Like most women, I am always looking for that new, incredible makeup product that really delivers and makes you look great. That said, I also like to keep my makeup light and natural looking, especially when I travel. Whether you’re packing for a vacation or just trying to get ready for work in the morning, these are my top 5 must have makeup products.
This list is broken into 5 categories of makeup with a variety of choices including travel sized makeup. If you are planning a trip, also check out our 20 must have minimalist travel accessories.
Our Top 5 Must Have Makeup Products
If you want to age well, you need sunscreen EVERY SINGLE DAY. No matter what! Even if you’re in the car on a cloudy day. It’s never too late to change your ways and be a sunscreen and hat girl.
I am a massive fan of Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40. It’s clear, feels so soft going on and it the best makeup primer. Anything you put on top of this sunscreen just glides right over it minimizing fine lines. AND it’s the perfect travel size that will last for so long. Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40 that is so pretty for summer with a dewy finish.
One of the most popular sunscreens with beauty influencers is Tula Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen SPF 30. It is more of a lotion that moisturizes your skin but doesn’t leave you looking oily throughout the day. If you prefer a matte look or you might be bothered by the tropical smell, this isn’t the one for you.
Laura Mercier Tinted Sunscreen
Depending on the amount of coverage you need to even out skin tone, a tinted SPF moisturizer like Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 may eliminate the need for foundation or heavier makeup on top. This product is considered the best in the category year after year for good reason. It hydrates the skin to soften fine lines and you can add more makeup coverage if you need it.
Concealer is one of those products that really makes a difference when you are going for a natural makeup look. It helps hide imperfections like dark circles, blemishes and dark spots, so you look significantly better but you don’t look like you’re necessarily wearing makeup. It can also act as a highlighter. The key to concealer being effective and looking good is the way you apply it.
Anyone who watches YouTube makeup tutorials knows that the concealer favorite is Tarte Shape Tape. The only thing, is that most of the videos are made by women who are essentially makeup artists and their process can make you look like you’re wearing gobs of makeup.
To get a natural look, put dots of concealer where you need it with a small application brush, then use this beauty blender sponge dupe (less than $5) to smooth it out with a dabbing motion. Less is more so add another layer if you didn’t get enough with the first pass. You can also use it on any dark spots or around your nose. If you use it to make a line down your nose and blend it, it will act as a pretty highlighter.
Nars Concealer is a creamy concealer that comes in 30 shades. It has won the Allure beauty awards. The people that use it, swear by it for years. And best of all, the Nars travel size is perfect to test it out and great for a trip across town or around the world. Last but not least, I’ve included a L’Oréal full coverage concealer that is a top product at a great price.
Mascara & Defining the Eyes
Mascara is at the top of my list of must have makeup products. Without it, we look a little naked and potentially older with sparse or thin lashes. A majority of the time, the problem is easily fixed with the right mascara. For a natural makeup look, mascara doesn’t have to be heavy, it just needs to make your lashes look fuller and longer.
Drug Store Mascara
There are great drugstore mascaras, like Essence False Lash Effect Mascara from Amazon. A reader recommended it as her absolute favorite, I tried it and loved it too. It’s an awesome deal for $5. Another great mascara that’s a little more expensive and will give you nice, long, full lashes is this L’Oreal mascara.
Primer or Mascara/Primer Combo
Depending on your situation, there are 2 things you might add to your mascara routine to keep your lashes looking natural and not like Tammy Faye Baker. If your lashes really need more volume, try using a primer first. A friend of mine swears by this primer. My favorite mascara that was discontinued still makes a mascara/primer combo that is a great option.
I keep the brush from my latest mascara when it runs out. I wash it with soap, rinse with warm water until it’s completely clean and do a spritz of rubbing alcohol to completely disinfect it. Then, when I apply mascara, I use the clean brush in between mascara layers to get rid of any clumps and separate my lashes. Some people buy a mascara comb but you already have one for free in the house right now. A cleaned mascara wand will also work as a eyebrow comb too.
Last but not least, I personally feel like I need a little more eye definition than I can get from mascara alone so I add eyeliner. Not everyone needs that, especially when they truly want that natural look. For me, a little eyeliner, finishes off the look. For a daytime look, I use the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner Color: Intense Black. It’s waterproof so it won’t smudge or run. Depending on how you hold it, you can make a very thin or thicker line.
Cheeks – Blush, Bronzer and Highlighter
Benefit Cosmetics Rocateur Rose Gold Blush gives you the perfect flush color on your cheeks. I used to change blush colors for winter or summer but this is a great color all year long. The packaging seemed bulky at first but I love that the product lasts forever and never breaks. It also comes with a mini brush inside so you don’t have to carry a makeup brush too.
Blush adds a youthful glow and gives definition to your cheeks. If you want to take the look up a notch, you can use this contour for an even prettier, glowy look. This product is a highlighter and bronzer duo. There are so many highlighters on the market that are too much. This one is perfect and more subtle. Love that it has both products that are perfect for giving definition and color. It’s on the expensive side so you might like this bronzer as an alternative.
For a natural makeup look, your blush or bronzer can double as an eye shadow.
Finding the right nude lipstick can be a serious challenge. I finally found one that I love and it appears that the rest of the world feels the same. Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is an absolute must have makeup product that’s long lasting, makes your lips look fuller and feels great. There’s also a matching lip liner. My favorite shade (and maybe everyone else’s because it’s their most popular) is Pillow Talk. It’s a really pretty nude pink. As you wear it, the color wears down a little and gets prettier. Also comes in 12 other shades. https://rstyle.me/n/ddszircefq7
If you just want to give it a try or want an even smaller travel sized version that would also be great for an evening bag, there’s a mini lipstick and liner combo. Another option if you go through a lot of lipstick is this less expensive, drug store dupe that will save you money.
A Natural Makeup Look is Perfect for Travel Makeup or Every Day
Lately, a lot of us are skipping makeup when we can and focusing on anti aging creams. If you need to go out, you might try to hide some imperfections or add a little eye makeup so you don’t feel embarrassed running into anyone you know. The real goal for a natural makeup look is to enhance your look while keeping it toned down so you don’t look like you are all made up. It should have that just at the beach feel or a fresh faced look.
To get the natural look and stick with just a handful of products, there are two goals. First, get your skin to look flawless or at least even. Second, enhance your features to have a youthful, healthy look.
Hope you find this list of must have makeup products helpful. The makeup essentials we focused on hide imperfections, highlight the eyes, and add a hint of color to the cheeks and lips for a natural makeup look, perfect for home or travel. We also included makeup products in travel sizes that are compact but will last you for a long trip. There’s nothing worse than running out of something in another country where everything is different.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. Or if you have any hot tips about how you do a minimal makeup look, or travel makeup that you love, please share.
NikkiMarch 6, 2021 at 11:04 am
You are sharing essential tips when we will travel, Thanks for the giving the make up essential tips with us.
JeniferMarch 8, 2021 at 6:05 pm
Glad you found them helpful!
Elnora MarionMarch 4, 2021 at 12:20 pm
Wow, thanks for this Travel Makeup Essentials, I think sunscreen is a must for travel makeup essentials.
Gwen GottliebMay 24, 2020 at 3:01 pm
Love these makeup suggestions! And the skin care! Never been a fan of add on lashes, but I just may have to try those mink lashes! Thanks for all the fab suggestions!
JeniferMay 24, 2020 at 3:20 pm
The nice thing about the mink lashes is that you can choose the look and definitely wear less makeup with them.
Susan GoldmanFebruary 26, 2018 at 11:10 pm
BROW DRAMA by Maybelline. love this.
adminFebruary 28, 2018 at 2:58 pm
Definitely checking out Brow Drama!!
JulieFebruary 9, 2018 at 7:39 pm
These are great recommendations! Definitely want to try that moisturizer. My aging skin is getting so dry!
adminFebruary 11, 2018 at 11:39 pm
Our aging skin loves tinted sunscreen 🙂
Lori MurphyFebruary 9, 2018 at 3:38 pm
It’s a really cheap brand,so some might shy away, but Essence mascara, “The False Lashes ” is my absolute favorite. It separates, lengthens and gives volume as well as any expensive brand I have tried.
adminFebruary 9, 2018 at 3:51 pm
I can’t wait to try it! There’s nothing better than a great product at a great price. Definitely going to check out Essence mascara today. Thank you!