What to Pack in your Travel Makeup Bag + Free Checklist

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Pack your travel makeup bag like a pro with these tips and list of essentials. Don’t forget to save the free checklist in this post for when you pack makeup for your next trip!

travel makeup bag
photography in this post by Space, Place, and Grace

I’ve done a lot of trial and error over the years when it comes to packing makeup and skincare and have all the deets below of recommendations of the best travel makeup case for your needs and a list of makeup essentials you’ll want to pack. Remember, everyone’s makeup preferences are different so feel free to ignore anything you feel you won’t use or need.

I still remember the time I packed over 20 pounds of makeup for a 4 day trip. It was full of full size makeup products, multiple bulky eyeshadow palettes “just in case I felt the need for options” and nearly a dozen lipsticks because again, “just in case”. It was excessive and took up much unnecessary room in my suitcase, especially considering the weight limit.

Since then, I have practiced several different ways of packing makeup essentials for various trips. My goals were to make sure my makeup bag was lighter (especially for when I travelled by plane), plan ahead on coordinating makeup with my outfits so I didn’t lug around a dozen lipsticks and multiple eyeshadow palettes, and pack travel size products when applicable.

Best Makeup Bags for Travel

Linking some great options of travel makeup bags, cosmetics bags, and toiletry bags that can double as makeup cases in the widgets below. A lot of these makeup bags can be found on Amazon while a few are specific to the brand’s website. Alternatively, you can find some great budget friendly ones at your local Marshalls, TJ Maxx, or Ross!

When thinking about what kind of cosmetic bag to travel with - ask yourself if you want your brushes and makeup products to fit in one bag as opposed to having separate bags for each. If you’re looking for a makeup case that has a designated section to hold brushes, the Amora Nomad Round Travel Case that I currently use from Hudson and Bleeker is a great option! The quality of the Amora Nomad Round Makeup Case is incredible and it comes with a clear removable bag that’s TSA friendly!

travel makeup case

See the widget below for travel makeup cases that include a compartment for makeup brushes and keep scrolling for makeup bags under $25, and more!

Another question to ask yourself when choosing the right cosmetics case is how much makeup you plan to travel with. If you’re going for a casual, short trip that lasts a few days at most, a small or medium size makeup bag will suffice. If you’re going to a longer vacation or attending a more formal event where you might need makeup to create a full face look, you’ll want to opt for a larger makeup bag or makeup train case.

See the widget below for more makeup bags, makeup pouches, and toiletry bags to pack all your makeup essentials in.

Makeup Bags under $25

Cute Makeup Bags to Travel With

Makeup Bags at Amazon

Makeup Bags at Target

Let’s get to the list of makeup to pack when traveling! If you’re flying and only bringing a carry-on, no checked bag - you’ll want to make sure all your makeup products are TSA compliant - specifically the liquids.

What to Pack in your Travel Makeup Bag

Here’s a list of what makeup products to pack in your makeup travel bag:

  • Makeup Primer - I have a list of my top favorites here
  • BB Cream/CC Cream/Foundation/Tinted Moisturizer - this has been my go to foundation to travel lately for casual trips
  • Concealer
  • Setting Powder
  • Bronzer/Contour
  • Blush
  • Highlighter
  • Brow Gel/Brow Pencil/Brow Pomade
  • Cream eyeshadow sticks/Eyeshadow Palette
  • Eyeliner
  • Mascara
  • Lipstick/Lip Gloss/Lip Tint
  • Setting Spray
  • Beauty Sponge/Makeup Brushes

PRO TIP #1 Sample Size Makeup and How to get it for Free

Travel with sample size makeup when you can! I tend to keep a drawer full of sample size makeup and skincare products I receive as gifts with purchases. ULTA Beauty’s gift with purchase section can be found here and Sephora’s here. Always a great idea to keep an eye on the gift with purchase page when ordering makeup online - a nice way to try more beauty products and they’re perfect to travel with!

milk makeup mascara travel size makeup

ULTA is actually where I recently scored a couple gift with purchases that filled up my travel makeup and skincare collections. You can find all the latest ULTA gift with purchases here!

PRO TIP #2 Coordinate Lip Colors to your Outfits

Coordinate your makeup with what you plan to wear, specifically your lipsticks. If this doesn’t sound appealing to you, try packing one neutral lipstick, one pink lipstick, and one bold lipstick and/or gloss in each shade. This will help you travel with multiple lipsticks you don’t need or won’t use.

thrive causemetics brilliant eye brightener

PRO TIP #3 Makeup Travel Containers

Consider using makeup travel containers like these if you don’t want to carry your full size products like foundation, primer, and skincare. This will allow you more space for other essentials and a more lightweight travel experience.

Check out the widget below to find travel friendly items to add to your travel makeup bag.

replinex tinted moisturizer spf

PRO TIP #4 Multi Use Products

Packing multi functional products is a game changer! You'll pack fewer products and it helps save space and with keep your makeup bag lighter. Some of my favorite multi functional products are these cream sticks that can triple as lipsticks, blushes, and eyeshadows. Also, these blushes that look beautiful on the cheeks and eyes.

PRO TIP #5 Travel Size Makeup Brushes

Regular makeup brushes can take up a lot of space and if you’re looking to create some spare space in your makeup bag, travel size makeup brushes can be a solution! They’re smaller and work just as great. The widget above has a few travel size makeup brush sets linked.

PRO TIP #6 Bring Your Own Mirror

If you’re not travelling with a separate compact mirror, consider traveling with an eyeshadow palette that does have a mirror. I find this helpful when hotel rooms don’t have enough mirror space, especially when sharing a room with multiple people. Also - having your own mirror can be helpful when the hotel room lighting isn’t the best. You can use your mirror near a window to get more natural light. Looking for a travel friendly mirror? This one is compact and has LED lights.

BONUS: Use this checklist to curate what makeup to pack for your next trip! Check off everything you’ve packed and cross off anything you don’t plan on taking with you.

what to pack in your travel makeup bag checklist

I’m working on a “What to Pack in your Travel Skincare Bag” similar to this and will link it here once it’s up!What to Pack in your Travel Makeup Bag + Free Checklist

Priyanka Patel of Feel Pretty with Pri blog

meet priyanka

Hey friend! I'm a beauty and lifestyle digital creator celebrating inclusivity and empowering you to prioritize your well-being through acts of self care.
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