Roadside Assistance: How to Manage Your Makeup While Traveling

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Mollie of Birchbox

When it comes to beauty habits, nothing throws a wrench in them quite like an upcoming trip. From fitting all our essentials into a Ziploc bag to wrestling with unfamiliar climates, the last thing you want is for your makeup routine to damper your dream vacation. To help get our makeup bags in top shape before taking off this summer, we turned to frequent flier, former travel magazine editor, and Birchbox‘s Editorial Director, Mollie Chen, for her tips on thwarting those pesky beauty product pitfalls.

Beauty Must-haves

“My favorite beauty item changes depending on where I’m going,” says Mollie. “Exfoliators are key on longer trips – your skin gets dull pretty quickly and plain old cleanser won’t freshen it up. Look for dry, powder-based ones, so you don’t have to deal with another liquid product. I also don’t go anywhere without blush, and sometimes even bring two.

“I love multitasking anything. Look for essential oil blends that you can use on your face and body (and even hair, in some cases) and cream colors that work on both lips and cheeks.

“I also hate packing brushes so I often go for products that can be applied with fingertips. It’s vacation–who wants to sit in front of a mirror blending their eyeshadow?”

favorite trend for summer

“Since makeup melts right off in the heat, I’m swapping my tinted moisturizer for an all-in-one BB Cream with SPF. It covers just enough to make me feel put together, but doesn’t feel heavy. I also love bright lips and a bare face. Lately, I’ve been wearing tomato-hued red-oranges instead of my usual hot pink.”

#1 travel fail

“Forgetting that crucial product that makes you feel put together, and either having to go without it or splurge to buy it. Think about those essentials that you use on a daily basis and make sure to pack those first.”

conquering the carry-on

“I’ve become queen of the TSA-friendly beauty kit. First off, ditch the Ziploc and find a sturdy, clear makeup bag that you can take through security. Make sure your bottles are securely closed, and if they’re not, use tape to keep them shut.

Avoid bringing full-size anything unless it’s something you absolutely cannot live without. Once you scoot through security, take out the liquid products you’ll want during the flight (facial mist, hand cream, lip balm), and stash them in your purse.”

and don't forget

Snacks! Bring a mix of healthy and unhealthy stuff that will keep you happy during the flight. You have no idea how many times I’ve been saved by a bag of animal crackers,” says Mollie.

And, last but not least: “Look for locally made beauty products when you’re traveling. I’ve picked up amazing olive oil soap in Greece, sunburn-curing kukui nut oil in Hawaii, and the most amazing European pharmacy brands in Paris. For those, I might even break my no checking bags rule!”

Looking for more ways to sure up your makeup bag before jet-setting this summer? No worries — we’ve got more road trip fun planned with Birchbox later this month!

What beauty travel tips do you have up your sleeve?

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10 Responses to Roadside Assistance: How to Manage Your Makeup While Traveling

  1. Genny 06/05/2012 at 12:45 pm #

    I love this! I don’t use airlines so much, but this will help me when I go on vacation next week(: Thanks!

  2. Ann 06/05/2012 at 3:14 pm #

    What are your most amazing European pharmacy brands in Paris?

  3. naznia 06/05/2012 at 4:55 pm #

    What perfect timing! I will be packing soon and the packing part is not something I am looking forward to. The tips help a lot though, thank you!

  4. Emma 06/06/2012 at 1:38 am #

    I second Ann’s comment – what are some of the best pharmacy brands in Paris?? 🙂

  5. Mollie 06/06/2012 at 10:20 am #

    Hi! Every makeup artist I know adores Embryolisse moisturizer and Bioderma makeup remover. I love how even the most nondescript French pharmacy stocks brands like Nuxe, Klorane, and Vichy!

  6. Teresa 06/06/2012 at 10:55 am #

    Mollie was my best friend in Middle School and it’s great to see how far she has come and how insightful her knowledge in the ‘traveling but still looking fresh’ department. I travel often and her tips are right on the money. I’d like to add something. Leave your favorite shampoo, conditioner, soap, shaving cream, etc. at home. Most hotels, B&B’s, etc. provide these for you. Of course if you are going hiking or camping or something else out-doorsey than also leave them at home since these are things that can be found in any supermarket, pharmacy, and or corner store anywhere in the world. Of course, if you need your special go-to anti-frizz shampoo or special aloe vera shaving cream than bring them along, but bring a resonable bottle, not a Costco sized one. AND HI MOLLIE!!!! saludos, tere!

  7. C 06/07/2012 at 10:51 am #

    She obviously has very different skin than me, but I am with her on her more general advice about traveling, making sure you bring the stuff you use every day and going lighter on make-up since it will just melt off. I also like her tip about going for stuff that you can apply with your fingers so you aren’t bringing brushes. Always travel light, and try to take care of your skin so you aren’t relying on make up as much (I struggle with this). I tend to bring oil-free primer, liquid foundation, powder, blush and mascara plus travel-size face wash, toner and a repairing cream that’s essentially a moisturizer. Probably good to throw in some chapstick or lipstick/gloss. I might not use everything, but even this fairly comprehensive list doesn’t take up much space; my powder and blush come in compacts with a pad or brush.

  8. Dana 06/08/2012 at 11:00 am #

    I would like to know the answer to the pharmacy brands question?
    Great travel tips….

  9. Nicola 06/09/2012 at 3:31 pm #

    I try and use travel size when I travel (even when taking checked luggage) it saves weight and if it happens to spill (which I seem to be prone to) you’re not going to lose a whole bottle of product.
    My best tip would be if you are travelling somewhere hot/tropical, dry shampoo will be your best friend. Humid climates send my oily hair crazy and sometimes its just not possible to wash your hair all the time. A bit of dry shampoo will make your hair feel fresher and lighter.

    • Nicola 06/09/2012 at 3:33 pm #

      Ooh I forgot, if your favourite product doesn’t come in travel size, most pharmacies/drugstores/supermarkets stock empty travel-friendly containers to put your favourites into.

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