Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Super Pared Down Travel Makeup

After over three months of anxious waiting, I finally got my Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which allows me to legally work in the US but equally importantly, leave the country and safely return. I have been agonizing about having all this precious free time and not being able to spend it with friends and family back home, so trust when I say I'm vibrating with anticipation to get on that flight.

I like traveling light when I go home, mostly because I want every extra ounce of unused weight to go into bringing snacks and Asian skincare back to New York. I own a Rimowa Lite Large Check-In (best suitcase ever) and I would fill up less than a quarter of the space. This does mean cracking down on what makeup to bring. There are people like my older sister, who only uses one blush, one eyeliner and one dedicated lip color — clearly this isn't a problem for her. Asking me to choose JUST ONE BLUSH to go with every look I might want to do in 1-3 weeks plunges me into a rabbit hole where I'll start drawing decision trees in my head, because that blush will affect what eye and lip colors I can bring, and the pile would get bigger and bigger until I'm stuck under an avalanche of palettes, wondering how I got there.

After years of agonizing and still bringing more stuff than I would use, I have now narrowed it down to my most basic kit. With this, I don't even have to bring makeup brushes. I just use the ones provided and my fingers:
  • Concealer and/or foundation, depending on how much coverage I need at the time.
  • Eyebrow pencil I microbladed my eyebrows and no longer have to fill them in! Best decision ever!
  • Burberry Earthy to double as eyeshadow and blush.
  • Eyeliner and mascara, usually black.
  • Highlighter. My relationship with the Glossier Haloscope went from meh to grudging respect, which is a story for another day. I like bringing this for travel because it's meant for finger application.
  • One nude lip and one fun lip. I've been partial to the Chanel lip balm and powder duo in recent trips because I can either do a light stain or build up to a full red.

This is the base look that I create with the kit above, though lips are bare in the photo. It's my-face-but-better, versatile with lip color, and photographs well. There's honestly not much more I can ask for.

Another way to police how much to bring is to have an inviolable rule. I can only bring what fits into my Issey Miyake pouch, which does double duty as a clutch when I travel. If only I would enforce this rule on skincare...

How do you pack for travel? Do you bring your entire kit or mercilessly choose your favorites?


  1. This is a very helpful post. Thank you! I have the same skin tone as you and am wondering what color of Guerlain concealer do you use? Light Warm?

  2. Girl! Word on the Three eyeliners. Like seriously, I've run out of my favorite Three brown eyeliner and been using an Urban Decay eyeliner instead but it's not the same.

    On another note, really happy to see you coming back. Very happy to hear that you're obviously happy with a new partner

    1. Literally willing to order from ichibankao on ridiculous markup since I can’t find a dupe. Thank you for the welcome :) it was really great to find that so many people are still interested in reading my writing after so many years.


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