How I turn makeup into multi-use beauty products to lighten my luggage
Here's a rather embarrassing confession... I once brought over 5 kilos of bath, hair & makeup products with me on an overseas trip. It was enough to fill a whole cabin bag! After constantly packing & unpacking my products between hotel stays, I realized how silly I was to cart my whole bathroom thousands of kilometers just to maintain my neurotic beauty routine! Thankfully, I now have a minimalist approach to packing.
I travel a lot for work and I’ve found that using a single product in multiple ways really helps keep the baggage to a minimum. This also comes in handy when I really can’t be bothered replacing a product immediately after I’ve run out.
Here are 10 ways I lighten my luggage by saving space in my makeup bag:
A good concealer wand or stick is probably the most important multi-use makeup product I never forget to pack when I travel. I’ll use it as:
a spot concealer
(4 products in 1, not a bad start!)
2. Eyeshadow, bronzer and highlighters as interchangeable beauty tools
Using travel-sized eyeshadow palettes for more than just your eyes
Using a travel-sized eyeshadow palette for not only your eyes, but as brow powder and highlighter is a real space-saver.
For brow powder, I’ll take a matte, deep brown eyeshadow from the palette and use it on my brows as well as on the outer-V of my eyes for depth.
For highlighter I use a soft, pearly eyeshadow shade and dab it on the top of my cheekbones, nose and cupids bow. Eyeshadow as highlighter is an excellent tool as eyeshadow pigments tend to be more intense than regular highlighters, so you don’t need as much to create a beautiful highlight.
...Or ditching the eyeshadow palette altogether and making use of bronzer & highlighter!
If opting not to bring an eyeshadow palette, I’ll use bronzer as an eyeshadow transition shade and a deep brown eyeshadow (that I used for my brows) as the outer-V shade.
Then for a more glamorous look, I’ll apply highlighter over the eyelids and in the inner corners, blending it into the transition and outer-V shades.
I used these multi-taskers for my brows, eyes & cheeks:
The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer Luminizer (used as highlighter & eyeshadow) (AU$29.95 at Sephora & David Jones)
Nars "Laguna Orgasm" Blush & Bronzer Duo (used as bronzer & eyeshadow transition shade) (AU$61 at Mecca Maxima)
Nutrimetics nc Colour Impact eyeshadow in "Chocolate" or "Espresso" (used as brow powder & eyeshadow outer-V shade) (AU$24 at Nutrimetics) ....but any deep brown shadow will do really!
3. Retractable eyeliner pens
Eyeliner pens remove the space (and effort) required for eyeliner pencil sharpeners, liner brushes and gel eyeliner pots. I usually bring a thin black liquid eyeliner pen & a retractable brown eyeliner pencil to change up how I define my eyes.
My top picks (always in my travel kit): Maybelline HyperSharp Wing Liner (usually AU$8 on sale at your local chemist) and Nutrimetics nc Defining Waterproof Eye Pencil in "Mahogany" (AU$24 at Nutrimetics)
If you really want to be space savvy....
You could use mascara as black gel liner (dip a clean eyeliner brush into the mascara tube) but I find this to be a lot of bother when on the go, plus it’s unhygienic to do it every day and you’ll just end up drying your mascara quicker. Not recommended.
4. Sample-size mascaras
Mini sample mascaras are incredibly travel-friendly and cheaper to take with you than the full-sized versions ...and many of them come as freebies when you purchase enough products from specific makeup brands!
Freebies: Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara (David Jones) and Benefit They're Real Mascara (Myer)
I also purchase sample-size mascaras if I don't have any free ones left. The sample mascaras from Mecca Maxima or Sephora are quality mascaras and reasonably affordable (for high end products).
5. Blush & bronzer duos
Blush & bronzer duos take up far less space than these products packaged individually! On a trip I'll leave my Contour Kit, Hoola Bronzer & Blush at home and just bring a blush & bronzer duo in a slim compact.
My top pick: NARS Laguna Orgasm Duo (AU$61 at Mecca Maxima).
6. Using staple lipstick shades as cream blushes
Peach, coral or dusty rose-coloured lipstick make great cream blushes and you can neatly & quickly dab it onto your cheeks and blend with your fingertips. I love this technique as you can change your makeup looks throughout your holiday using products already in your makeup bag! (I also do this on the go when I don't carry blush with me!)
(Gahh I can't remember which lipstick I put on my cheeks for this photo, but I distinctly remember using lipstick!)
Currently in my bag and on my cheeks & lips:
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Shine in no. 15 "Corail Intuitive" (AU$57 at Mecca Maxima) provides a radiant coral shade on the lips, and pretty peachy shade on the cheeks!
MAC lipstick in "Brave" (AU$36) gives a subtle nude dusty rose hue
7. Travel friendly foundations and primers
Tubes vs Glass Bottles
There are more space-efficient ways to house 30ml of foundation or primer, and a large, heavy glass bottle with a decorative lid is not one of them! I'll always pack foundations and primers that come in tubes or I'll choose the smallest sized 30ml bottle at the very least.
My top picks:
Travel-friendly foundations: Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Stay-In-Place Makeup SPF10 (AU$52 at Myer and David Jones) and Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup SPF15 (AU$77 at David Jones)
Hoarding mini foundation tester pots has it's benefits
I know... it's hard to part with your favourite foundation just to save a bit o' space in your bag. Thankfully if you're a hoarder like me (hahhh... not proud of that), you would have a few empty foundation tester pots lying around!
Simply wipe off the old foundation with a makeup removing wipe & some rubbing alcohol, give the pots a wash and when dry, fill them with your own holy grail foundation!
Each pot give you 7-10 days worth of foundation, and 'cos they're ridiculously small you can afford to carry a few of them! You're welcome ;)
8. Travel-sized hairspray for styling hair and taming brows
I leave the brow gels and waxes at home and just spritz a tiny bit of hair spray on a spoolie and comb through my brows to keep them in place.
I love hairsprays by Schwarzkopf - they're cheap, strong holding and won't leave your hair feeling sticky and stiff.
My travel spray: SCHWARZKOPF Styliste ULTÎME Amino-Q Hairspray Mini 30 g ($1.99 at Priceline)
9. Isocol – Antiseptic rubbing alcohol - to replace several products
On long trips I need to clean my makeup brushes but carrying around makeup cleaners or washing them with soap is pretty time & space-wasting! Instead I pour Isocol (isopropyl alcohol/rubbing alcohol) into a travel-sized spray bottle or perfume atomiser and keep it in my backpack for use as an instant makeup brush cleaner, surface sanitizer, cleaner for sunglasses, devices and camera lens, and hand sanitizer. Rubbing alcohol is sold all over the world and when I run out, I simply purchase some from a drug store and refill!
A refillable perfume atomiser with Isocol replaces the need for all the things on the left when you travel!
Daiso is my favourite place to buy individual travel bottles - huge range, lots of sizes, styles and colours!
Travel Hack: Isocol in a mini spray bottle! 30 ml spray bottle (left) and 12 ml perfume atomiser (right) from Daiso (AU$2.80 each)
10. Swapping bottles of body lotions, hand creams, foot creams and hair moisturisers for a 25 ml tub of Nutrimetics Nutri-Rich Oil
I know I said earlier that concealer was my most important product, but I really meant a tub of Nutrimetics Nutri-Rich Oil (AU$34 Nutrimetics)! This deliciously scented concentrated tub of apricot kernel oil is my holy grail beauty product and it’s perfect for travel.
Nutri-Rich Oil, my product that does it all
A tiny amount used as a night serum, Nutri-Rich Oil saved my face from drying and flaking during a snowy winter in Korea.
It’s my staple daily lip balm/treatment (I slather this on dry, cracked lips before going to bed and the next day they’re completely healed and significantly more plump, it’s like magic!).
I warm it up in my hands and moisturize my whole body with it.
I apply it to the dry ends of my hair.
I use it as an intensive moisturizing face, hair and nail masque on evenings spent at the hotel.
It soothes and heals extremely dry, cracked & irritated patches of skin.
Some affordable alternatives for Nutri-Rich Oil:
Lucas Papaw Ointment (approx. AU$4-5 for a 25 g tube at your local chemist). I absolutely love this product. Best value, lasts forever, actually works.
Cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil (approx. AU$6-8 at your local chemist or supermarket). I pour it into a travel bottle.
Aaaaand to show you how much space I saved...