Travel makeup for the regular jet-setter

5 points

While it’s tempting to throw caution to the wind when travelling, regular jet-setters know all too well the havoc that a long plane journey or arid train ride can play on your complexion. From dry skin and breakouts to streaked makeup and lacklustre hair, these travel beauty issues should be familiar to those of us who’ve guiltily snacked on sugar throughout the journey and forgotten to remove our pre-journey cosmetics.


However, with a few careful preparations – and the following travel makeup and beauty tips – you can arrive at your destination as glamorous as you wish, whether that destination is the beach or the boardroom.


Essentials for any travel makeup kit


Cosmetics scattered on wooden table

Source: iStock


  • Tinted moisturizer – ideally with an SPF
  • Hair ties and pins
  • Fresh mineral water
  • Hydrating mist
  • Hand cream
  • Mascara
  • Lipstick – ensure has added moisturizing elements
  • Exfoliator
  • Eye cream – a cooling brand, to be applied with fingers
  • Blotting paper


Pre-travelling beauty secrets


Make the most of miniatures

Toiletries on counter

Source: iStock


Space is at a premium while travelling, and your beloved salon-sized products shouldn’t be brought along at the expense of extra clothing or accessories. Instead, a popular solution is to make the most of miniature products; whether from the salon, your favorite department store or your monthly beauty subscription, these products are ideal for packing light.


Even better, it’s an opportunity to be bold, try new things, and if you finish the bottles, you don’t have to bring them back home.


Embrace a braided look


Braids, whether your hair is long or short, are an essential beauty secret for any long journey. By keeping your hair neat and tidy – and more importantly out of your way when travelling – you can rest assured you’ll look stylish even on the longest of trips.


By following tutorials or practicing before your departure, you can also save time getting ready in those all important pre-airport hours. Even better, once you unpin your braids, you have a ready-to-go curled hairstyle, perfect if there’s no time to shower once you’re off the plane or out of the car. How else do you think Kate Middleton’s hair is so perfect when she steps off the plane.


Invest in a travel makeup kit before you go

Close-up of makeup kit

Source: iStock


If you’re not interested in collecting samples and smaller sizes, it may be easier to simply invest in a travel makeup and beauty kit from your favorite brands. As many brands now offer these kits – which contain moisturizer, cleanser, toner and many other essentials for skincare on the go – they can sometimes even be purchased at the tax-free area in the airport for last-minute jet-setters.


Make sure you explain your skin type and the type of holiday (cruise, city break, poolside) to the sales assistant to ensure that you receive a makeup kit suitable for your situation.


Beauty tips for the journey


Skin nourishment on the go


While it may not seem the most appealing way to travel, applying a gentle, moisturizing face mask during a long journey can work wonders for your skin. After all, you’re gifted with the opportunity to sit and relax for hours… why not relax your complexion at the same time?


A simple, sneaky way to remove makeup clogging your pores, ensure the face mask is clear (to avoid any embarrassing streaks of colour) and can be removed with a gentle face wipe.


Combat dry, arid air with hydrating mist


When travelling by plane, recycled air can cause your skin to dry out and leave your complexion feeling leathery and flaky. This can easily be overcome by packing a hydrating mist in your hand luggage, and liberally misting your face throughout the journey – leaving you feeling fresh when at your destination.


Choose a misting spray made with natural spring water for an added boost and dewy, well-tended skin.


Smooth on some hand cream

Woman applying hand cream

Source: iStock


Although you shouldn’t do this if you’re driving, liberally applying hand cream while travelling is a fantastic way to treat yourself as a passenger. With tired, post-packing hands, hand cream can help moisturize and nourish skin that often experiences wear and tear from daily hard use.


An elegant treat to put you in the holidaying mood, applying hand cream can also help combat the harshness of using soaps and products your hands aren’t used to at home. 


If you can’t braid your hair, pin it back


If your hair can’t be braided, it’s still important to either pin it up or tie it back throughout the duration of your journey. The benefits of this are threefold:


  1. It keeps the natural oils in your hair from causing breakouts
  2. It cools you down during warm car or train journeys
  3. Tied back hair is easier to refresh and revive at your destination


Make sure you bring some clips and hair ties to put away your hair at the beginning of your journey.


Turn to mascara and lipstick to brighten your look

Cosmetics scattered on table

Source: iStock


If you’re forced to pack particularly light, always bring at least mascara and lipstick on your travels. As these can both fit in small spaces, they’re both perfect for packing and an easy way to take any look from day-to-night.


A good way to add color to a tired, travelling face, enhance the benefits of makeup by using a moisturizing lipstick to ward off any cracks from the dry air. As always with travel makeup, make sure you also bring a small pack of face wipes to remove and refresh your skin while resting.


Skip the foundation


Even if you’re in the habit of daily usage, holidays, hot weather and regular foundation application doesn’t mix. Aside from causing nasty breakouts while travelling for long periods, foundation can also appear streaky and unpleasant when applied in the sun or left for hours on a plane.


Instead, opt for a tinted moisturizer to avoid clogging pores and sporting a streaked look. With the dual bonus of protecting your skin from the rigors of travelling and adding a touch of color, many tinted moisturizers also boast an SPF, allowing your skin to breathe naturally while being under protection from the strong sunlight abroad. 


Once you arrive


Toiletries and handbag

Source: iStock


Exfoliate on arrival


Ideal if you have mere moments to freshen up upon arrival, a quick exfoliation can be done in a few minutes and helps remove the grime of a journey from your face and neck. Revive your complexion by using a dual-action exfoliator with moisturising or cleansing elements.


This can be repeated at various points throughout your travels, although you should be careful not to exfoliate too often to avoid removing all moisture from your skin, which can leave you susceptible to a flaky complexion. 


Research the local beauty products


Especially in South-East Asian destinations, many skincare products contain whitening agents; if you have a fair complexion, you’ll want to avoid these as they are too harsh for pale skin.


No matter your skin type, you should always pack your own moisturizer and cleanser, as a sudden change in agent can cause irritation and breakouts on your skin.


Try the local treatments

Woman receiving spa treatment

Source: iStock


Although you should be careful not to purchase products unsuitable for your skin type, a popular beauty secret from ladies who travel is to check out the local spas and beauty parlors while abroad. Many manicures, pedicures and more exotic treatments are available, meaning you can leave out the polish from your packing and opt for a low-maintenance uplift.


Store your eye-cream in the mini-fridge


A delightful way to refresh tired eyes post-travel, your eye-cream can be stored in the hotel mini-fridge for an evening pick-me-up. Apart from being a proven method of removing travel eye bags and dark skin under-eye, this will help soothe any lightly damaged skin from the challenges of travelling.


Choose a cool eye-cream that you can apply directly with your finger for the most soothing results.


Blotting paper takes you from day to night


An essential beauty product in humid temperatures, blotting paper allows you to dab your t-zone and remove excess oil caused by the blistering heat. As an added bonus, blotting papers don’t strip away all moisture, allowing you to avoid dry skin and potential sun damage from moisture-deficiency.


To be used as often as needed, blotting papers can be taken on travels in large quantities, owing to their compact nature. They are a definite essential for anyone holidaying with the latest on-trend full fringe.


Your own beauty tips and secrets


Do you often find yourself sharing your travel makeup advice with friends and family? Does your complexion look better upon arrival than it did in the departure lounge? If you have additional travel beauty tricks to share, then please do let us know.

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