Over-packing is my forte. I am the master of it. I am so crap at packing beauty essentials when it comes to traveling.

Then why am I taking your advice?“, I hear you say.

Wait up, wait up. I have learned a thing or two.


Just wait. I can assure you I have picked up some tips along the way from friends, fellow blogger and I am now ruthless.

Downsizing my beauty bag is a new thing for me. I have only just learned I don’t in fact need to carry those 20 eye shadows I have never used or a blush so bright it makes me look like I have just completed an ultra marathon when I swipe it over the apples of my cheeks. In fact, in addition to being left them at home, they should be removed from my makeup collection completely.

I find it so hard to leave the house with minimal things, but I also find it frustrating trying to fit everything into a carry on bag or even my huge four wheel Crumpler suitcase. I have sat on top of them while trying to close the zip simultaneously far too many times.

I know have my beauty essentials down to a fine art based on knowing what I used to take and not use.

So here is my list.


I used to pack day and night makeup and make sure I had enough “just encase”, now I pack the essentials and have it downpat to these 8 items.

  1. Foundation or BB Cream: At the moment I only have glass bottles, but it you’re wanting to save on space or weight, I would suggest packing a stick or tube instead. I have been using the Nars Lightweight foundation, but I need a darker colour for when I have a faux tan!
  2. Bronzer: Can be used as contour and eye shadow. Any product that has a double use is your best friend when traveling! I have been using the Benefit Hoola Bronzer as you would’ve seen in my tutorials.
  3. Mascara: If you’re packing light make sure you pack mascara, you can build it up to make a more dramatic look, even if you’re limited on other products. This Maxfactor one is amazing!
  4. Lipstick in nude and bright orange: These are a must and can transform a look day or night. They can also both be used as cheek, lip and eye colour. Mac and Witchery do amazing colours!
  5. Cream highlighter: Cream highlighter when traveling is so damn handy. It’s easier to use and can be used as an eye shadow too! This little bottle of sunlight is by Mecca and I adore it!
  6. Eye shadow palette: I try and pack a small travel size palette that has colours I can wear day and night. It also helps to have a inbuilt mirror too for when you find yourself without one or so you can do your makeup in transit. Witchery has the most beautiful colours at the moment!
  7. Eye shadow as liner: If you don’t have room for liner (they don’t take up space) but if you find yourself wanting to leave it at home, use a darker shade shadow on your lash line instead
  8. Eyebrow pencil: A small wind up brow pencil is great for traveling as it means you don’t have to worry about always having a sharpener handy. Also: it means you will keep your bag cleaner with no old sharpenings. I love this pencil. I picked it up three months ago and it still is going strong (a part from the spooly end I trod on that at Xmas and broke it off. Sad times). It’s by Anastasia Beverly Hills.

But yes, there is more.



I used to take the whole lot: cleanser, toner, moisturiser, hair treatment – you name it. Now I only take these three!

  1. Cleanser: Decanter it to make it smaller or use a travel size option. I am using this Swisse.
  2. SPF+: You will always need this, so make sure you pack it. Apply and re-apply even when you think you don’t need it. The Ella Bache one is the business. I used it all over Christmas!
  3. Rosehip oil: I love traveling with oil instead of moisturising cream as it can be used for hands, face, nails, hair. I am still using the Swisse oil from this post.


I used to pack every brush from my MAC or Zoeva, but have found that smaller brushes are easier to manage. You really can get away with three, or even a cute travel set like my Mecca set. You don’t have to travel with it in the hard case, you can just throw them in your bag!

Must haves for me:

  1. Foundation
  2. Blush/ bronzer/powder
  3. Brow brush


A simple bag that fits everything, including skincare products makes everything much more convenient and simpler.

Mine is from The Daily Edited.


  1. Dry shampoo
  2. Hair Brush
  3. Solid perfume or a travel size option of your favourite scent. I bought a solid one from Lush last year, but I think I have lost it in my move to Sydney!!

Author: Ally Carey

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayCarey

3 thoughts on “What You Should Take In A Travel Makeup Bag”

    1. Amazing post, definitely a great find. I’m hooked on those muji travel sprays and containers for makeup. Also small mint tins for jewellery 🙂

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