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.
I’m not usually someone who wears an exorbitant amount of makeup day-to-day and I usually wear even less when traveling. But there are certainly a few concerns that I address to feel confident when I’m on the road… Like my eyebrows. (I’m a child of the 90’s and a victim of 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 and you can shop them all in this post!
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 love.
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 way better for your skin. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty beauty gurus and bloggers talk this product up–and for good reason! 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. Not only are these 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.
For a night moisturizer, I use Peter Thomas Roth Cloud Cream or Drunk Elephant’s Lala Retro Whipped Moisturizer. I love both of these products and so do all my friends who I let use them.
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
Blush may be one of my ultimate essentials. I think just a little bit can make a big difference on a bare face and can help you feel best in front of the camera.
While I do love the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher, my newest favorite is the Glossier Cloud Paint in either Dusk or Beam. Both blushes are long-lasting and a little goes a long way!
We all know how easy it can be to become dehydrated while traveling. With all the excitement, it can be too easy to forget to drink water! One of the worst immediate symptoms? Dry, chapped lips. I don’t ever not have lip balm on me so this doesn’t change while I travel. You can shop my favorites at the bottom of this post!
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.
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 I don’t take this, my backup is the Ouai Rose Hair & Body Oil. (Linked at bottom of post).
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.
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.