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This edition of Ask Kate is about how to look good on the road without packing your entire bathroom cabinet.
I have a question for your Ask Kate series: as a woman constantly on the road, how do you maintain some sort of beauty routine? What are your beauty must-haves on the road? How has your beauty routine changed from your old more “static” life compare to your current “nomadic” lifestyle?
OK, I totally lied. It was three questions. But… they’re all related.
Hope to read your answer soon!
Full disclaimer: I’ve never been a crazy makeup or beauty product girl. I have always gone with a simple look that works, rarely deviating from it. The only time I buy new makeup is if my eyeshadow explodes or I need lipstick to match a bridesmaid’s dress. That’s about it.
But my home beauty routine happens to work phenomenally for travel as well. My advice for you? Find a simple, versatile look that looks great on you, and take the basics on the road with you. That goes for makeup, hair, nails, and skincare.
Unlike a lot of women, I always wear makeup on the road because I think I look better in pictures when I’m wearing it.
My makeup look is a simple day look, but it’s versatile. If it’s night or a special event, I just layer the eyeshadow until it’s darker and draw my eyeliner on thicker!
Here is what I take with me when I travel:
- Foundation (Clinique Superbalanced Makeup)
- Concealer (Clinique All About Eyes Concealer)
- Shimmery brown/taupe eyeshadow (my current one is L’Oreal ColorAppeal Eyeshadow in Brown Lamé)
- Eyeshadow brush
- Black eyeliner (my current one is by Yves Saint Laurent. Long story.)
- Eyeliner sharpener
- Mascara (Covergirl Lash Exact Masacara is THE BEST.)
- Deep pink lip gloss (the one I love is Maybelline ColorSensational Cream Gloss in Stellar Berry)
My hair is a crazy, curly mess, and it tends to blow up when I travel to humid climates. I give tips for traveling with curly hair here.
I also get my share of haircuts on the road. My absolute best haircuts have been in Italy, and my most interesting, time-intensive and precise ones have been in Asia. I have yet to get a horrifying haircut abroad (fingers crossed!).
Here is what I take on the road:
- Wide-tooth comb
- Lush solid shampoo/conditioner
- Biosilk hair serum (I bought a ton of it in bulk at Marshall’s years ago and I’m still going through it!)
- No-damage large hair ties
- Extra-long bobby pins
As a lifelong pianist, I keep my nails short. I rarely do anything to them, but I do love getting regular mani-pedis in Southeast Asia, where they usually cost under $5.
Here is what I take on the road:
- Nail clippers
- Emery board (to fix snagged nails)
- Hot pink nail polish (Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear nail polish in Twisted Pink)
Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear is the toughest nail polish I’ve ever used. Hot pink has always been my default color and I have the nail polish with me for important occasions, like the wedding I’m going to this week. I don’t take nail polish remover with me, but I buy it if I need it.
If there’s one bit of beauty advice that I want every woman to take, it’s this: use facial moisturizer with broad spectrum SPF every day. Between skin cancer and early-onset wrinkles, there is no reason not to. You don’t have to spend a lot of money — the one I use costs about $10.
Here is what I take:
- Generic facial cleanser for normal or combination skin (I’m using one from UK drugstore chain Boots right now)
- Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture
- Hydrocortisone cream (for eczema breakouts underneath my chin)
- Tweezers (I love my pinup girl tweezers from Bali!)
And that’s it! I take a small bag for makeup and a slightly larger bag for my toiletries.
Traveling long-term doesn’t mean you need to either bring an arsenal of products or look like a hobo. Just a few key products will have you traveling light and looking great.