The 6 Best Beauty Products to Pack for Any Trip, According to a Travel Editor

From a dual foundation and concealer stick to a multipurpose lip and cheek balm, these are my favorite makeup items to take on the go.

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travel beauty products
Photo: Courtesy of Sephora; Nordstrom; Merit Beauty

When you're traveling, it never hurts to pack light. You'll thank yourself when you're rushing through the airport, maneuvering your lightweight suitcase with ease. But if you're a beauty lover, it can be difficult to pare down your routine to just the essentials.

There are several criteria to consider when packing your cosmetics bag for travel. Multipurpose products, such as a dual foundation-concealer stick and combination cheek and lip color, allow you to streamline your beauty routine. Cream-based products that add hydration to your lineup are also a solid pick, since many people experience dry skin when they travel, especially on airplanes. Similarly, be on the lookout for products that have SPF, no matter what time of year, so that you can increase your daily protection. Finally, products in tubes, sticks, and other durable, easily sealable packaging are a good bet to avoid any messy spills or leaks inside your toiletry cases.

As a travel editor who frequently tests all kinds of products that make life on the go easier, I've found several makeup items that help me to feel my best without taking up too much room in my suitcase. Keep reading for six of my favorite beauty products to pack in my travel bag.

Merit Beauty Flush Balm Cheek Color

cheek color
Courtesy of Merit Beauty

Since multipurpose products are key when you're trying to keep your cosmetic bag light, this cheek and lip color is a must-have. I love the shade Raspberry Beret (a deep berry color), and I use it for a touch of color as a blush and lip tint. The creamy, transparent finish of the balm offers a natural look, but the color is buildable if you want something bolder. It's easy to apply on the go, and the lightweight formula makes it comfortable to wear on its own or layered with other products. Plus, it features antioxidant-rich vitamin E to nourish and protect skin from environmental stress, such as air pollution.

To buy: meritbeauty.com and sephora.com, $28

MAC Cosmetics Cream Color Base

base foundation
Courtesy of Nordstrom

When I'm traveling, I'm rarely doing a full eye look, but I will apply some MAC Cream Color Base in the shell shade in the inner corners of my eyes for an instant brightening effect.The creamy formula is emollient based (translation: it soothes and softens skin) and leaves a dewy finish on skin. It's amazing what just a bit of this product will do to make me look more awake, even after a long travel day. And if I want to punch up my look, especially for an evening out, I'll also add some of the easily blendable product to my cheekbones for a simple, glowy highlight.

To buy: nordstrom.com, $25

Sugar Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 15

lip gloss
Courtesy of Sephora

Lip balm and sunscreen are two of the most important items to keep in your toiletry bag, in my opinion. This product acts as both thanks to a moisturizing formula and the addition of SPF 15. It contains sugar and a few types of oils including black currant seed and grapeseed to moisturize, smooth, and protect lips from free radical damage. While it comes in 15 gorgeous shades, the classic Rosé color is my favorite, since it offers a flattering tint, smells amazing, and is easy to apply, even without a mirror when I'm on the go.

To buy: sephora.com and ulta.com, $24

Merit Beauty The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick

complexion stick
Courtesy of Merit Beauty

This dual foundation and concealer stick streamlines my makeup routine, since I can apply it just where I want coverage. It has a moisturizing texture that's easy to blend with my fingers, so I don't even have to worry about packing a brush or sponge in my toiletry bag. Plus, the slim stick packaging with its secure cap is a breeze to travel with, avoiding spills and leaks in transit. With 20 shades and a helpful shade comparison tool on Merit's website, it's surprisingly easy to find the right color for your skin tone. (Psst, even though it's categorized as makeup, the stick's formula features good-for-your-skin ingredients, like fatty acids and sea daffodil extract, to lock in moisture and fade dark spots.)

To buy: meritbeauty.com and sephora.com, $38

Glossier Lash Slick Mascara

mascara
Courtesy of Glossier

If you don't already have a favorite mascara, or alternate between a few because one doesn't offer you everything you want (read: lengthening, volumizing, a water resistant), I've found that this one is a real crowd pleaser. I've been wearing it for years, and I'm always impressed with its long-wearing formula and how it resists flaking and smudging, even after wearing it all day and night. The mascara's lengthening formula provides a natural look, but you can easily build volume with an extra coat or two to take it from day to night. It also features pro-vitamin B5 and a combination of biotin and collagen to support shiny, healthy lashes.

To buy: glossier.com, $16

Benefit Gimme Brow+ Tinted Volumizing Eyebrow Gel

mascara
Courtesy of Sephora

A tinted gel is a solid option if you'd like to stick to just one brow product in your travel beauty routine. I love this version from Benefit, since it's simple to use to create a brow shape that stays in place all day. Plus, it adds volume (which you'd typically need a brow pencil or powder to do) and color. It comes in 10 shades, including both warm and cool options, to remove the stress of finding one that works for you.

To buy: sephora.com and ulta.com, from $14

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