Okay okay, I’m not going to lie to you – I’m using the term essential veeery loosely here. Some items are a “must,” but many are just a “want” because I like to be prepared for anything – especially when traveling back to my hometown for special events like weddings and birthdays. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m back in Philly this week for a small stomping grounds reunion and a major wedding in NY, so here’s everything I brought with me for a few nights out with my closest friends, two separate looks for the wedding ceremony (daytime) and reception (evening), plus The Boyfriend’s birthday the very next day. I guess you can call this the “special occasions” version of my travel essentials.
Primer – I mean, I don’t know how much more I can gush about this stuff. The Too Faced Hangover RX Primer was a total game changer for me and I don’t think I’ll ever go without it. An absolute HG product, this primer is a must for anyone with dry. I’m one of those people with the kind of dry skin that gets super oily from working too hard and this is the best primer I’ve found. Silicone-free, it’s packed with coconut water and probiotics for your face to leave it feeling smooth, hydrated, and refreshed. It’s an added layer of hydration that also helps keep your hard work in place all day. As a general statement, I try to touch my face as little as possible so primer means my e.l.f. Small Stipple Brush is coming along too.
Sort of the opposite of a primer, but equally important for helping your makeup stay in place is a setting spray. I love my travel friendly ultra mini bottle of Urban Decay’s All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray for a few light spritzes on my face for an evening of indestructible makeup. Perfect for say… a long night of partying with the girls or an extra fancy wedding reception.
Concealer and Foundation – This one’s obvious, even the “no makeup” makeup looks require some additional help for a flawless complexion. I stick to my MAC duo of the Pro Longwear concealer (NW15) and Studio Fix powder (NW20). Even the basics require applicators so the Micro Mini Beauty Blender and my RealTechniques Buffing Brush are coming along even for the barest essentials. Before applying my foundation, I also like to set my concealer with the Darling Girl Skin Botanica Mineral Veil and the RealTechniques Setting Brush.
Eye Primer – Eye primer is super important, especially if you have oily lids like I do, to help keep your eyeshadow in place all day and to stop it from creasing on your lids. Since I’m on the go, I like to have some products that can pull double duty which is why I always bring my MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot. While there are a ton of colors, and I own a few, I tend to reach for Painterly because it’s a nice nude matte that makes for a great shadow base but is close enough to my natural skin tone that I can rock it alone for a barely there look (and still cover up any redness or veins). I usually apply with the ecoTools large eye brush.
I should also note, for certain looks it also helps to have a colored base as well so I brought along my NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils in Rust (top), Oyster (middle), and Milk (bottom) for some added depth with minimal packaging.
Mascara – For the sake of finishing products before they go bad, I love stocking up on deluxe samples and minis of my favorite mascaras instead of the full size tubes and these minis make a great travel friendly choice. I always bring along my Benefit “They’re Real” mini mascara, which constantly leaves me defending that they are in fact my real lashes. For some extra oomph, I like to pile it on top of the lengthening Too Faced Lashgasm mascara (I’ll definitely be stacking the two for Saturday evening’s wedding reception).
Eyeshadow – I’ll admit, I got a little greedy here and brought two full palettes with me and a single shadow though I usually try to travel with only one palette. On this trip I’m rocking the stunning all matte Tartelette palette from Tarte, Urban Decay’s Naked3, and if that wasn’t enough pink, I also picked up MAC’s Swish the other day.
My dress for the wedding reception is navy blue and my nails are pink so I opted for a pink and deep purple/blue makeup look with a mix of both matte and shimmer. Like I said, I got a little crazy this time – I wanted to have options. For the day-to-day, I’ve been reaching for Tartelette for a smooth and simple purple smoky eye that makes The Boyfriend swoon, and you know that a sexy eye calls for a small army of brushes. My usual subjects –
Lipstick / lip liner – Ooh do I like my lip options. For this trip, I packed up my ColourPop Lippie Stix in Lumiere and Frida with matching lip liners along with the NYX lip liner in Pale Pink, NYX soft matte lip cream in Prague, Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Melted Peony, and MAC Pink Plaid. I also brought along my Buxom Full-On Lip Cream mini in White Russian for some added lip plumping action (not shown).
Eyeliner – Eyeliner is an interesting product because it can either accentuate the natural beauty of your eyes, or make them look really tiny – it all depends on how you use it. Since I’m already a little covered up with my thick rimmed glasses, I usually opt out of the standard black eyeliner and reach for a smoky grey. Also in my bag are a deep blue for the wedding reception, and the NYX Wonder Pencil in Light to really make my eyes pop. I almost exclusively line my lower water line and tend to leave the upper lid alone (though I’d love to learn how to tightline).
Brow products – This list seems to just keep growing for me as I’m slowly learning how to groom and style my brows and I gotta admit, I’ve been feeling way more confident now that they’re not disappearing behind my frames. I brush them out with a spoolie, lightly fill in with the lovely Koalification Soft Focus Blush from indie brand Darling Girl, and hold in place with a very light comb through with Benefit’s Gimme Brow in medium/deep. I don’t really overdraw them at all and don’t feel comfortable rocking the “instagram fade” so I just fill in anywhere sparse and keep them in place with tinted brow gel.
Skincare – Just because you’re on the go, doesn’t mean you can ditch your skincare routine. If you saw my last post on my makeup prep, I obviously don’t bring the whole shebang with me, but a few key basics are a must: makeup remover, face wash, and moisturizer. Since this trip is full of special occasions, I also brought along the lipstick-style lip exfoliator from e.l.f. for super smooth lips to help my lip color last all day.