Given that we are on the road for a year+ and carrying 40L backpacks plus one small camera bag, it’s no surprise that people are curious as to what did and didn’t make the cut. Generally, questions center on clothes, technology, tools/gear, etc.
But, every now and again, someone asks me about the cosmetics I carry … both men (yes, mostly gay) and women. There must be a stigma about asking such a thing, as the question always goes something like this: “This is going to sound so vain, but I am curious … what’s in your make-up bag?” (spoken in a sheepish, half-whisper). This is usually followed by: “I mean, not that you need make-up or anything … but I can tell you wear it, so … “.
I appreciate the sensitivity, but it gives me a chuckle. I wear makeup precisely because I think I need it – it makes me look and feel better. It doesn’t hurt my feelings that others also might think I need it – that’s the whole point of makeup!
I don’t think this alone makes me (or any other makeup wearer) vain, just as not wearing makeup doesn’t necessarily make a person lazy or slovenly. The motorcycle hordes are particularly judgmental when it comes to this stuff. All the hardcore, dirty, challenging, scary stuff you conquer is somehow diminished by the fact that you want to cover up that four-alarm zit on your chin. I imagine women with other male-dominated hobbies and interests know what I’m talking about.
Honestly, who cares? I say do what makes you feel good.
Though I used to be very into makeup in high school and college, I’ve been steadily evolving into a beauty minimalist as I age. I tell myself that I’m purposely cultivating a look that is “undone” – not too perfect or polished. The truth is, I am really lazy when it comes to this stuff. It’s just not my thing anymore.
That said, I’m not a bare-faced kind of gal either, though I have friends that are. Some days I take their lead and go without, but, most days, I have a little something on.
My minimalist tendencies made it very easy to prepare for this trip, and my routine is virtually the same as it was at home (minus some special eye creams – bring on the wrinkles).
Here’s a look at what’s in my makeup bag right now:
- Garnier BB Cream in Light/Medium. This was one of the first BB creams on the market, and I think it’s the best one out there (disclosure: I have only tried drugstore brands – yes, I am a cheapskate). This stuff serves as a lotion, sunscreen, and light makeup. 3-in-1 products like this are a dream come true for the minimalist, traveler or not.
- Maybelline Cover Stick Concealer for dark circles as well as the occasional blemish.
- Maybelline Cheeky Glow Blush. I am very pale and need a little pick-me up for my face. I bought this one in ?à L?t, Vietnam, after the blush I brought from home broke all over my bag. When it runs out (or more likely breaks in my bag again), I don’t plan on replacing it – I’ll just use the red lip crayon I brought and rub a little of that into my cheeks.
- Physician’s Formula Solar Powder bronzer. In addition to its intended purpose (providing a little color and contour to the face), I use this as eyeshadow.
- Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Powder for my shiny T-zone and to set concealer where used.
- bareMinerals READY Eyeshadow duo (“The Epiphany” palette) given to me by my dear friend (thanks, V!), who works for the company. This stuff is fabulous and more luxurious than anything else in my bag. I reserve this for special occasions/when I feel like getting dolled up.
- Maybelline Falsies Big Eyes mascara. Maybelline makes the best mascara ever. I have been using Big Eyes for a while, but I’ve tried almost every other mascara they make. They’re all good.
- COVERGIRL LipPerfection Jumbo Gloss Balm (#245). This wonder stick provides a bit of color and moisture to pale lips, can be layered for a more dramatic red lip, and can also be rubbed into cheeks instead of powder blush.
- Makeup brushes: big fluffy brush for powder and bronzer, blush brush, eye shadow brush, and angled brush (used to both fill in brows and line eyes).
Of course, this is all subject to change as things run out, break, spill, or get left behind accidentally in a hotel room. With the exception of the blush, I bought everything in the U.S., and while I’ve seen some familiar brands and products over here, I doubt I’ll be able to find all the exact products I use.
Who knows – maybe my time in Asia will convince me to swap my bronzer for the skin whitening products that are so ubiquitous here. The grass is always greener, eh?
Peace, love, and happiness –