10 Tips to Simplifying Your Cosmetics Bag

Gypsy Momma with Baby Veda in New York City

It’s not practical to spend long amounts of times beautifying when you have small children or babies, particularly when traveling.  Over the years I have slimmed down my getting ready routine and my cosmetics/ travel bag.  I’ve thrown out lots of unessential potions, brushes, and colors so that I now have a very basic stash of cosmetics both at home and while traveling.  Realistically, with a small baby I have  a maximum of five minutes to get myself ready once I am out of the shower, for my make-up and hair.

Tip # 1: If you can buy it there, don’t pack it.  I often skip packing shampoo, conditioner, soap, moisturizer, and toothpaste all-together because there are few places in the world that you can’t find that stuff.  I do often end up packing some of these things because I prefer paraben-free organic products that often cannot be found easily in most places in the world, though.  It’s a personal preference, but if you know you can (cheaply) buy something at your destination and will be easy to get, it’s easy to just leave it at home and buy it when you get there.  If it’s cheap enough, you can always just leave behind what you haven’t used on your way back, too.

Tip #2: Pack full, unused toiletries/ cosmetics.  Especially for longer trips (2 weeks +) in places where it’s difficult to find products that I use and prefer (or are often twice the price), I make sure that I have full, unused bottles that will last me my stay.  If I have half-used make-up bottles, I just leave those at home for when I return, and pack a new unused bottle.

Tip #3: Keep a second pre-packed unused set of cosmetics/ toiletries.  This is a tip for frequent travelers like myself.  I like to keep a stock of shampoo, conditioner, make-up, moisturizer, tooth paste, etc. in my bathroom closet so that I’m not either forgetting or having to run out and buy something before a trip.  Usually when I return home from a trip, I put half used stuff on my home shelves for use, and immediately pack new stuff in my toiletry bag so it’s ready to go for the next time.

Tip# 4: Less is more.  Especially when you’re traveling with extra little humans that require stuff and carrying more stuff, it is essential to leave whatever possible at home.  I bring only the absolute essentials of what I need for personal hygiene and make-up stuff to slim down the toiletry bag and save valuable space and weight in my luggage.  Plus, to save space my husband and I share one toiletry bag, including shampoo/ conditioner, moisturizer, etc., and make sure that all of our combined toiletries fit into one bag.   Kudos to those of you who don’t use any make-up products at all- I’m not quite there yet.  Also, I minimize jewelry and just bring 2-3 favorite (inexpensive) earrings and perhaps one necklace while traveling.

Tip #5: Leave the fun colors at home.  I love red lipstick.  However, it’s just not practical for traveling, and when I have brought different shades of lipstick along on trips, I have never used it.  It just took up space in my toiletry bag, and a traveling mom really doesn’t have time to be touching up bright lipstick (or eye-make, or any other kind of bright, colorful make-up).  It’s much more practical to stick to natural, neutral colors and make-up while traveling with babies- less fussing.

Tip #6: Don’t use make-up brushes.  They take up too much space, and are prone to get dirty, dropped, etc. while traveling.  I’ve used Bare Essentials and other mineral powder make-ups that’s nice, but it just isn’t practical for traveling because of the extra space and the dirt/ germs/ bacteria they’re likely to pick-up while traveling.  All of my make-up is applied with my fingers.

Tip #7: Pumps are best.  I’ve found that make-up, lotions, etc. that use a pump mechanism are great for travel.  First, they tend to be less prone to spilling than something with a screw top for some reason (especially if they come with a cap over the pump or twist to the side to stay off).  Second, it’s cleaner and less prone to getting bacteria or dirt in it while traveling (as opposed to a pressed make-up or pot of make-up that requires dipping your hands into).

Tip#8: Choose lightweight, breathable make-up.  Especially when traveling on long flights, wearing heavy make-up will get uncomfortable, and there’s enough bacteria and stuffy air to live in for 10+ hours, that you don’t want to add uncomfortable make-up to that.  Plus, it’s going to be tough, especially with a baby or small child, spending time trying to wash it off.  I also avoid wearing any eye-make (especially mascara and eye liner) altogether to avoid irritation to my eyes.  Also, if you’re traveling to a hot or humid climate, having thick make-up is going to melt off your face.

Tip #9: Choose easy, no-fuss hair styles and products.  I don’t have time to do my hair.  I get hair cuts that are low maintenance, and make sure my hair is always just long enough to pull it back if I need to.  I don’t bring a blow-dryer with me because I think it takes up unnecessary space.  Even if I am a hotel that has a blow dryer, I usually don’t have time to dry and style my hair with a baby, anyway.  I usually just wash, dry, add a little smoothing, volumizing product to my hair, brush it, and I’m done.  Yes, my hair could look nicer, but I’m a mom and don’t have the time or space for silliness.

Tip #10: Don’t bring too many cosmetics in your carry-on bag.  Baby’s stuff takes precedence, and it’s best to lighten the load.  I keep it simple with a travel sized face moisturizer I can also use for my hands, moisturizing eye drops, lip moisturizer, and travel-size face cleansing wipes.  I make sure it all fits in on clear quart-sized bag that I am also using for baby’s liquid carry-on items.

What’s in my toiletry bag:

I’ve tried a lot of different products and brands in my lifetime, and have come full circle to ditching expensive products and opting (mostly) for easy, cheap products I can get at the drug store.  I’m a big fan of Neutrogena products because it’s lightweight, clean, hypo-allergenic and good for sensitive skin, washes off easily, and is cheap.  Here is a list of what goes in my toiletry bag when I travel:

– Tooth paste/ tooth brush

– Shampoo/ conditioner

– Liquid body wash

– Hair volumizing/ smoothing product (one bottle of something small)

– Small round hair brush

– Handful of bobby pins and rubber bands

Neutrogena Oil-Free foaming grapefruit face wash (clean, gentle face wash)

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture, Combination Skin (perfect gentle moisturizer)

100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Eye Cream (great day and night light weight eye-cream)

Neutorgena Healthy Skin Enhancer Tinted Moisturizer (great light weight tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 that evens out skin tone)

Garden Botanika Lip and Cheek Stain (great tiny, light little cheek stain that adds natural color)

Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm (at non-sticky lip moisturizer with SPF 20 with slight tinted color)

Belly butter (when I am traveling while pregnant I use daily to prevent stretch marks)

– Razor and extra blades (I leave shaving cream at home and just use my hair conditioner instead)

Related Pages:

Packing for Baby

Guide to Getting Baby’s Liquids through Airport Security

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