The Makeup I Travel With (AKA packing for a trip with a makeup hoarder)

Something different today, because I actually leave the country tomorrow and as I packed my makeup bag I was struck with the sudden urge to share. I do think there’s value in posts like there because it indicates what products I feel like I really do need or fit specific needs. I also totally understand the joy and fascination of peeking into someone else’s mind, not to mention their bags.

I’m off to two very different climates necessitating some very different products, but I also intend on buying a whole bunch because I’ll be outside of the notorious Australian makeup markup and have been popping money aside for a long time. I will also be going to a place that elicits a bit of discomfort in me right now, which I know is the everyday reality for a lot of people, and I strongly believe that the decision to remain apolitical is a political decision of its own. So in an environment where a lot of my identity is at total odds with the apparently opinions expressed by a distressing amount of people, I’ll continue to hold onto makeup as my masking device. My little comfort blanket, in spite its own deeply complicated relationships with consumerism and patriachy. On a less buzzwordy, personal level, I won’t bore you with my long mounting thesis on protest in makeup, but rather just dig into some quick photos and reasons behind the stuff that’s been shoved into my travel makeup bag.

My guidelines: minis where possible except on products that break easily, take stuff that’s near finishing if you’re intending on buying new stuff, pick products for sturdiness and versatility and lack of needing brushes. Perfumes that are small and don’t break easily, base products in squeeze tubes rather than glass bottles where possible, minimal on options (except in lipstick, where I know myself, and I know I need options and will wear an obscene amount).



  • Primer – Travel sized Hourglass Mineral Veil is the primer I’ve been using recently. This trip is not about heavy base makeup – half of it is going to be spent by the pool- so when I do wear it, I wanted something lightweight and smoothing, but not overly heavy or silicone feeling.
  • Concealer – Two concealers where I would normally carry one. The most essential, Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin, is lightweight but good enough coverage for round the face. I suspect I will not be sleeping much, because I’ll be sharing a bed, so I did also pack the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye for if we go out and I need to look like a human being who’s slept through the night.
  • Foundation – For full coverage in the colder half of the trip, Tarte Amazonian Clay which smooths my skin out and I can easily work with using my fingers. I really wanted to avoid bringing brushes. I expect to more regularly reach for the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream for everyday, and I’ll just be using sunscreen alone the rest of the time. Really come to love this one and it’s very easy to use when your skin is on the oilier side – so for me, only during the warmer weather.
  • Powder and Brush – Pretty easy for me. Need a powder to pop in the bag on makeup days, and the one I use is The Body Shop All in One Face Base so I packed the retractable Real Techniques retractable bronzer brush to apply it with and then there’s the sponge inside for touch ups. I prefer that brush to their other retractable brush, didn’t want to bring multiple brushes, and really wanted to bring one with a lid.

Not-Base, Not Lipstick


  • Eyeliner – Not bothering with eyeshadow, though some will probably be purchased, but an easy wing with the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner is an easy way for me to look fancy.
  • Mascara – Just picked one of the two mascaras I had deluxe sample sizes of because I don’t have any that I adore open at the moment. This is the Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara and it’s nice? I only do mascara when I’m going out at night, so I didn’t need a real workhorse here.
  • Brows – One of the few steps I’ll probably throw on almost every day because of the sparseness where I’ve stress-picked at my brows through my life, not to mention how great the shape is at the moment. This is a mini It Cosmetics Brow Power pencil which is good if I want precision, but I also brought the mini Benefit Gimme Brow for an easier soft fill.
  • Perfumes – A few choices for different climates, sturdy small bottles that I’ve travelled with before. Solstice Scents Blackburn’s Parlour  is banana-vanilla-chocolate and I wear it in all weather, my ultimate comfort perfume; Solstice Scents Sycamore Chai is my favourite rainy day perfume; Fortune Cookie Soap Paradise Found is sweet and fruity and summery.

The Lipsticks 

Oy vey, the lipsticks.


  • The Body Shop Lip Definer in Beech is a grey toned pink nude (?)  that wears beautifully alone or under most lipsticks to mute them, and NYX Sierra Lip Liner is my favourite deep red liner that isn’t too wine coloured
  • The Mac lipsticks are my collection staples and don’t require much thought – Russian Red is the perfect balanced red, Bowl Me Over is a more muted, rusty brown red and Antique Velvet is a rich brown with red hints. Clearly my favourites involve red and brown. I plan on probably picking up a few more reds abroad – Mac lipsticks are definitely a product Australians get shafted on.
  • For Kat Von D, one of my favourite liquid lipstick formulas, Lolita for the off chance that I decide to go neutral here and there and Nosferatu for when I want a red but in a liquid lipstick formula rather than Russian Red.
  • I find I only reach for bright, fruity colours on summer days, so some definitely-just-Hawaii colours are Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Showy (I may actually wear it in Sultry to the airport) which is the easiest crayon formula, and the NYX Butter Lipstick in Fireball is a hot orange red in a way glossier formula than I ordinarily go for, but nice for cocktails by the beach.
  • A couple of Pretty Zombie Cosmetics liquid lipsticks because I need my more out there colours on hand – I grabbed Sea Witch and 3 witches but there were lots of close calls.
  • Similarly, some witchy colours – Black Moon Cosmetics Armageddon and Sorrow which are truly beautiful and make me feel like a goddess.
  • I needed the possibility of a green, because I might feel like a green, so Impulse Cosmetics Boggart is one of my favourite metallic green shades and very serpentine on the lips. It’s an aesthetic I go for.
  • And finally, a comfy almost-neutral that makes my eyes look beautiful, Colourpop Ultra Satin Lip in Mess Around which I’m sure will get reached for a lot.

Look, I don’t recommend the average person takes a separate bag of lipsticks away with them. I don’t advise that they then intend on buying more. I don’t advise this lifestyle. I know my life and my limits, and I know that I wear at least two lipsticks a day, and I know that I’ll probably end up with new clothes which might match different things. I imagine this has given you some insight into my life and my lipstick drawer. These aren’t even my favourite lipsticks – I mean, lots are, but it’s missing some major ones (I’m not bringing any black lipstick or teal or bronze and even writing this is making me want to go and pack more, yikes).

I’ll be away until a bit into December, and then I launch into working retail christmas, which will be a combination of magic and sheer hell. I’ll do an empties post for the two months together, and my subscription boxes will most likely be late or missed all together (depending on how many shifts I’m working). I’ll also try and at some point to another Recent Lipstick Wrap-Up, with a couple of past purchases (Fyrinnae Magic Whipped Metallics, Colourpop Ultra Metallics, the new Body Shop liquid matte lipsticks and matte bullet lipsticks) and probably the ones I purchase in the US, but it might be a little bit overwhelming? We’ll see.

In Sickness and In Makeup: Makeup for the Disabled and Chronically Ill

When I  first started writing about makeup in my spare time, a long time ago, I was very barely in control of my body. I’m very open about my struggles with chronic illness, and there is very little cross section between the glamour of talking about makeup and beauty, and the world of the chronically ill or disables. I had grand intentions to write for people like myself, who were struggling with things I was struggling with.  Unfortunately, being amidst active illness made finding the time to write a little bit harder than I was anticipating.

Now here I am with my shiny new blog, arthritis flaring up, and it feels like a great time to write.

For context, my body is pretty broken. As it goes with chronic illness, once you’re diagnosed with one, your body tends to want to collect them all. I was initially diagnosed with an autoimmune condition called Crohn’s Disease at sixteen, which was followed in quick succession by issues with arthritis (predominantly in my wrists and ankles), chronic neuropathic pain, and vestibular migraine. I do also battle with major depression and generalised anxiety, both of which are thankfully under fairly decent control with medication.

“Why?” I imagine is a question that could come up. After all, there isn’t a lot of common ground between the two topics – until you’ve lived with them. Living with a body that doesn’t fit the ideal “able”ness loads the everyday with challenges that you may never have considered. Suddenly you’re plunged into a world where your body doesn’t work in the way you want it to, and things won’t cooperate. Your body tends to degrade, and so it’s easy to get tied up in trying to make it look better, or giving yourself a boost. When I’m pale and weathered and worn, putting on a red lipstick makes me feel strong. Concealer helps me cover up the evidence of missed sleep, painkillers, rashes. Filling in my brows gives me polish. Makeup helps me tie my body back together.

On the surface, I could write tips: I could write about the importance of lip balm when you’re on steroids, of brow powder when medication makes your hair fall out, of finding the perfect concealer shade. The truth is, though, that makeup for the sick is a minefield and it’s different for everyone, and the real tips are the concepts.

  • Use the available aids
    When you are a sick person, you spend your life looking for ways to make things easier for yourself. You find things that help you live. I know that my arthritis is far more manageable when I am wearing my wrist splints, and I know that severe bouts of pain are better when I stop trying to be strong and allow myself to take the pills. It extends to makeup – you don’t have to be the strong person. You can allow yourself help and it does not make you lesser of an individual. Your eyeliner wing is not less impressive because you used the card to get the line straight, or you put on your wrist splints to draw it. Sitting down to apply your makeup isn’t a weakness.
    Relying on things that help you and make your life, and your makeup application, easier, don’t make your application less valid.
  • Give yourself time
    Makeup is not easy, and living life as a disabled or chronically ill person is damn hard. Things can take longer. That doesn’t make the end results (again) any less valid, nor does it mean that looking less polished means that you are a failure. I know that doing my winged liner in the morning can take half an hour and several do-overs when my wrists are unsteady and things are shaking. If a painkiller has left me sluggish, things take longer. That’s how it is. Take time. If you want to express yourself through makeup, or that is a way you make yourself feel better, it is a completely reasonable thing to put aside a considerable amount of time for it.
  • Get help
    Makeup is a weird, wide world. It’s confusing and easy to get lost in and overwhelmed by, and even moreso when there’s a lot of other stuff in your life to get overwhelmed by. I learn a lot by spending a huge chunk of my free time – because this is what I love – watching videos and reading blogs and going into my favourite stores and talking to people. I try samples of different things and test them out on gross days – how will this foundation stand up to working on a bad pain day when I sweat a lot and get really gross? I don’t need the trouble of buying something and finding out that it doesn’t work under my very specific conditions. Ask a youtuber you trust what they think of that new eyeliner they bought. Ask me what my favourite vomit-proof lipstick is.
    Being sick, being disabled, being mentally ill, these are things that can be incredibly isolating. Find communities, find support. Ask. It’s alright and (again) there is no admission of weakness here. It’s okay.
  • And of course, finally, and most preachingly and sing-song koombaya – don’t tie your self worth to your appearance
    Everyone is going to say this and it’s so easy to dismiss it as bullshit. Honestly though – makeup is fun. Makeup is a thing that allows for expression and can be a great tool for making you feel stronger or better. That said, it isn’t something essential. You are not required by the world to look pretty or polished or “healthy”to be treated as a human, and even though people might live as though this is the truth, they will shudder the second you suggest it to them. You are a person who is dealing with a different set of obstacles and the entirety of your being is not made up on what is observable from the surface. It’s not always as simple as loving yourself, because it can be hard to love yourself when you can’t necessarily wholeheartedly embrace the body and brain that you’re in, but even if you don’t love yourself, at least cut yourself some slack.


I know I might be coming off very new age and zen, but time teaches. If you’re ever struggling with anything, shoot me an email – I’m always happy to hear a rant – but the fact of the matter is that there should be a visible intersection between disability/illness and makeup, and I’m here to do whatever I can to further that.