Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve found beauty travel essentials that are up to the difficult task of staying put even in sweat, rain, and – only occasionally, I swear – sleep. Below are my recommendations for the best makeup for travel and backpacking. For more fantastic travel makeup recommendations, check out the best beauty products for travel from Pages of Travel.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20:  This is the gold standard of tinted moisturizers, and for good reason. It’s saturated enough to act as foundation, but lightweight enough to let your skin breathe. It protects your skin from the sun while moisturizing it. It doesn’t slide off when you sweat or during a long day out.  And there’s a travel sized version too! I have a full sized bottle of this with me right now and I love it – I didn’t even need to bring a foundation!

  • Travel Makeup Tip: This is a 3-in-one product: moisturizer, sunscreen, and foundation. That makes the high price worth it to me, because I save space in my bag – plus, I’m lazy, so the less stuff I have to put on my face the better.

Tarte Cheek Stain: The perfect long lasting creamy blush in a travel-sized container that will not break in your bag! I am pale and deathly white, so blush is one of my must-haves to avoid looking like the cryptkeeper. This blush does the trick. You don’t even need to bring a brush: just smudge it a little with your fingers, and voila. Natural flush. I bought a travel set  of extra-small containers with multiple colors and just bring one along as needed wherever I go!

Mac Pro Longwear Lipcolour:  Oh my god, this lip stain. It does. Not. Budge. I tested this for months before my wedding: I went to the gym, I went swimming, I ate so much food (for RESEARCH) – and this lip color literally lasted 24 hours a day. I would wake up still wearing it, looking Beyonce levels of flawless. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe she fell asleep wearing it and woke up still wearing it. This is the holy grail of lip products. I recommend bringing one natural daytime shade, and one holy-shit-I’m-a-goddess nighttime shade – like a deep burgundy or a dark red. You’ll never need anything else.

  • Travel Makeup Tip: A bold lipcolor can give the illusion that you’re wearing more makeup than you actually are. Also, lip stains are the answer to lip color and travel! They’re much more long lasting than lipstick or gloss.
  • My 2nd favorite lipstick for travel is Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick, and Double Dare is my favorite shade!
  • Wander Beauty On the Go Bronzer and Illuminator: I made the mistake of bringing a powder bronzer. My poor stained makeup bag paid the price for that. Don’t do what I did. Keep your contour cream based! This contour stick is easy to apply brush-free, and gives you that effortlessly natural and sun-kissed look, even if you’re pale AF like me.

    • Travel Makeup Tip: Easy contour 101: the dark color goes under your cheekbones – just suck em in and make a short horizontal line in the hollow. Blush goes on the apples of your cheeks – smile and smudge it in a circle.  Highlight goes right above your blush in a short horizontal line. Voila, now you have cheekbones. For that extra holy-shit factor, put a line of highlight down the bridge of your nose and  smudge some bronzer on your temples. Easy peasy. By the way, when I say smudge, I literally mean with your fingers, you don’t need a brush or sponge unless you’re fancy like that.

      Kat Von D Tattoo Liner:  Like the name implies, this liquid liner stays put like a tattoo. I mean, it’s harder to get it to come off your eyes than stay on, it’s that good (PS, my solution to this problem is olive oil). I love this stuff and have used it for years. It’s totally smudge-proof and water resistant.

      • Travel Makeup Tip: To apply liquid liner, make a series of tiny dots across your lashline with the tip of the liner pen. Then, just connect the dots!

      Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz:  My face looks oddly naked without brows, and Anastasia is the holy grail of brow products. It’s also great for travel: it’s a super long lasting formula that does not slip off, like a lot of other brow products I’ve tried. It seriously stays on even when you’re swimming in the ocean! I actually use a Dipbrow cream pot and a brush, but I think the pencils are more travel friendly and easier to use.

      • Travel Makeup Tip: When drawing in your brows freehand (IE not using a stencil), make one straight line below your brow, and one on top. Then draw your arch. Finally, lightly shade your actual brow between your top and bottom drawn lines. The key word is lightly: drawing in too much between the lines will look fake!

      MAC Zoom Fast Lash: This is my OG mascara. I wear it to the gym. I wear it swimming. I wore it on my wedding day. It lasts, and it gives me doe-eyes, and I love it. Plus, they have a cute little travel-sized version!

      Revlon Creme Eyeshadow: As you can probably tell, I’m not really a drugstore makeup kind of gal. I don’t use Revlon at home, but for travel? This stuff is perfect. It’s a cream shadow, which means it will never break and spill all over the inside of your bag, which is what happens to me every time I take a precious, expensive eyeshadow palette anywhere.  You could literally throw this thing across the room or microwave it and it’s going to continue serving up high-quality creamy eyeshadow that will last all day!

      • The one downside: This stuff doesn’t work too well with brushes. It’s actually best to use those cheap foam applicators that come with most drugstore eyeshadow palettes (except this one, of course). I’ve also gotten in the habit of applying it with my pinky. I’m using the Nude palette, so it’s pretty forgiving even if you screw it up – and you can always wipe it right off if you need to start over!

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