Beauty travel essentials (plus essential extras)

Nikki ParkinsonBeauty, Travel 22 Comments

I am a lover of beauty products.

If you are a regular around here, you already know that, right?

If you’ve landed on this page in the hope of finding the secret to packing light when it comes to beauty travel essentials, I have to warn you.

This IS my version of packing light when it comes to beauty essentials. Hence the bracket action in the title.

HOWEVER. Like my clothes packing, I AM getting better.

Travel beauty essentials

Below, I’ve broken down what I packed for our recent three-week European trip (you can catch up on the travel posts here: London; Paris; Puglia, Italyinto three groups:

1. In-flight (meeting carry-on liquid restrictions)

2. Bathroom (skincare and hair care)

3. Makeup

In-flight travel beauty essentials

Can you believe I fit all this into a regulation bag? I know. I’m impressed with myself too.

Let me talk you through my in-flight beauty essentials.

When I get on a long-haul flight, I remove my makeup with facial wipes and apply a face serum and night cream.

I spritz myself with an Immune Boost of essentials oils and pure water, apply lip balm and antibacterial hand cream and settle in for the duration. If needed, I’ll give my eyes a little help with Refresh drops.

Before landing, I’ll freshen with deodorant (a facial wipe under the arm pit helps first), cleanse and add on a minimal “face” (BB Cream, illuminator and lip gloss) for arrival. I make no apologies for my vanity.

Travel beauty essentials - bathroom - skincare and hair care

Tucked safely away in my checked baggage, is a toiletries bag filled with all my everyday travel beauty essentials.

I minimise skincare to cream cleanser, day moisturiser, sunscreen and gradual tan (I’m in LOVE with this one – it produced a subtle, light golden glow that never looked patchy).

Hair care on this trip was made super easy thanks to the bhave Smoothe treatment I had a couple of weeks before our trip. I had two professional blow-dries while away (one for the Parisian photoshoot, the other just because our hotel was steps away from a blow-dry bar).

The rest of the time I just washed my hair with travel-size bhave products and let it either dry naturally or I dried it off with a hotel hairdryer, adding the oil when dry. I didn’t pack my own hairdryer. I did pack my ghds but didn’t use them once because the bhave treatment did the work for me.

makeup travel beauty essentials

Right about now, the beauty minimalists among you are thinking, why did she pack so much makeup? Holidays are about no makeup, right?


Sort of.

Yes, holidays can be about no makeup … if that’s your thing.

My thing is always something on my face (the bare minimum being what I took on board the plane above with a lick of mascara added for eye-opening measure).

In my holiday kit, I included foundation and primer as we were going out to a couple of special dinners, we had family gatherings and I unashamedly feel more confident with makeup on. This makeup, once on my face, doesn’t budge, no matter how hot it gets.

To fake a the summer glow, I used a foundation powder, an illuminating powder and an illuminating cream blush colour (a girl can never be too lit up, I say).

Concealer is my friend.

Sunnies are my best friends. Wear them and pop a lip colour to give the illusion of being made up when you’re not.

This Becca eye palette (Galactica) has been mentioned on the blog before. It’s a winner in the copper/brown colour and compact stakes. I left the eyeliner out (see I can cut back!) and instead used an angled brush and the darker colours to achieve the same effect.

Speaking of brushes, I’m not one to leave mine at home. Apart from the large fan brush, all are travel size and help me to better apply my makeup. I will always squeeze them in.

My perfume is a purse spray bottle of Chanel No. 5. I don’t leave home without it.

I also don’t leave home without some pre-holiday salon action – brows threaded, brows and eyelashes tinted, CND Shellac mani and Vinylux pedi.

Wondering how it all fit?

See below for a look at how the bathroom beauty products and makeup sat in the Florence Broadhurst bag. I found this design of bag really useful. The two sections allow me to put makeup in one side; skin and hair care (bathroom essentials) on the other.

I could see at a glance what I had stashed where.

The hook meant that in tight bathroom spaces I didn’t need to take up prime real estate on the bench.

travel beauty essentials

So, tell me … do you prioritise beauty products in your packing? Do you pare it all back to the minimum? What tips can you share?

PS. Don’t think I didn’t buy a few new products along the way. OF COURSE I did. Will share those soon.

* This post contains affiliate links. If you happen to click on one of these links and buy something from the store, I’ll receive a small commission. 

Comments 22

  1. Oh Nikki, this is SO like my “essentials” list, that I need to take everywhere. And to be honest, I need the same amount whether I’m away for a weekend or a month. Also, I cannot seem to return from any trip without an airport purchase of perfume or makeup.
    Anyway, my tip would be that my beautician is very generous with the samples and she will give me things I don’t usually use that she thinks will work well when travelling. I would suggest also asking at cosmetic counters when you are buying or trying things in the months before a big trip.
    If all else fails, unless you’re in some remote resort you can buy anything you really need almost anywhere nowadays- although trying to find conditioner for coloured hair in Hanoi was an interesting challenge for me.

    1. I would say I take the same for a weekend away too Johanne. Great tip re the beautician. The cleanser and day moisturiser I packed I bought after a facial just before I left because they were a good travel size – should have asked for samples! And yes, you can buy while away, for sure!!

  2. Hi Nikki, great post as usual. Do you combine the essential oil with the water and then spritz? I’m confused about that one. Might have to check out the gradual tanner, it’s so difficult to find one with a natural looking color.

    1. Oh I should have explained that better. Yes Nell … you add about 4 drops of essential oil to the water, shake and spritz. You can do it with any blend. This is a good one for travel and great if sickness in the house too. The gradual tanner was great – natural – as you can see by my travel outfit photos.

  3. Love the bag. Mine is a bit cavernous and I can’t find things and run the risk of slicing myself open on the razor! You take less than ME! Kudos Nikki!!! Does the St Tropez do the job of a body moisturizer too?

    1. My previous one was cavernous Cheryl. It fit everything but was not user-friendly. Yes, the St Tropez was my body moisturiser too. I started it on arrival in London so I had a week of gradual colour before hitting Paris and Italy. Worked a treat.

    2. My previous one was cavernous Cheryl. It fit everything but was not user-friendly. Yes, the St Tropez was my body moisturiser too. I started it on arrival in London so I had a week of gradual colour before hitting Paris and Italy. Worked a treat.

  4. I’m very impressed Nikki I think you did well!
    I would not leave my favourite beauty products at home either,what I wear on my face and body is what makes me “ME” and holidays don’t mean no makeup to me either I totally get it ,you’ve got to wear what you feel comfortable in.I never not wear mascara or some sort of lip product and I fill in my brows lightly because I don’t have many without those products i feel naked and I always wear perfume.Thank you for your tips and reviews Nikki I like the sound of the gradual tanner when the weather gets warmer Xx

  5. I’ll say one word! … impressed nikki! … that is a nifty bag too! with the two enclosed sides! …
    my trip sees me taking only my make up! … as my daughter is providing everything else or I will buy it up there and leave it for her! too easy in that department! still in quandary over other stuff! I do feel better today though! thanks hun!
    I need some lavender though!;0
    lol m:)X

  6. I have the roll up thing and take nothing on the plane. I am impressed that you do all that stuff. So that is why the rest of us queue for the toilets! 😉

  7. Thanks Nikki. Timely, kind of, for me. We’re travelling for about 6 weeks from November and I’ve started thinking about what to take. I’m concerned about the weight of beauty/bathroom products and will need to buy some smaller products for travel. I also like to have something on my face everyday unless I’m just hiding out at home. Need a new lightweight travel bathroom bag too. Your lists are helpful. Thanks!

  8. I can’t wait to see what you bought overseas! We are going away, just for a week, in August..I have already started packing lol. My outfit for the plane is already on a hanger, been there for two weeks. I have been decanting everything into small containers, I don’t usually but am trying to pare back. That St. Tropez self tanner looks interesting, I might have to visit Priceline at lunch time, my legs are fluorescent (and a bit hairy). Love seeing what you pack, and you looked beautiful in all your photos, Kathryn 🙂

  9. I always travel with all my cosmetics and bathroom needs in a hangup converted shoe holder that you can buy at any discount outlet. The shoe pockets are deep enough for shampoo bottles and the hanger fits on any shower screen or towel hook in the bathrooms where we stay. Takes up no bathroom space and everything is accessible and easy to find. I have been using this system for all our o/seas travels and it folds neatly into my suitcase when slotted into a large plastic bag to cover any leakages.

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