Figuring how to carry your hair and makeup routine with you when you travel is a challenge. If you’re used to doing a little bit of primping at home, traveling without any beauty products and heading out into the world with undone hair and no make-up isn’t fun; trivial as it may seem, you won’t feel like yourself. But packing your entire bathroom isn’t a good use of space in your suitcase, either.
I don’t always pack super light; if I’m not doing a lot of moving around, I’ll bring more of my products, whereas if I’m visiting several different cities or countries and will have to maneuver planes, trains, and cars, I’ll pack more sparsely. I’ve managed to find a good middle ground between packing my entire beauty routine and packing nothing and having to sport frizzy hair and under-eye circles in every picture.
For figuring out what make-up to bring, I go by what I’ve dubbed my “3 minute face” rule. If I only had 3 minutes to do my make-up, what would I put on, and what would I skip? Bring only the products you’d feel compelled to use in that 3 minutes. This alone will whittle your makeup pieces down to a handful.
I also bring combination products when I can. I have an eyeliner/mascara combo, a cheek/lip tint, as well as a tinted moisturizer that has SPF30 in it so it acts as my sunscreen. Add my powder, brow pencil and one bold lip color for nights out, and my entire makeup bag has only 6 products in it and I can get my makeup done in the time it takes for a cup of coffee to brew.
I admit that I’m lucky in this department because I have curly hair, so I can get by with fewer products and hair tools than those who have to either blow dry and straighten or curl their hair. One thing I recommend for all is both dry shampoo and sea salt spray. The dry shampoo will allow you to stretch your hairstyle a couple extra days, and the sea salt spray is great for keeping frizz at bay and giving some light wave to your hair.
I typically don’t recommend taking a hair dryer. Even small travel ones take up a lot of space and if you’re traveling overseas, you’ll need to bring an adapter. Either book a hotel or AirBNB that has a hair dryer, or embrace the air-dry. If you absolutely need a heat styling tool because your hair doesn’t air dry too well, get a small cordless travel curling iron or straightener that won’t take up space or require you to use an adapter.
Which leads me to my next hair tip: get creative! Learn how to do a side braid, messy bun, and fun ponytail. Sleep in double braids or a bun to give your hair waves. Bring extra hair ties, bobby pins, and a couple of cute barrettes with you. I pretty much live in a top-knot or ponytail when I travel.
Go buy yourself a set of travel-sized toiletry bottles, like this one here. Put all your hair, face, and body products into these bottles and call it a day. The small pack it comes in will take up very little space in your suitcase or carry on. Take a small version of a paddle brush instead of your normal brush, or even better, bring a small comb with you, which takes up less space and works just fine in a pinch.
If you must bring jewelry, don’t bring anything expensive, and stick with 3 or 4 pieces that go with everything – a simple necklace, stud earrings, a watch, and a ring. I pack mine in a small velvet bag that I keep in my purse or carry on.