How to Pack Makeup for Travel – Tips and Tricks for Packing Makeup and Traveling with Makeup
Traveling is awesome. If I could live the rest of my life traveling the world, I totally would.
It’s just such an amazing feeling when you’re discovering someplace new for the first time!
But, you know what isn’t awesome? Packing for a trip. That’s the one part about traveling that I dread!
And especially, packing my makeup! I have SO MUCH makeup that deciding what to pack and HOW to pack it is always such a chore.
It has to be done, though! And luckily, after years of traveling for golf tournaments (yup, I used to be a competitive golfer!) and traveling all over Japan while I live there, I picked up a few tricks!
If you’ve ever had trouble packing your makeup for a trip or experienced a disaster like your makeup breaking in your luggage, this post is for you!
Today, I’m sharing a handful of great travel tips for packing makeup that I use every single time I go on a trip and that will definitely help you out!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
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Tips on How to Pack Makeup for Travel
1. Invest in a Good Makeup Bag
This one too a really long time for me to realize. I’m definitely that girl that wants to save money and use any cosmetic bag (or just a plastic ziploc bag) to pack my makeup in.
Speaking from experience, that’s not the best idea.
A makeup bag with different compartments and pockets for things is super helpful when packing your makeup!
Not only does it keep you organized and helps you to account for everything, it protects your products!
When you throw all of your makeup into a big bag, they move around and clank against each other, which increases the risk of your makeup products leaking and/or breaking!
We definitely would like to avoid opening our suitcase to a broken foundation bottle!
But, if that disaster does occur, a makeup bag with different compartments and a plastic lining will make the clean-up much easier.
2. Be Selective in What You Bring
While traveling, it’s best to keep what makeup you bring to the bare necessities – it’s definitely not the time to bring your entire makeup collection!
Think about the products you use on a daily basis and decide which of those products you absolutely cannot do you makeup without.
Make a list of everything you use in your makeup (and skincare/hair) routine and decide which of those items are your must-haves.
These must-have items will be different for everyone and I actually struggle really hard with this because every product seems like a must-have in my routine!
But, you really don’t want to be lugging around a huge amount of makeup when traveling, so downsizing your makeup collection is key!
Making a list for the items you must bring with you also really helps to not forget anything important!
3. Choose Only One Item for Each Category
Once you have your list set, choose only one item from each category to take with you.
For example, don’t take two foundations, two different mascaras, two different highlighters, etc.
Choose one product from each category that is versatile enough to use every day of your trip.
The only category I’d make an exception on is lip products and eyeshadow.
I’d still keep lip products to only two products – a versatile everyday shade and a bold shade for nights out.
And I’d only make an exception for eyeshadow if I’m taking individual shadows. If it’s a palette, definitely limit yourself to one palette!
4. Choose Products That Are Multi-Purpose
There are many items that can be used for more than one purpose and for different purposes that they were intended for!
For example, a light shimmery eyeshadow that’s already in the eyeshadow palette you plan to bring can totally work as a highlighter.
And the same goes for bronzer, contour and blush! Take a look in the palette you are planning to pack and see if any of the shades can be used on your face.
Also, cream blushes can work as a quick eyeshadow and a lip stain! And on the flip side, lipsticks can work as cheek color and eyeshadow when blended out!
If you plan on using lipstick this, disregard my tip about taking only one or two shades and take a handful!
Lipsticks are way easier to travel with than powder products like eyeshadow and blush (since they can break easily) and lipsticks can help create tons of looks.
Check out my post on Travel Beauty Essentials to help you decide which product in each category you should take.
5. Get samples from Sephora/Ulta/any other beauty store
If you start preparing for your trip enough in advance and you know there are a few products that you’d like a smaller size of, take a trip down to your favorite beauty store and ask for samples.
I only have experience doing this at Sephora, but they will give you a small sample for just about anything you ask for! (For products that is possible to give samples of – foundation, moisturizers, etc.)
Pro tip: If you’re going on a trip that will require more than one “sample size” of any product, make multiple trips to the store. 😉 Or get your husband/boyfriend/friend/mom/anyone else to get a sample for you, too!
6. Get Travel-Sized Products (if the price makes sense)
Travel-sized products are often way overpriced for what you actaully get. You may pay half the cost of a full-sized product, but only receive about a quarter of the full-sized product amount.
However, it is totally possible to find travel-sized (mini-sized) products that are worth the cost. You just have to be patient and do a little searching.
Always compare the cost per ounce price to that of the full-sized version.
But, if you’re short on time and are okay with paying a slight premium for the convenience of having your favorite product in a travel-sized version, by all means, go for it!
7. De-pot Things and Make Your Own Palette
If you have a few individual products and/or favorite shades from multiple palettes you want to take on your trip, try de-potting them from their original casing and putting them into an empty palette.
This especially comes in handy if you have a large palette that you love and really want to take, but you only really want a few shades. (The Jaclyn Hill Palette is that palette for me!)
If you don’t know how to de-pot your makeup, try doing a quick YouTube search and you’ll find tons of how-to videos.
8. Put Liquids That Come in Big Bottles into Little Bottles
Who else buys the biggest size of things to get the most bang for your buck?! I know I’m not the only one! It definitely becomes a problem when packing for travel, though.
For items like shampoo, conditioner, makeup remover (I use an oil makeup remover), facial cleanser, and anything else that’s liquid, I always transfer a small amount into travel-sized plastic bottles for traveling.
This is a great alternative to buying travel-sized items, since as I stated earlier, they’re often way overpriced. Also, many products don’t even come in travel-sized versions!
Shop Travel Bottles: Amazon
9. Tape Down All Removable Caps
For the items that I put into travel-sized bottles and any other product that has a removable cap or that are at risk for opening and leaking in my luggage, I tape the cap down securely.
Especially for items like foundation where the bottle has a pump, I make sure that cap covering the pump will not come off!
That is seriously the worst thing that can happen – opening your suitcase and realizing that one (or a few) of your products leaked.
Also, don’t forget to pack a roll of tape to use when you’re packing to come back home!
10. Package Liquids in Plastic Ziploc Bags
I know I recommended using a nice makeup bag instead of a big Ziploc bag to pack your makeup as the very first tip.
But, IN ADDITION to packing your makeup in a makeup bag, individually package your liquids in a small Ziploc bag.
So, for foundation, it would go like this: 1) tape down cap securely, 2) place in small Ziploc bag, 3) pack in makeup bag.
This way, if your foundation bottle does end of leaking/breaking, at least the mess is contained in the Ziploc bag and not spread around your entire makeup bag, or even worse, your entire suitcase.
Remember to pack lots of extra Ziploc bags, too! You’ll need them while packing to come home, and they’re just really useful to always have on-hand.
11. Cushion Your Pressed Powders/Compacts
Have you ever experienced opening your compact and seeing it shattered inside?! If you haven’t, believe me, it’s the worst!
To lower the risk of that happening, put a cotton ball or an application cushion/pad inside your compact and inside any other pressed powders you are planning to pack – blushes, bronzers, highlighters, etc.
This will help absorb the shock from all the movement your suitcase goes through and help prevent your powders from breaking.
12. Use Your Clothes as Extra Protection
Surround your makeup and especially the fragile items like perfume bottles with soft clothes for extra protection.
You can even wrap bottles with your socks (after you’ve taped the cap down and put it inside a plastic Ziploc bag) and pack them inside your shoes.
And if you have lots of soft sweaters in your luggage, layer your beauty products in between them.
13. Pack Your Entire Makeup Bag(s) in a Plastic Bag
Just for an extra layer of leak and mess protection, put your nice makeup bag(s) into a large plastic bag.
We really want to prevent any type of leaks! Opening your suitcase to a mess of makeup and ruined clothes would be an awful way to start your trip!
And just a little extra planning can totally prevent that!
14. Get a Mesh Carrying Case for Your Makeup Sponge
If you plan to travel from city to city, there may be times when you do your makeup, then have to pack up and leave to go to another city.
What happens to your damp makeup sponge?! Do you put it in your luggage when it’s still damp? And risk it getting gross and moldy?
Get a mesh carrying case that you can clip onto your bag so your sponge can air dry during the day! Also, I ALWAYS take backup sponges, just in case.
And that’s it for this post on travel hacks that will help you pack your makeup for your next trip!
If you’re having trouble deciding which products to pack, check out my post on Travel Beauty Essentials to help you decide!
Hopefully at least one of these tips on how to pack makeup for travel will serve you well!
Do you have any travel packing tips for makeup and beauty products that I left out? Be sure to let me know down in the comments!
If you need to buy things in preparation for your next trip, be sure to use Ebates (now called Rakuten)!
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Thanks for reading and until next time! <3
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- Summer Drugstore Beauty Essentials
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- Quick Easy Makeup in 5 Steps
- Easy Korean Skincare Routine for Beginners
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