We’ve all been there: you’re on a road trip with your friends or out to coffee with your partner, and they suggest heading to an awesome party they just heard about. You didn’t do your makeup that morning, and now you feel pressured to make a run back home or pop into the drug store to buy enough makeup to look halfway decent.
Even if you’re a beginner with makeup, you still want to be stunning. No one wants to go out and meet new people without looking and feeling their best.
With a little bit of planning (and some insider advice), we can help avoid these costly moments with a few beginner tips for prepping a travel makeup kit to keep in your bag. This way, you don’t have to worry about unexpected plans when you’re far from your makeup drawer. Instead, you can do your makeup and get ready — anywhere, at any time.
It may seem tricky to consolidate an entire beauty routine into a small portable bag, but at Subtl Beauty, that’s our specialty! With the right choices, all you need are a few high-quality products.
To start, you want to get a durable and compact makeup bag. If you’re always on the go and don’t want to worry about changing out your makeup bag when you’re about to hop on a flight, you should also make sure that the bag is small enough to comply with TSA standards.
Although it may be tempting to throw the essentials in a Ziploc and call it a day, using a more reliable option will pay off in the long run. Otherwise, some makeup items may poke through the bag and end up lost or all over the place. After that, other items may start to fall through the hole.
Most drug stores and department stores have a large collection of small bags for you to choose from, but if you’re looking for a choice that’s easy, compact, and won’t get you in trouble at airport security, check out our Subtl Cosmetic Bag. This bag is large enough to fit a few essentials and won’t take up too much space in your carry-on. It also has a clear front that will make digging through the bag much easier.
The first pieces to include in your travel makeup bag should be a few brushes — but we won’t tell you to buy one of those 30-piece brush sets that you see makeup artists carrying with them. You can easily do a simple face of makeup with just a few versatile options.
It’s best to have at least one face brush and two eyeshadow brushes. While you can apply most face makeup with your fingers, having at least one brush is ideal for flawless application of foundation, concealer, blush, or bronzer.
You’ll want two eyeshadow brushes to apply more than one color on your lid without worrying about muddying the look.
An ideal alternative to two brushes is our Dual-End Eyeshadow Brush. This’ll give you the options you need to apply multiple eyeshadow colors, and it only takes up the space of one brush in your bag! Another good brush to add to your bag is the free makeup brush that comes with every Subtl Beauty purchase.
If you’re in a time crunch or are doing your makeup quickly for a long night out, you don’t want to have to worry about reapplying. To avoid multiple trips to the bathroom mirror, throw a high-quality primer in your bag.
There are many choices of primers on the market, but we recommend snagging one that’s versatile and lightweight. A great option is the Supergoop Glowscreen. This primer also doubles as an SPF 40 sunscreen.
Using face sunscreen every day can reduce your risk of skin cancer and help stop signs of premature aging. Also, this primer can be used on your face and eyelids, meaning your face makeup and eyeshadow alike will stay on all day long.
Make sure the primer you buy is under 3.4 fl oz so you can hop on and off flights without worrying about your makeup kit getting taken by the TSA.
One of the most fundamental steps of a makeup routine is some kind of face coverage. You can choose from many different options: foundation, BB cream, tinted moisturizer, and more. What you choose will depend on how much coverage you want and the type of makeup look you prefer.
The easiest way to cover most of your needs is to get a medium coverage, lightweight foundation. Medium coverage will make the application process easy because it’ll still allow you to cover any spots you don’t want visible. Plus, if you pick a lightweight option, it won’t feel caked onto your face.
If you aren’t concerned about covering any spots on your face and want an option that will give you a glow and a more even skin tone, try a BB cream. This option is focused on light coverage and hydration.
For the next part of your on-the-go look, you’ll want to have concealer, bronzer, and blush on hand. These three items work together to round out any type of look.
The concealer will allow you to put an extra layer of coverage on any spots peeking through your base layer of makeup. This is especially helpful if you’re using a BB cream or a lighter-weight foundation.
Bronzer can add depth to your face, making some areas look more contoured.
Blush will add some rosy color to your face, which can add a more natural appearance to your makeup after using a foundation or BB cream.
While these three items are some of the makeup basics, adding all three can start to make your travel kit bag feel a little full. You may want to look for smaller, more compact versions of these products. Or you can try our Makeup Stacks, which have all your makeup essentials in the palm of your hand — talk about a space-saver.
Subtl Beauty Makeup Stacks are so functional and easy to use, you won’t need to pack a lot of makeup extras. So not only will you be saving space in your bag, you’ll be lightening it up to make it easier to toss in your carry-on.
Our starter stacks come with three beauty essentials, including concealer, bronzer, and blush. These premade stacks come in four different shades: the Milk Stack, Creme Stack, Chai Stack, or Cocoa Stack. Additionally, the blush creme in each stack can double as a lip product, meaning it’s one less thing to carry in your bag. Plus, you won’t have to worry about finding a lip shade that matches your skin tone.
Now, it’s time to move on to eyeshadow. This might seem like the part of a makeup routine that can take up the most room in a travel makeup kit. Most eyeshadows are sold as single colors, meaning you’d have to have multiple sets in your makeup kit just to complete an eyeshadow look.
The best way to avoid this is to rely on products that offer multiple eyeshadows colors within a single set. There are plenty of eyeshadow palettes on the market, but even those can get bulky. When it comes down to it, you only need two eyeshadow colors: a lighter option to highlight your lid and a darker option to darken your crease.
If you’re having trouble finding a compact eyeshadow palette, check out our Eyeshadow Duos. This product is the size of what would normally be just one color, but instead contains that perfect mix of a lighter shade and a darker shade in the same color family.
Additionally, if you get an Eyeshadow Duo that contains a color similar to your eyebrows, you can also use the eyeshadow to fill in your eyebrows.
As we said before, the cheek color in the Makeup Stacks can double as a lip product, meaning you don’t have to throw any other lip products in your bag if you don’t want to.
However, it’s always nice to have another option if you want a different color on your lips. If you choose to go for another color, we recommend throwing in a tinted chapstick or a lip gloss — whichever you think you’ll use more!
A tinted chapstick is an excellent option for extra hydration, but a gloss gives you the choice of using a lip product without pigment.
To finish off your look, throw some mascara into your bag. Like any other makeup product, there are many options on the market for mascara.
We recommend getting waterproof mascara in slim packaging like the L’Oéal Paris Voluminous Mascara or Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara. The waterproof quality of the mascara will give you peace of mind if you’re on vacation by the water or are walking outside on a hot summer day. You won’t have to worry about running to the bathroom to blot the mascara that has smudged beneath your eyes.
Just a few coats of mascara will go a long way and finish off your easy, on-the-go makeup look.
As you can see, it doesn’t take that many products to complete a makeup look, and many of them can be consolidated into a single travel bag. With just a few high-quality options, you can have a travel makeup kit ready for your next flight, road trip, date, or night out with your friends.
So build your own customizable Makeup Stack, put it in your bag, and head out on your next adventure with the confidence you have all you need for any unexpected occasion.