Packing a Makeup Bag for Different Occasions

I have a few trips planned this summer…some with kids and some without. Not only are my wardrobe choices completely different, it seems my beauty bag requires a different selection, as well. When we travel with our four boys, we tend to spend the majority of our time engaged in sightseeing or extreme activities (i.e. zip lining, swimming with dolphins, etc). We don’t spend a lot of time at fine restaurants or upscale venues. We keep it pretty active and usually go so hard all day that dinner is somewhere easy like an outdoor café or pizzeria.

When it’s just my husband and me, it’s a different story. We indulge in fine restaurants, art galleries, and the theater. These activities necessitate a certain dress code that dolphins do not demand.

I am currently packing for a short vacation with my husband. I’m packing casual and dressy clothes, as well as a plethora of shoes (a girl’s got to have choices). I am also packing my foundation primer (hot weather), Westman Atelier foundation sticks, blush, and cream bronzer, cream eyeshadow crayons, drama lipstick and natural shades, highlighters, and liquid and pencil eyeliners. My skincare products contain oil and gel cleansers, sheet masks, toner, serums, retinols, moisturizer, eye cream, eye gel pads and sunscreen. I can afford to take and use all these products because I’ll have time to pamper myself. This got me thinking. How am I going to have time for these things when we go to Europe with the boys? The answer is…I won’t.

When we pondered the kind of trip we wanted to take with the boys, we realized we wanted them to see as much as we could possibly show them. Since all four are now high school students, we recognize that SAT prep, college visits, and the like will soon take over and trips with them will become more difficult. They are teenage boys, however, and their attention span for sightseeing will likely cap at 48 hours in any single locale. As a result, we decided not to spend more than 72 hours in any one place. Instead, we will be visiting six distinct European cities within three weeks. That means sleeping on trains several nights. Goodbye, triple cleanse, heck…goodbye, double cleanse…hello, cleansing wipes. Oh, and waiting for mom to put makeup on in the morning…maybe…if it takes literally five minutes. So, what do I pack?

I don’t have the whole thing figured out yet, but I know that my Rilastil cleansing wipes are essential. I also have to take Blinc mascara. I can take that off with water and don’t even need a mirror. I’ll definitely take my Westman Atelier foundation and blush sticks because I can blend them in with my fingers and they’re not in glass bottles. A brow pencil. I have to have a brow pencil. I also have to take my Skinceuticals CE Ferulic serum and my Zelens Power A drops. Those are non-negotiable, but what other bulky items can I swap? I’ll take a Supergoop mineral dusting sunscreen so I can keep it in my purse and use it on everyone. I can take a small jar with my favorite eye cream scooped into it. Coola lip balm with color will double as lipstick and has sunscreen, which is good because we’ll be walking so much. A travel shampoo and conditioner along with some dry shampoo should last me just long enough if I wash my hair every other day.

How about you?  What beauty tips do you have for packing makeup and toiletries efficiently when not only space but time will be an issue?

It looks like I have enough room to add some more things! Whatever shall I take?


  • The latest from Angela
I have been a beauty junkie for what seems like forever, but before I did anything about it, I went to law school. (Yes, my life is a little like the reverse of Legally Blonde.) Then, I worked as a prosecutor in Sonoma County after which I moved to the DC area with my husband in ’97. I served as Majority Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee followed by a year-long stint at a lobbying firm. You get the picture. It was then that I decided to act on my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Finding my favorite beauty products proved to be impossible without stepping foot in a mall–the horror. So, I decided to bring my favorites to Alexandria. A few trips to New York and a flight to France and Bellacara was born in March 2000.

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.

1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


1 Comment

  1. Avatar Karen says:

    I decant my CE Ferulic into a small dark glass vial with a dropper that you can purchase (in a 12 pack, unfortunately, but it’s cheap) on Amazon. Extra benefit is that I expose what remains in the original bottle to less oxygen and the product stays the same color for longer. I decant my oil cleanser into a smaller travel pump bottle too. Also have been loving the powdered facial cleansers you can get from some Asian brands. Been using the Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash from Korea for the last couple years. A tablespoon will last about a week, it saves both space and weight!! Recently tried a sample from the Japanese brand DMC and like it better though, so will likely switch to that. Between the powder wash and decanted liquids, I can make a little extra room for souvenirs, like beauty products from my travels! French drug stores have the best stuff, you should definitely leave room for that!

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