DIVA DOES… How to pick which makeup to bring on vacation

DIVA DOES… How to pick which makeup to bring on vacation

It’s so nice to get away, but no matter how perfect, sometimes you miss your friends back home. And by friends, I mean all the beauty products you couldn’t pack.

The struggle is real, guys. And I get torn up about it too.

The thing is you want (need!!) options but not at the cost of added weight or bulk in your luggage. So I created a list with some rules to help me decide which friends would make the cut when I travel. And I also got cute little makeup bags to make the process more fun and less angst-y. (NOTE: Always get a few cases that are clear or have clear-tops. Trust.)

2015-05-22 22.38.01 copy


This will depend mostly on where you’re going.

Are you headed to a beach or tropical destination? A cruise? Pack a tinted SPF. I love La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Tinted. 

Doing outdoorsy or active stuff? Go with a BB or CC cream. I use Supergoop CC Cream SPF 35.

Touring a big city? Go for a lightweight but buildable luminous base. I live for Cle de Peau Beauté Radiant Fluid Foundation.

Or are you non-committal and really just can’t live without options? Pick up small TSA-friendly containers at Ricky’s and fill a few with a variety of your faves.

Then pick a concealer palette or wheel so you can use it to cover any imperfections, highlight & contour, use as an eyeshadow base, and more. The goal is multi-purpose solutions. For the trip I’m currently on, I packed MAC Pro Conceal & Correct Palette in Medium. I will use it for all of the above.

Lastly, you may want to bounce some light off that face — and bod. For the selfies, naturally. I’m obsessed with faux glow (!!!) and for this week, I selected Em Cosmetics Mood Enhancer Illuminating Skin Filter (gorgeous champagne glow for high points of the face or to mix with foundation or layer over sunscreen) and Jane Iredale Golden Shimmer Face and Body Lotion (to rub on shoulders, your clavicle and the centers of the leg). You can also mix it into moisturizer for just a touch of shimmer. Bella!


To set liquids or creams, or if you want to forego them altogether, pack a few powders. Again, for travel, I like a single palette with options. It’s not only lighter and super compact, but all your shades are housed together creating less clutter in your hotel room and less time to locate. Easy breezy, baby!

I brought the Blush It On Face Contour Palette by Paula’s Choice with me, which includes 4 blushes, a highlighter and a bronzer, and creates natural radiance, subtle sculpting and pretty flush all in a single palette.

I also typically bring a cream blush or two (one pinky and one peachy shade) that I can use on my cheeks plus eyes and lips as a convertible color. Lately, I’m super into Rouge Bunny Rouge Blush Wands. Love them. Swipe them on, then pat them in. You can layer powder blush over them or wear them alone for a fresh glow.

3. LIPS. 

This is sooooo hard and even when I do pare down, I still never use all the lip shades I bring when I don’t get real tough with my final edit.

IRL I alternate between balms, stains, glosses, lipsticks, lipliners — or some combination of these — but for travel, I go back to destination when making the cut. Maybe it’s just gloss I’ll need and a pretty creamy liner for evening with or without the gloss over it (think resort). Maybe it’s a tinted balm with SPF (think adventure travel). Maybe it’s matte opaque high-fashion coverage (think Paris).

Regardless of the formula and finish, I always make sure to cover my 4 cosmetic color camps for lips: nude, pink, peach, red. For you, it may be nude, pink, purple and blue. Whatever floats your boat. But select a representative from each of your main color camps. This will help you feel like you still have options when the very specific shade that would be totally perfect for just one outfit you packed won’t be there.

Given I have 4 camps, I always – at minimum – have 4 lip products, even when I want to bring 4 million. 

And when I’m doing a multi-destination trip, like this one to Rome and then the Amalfi Coast, I mix it up. A nude gloss (Mary Kay), a pink lipstick (MAC), a peach tinted balm (Physician’s Formula), a red lip stain (Tata Harper). A versatile nude liner with a built-in lip-brush (Hourglass). Plus a lip oil or conditioner (Clarins). Done.

Note: If you can score minis or deluxe samples of your favorite lipglosses or lipsticks, then #WINNING.

2015-05-22 22.37.32 copy

4. EYES.

Choosing is torture. Period.

In the end, please listen to, then maybe reject/disregard, and finally accept this: go with palettes. Even if your most favorite shade you wear every day is a single. Custom mix shades in your palette to recreate it. A million single eyeshadows rolling around in luggage is a recipe for disaster (meaning, you lose or leave one, you can’t find the one you want, one may crack or crumble, a cap may open resulting in loose pigments everrrrywhere). It’s just not worth it. Even though it’s so hard to part. And if you do have a daily go-to shade that you’ll be leaving behind, take this as an opportunity to shake it up and try something new. Same goes for eyeliner. Challenge yourself. Make it an adventure before you even leave the house.

For eyeshadow, I’m LOVING the Fergie for Wet N Wild Photo Focus Studio eyeshadow palette in Milano Collections ($7.99!) which made it to Rome with me and is currently stealing the show. I honestly cannot believe how pigmented and long-wearing the shades are. Sooooo impressed, especially given the price. Really with the whole Fergie x WetnWild collab! #G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S

And for some evening sparkle, I took the new Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Extreme Shimmer Shadow & Liner palette. It’s small but packs a punch with 6 gorgeous, creamy, shimmery shades.

For eyeliner, I say pack a black, a grey and a brown – plus a few accents like gold, a pop of color, etc. Eyeliners are slim and light. You can even pack them instead of eyeshadow and just smudge and blend them for full eye looks. Or pick eyeliner crayons that be worn as shadow or liner. I love the Jouer Crème Eyeshadow Crayons and packed Baroque (shimmery bronze) and Avant Garde (metallic navy). They are small enough to run inside the waterline but large, creamy and pigmented enough for a smoky eye.

My general rule for packing eye shades: 90% neutrals, 10% brights. 

Of course, for eyes there’s also brow pencil or gel and a killer mascara you’ll probably want to toss in your travel makeup bag. Consider waterproof formulas for travel. Again, if you can get minis or deluxe samples, you’re golden.

For this trip, I went with Physician’s Formula Eye Booster Instant Lash Extensions Kit because I wanted mascara options. It comes with a regular mascara tube plus a separate tube of fiber “extensions” you can layer in between an initial and final coat of the mascara. I wear the mascara solo for touring around by day and then for dinners and drinks at night I add on the drama. This extensions product really lengthens and fattens up those lashes. Major fringe. But just be careful not to get the fibers in your eye and also clean up the undereye after applying as some fibers may get loose and travel south.

For brows, I brought Maybelline Brow Drama brow mascara for it’s ease of use. Two swipes and two seconds to strong brows.


Don’t forget things you may need like a (mattifying or radiance) primer or set powder. Make Up For Ever sells a perfect mini version of its HD Microfinish Powder at Sephora.

You’ll also probably need some brushes (I edit down from my full set and use my fingers a lot when on vacay), a pencil sharpener (that fits chubby and skinny sticks depending on what you pack), maybe some lashes and lash glue if you’re a true diva, tweezers, a makeup hair product like ColorWow if you have roots to cover and why not some temporary tattoos??? Tribe Tats come pre-perforated so you won’t need scissors to add some knockout metallic statement jewelry. (PS, this also lightens your load if you don’t bring real jewels!)

Bottom line – if you love makeup, it’s never gonna be easy. There will be friends you’ll have to leave behind. The good news is you’ll appreciate them so much more once you’re reunited.

Unless by then, you have new best friends. It’s happened before… #yesmakeup #yesnewfriends


Lauren Cosenza - Beauty Expert and Makeup Artist

NOTE: This post is not sponsored. All thoughts are unbiased and my own. Samples were provided for review and/or my use as a professional makeup artist. All photos are property of DIVAlicious.

Lauren Cosenza is the creator and editor-in-chief of DIVAlicious, a trusted beauty/fashion expert, an on-camera personality and spokesperson, a leading NYC-based professional makeup artist, a published contributor and writer, a brand consultant, a product junkie and an insatiable style seeker — with a former life at Cosmopolitan and Shape magazines.

Serving up style with a side of attitude, her site DIVAlicious gives women (and men) the confidence and permission to be fabulous. The site is filled with must-have products, pro tips and tricks, how-to DIY tutorials, makeovers, style inspiration and insider access. Topics range from beauty, fashion, culture, career, fitness, wellbeing, men’s and unisex offerings.