, when I do “blush,” it’s not my cheeks that turn red, but my ears! Super embarrassing right? Especially when I’m sporting an up-do!
That being said, a good blush that lasts all day whether my skin is moist or dry is a definite travel beauty essential. And an absolute must to feel my best when I’m in front of the camera.
My all time favorite blush is the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher. ($21.39 for 15 mL if you buy on the B&B website). I discovered this blush thanks to one of my favorite beauty bloggers; Katie from Beauty & the Boutique. This blush packs a powerful punch and lasts alllllllll day. It goes on the skin beautifully, looks so natural and has build-able color. To use; put 1-2 drops on the back of your hand then use your fingers to dab on to your cheeks. A little goes a long way with this stuff!
I have two colors that I purchased well over a year ago and still haven’t even gone halfway through!
I have dozens of blushes and this is the only one that I bring with me when I travel. Grab your own if you’re constantly dying for more color like me.
Travel Beauty Essentials: A Luscious Lip Balm
I have a confession to make…. I don’t drink enough water. I KNOW! It’s terrible of me but it’s a bad habit I have in my day-to-day life that tends to get exacerbated when I’m on the go. I’m working on it!
If you’re like me in this regard, then you know, your poor lips suffer so much (especially while traveling!) if you aren’t hydrated. And do you or I want to deal with chapped lips while we’re trying to enjoy our trip? HELL NO!
I have several lip balms that I really love so here are a few of my favorites of all different costs:
Kush Lip Glaze – $18.00. A vegan & cruelty free balm with lotsss of shine but no stickiness. Fun fact; it has hemp-derived cannabis sativa seed oil but it definitely smells & feels minty.
Hanalei Rose Lip Treatment – $15 for 3 pack. This may be my all favorite on the list for the day time. A touch of color and just enough shine with no stickiness to give you a beautiful healthy look while nourishing your lips.
Vaseline – $1.89. That’s right ladies! A tried and true favorite. I prefer to lather it over my pucker at night before bed so I wake up with ultra plump, baby soft lips. It also works well for so many other things! A highlight when in a pinch or other small patches of dry skin. I tend to get them on the corners of my eyes or jawline.
Gentle & Powerful Skin Cleanser
With all my skin troubles, I’ve tried so many different cleansers of all different types and price points and the one I keep coming back to is Cetaphil. Your travel beauty essentials should obviously contain a trusted cleanser that you know won’t let you down no matter the circumstances and Cetaphil is just the one.
This budget friendly cleanser works for all skin types and doesn’t strip your skin of it’s useful oils but also cleans deeply. Sometimes if I feel excessive dirt on my skin, I’ll cleanse twice.
It’s also perfect in the event that you get a little sunburned since it’s so gentle and creamy. Just grab a large container and refill your travel size container for each trip. You can get a pack of two (2) 16 oz containers + a pack of face wipes on Amazon for only $18.99.
Travel Beauty Essentials: Hair Moisturizer & Styler
Did you think I forgot about hair maintenance!? No way, man! Not with the mane I have on my head.
No travel beauty essentials article would be complete without the ultimate hair care product. And I have one to rule them all… Lush’s R&B is perfect for all hair types. This vegan hair moisturizer will leave your locks shiny, frizz-free, soft & touchable, & smelling absolutely heavenly.
If you have curly hair, you know how crazy your hair can behave depending on the climate or any other slew of factors. You never really know what it’s gonna do! With all that being said though, this product is the only hair product I pack other than my shampoo & conditioner.
A 3.5 oz jar is $25.95 and there is a larger container if you’re really wanting to stock up. I have thick, curly, coarse hair and use about a nickel sized amount. If you have straight and/or fine hair, use less.
This post may seem a little “light” but I really wanted to keep it true to the title. These products are my tried and true ESSENTIALS that I pack no matter what. I’m currently in the process of testing a few more products to see if they’re worthy of being added to this list.
In the very near future, I’ll have another post coming of more beauty products and makeup I recommend to travelers but wouldn’t necessarily make the ‘essentials’ list. Especially to those who prefer to forego makeup all together or pack ULTRA light.
Let me know in the comments if you have any products I should definitely try (especially sunscreen—Seriously, help!) and if you found this list helpful.