Answering Reader’s Questions: Packable Makeup

I recently got a question from a reader:

I know I don’t have to put my non-liquid makeup in that plastic ziploc bag. How do I know what counts as liquid, and how can I minimize that?

Great question!! I get searches on this all of the time, as well as emailed questions about travel makeup.  Beauty routines are critical during travel.  Dealing with all of the stress that travel (and lack of sleep!) puts your body and skin through is brutal.  Also, for frequent travelers keeping the routine the same helps keep things as much like home as possible. Maintaining consistency with skincare and and beauty during travel can also be very tricky, considering that your travel space is limited and you can bring only a very small amount of liquids.  Here are my tips.

  • Powders don’t go in the plastic bag!! Remember, anything that is a powder (eyeshadow, plush, pressed powder) and their accompanying brushes can go in your suitcase. Some brands of powder (Bare Escentuals comes to mind) can be used as concealer, allowing you to leave something behind.
  • Eyeliners and other pencils are also ok. Eyeliners, lipliners are also okay. One way to minimize the liquids you need is to exchange them or pencils when traveling. For example, instead of concealer bring a concealer stick, or instead of liquid blush use a blush crayon. In fact, that is a great way to minimize how much you have to bring, period. If there is one pencil you can use for lips, eyes, and cheeks, that cuts out several items you have to pack.
  • Condense!! If you use tinted moisturizer or foundation, you can put the amount you need for your trip into a contact lens case. This way you don’t have to bring the whole bottle or tube. In fact, this will work for any liquid you are bringing! Face wash, eye cream, makeup remover, etc.
  • Some liquids you can’t get away from. As far as I know, there is no way to make lipstick or mascara a non liquid. So to be cautious you may want to keep those in your liquids bag. But now you are down from multiple items to just a couple, leaving lots of room for hair products. Don’t get me started on those.

All this being said, many airports don’t notice if your mascara is in your regular makeup bag and your lipstick is in your purse pocket. As with other items, so much depends on the TSA agent screening the bags. But don’t worry! You can definitely take your makeup on the plane with you.


  1. In all the travel I have done, which is a lot, I think I got hassled by TSA one time for mascara not being in the plastic bag. So I agree with those comments.

    I love the tip about contact lens cases!

  2. Oh my gosh – I never thought about the contact lense cases – that’s brilliant. That would keep me from using more than I need as well…

    As far as hair care goes, I found a great travel shampoo and conditioner at Lush. They have several solid shampoos that smell amazing and last forever. There’s even a travel tin to store them in.
    They have a solid conditioner too. That makes just a bit more room in my liquids bag. =)

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