How to Pack and Dress for Beauty When You Travel

For those of you who have ever flown, you know what a bother airport preparation can be. First of all, you have to decide on everything you’ll need/want for x-amount of days all ahead of time. I never can do that very well and end up with an odd combination of everything. Secondly, you have to meet airport regulations. Thirdly, you have to pack as though you could lose your checked baggage. I can’t help you pack and then go to the airport with you whenever you need to travel –  sorry – but hopefully I can make the process a little easier for you.

How? I’ve blundered through more than enough airports, learning or watching travel buddies learn the hard way. I guess the travel-learning process has been like a blessing and a curse for me. So how exactly can I help you? I can help you get through the airport a little faster by being more prepared than I ever was when I first started traveling!

First – packing your carry on bag. Choose a cute but sensible bag that fits carry-on dimensions. Dimensions may vary by company, but think small overall – backpack or overnight-tote sized. You want a bag that you can carry easily and not have to fight to get into an overhead compartment. This bag needs to hold anything you can’t check – essentially anything that you can’t lose but need to take, things that you can’t go without if your checked luggage were to get lost. Here is what I pack –

  1. My medication. No way I can go without that! I always make sure it has the prescription on the medicine container itself so that there is no question as to what it is and that it belongs to me.
  2. A light change of clothes, just in case my checked luggage goes m.i.a.
  3. A small mirror, hairbrush, and toothbrush.
  4. Makeup that fits size and storage regulations.
  5. My wallet, of course.
  6. Something to do on the flight – book, iPod, etc.
  7. Chargers for electronics.

The one that held me up when I started to fly and that seems to be the hangup at the checkpoints is makeup or other liquids. The airports make it super easy with their “3-1-1″ guidelines – liquids/gels can be in 3.4oz containers (or smaller), in a 1-qt clear plastic bag that zips shut, and 1 such bag per traveller that you can toss in the screening bins. This is a safety precaution, so appreciate it instead of grumbling about it. Better safe than sorry, so don’t be a whiner. Besides, you want to be prepared. One, you don’t want to lose expensive beauty products. Two, you don’t want to be that person who gets their sh*t emptied out because they couldn’t follow directions. How do I know? The first time I flew alone, I was that person. I didn’t realize my liquid foundation and primer counted as liquids, plus I didn’t put my contact solution in a bag. I don’t even think my liquids bag was the right size. I was only traveling with a carry-on, so it had everything I needed in it. One of the security guys pulled my bag and guess what? My thongs and bras were out and about for everyone to see while the security guy checked through my liquid containers. And I was holding up the process, so I was getting all kinds of looks from other passengers. Embarrassing! But I feel better knowing that my undies are getting tossed out of my bag because agents are being thorough at their job.

It’s easy to pack your makeup. Ready? Lay it out with your bag. Check ounces on your bottles. Don’t be a diva – you don’t really need your entire beauty shelf to come with you on vacation.

TSA Travel Bag Regulations

Urban Decay made this nifty little bag that fits TSA regulations for size, and it’s cuter than a Ziplock bag, which is what I always used. Thanks UD! Don’t think this can fit? Pssh, you novice.

Front view

Front view

Back view

Back view

See, you can do it. The only liquids I don’t have in there are contact solution and a toothpaste. I’d probably toss brushes in a side pocket of my bag to get that extra room.

Ok, last piece of advice. Dress properly. You don’t know what the temperature will be on the flight or when you land, so you’ll probably want layers. You’ll be sitting on your rumpus for a flight – if it’s a long flight, you probably don’t want to be in jeans. However, this is no excuse for looking like a slob. Wear snug clothes if you’re comfortable with it so that security doesn’t think you’re hiding something. Wear layers, but not until you’re waiting to board. How? Pack a cardigan in your carry-on to put on once you’re through security. Wear shoes you can slip on and off to be checked. Wear your hair down so that it’s clear you’ve got nothing in it (some people stick sharp objects in their buns to hold them in place – don’t do that at an airport!). Travel is no excuse to look like a slob. I usually wear something along the lines of leggings, a semi-fitted tunic-type top, and ballet flats. Minimal makeup with my hair down and a hair-tie on my wrist. Cardi in my bag in case the plane is chilly. When I first traveled overseas, I broke all the dress rules and got thoroughly frisked at every airport. I got tired of people I didn’t know touching me and learned how to dress the right way so I stopped getting frisked and stopped holding up lines.

Now you can travel like a seasoned pro and not hold up security – no excuses! Questions? Feel free to ask  :)

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9 thoughts on “How to Pack and Dress for Beauty When You Travel

    • Thank you! They are but it definitely makes me feel safer. An airport in Peru gave my old, male, Indian professor and I each others boarding passes by accident and none of the airport staff caught the mistake – it made me wonder what else wasn’t getting checked.

  1. I would recommend decanting liquids into smaller containers to make more room in the 3-1-1 bag. Consider using eyedrop bottles and contact lens cases for small amounts of liquid. Also check into solid versions of the same product. I’m a big fan of my travel size brush set too.

    • That’s a great idea! I’ve done that before with some liquids but never thought about using eyedrop bottles. Travel size brush sets are certainly a wonderful thing to have.

  2. What would you suggest for the makeup bag that gets taken to Disney World in Orlando Florida? I have discovered Mary Kay cream eye shadow, mascara, and eyeliner to be the all-time best for staying put but what about for foundation and powder? Is there such a thing as a foundation with spf that will not be completely washed away from sweat in 5 minutes? Also, what is the most long-lasting lip color? Normally I don’t care what I look like at a theme park but then people want to take pictures! My worst nightmare on a hot/humid day! Links would be great if you’ve already written on all this. Thank you Jay! You are the best!!

    • I haven’t tried Mary Kay (unfortunately! it’s on my list), but I’ve heard those have great staying power. I skip foundation quite often in the summer and just stick with something that is lightweight but covers. Bare Minerals makes powder foundation with SPF but I find that I just sweat off powder foundations. I like Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream (review here – because it’s between a tinted moisturizer and foundation; it covers amazingly well, stays put all day, AND has SPF 42. I used a Cover Girl facial setting powder in Egypt and it stayed put, so I think it would survive the Florida heat/humidity. The lipcolor that has lasted the longest on me is Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick – it dries almost instantly and doesn’t budge for hours, even after you eat or drink. I did a review on it here – I also like Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment for a long lasting substitute for chapstick. I know what you mean about the picture situation! Thanks Krista! I try :)

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