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Of course, you want to look good on vacation, but your makeup can take up a lot of space. Follow my tips to downsize your makeup for travel and you’ll still be able to go carry-on only!
Downsize Makeup for Travel
Table Of Contents
Like toiletries, makeup can take up a lot of space in your carry-on and weigh it down. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take your favorites with you. It’s all about curating a travel-friendly makeup list and routine.
Because a lot of readers have asked me how I travel with makeup, I thought I’d share how I downsize my everyday makeup to a simpler travel routine. (I also share my skincare routine in this post and how I make it work for travel.)
Check out the video below to see how I organize my makeup items and get them downsized for a trip!
Watch this video to learn how I downsize my makeup for travel!
To start, I find it’s best to lay out all of your makeup so you can see everything you normally use. Make sure your makeup bag is nearby so you can start packing it. That way you can organize and pack as you go.
So let’s begin, check out how I downsize my own makeup so I can still use my favorite products when I travel!
Watch this video about my travel beauty essentials!
My Tips to Downsizing Your Makeup Routine for Travel
Decant Foundation and Concealer
At home, I keep two foundations — one pre-vacation and one post-vacation option. But when I travel, I only take one. Even though my foundation bottles are pretty small and travel-friendly, it’s still way more than I actually need for a vacation. Plus, it’s glass, which adds weight to my makeup bag.
So, I decant my foundation into a small plastic tube like this one from Wowlife, as it makes it more convenient for applying on the go. Remember, every little bit of space and weight counts. It adds up quickly. I would only take my full-size foundation container if I were planning on traveling for a month or longer.
MAC Longwear Concealer: Amazon | Nordstrom | M.A.C | ULTA
I do the same for my MAC concealer. Even though it’s only 9 ml, it’s still more than I need. I use a much smaller travel container and add just enough to last for my trip. This also is helpful in case I lose my makeup/toieltires bag. I would still have makeup at home and wouldn’t have lost everything.
Travel Makeup Tips: Customize Powder
If you use a loose powder, you may choose to pour some into a smaller container. However, I use a pressed powder from MAC. There is no easy way to take only part of it, and it’s already in a convenient container. Plus, it also has a mirror, so I can do my makeup on the go!
MAC Studio Fix Powder: Nordstrom | M.A.C | ULTA
For blush, I like to use smaller size containers. I use a more universal color so I only have to take one that will work with any look.
MAC Times Eyeshadow Palette: Amazon | Nordstrom | M.A.C | ULTA
For eye makeup, I like the custom palettes from MAC. They come in small pods, and because you customize them, you only have to travel with the colors you actually use. I have a custom palette with four shades—two for daytime and two for nighttime looks.
Create a capsule makeup collection for travel!
Downsize Makeup With Travel-Sized Mascara
I always travel with waterproof mascara because it’s one of the best products for helping you look refreshed and awake. I usually take a travel-sized tube because you can’t really decant mascara.
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara: Amazon | ULTA | Sephora
Plus, mascara is only fresh for a few months, and I find travel-sized tubes can last for at least a month or two until I need to buy a new one. Check out more best waterproof mascara options!
Choose Double-Sided Makeup Brushes
Bringing a bunch of brushes can be a pain. Instead of having many different eyeshadow brushes, I just use one that’s double-sided. My favorite is from EcoTools, and it’s one of the best multi-use makeup tools.
EcoTools Duo Brush Set: Amazon | Walmart | Target
I’m not a big eyeshadow and contouring kind of person, so you might need to take a few more things. I’ve downsized it just to one double-sided brush. I might want to take one more brush, and have another double-sided one, and then I can just mix and match, and use things accordingly.
Consider the Best Type of Eyeliner
Everyone has their favorite eyeliner, whether it’s liquid, gel, or pencil. I find gel eyeliner can be too messy for travel, and liquid eyeliner takes more time to apply. Pencil liner is the most convenient for when you’re on the go.
Trish McEvoy Classic Eye Pencil: Nordstrom
I like to take a pencil eyeliner, so that means I also need to pack a sharpener. It’s definitely no fun having a dull eye pencil or it breaks on you unexpectedly, so don’t forget this!
These are the best non-smudge eyeliners, perfect for air travel!
Get Travel-Size Lipstick
I don’t usually travel with lipsticks, but if you want to, you could always get a travel-size version instead of having the bigger one. Here’s a robust list of the best long-lasting lipstick that works for travel. I know some people also might even cut off the top part of the lipstick and decant it into a smaller container.
Smashbox Travel Size Lipstick: Amazon | smashbox | ULTA
While I don’t travel with lipstick, I always have my lip gloss and one lip pencil. If you wanted to take primer, I would decant it. As I don’t use primer very often, I’m okay with leaving it behind when I travel.
Try Stick Sunscreen
I always wear sunscreen, even if it’s not sunny out, because it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s best to get in the habit of always applying it, so you don’t forget when you really do need it. Even on cloudy days, I’ve gotten burned or had too much UV exposure, so I try to prepare now.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen: Amazon
I like Neutrogena’s stick formula. As a traveler, it’s great when I can reduce the amount of liquid products I use. This stick formula is so convenient for travel, and I can use it on my face and body.
If you use a lot of sunscreen or you’re planning a beach vacation, this might be a good item to buy at your destination. Then, you won’t have to downsize it or pack it!
Remove Makeup With a Glove
When I’m traveling, I use a makeup remover glove that is liquid-free, meaning they don’t take up valuable real estate in your 3-1-1 bag. Plus, it’s reusable and chemical-free, making them an environmentally-friendly choice for skincare.
Kiki & Josie Makeup Remover Glove: Amazon
My fave is the Kiki & Josie glove and it comes in tons of cute colors. All I use is water and the glove does the rest, because the glove’s fibers actually break up the oils and makeup on the skin’s surface, and can gently remove debris or oil. But, if you really prefer wipes or cleansers, check out our post on that!
BAGSMART Cosmetics and Toiletry Bag: Amazon
Downsize Your Travel Beauty Bag
Ultimately, all of these items will easily fit into my makeup and toiletry bag. Keeping all of my makeup in one small bag saves me space, weight, and keeps me more organized.
One of my favorites is the BAGSMART toiletry bag. It’s really compact, yet I can fit everything I need in it. Also, it’s very durable. I’ve had it for a while, and it’s been holding up super well!
OFADD Travel Size Toiletry Set: Amazon
When it comes to large items, they are decanted into smaller travel pots and tubes like this OFADD set above. Other items I don’t use as often are left at home, as I don’t need them for travel.
And remember, any liquids you pack will need to be separated out into a quart-size clear, plastic bag to meet the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule. After you reach your destination, you can put these into your makeup and/or toiletry bags.
Those are my tips, I hope these help you downsize makeup and travel lighter!
Check out the best toiletry and makeup bags for travel
What is your favorite tip to downsize your makeup for travel? Comment below!
For more on makeup and toiletries for travel, please read:
- How to Make Your Makeup Last All Day
- 10 Airplane Beauty Tips: How to Look Good After a Long Haul Flight
- Travel Beauty Hacks
- Best Makeup Palettes for Travel
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This is one of the best blog posts – it really changed my carryon packing game. My liquids bag was always a nightmare and was always busting at the seams! Now that I decant everything, I can easily pack everything I need (and want). I use the small plastic lipstick tubes for shampoo, conditioner, face wash, foundation, sunscreen, etc. they are awesome! Thanks, Alex!
What is the best foundation for coverage? Ive used Estée Lauder for20 years now and need something different for a smooth finish.
Hi Monica, thank you for reaching out! Have a look at this post for our round up of the best foundations according to our readers: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/best-long-lasting-foundation/ If you would prefer a stick foundation option, check out this article: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/best-stick-foundation/ Hope this helps! ?