Packing Travel What's In My Bag

Travel Beauty | April in Dallas

April 28, 2014

I was so excited to be invited to the rewardStyle conference this year in Dallas, Texas. They hosted an incredible event and I felt so lucky to meet so many talented individuals. Personal highlights (and fan-girl moments for me) included meeting the lovely ladies from Beauty Professor, Liana Beauty, Essie Button, Fleur de Force – all of whom I’ve followed and admired for years. I didn’t get as many pictures as I had hoped during all the excitement but if you search for #rsthecon on Instagram you can see snapshots of the past weekend’s events from those who attended.

Many have asked for me to share what I brought with me on my trip. For me packing is somewhat of an ordeal and I’m in awe of those who travel frequently. I usually bring what will fit into my Bobbi Brown travel case which helps me limit what I bring and keeps everything organized. This case was one of the first gifts my husband gave to me when were dating in our early 20’s. (Black version is not currently available, but there is a gold Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood Train case version available.) All liquids are usually stored in a clear quart sized bag. If you have any travel beauty tips I would love to hear what they are. It always pains me that I can’t bring what I love for hair and skincare. My skin often turns into a nightmare-ish wreck by the end of my trip (no matter how short).

For this 4 day trip I was totally unorganized with my beauty. I packed in a rush, didn’t plan in advance and ended up with duplicate brushes, tools, way too many eyeliners and highlighting products. How this fit in one case is a mystery to me, but it did. Be warned this is a lot. I’ll be sure to tell you which items I actually used.


  1. Giorgio Armani Regenessence Lotion – I keep a mini sized container from one of the many gift with purchase events, I use it to refill with the full-sized version of toner when I travel
  2. Caudalie Lip Conditioner – easy to apply without having to use fingers (review here)
  3. Caudalie Cleansing Water – part of the favorites set (review here)
  4. Moroccan Oil – a must-have for me, although it didn’t quite help with the Texas humidity (review here)
  5. Chanel Makeup Remover decanted into a mini size container
  6. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum – part of The Works Set, I’ve been testing this for several months now and have added it to my daily skincare routine, I apply under moisturizer and found the serum helps extend the wear of my foundation and keeps moisture in better
  7. Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation – also part of The Works Set, love these travel/trial sized sets (review on the full set to come soon, more value deal and trial sized beauty options here)
  8. Caudalie Divine Oil – mini version (review here)
  9. Lancome Visionnaire Blur (press sample tube) – helped blend out my skin freak outs from travel a bit smoother (see review here)
  10. SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser squeezed into a small container
  11. Chanel minis of Le Weekend and Sublimage Texture Fine

  1. Edward Bess Bronzer in Daydream (original version)
  2. MAC Skinfinish in Fairly Precious – the perfect pink glowy highlighter, so surprised that it is still online at Nordstrom! (review here
  3. Tom Ford Flush Blush – bright but natural coral peach with a hint of shimmer
  4. Chanel Les Beiges 20 – review here
  5. Edward Bess Mousse Foundation in Light scooped into a small recycled container (now available at Neiman Marcus)
  6. Dolce and Gabbana Powder Foundation in Warm 100 – my holy grail of all powder foundations (review here)
  7. By Terry Cellularose Blush Glace in Frozen Petal 3 – the perfect natural glowy peachy color in a gel blush formula with long wear (these sell out on a weekly basis both online and in store, it took me several months to track down all three shades)
  8. Cle de Peau Concealer in Beige – the only concealer I’ve ever repurchased
  9. Tom Ford Foundation Stick in Bisque 04 – check out my review and swatches here
  10. Chanel Perfection Lumiere Foundation in 30 – detailed swatches and review here
  11. NARS Matte Multiple in Vientiane – swatches on contouring discoveries here
  12. Edward Bess Afterglow Illuminator Compact – my all time favorite glow product, I’ve hit pan multiple times with this one
  13. NARS 413Blkr Illuminator in a mini Chanel sample container 
  14. Tom Ford Fire Lust in a mini Chanel sample container (another one I didn’t use, but review from last year’s version here)

  1. NARS Narsissist Eye Palette – the only eyeshadow I brought with me, this palette did it all for me, I didn’t use all the colors, only 7 of the shades were used during this trip, but I found it served me well as a one palette to do-it-all kind of thing, many have asked if I found issues with pigment or application, I found them to be very good in quality, the matte shades were a bit difficult to get a large brush in but I swished it around (let me know if you want a full detailed review in the comments)
  2. NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia – part of my eye essentials post here
  3. Chanel Le Stylo Yeux in Ambre Dore (new for spring, review soon)
  4. Chanel Le Stylo Yeux in Santal – swatched here
  5. Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara Stretch – part of my eye essentials post here
  6. Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base in Suede – reviews here and here
  7. RMS Cream Shadow in Solar – review here and here
  8. Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in New Moon – new for summer, review soon
  9. Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Initiation – review here (note it’s being discontinued)
  10. Chanel Tutti Frutti Le Vernis for Summer – review soon

  1. YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in Pink in Confidence – swatches here
  2. Tom Ford Pink Lust Lip Lacquer – limited from last year, swatches here
  3. Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Frisson – recent review/swatches here
  4. Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Tiny Pink – recent review/swatches here
  5. Dior Addict Gloss Bed of Roses – recent swatches here
A few more snapshots of my makeup mess scattered throughout the week, let me know if you want the breakdown of the tools I brought, I kinda just threw a bunch of random clean tools into my makeup box before I left.

Recap of what I used: Aside from the staples (mascara, foundation, powder, skincare) I found I got plenty of use of the NARS Eye Palette, Chanel Illusion d’Ombres, MAC Fairly Precious, Edward Bess Daydream and Tom Ford Flush blush.
What I could have skipped: I could have skipped all but one eyeliner, most of my tools were redundant, I probably only needed 5 brushes at most. I had highlighter overload as well and grabbed a bunch of minis that I had made over the past few weeks.
What I wish I brought: More skincare, more hair care products. Next time I need to do better planning with finding or collecting small sample containers that I can use for travel. Also I rarely use mattifying products – the warm humid weather wasn’t something I was used to in Dallas and definitely needed something to help keep the face more matte.
Do you travel a lot for work or fun? What are your beauty travel packing tips? Do you have a checklist to help plan or a travel pouch that helps organize and limit what you bring with you? Or are you the kind of person that checks bags so contents/limits don’t matter?
I’m all ears for your tips, tricks and experiences. I haven’t had to travel frequently in the past but it’s on my list to do this year (for fun of course). If you want to see what I brought on past trips, click on the TRAVEL tag below the post.

Quick update for those who asked about my Bobbi Brown train case, there is a luxury Gold Old Hollywood version available now (quite pricey), the one I have is from over 10 years ago, keep an eye out for similar versions around holiday or seasonal releases. For now a few other suggestions below.

You Might Also Like

  • Kylee @ Lifting in Lipstick April 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Tom Ford Flush is my all-time favorite blush so I really enjoy seeing it get some love (especially over Lovelust)! I'm very pale so it looked terrifying to me in the pan, but it instantly became the one I reach for most often.

    I like to maximize my makeup/space ratio so I tend to bring things like LMdB's blush kaleidoscope to cover all my bases. I usually end up with a Naked palette along with something more colorful (LMdB's Melange de Colour palette generally finds its way into my luggage). And I always try not to, but depending on where I'm going another palette/quad or two might come along for the ride! Let's not even talk about the giant bag of "staples" I always have to bring.

    For some reason I always need a month's worth of makeup looks for even a weekend away, so I feel your pain.

  • Lana April 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I swear by and love Muji products for all my traveling needs! I decant my moisturizer, eye cream, toner, and cleansing water into the proper travel container. As a travel tip, I always tell my friends to invest in a decanting kit which consists of a mini spatula, funnel, and dropper (again, Muji has a kit for less than $2) which easily allows you to decant your products no matter if it's liquid or cream. Hope this helps!

    By the way I love your travel case! It looks similar to what I use (Muji makeup box) but the Bobbi Brown case is definitely more luxurious!

  • Sophie G. April 28, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I've been reading your blog for a while (love the reviews!) but this is my first comment. I thought this was a very interesting post! I've been expanding my make up collection a bit, and am off to Europe next week, so I've been thinking about what to bring.

    Here is what I've got on the list for now:

    Skincare: Bioderma make up removing water, moisturizer (Fresh soy sample), eye cream (Bliss sample), plus maybe one or two tiny samples of anti-wrinkle serum. Rosebud salve. Mini L'Occitane cherry blossom hand cream. Staying at nice hotels so I'll rely on them for body lotion and shower gel

    Hair: Small bottles of Deva curl conditioner and styling gel

    Face and cheeks: Diorskin BB cream, Nars concealer, Chanel Rose initial powder blush

    Eyes: Guerlain Cils d'Enfer mascara, Chanel Ombre Essentielle single shadow in Fauve, Chanel Quadrille eye shadow quad. I never wear eyeliner, so I'm not packing any

    Lips: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Emotion (berry shade), Dior Addict Extreme in Avenue (neutral pink), Clinique Chubby Stick intense in Chili (red). Fresh Sugar in Rose (more of a lipbalm). On the fence on packing a gloss.

    Tools: foundation brush, blush brush and 2 eyeshadow brushes. Brow/lash comb. Brush cleaning towelettes

    On the fence on bringing anything to do my nails – I have nailpolish remover wipes and a decent base/topcoat.

    What do you all think?

    • Behindthepillar April 30, 2014 at 8:41 am

      Nail polish depends on how regular a wearer you are. I always have my nails done just before I leave (usually in a neutral that doesn't show wear too easily) and take that colour with me for re-touches. You can always buy (and if you like make-up probably will!) make-up on your travels so less is definitely more! I always take too much. Have a great trip.

  • ahhhsoNeo April 28, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I used to travel quite a bit for work and kept some skincare samples and products permanently in my travel bag. It helped make life easier when I had to leave within a few hours. I always over pack make-up products and have yet to learn the secret of streamlining those items.

  • Vicki April 28, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    You packed some seriously lovely products for your trip (which sounds so exciting). That NARS palette is gorgeous & Im gutted I missed out on it. I love that Caudalie Lip Conditioner & take it every time I fly. It keeps my lips soft & hydrated

  • Beth Bradley April 28, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I absolutely love this post! That make up bag is a travel dream!

    Beth @ BethBlogsBeauty

  • The Procrastinator April 28, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Travel containers are my absolute best friend — I go to MAC and ask for foundation samples, and they'll give them to you in these tiny screw-top pots which I adore. Not going to lie, I love that all of my pots match each other with their clear bases and black lids. Another travel rule I swear by is never, ever skimping out on skincare — the most I'll cut down is bringing one do-all serum (versus my normal layering of three), but I absolutely need to bring whichever cleanser/moisturizer/spf/makeup remover I'm used to, or my skin will freak. If I'm almost out of something and I know I'm going on a trip, I'll reserve that tiny bit for the trip and start using my backup.

    For makeup, I try to go with one daily lip (usually MAC Nymphette or a Clarins Lip Perfector) and a night lip — a red or a vamp. I'll also bring a multi-use product (e.g. NARS South Beach) and use that as the base for all my looks that trip — I love South Beach on my lids and cheeks, it sets up other looks perfectly!

    For brushes, I bring two eye brushes (I could finish a whole eye look with a 217, but that's no fun). a brow brush, a powder brush and a blush/bronzer brush, and a foundation brush that I use for concealer+foundation+highlight. Unless I'm going away for weeks, I don't really wash my brushes — not sure if that's best practice though!

  • lashesandblushes April 28, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Wow I really need this Bobbi Brown travel bag!! It is so practical and perfect to organize you stuff on a journey! I always have problems in packing all my beauty stuff… I love this products! When I'll buy my first D&G Product I definitely will buy the powder – as you wrote it's you holy grail powder foundation!! And I like to see the TF Brow Sculptor, it's my favourite for brows. xx Alessia


  • joltster April 29, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Hi Sabrina:
    I always enjoy reading your blog. You could designate a special case for travel – ahead of time so that you don't have to rush and duplicate things. I know that I used to do a lot of traveling for work and it was so difficult to put things together without duplicating things.So this special travel case, you pack what you would most likely use,( and taking into the account the climate/weather of where you are going to, pack samples for that area.) You can always check things on a monthly basis just to see what would need replenishing too,( too steal a page from a book of people in healthcare,everyday, on a hospital floor, an entity known as the "Crash Cart"- for emergencies- is checked and doubled check every eight hours just to be sure that things are up to date) and label that makeup bag "Travel Make up" 🙂

  • Behindthepillar April 29, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Love these posts with everything laid out and labelled – especially when I see other women carry as many products as me when travelling! I do find the roll up product bags with a hanger to put on the back of the bathroom door are really useful for organising tools and bits and pieces (like cotton buds, plasters, and sachets of product) so I can see what I've got without taking out everything at once if there isn't much storage space at the hotel. I'm always on the look out for good sized well made ones (Victoria's Secret sometimes have them). Susan, London

  • Stray Cat April 29, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Ahh….the beloved BB Train Case! I've had mine for decades and it's serviced me well on many trips. It's the classiest makeup "bag" ever! I love how this train case keeps everything organized and has that vintage "lady traveling" feel. You know?! And the brush compartment in the lid is brilliant! Now off to look up some of the gorgeous products you are taking on your trip! That Tom Ford blush is calling my name! Have a wonderful time in Dallas!

  • waspprincess April 29, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I have been a frequent traveler for years (yes, I am old) and take many short and long (have a daughter in Australia) trips. My best tip for fellow beauty junkies is to save all the foil sample packets that come in Sephora hauls, department stores, even magazine inserts. I keep mine in a big glass bowl and anytime I am taking a carry on only trip or even an overnight by car, I dig thru and can usually get hair and skin care, foundation, sunscreen so that all I need to pack is mascara, lipstick and a shadow/blush palette. It's a fun way to try products and hassle-free security wise.

  • Eileen April 29, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Depending on how long I'll be gone, I carry one or both of Edward Bess' classic palettes: Berry Chic and Back to Basics. Those two palettes have traveled the world with me! Between those two, I can do just about anything 🙂 The only things I need to add to complete my look are a foundation suitable to the climate I'll be in, Guerlain's Voyage compact Météorites, mascara, a black liner (automatic pencil type), and a neutral everyday type of gloss. I usually carry 6-7 brushes in a roll. As for skin care, I carry travel sizes of all my essentials. I work at keeping my complexion in good condition and simply won't scrimp or compromise on skincare (including sunscreen) for face and body. I like to check out pharmacies and beauty counters in various countries and always end up bringing back goodies. I went crazy in Japan and bought a complete set of Suqqu brushes. Talk about "My Precious"! LOL

  • sara iqbal April 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    i like how u make different categories,it was such an easy thing i always am at a loss when i travel and i wanna carry the world with me..this makes it much easier for me!

  • Jen27 May 1, 2014 at 12:51 am

    Most luxurious travel bag ever! I'm so smitten with the new Chanel foundation and I'm excited to test out the new Illusion d'Ombres. Tom Ford Flush is one of my favourites 🙂

  • Rob N. Roll August 27, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Hi, can you tell me what brand is the beauty case? Thanks.

  • powered by chloédigital