What’s In My Travel Bag?

Every time I travel I play the how-much-stuff-can-I-bring-in-my-carryon bag game. Since I’ve been traveling throughout Southeast Asia, I haven’t been checking any luggage. I try to only bring essentials and multi-purpose products to save space for goodies I pick up on my travels. This little bag doesn’t include my skincare or hair items, but I usually only bring a travel size face wash and moisturizer (from this Murad kit), Simple Skin Care cleansing wipes (a lifesaver on the go), a detangling hair brush and travel size shampoo/body wash. I find that more often than not, I end up with my hair in a messy bun or half-pulled back in a hair clip. Depending on where I’m traveling, I may switch out (or add) powder or foundation to match the climate of my destination. For example, when I went to Taiwan, it was extremely humid so I brought Estee Lauder Double Wear because I knew it would hold up. But, the items below are staples that I bring along no matter the destination.

BASE //

FACE //

EYES //

LIPS //

TOOLS //

I’ve found that this is the perfect combination of versatile face products to give me a fresh-faced, but not overdone look on the go. The Complexion Rescue makes for a hydrating, healthy looking base, and it’s perfect for balancing your skin on dry flights. I spot conceal and highlight my undereyes with the concealer, and use the bronzer and shimmer palette for both my face and eyes. Depending on the size of the bottle, I’d also recommend tossing a setting spray in your bag just to keep it long-lasting. Lately, I’ve been loving the Smashbox Primer Water and Milani Make It Last Setting Spray.

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of these products are from the drugstore. Not only are these all really great products in terms of performance, they’re also affordable, which is a pro when you’re traveling and don’t want to risk losing your baggage or breaking something expensive. The makeup bag I’m using is from Vera Bradley, part of the Travel Cosmetic Set, which I highly recommend–it’s a 4-piece set that works great together for longer trips and separated for short getaways.

What’s in your travel bag? Anything I need to add to my own? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Disclaimer: this blog contains Amazon affiliate links.

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holiday favorites | 2016

A brief note | The last few months have been silent on wisconsinwhimsy, and I’d like to apologize and explain why. As many in the blogging community know, it can be overwhelming to constantly generate content, create/shoot/edit images, respond to comments, and keep up with the maintenance of a website. For those of us whose blogs are a passionate hobby rather than a source of income, finding the motivation to tackle all of the intricacies of blogging in addition to our jobs, families, and outside commitments can be incredibly challenging. The past few months have been stressful and at times unhappy for me mentally, but I am pleased to say that I have accepted a new job and am hopeful that this new endeavor will take a heavy burden off of my shoulders, allowing me to dedicate more time to blogging. Thank you for your patience and readership! I adore you!

The ChrismaHannuKwanzaaka season is my favorite time of year. I would keep a Christmas tree and decorations up year round if my husband would let me! There’s something about twinkling lights, rich jewel tones, chunky sweaters, warm food, cozy blankets, and the joyful spirit of friends and family that makes this season feel particularly special. Did I get carried away there?

Unfortunately we won’t get to experience the same kiss of winter air that we’re used to in Okinawa, but I can’t really complain about sunny and 75 in December, can I? This [comparatively] warm weather won’t stop me from rocking a wine-red lip, glittery lids, and a chunky knit sweater though! Here are my 10 picks for this holiday season:

1 | Coty Airspun Powder – Translucent Extra Coverage / $11, Amazon / I recently scooped this up and have been loving it. I have extremely oily skin and this keeps me matte for nearly my entire work day! I also have very textured skin and it somehow works voodoo magic and makes me look flawless. Great stuff. Fair warning, it smells very strongly of ‘old lady smell,’ so if you’re scent-sensitive, you might want to skip this one. Also: you can get it for cheaper if a Walmart is nearby!

2 | Colourpop Lippie Stix Matte in Ellarie / $5, Colourpop / My obsession with Colourpop is basically never-ending, I know, but stay with me: the Lippie Stix are the creamiest, dreamiest, pigmentiest (not a word, roll with it) lippies ever. And you need them. Especially this one – it’s a deep cranberry with a finish somewhere between satin and matte and perfect for embracing your inner sugar plum fairy.

3 | Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Radiant Lights / $6, Ulta / I’ve raved about this highlighter before on wisconsinwhimsy, and it’s still in my regular highlighter rotation. It’s not glittery at all and packs a buildable glow that’s perfect for icing out your extended family at holiday dinners.

4 | L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black / $10, Ulta / My go-to mascara. If you want long, dramatic lashes, this should be in your hand and on your face. It’s pretty cheap and I reach for it more than I do my high-end wands. Stay fierce, my friends.

5 | Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Soft Brown / $21, Sephora / Need your brow game on point this holiday season? Brow Wiz is your friend. I love the quick, precise application, and it’s easy to find your shade. This is my favorite ABH product!

6 | Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner / $22, Sephora / If this eyeliner can survive my wedding day tears, it can survive your inevitable forced-to-be-in-the-same-house-as-your-relatives holiday meltdown tears.

7 | elf Studio Blush in Berry Merry / $3, elf / I’ve repurchased this blush a handful of times now, and I love it for the holidays. It’s a deep berry with gold shimmer. The ideal blush to go with Ellarie!

8 | China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Ravishing, Dahling / $7.50, Ulta / If Kissin’ Kate Barlow were alive in 2016, this would be her new signature polish. It’s bold, daring, and bad ass, just like her.

9 | Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray / $18, Ulta / I’m going to be honest with y’all for a moment here. I can’t do hair. My hair styles could be considered worse than most Pinterest fails. That said, this hairspray is pretty fabulous and even helps disguise my dry shampoo’d, poorly curled locks as voluminous magazine hair.

10 | Philosophy Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Body Wash in Christmas Cookie / $12 ON SALE, Ulta / I raved about this last Christmas, and maybe even the Christmas before that. It’s one of my favorite beauty products of the holiday season EVER, and that’s why I’ll forever include it on these lists. This scent is like bath crack. I want it as a body lotion, candle, and pillow spray. Because I’m that in love with it.

Have a merry Christmas, happy New Year, and festive insert-other-holiday-here!

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Battle of the Brush Cleaner: Blue Dawn vs. Dr. Bronner’s

If you’re anything like me and struggle to keep your makeup brushes clean, (read: lazy) this post might be useful to you. I’ve been really slacking on cleaning them lately, which is gross for several reasons.

1. Brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria, and you’re using them to smear old bacteria all over your face every day. (You’re welcome for the mental picture)

2. They don’t perform as well when there’s weeks – and I know some of you are really grody and have months – worth of foundation, blush, concealer and powder all caked up inside the bristles.

3. Brushes are expensive, and if you take really bad care of them, they will become sad, unusable, bacteria sticks and you’ll have to throw them away. And wasting money is gross.

Of the brushes I own, my least favorite to clean are the ones that get the most use – flat top kabuki brushes. I use them to apply both powder and liquid products every day.  Pictured below are my three flat buki brushes: e.l.f. Studio Powder Brush // $3 at e.l.f. | Lamora Flat Kabuki T01 // price flexible, currently $7.90 at Amazon | Sigma F80 // $24 at Sigma

 

The Lamora & Sigma brushes are especially dirty, and here’s a nice close-up of my Sigma F80 to really drive home the point that brushes get 50 shades of grotesque after a week or two of regular use:


I typically use Dawn dish soap to clean my brushes because it’s super effective at breaking down the oiliness and waxiness of the gunk in my brushes, but recently I ran out of it and started using Suave shampoo because I had it laying around. The Suave worked well enough on other brushes that didn’t develop a lot of buildup, such as my blush and bronzer brushes, but it didn’t work as well for my foundation brushes. I’ve heard that many people use olive and coconut oil to break down the buildup in their brushes and more gently cleanse, but both cause my acne to flare up, so I avoid using them near my face. I should note that I have been using Dawn to clean my brushes for two years and have never had any issues with shedding or damage as a result of using it.

I paid a little visit to my beloved Target to pick up some Dawn, and happened to see some of Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure Castile Soap (wow, that is quite the name). I’ve actually used the soap before, many years ago, and have heard many bloggers recommend it for brush cleaning. I found a smaller bottle of it in the travel section for $3 and decided to compare it to my trusty Dawn.

I clean my brushes by squirting about a teaspoon of soap into my palm and swirling the brush – dry- into the soap in my palm. I then turn on the faucet and continue to swirl the brush in my palm as the water suds the soap, continually rinsing my palm and the brush until all of the soap and makeup are rinsed.

My Lamora brush was the clear winner of griminess, and I was able to get all of the gunk out with one go with the Dawn original blue dish soap. I used the Dr. Bronner’s soap on my Sigma brush, and while it did remove a considerable amount of makeup, there was still quite a bit left. I repeated the process twice with the Dr. Bronner’s soap, and ended up giving it a third wash with Dawn before the bristles looked white again (both of the pictured brushes have pre-existing staining). In the following photo, the top row shows my Sigma F80 after two rinses with Dr. Bronner’s and my Lamora buki after one rinse with Dawn. The bottom row shows both brushes after being fully cleaned, the Sigma F80 with 2 rinses of Dr. Bronner’s and 1 with Dawn, and the Lamora with 1 rinse of Dawn.


The Verdict:

Dawn is a better brush cleanser. That being said, I used the Dr. Bronner’s on my e.l.f. brush, and was able to clean it completely with one wash. It had about 3 days’ worth of makeup built up in it. I think the Dr. Bronner’s is a great multi-purpose product, and can definitely be effective as a brush cleanser if used regularly. For tough jobs, I would skip it. It does smell great, though, and is an option for those of you who want to stick to more natural products: it’s fair trade and made with organic oils, has no artificial preservatives, detergents, or foaming agents, and can be used for – you guessed it – 18 different things!

Dawn, which can be purchased nearly anywhere – grocery stores, Target, Walmart, even Kwik Trip! – is relatively cheap. I picked up a 9oz bottle of Dawn Ultra original blue at Target for $1.02. Dr. Bronner’s is significantly more expensive (for obvious reasons), running $17 at Target for 32oz. Dr. Bronner’s magic soaps can also be purchased at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, if those retailers float your boat more than Target.

What do YOU use to wash your brushes, and how often do you clean them? Let me know in the comments!