How to Pack Your Makeup Bag Like a Pro for Your Next Vacation

April 05, 2023
Mary Honkus
By: Mary Honkus | by L'Oréal
Photo of a person with yellow painted nails holding an unzipped black sequin makeup bag filled with various beauty products, collaged on a pink tie-dye background

One of the most exciting things about summer (which, believe it or not, is right around the corner) is planning a much-deserved vacation. Deciding where to go is the fun part, but packing can take a lot of time and strategy — especially when it comes to your beauty essentials. To keep packing-related stress to a minimum and ensure you’re well-prepared for your next trip, we asked Kristina Rodulfo, a beauty and travel influencer, and makeup artist Amrita Mehta, to share their smart packing tips and favorite travel-friendly products. Keep reading for their foolproof advice that will make packing your makeup bag a breeze.

How Do You Pack a Makeup Bag? 

If you rarely travel or prefer short weekend trips, Rodulfo recommends investing in refillable containers instead of purchasing travel-sized skincare products. Refillable containers are especially great for skincare products because not only will they streamline the packing process, but they also allow you to decant the optimal amount for short trips so you’re not lugging around too much product.

“I’m a huge fan of Cadence Capsules because they’re highly durable and magnetic,” says Rodulfo. “I’ve used them for body wash, shampoo, facial cleanser, moisturizer and foundation — you can even use them to pack vitamins or jewelry.” 

The same sentiment rings true for travel-sized makeup products. “Most full-sized makeup products are already below the travel limit for liquids,” says Rodulfo. “The only time I think it’s beneficial to buy a travel-sized product is for perfume — you wouldn’t want the glass bottle cracking in transit!”

Pack Solid, Multi-Use Makeup

Have you ever opened your makeup bag after arriving at your destination only to find a goopy, sopping mess? This will always be a possibility when you pack liquid products. “I recommend using solid products where you can, so you don’t have to worry about liquid spilling in your luggage or being over the limit at TSA,” says Rodulfo. “Makeup products like blush and foundation come in solids, as well as some skincare, too.”

Simplify packing even further by choosing multi-use makeup products. “I would recommend multi-use products,” recommends Mehta. “So, a lipstick that you can use as a lip, a blush — you can also pat it on just for a lip stain look if it’s a nice tone. You can even put it on your eyelids to make it more of a monochromatic look, which is really easy and trendy.” 

The L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick is one of our favorite hydrating matte lippies that would also work well as a cheek tint if you’re looking to reduce the amount of product you’re packing. Editor’s Note: Be sure that any product you put on or near your eyes is clearly marked safe for the eye area.

“Same goes for an eyeshadow,” says Mehta. “If you have an eyeshadow and apply it with an angled brush and set it with a setting spray, you can use it as a liquid liner to create a wing.”


Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation Stick

For face makeup, we love the Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation Stick because it can be used as foundation, concealer, contour or highlight. Plus, it comes with a built-in kabuki brush so you don’t need to stuff an extra tool into your bag. Or, another way to save space in your makeup bag is to pack a concealer that works well as foundation, like the Urban Decay Quickie 24HR Multi-Use Concealer. Similarly, the lightweight and hydrating NYX Professional Makeup Bare With Me Concealer Serum is specifically formulated to be used on the face and the body. 


Urban Decay Quickie 24HR Multi-Use Concealer

For a flush of color, we also recommend packing the NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick Blush, a dual-ended cream blush stick that comes with two stunning pigmented shades of blush you can rock on their own or pair with each other for a contoured look. Another multi-use blush we love is the Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek Stick, which comes in eight flattering shades.


NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick Blush

How Can I Pack My Makeup Without Breaking It?

To ensure all of your products make it to your destination in one piece, there’s a method to follow — and the process starts before you place anything in your makeup bag. If you plan on traveling with any liquid items, first tape the caps to ensure they don’t fall and make a mess while in transit. 

The actual packing process can be a bit like Tetris. “Try to make sure there is as little empty space as possible so that all the products aren’t prone to moving and cracking,” says Rodulfo. “Put palettes on the bottom of the bag, keep foundations upright and place looser items in a smaller pouch.”

Investing in a makeup bag with secure compartments and pockets will also help safeguard all your products. Rudolfo’s favorite is the Kusshi Vacationer Makeup Bag. “It's easy to clean — machine washable! — has a flat bottom, opens wide so it’s easy to spot products, and has a ton of compartments to place items so they don’t move,” she says.

If you’re still worried about something breaking, try to pack as minimalistically as possible — you can get an array of makeup looks out of just a few products. “Concealer, blush, tinted brow gel, mascara and lipstick go a long way,” says Rodulfo. For some variety, include a nude and red lipstick as well as a liquid liner. “These will add a little more flair to your everyday makeup look.”

Photo: @missgaby, Design: Juliana Campisi

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