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.
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.
An old blog post of mine that gets hits pretty consistently is one I wrote about product empties. So, this is going to be just like that but on steroids. When we first moved to Okinawa, I wasn’t familiar with the strict rules on recycling and waste disposal, so I kept saving my empty cans of dry shampoo because I didn’t know what to do with them. (P.S., it turns out they’re recyclable) Eventually, I had filled up the bottom shelf of my toiletry closet with empty products and thought, “I’ll blog about it!” (Actually, I think I defensively made up that I was blogging about it to deflect my husband’s questions about why I was accumulating a small landfill of cosmetics in our side closet, but…)
This was actually really fun for me to go through and reflect on some of the products I actually made it through. Oftentimes I get so excited about trying new products that I forget about the ones I already have!
Rimmel Stay Matte Powder / I’ve probably gone through 7-10 of these powders over the years, and while I no longer use it (I’m currently in love with Cover FX Illuminating Setting Powder), it served me well and kept me matte-r than most powders. I probably won’t repurchase since I’ve found better alternatives, but it’s an affordable and readily available option for oily skin.
it Cosmetics Celebration Illumination Foundation / I used to love this powder foundation (see this post about covering acne), but somewhere along the way my skin decided it no longer wanted to be friends, and thus, I had to break up with it. It’s a great powder for touch ups due to the coverage though, so I still keep a spare in my car.
Benefit Hoola and Dallas / I’ve raved about these powders to y’all in probably 1/3 of all cosmetic blogs I’ve written, but just in case you’ve missed all of those somehow: I love these babies. Hoola is the perfect bronzer for contouring (even for pale princesses!) and Dallas is such a gorgeous bronzey-plum blush. They’re worth the price, imo.
Nars Creamy Radiant Concealer / I HATED THIS. Okay, hate is a strong word. But I really wasn’t impressed for how much hype it gets. First of all, it’s hella expensive. I don’t mind paying a pretty penny for quality high-end products, but $30 for such a teeny wand of concealer is a little over the top for me. The coverage was just meh and it looked cakey under my eyes. I don’t get the hype but I will say the color match was on point!
NYX HD Studio Photogenic Concealer / I’ve raved about this concealer in the past as well, but lately it hasn’t been working for me either. I’m wondering if my skin is changing? This concealer has a whipped consistency and a tendency to make my undereye area look crepe-y, and the shade selection is pretty poor.
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser / If you’ve been watching YouTube makeup tutorials since back when they weren’t trendy, you know the crazy level of hype this concealer got. It’s good, but for some reason I’m not jumping to repurchase.
Alba Botanica AcneDote Deep Pore Wash / This cleanser lasted me almost 8 months, so that alone is impressive, but I don’t think it did much for my acne. It’s pretty drying. Won’t repurchase.
Fake Bake Flawless Darker Self Tan Liquid / I’ve made my love for this product abundantly clear on wisconsinwhimsy. It’s a dark, natural tan that smells delish and doesn’t transfer (just do not get wet for 24 hours or else the color guide will make you look super splotchy). Read more about how I tan at home here, but I’m testing a new tanner (only because my beloved Fake Bake can’t be shipped overseas ) so expect an update soon.
Clinique Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion + Cleansing Foam / I bought the entire set, but for some reason didn’t finish the third step, which is a treatment lotion. I didn’t get amazing results using these products, and they were pretty drying. Meh. Next.
Wet n Wild Photofocus Setting Spray / This setting spray sucks. The packaging is super cheap (it’s WnW, I know) and the mist is not fine or even, so it’s basically equivalent to spraying yourself in the face with a Super Soaker. And it won’t even lock your makeup in place. Pass.
NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray / I love this stuff! It’s not super mattifying, but it does keep my makeup in place all day. It’s pretty refreshing, too. And cheap! #bonuspoints
Daiso Japan Puff Sponge Detergent / Step aside, overpriced brush and sponge cleansers, this cost me ¥100 and it works amazingly. I didn’t realize how much old foundation was lurking behind in my beauty blender until I started using this. If you’re not in Japan (or California, which I believe has a Daiso, though I’m not sure this product is sold there) you can find it on Amazon.
Biosilk Silk Therapy Lite / If you’ve ever used the regular Biosilk Silk Therapy, you know that it feels like applying syrup to your hair. You have to use a teeny, tiny amount or risk looking like you just wrestled in a pool of baby oil. The Lite version was definitely lighter and made my hair feel smooth, but it’s still a heavyweight product that doesn’t really offer long-term results.
Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Angel / The mascara wand makes this product a deal breaker for me. Only one part of it actually has bristles on it, and I poked myself in the eye with the plastic applicator pretty much every time I used it. It didn’t push my lashes up or make them look like falsies, so skip this one unless mascara-induced blindness is on your bucket list.
Maybelline The Magnum Barbie / This mascara has built-in fibers to make lashes look longer and thicker. It’s also only available in certain Asian countries, so if you’re in the States you’ll have to admire the cute Barbie packaging from afar. It made my lashes look super fab, but unfortunately the fibers would flake off into my eyes throughout the day and really irritate them.
Maybelline The Falsies / I just really love Maybelline mascaras, apparently. This is a classic drugstore staple for long and full lashes, and I always keep a spare tube in my gym bag for on-the-go glam.
Too Faced Better Than Sex / I swore I would never repurchase this mascara, and then I did. I got it 40% off during a flash sale on Too Faced’s website, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bought it. I did like it better this time around, but my same complaints of flakiness, smudges and crusty lashes still prevailed. I won’t repurchase (and I swear I really mean it this time!)
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz / I used Soft Brown for years, but I’ve realized Caramel is actually a better color match for me. I love, love, LOVE this brow pencil and will always come back to it.
NYX Micro Brow Pencil / I think this is a pretty good dupe for the ABH Brow Wiz, and as you can see, I’ve repurchased it a zillion times. I actually think there are more empty tubes lurking in my car somewhere. My only complaint is that I go through them quickly, but other than that it’s a faithful option for people who need precise brow help.
Milani EasyBrow Automatic Pencil / Skip this. The pencil is way too soft so it gives a really harsh payoff that looks a little “Crayola-to-the-face-ish.”
K-Palette 1-Day Tattoo Eyeliner / This eyeliner really does last all day, but the tip isn’t precise enough for a clean cat eye and eyeshadow transfers onto it really easily. It’s also only available in Southeast Asia, but if you are interested in trying it, you might be able to find it on Amazon???
Milani Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Eyeliner / This is the closest I’ve found to a drugstore dupe for Stila Stay All Day liquid liner. It’s precise and very black. I’d definitely buy it again, and I’m actually wondering why I haven’t done so already 🤔
BareMinerals Lasting Line Eyeliner / I like this for the most part, but it does smudge and I also don’t really wear black pencil liner…so I probably won’t repurchase.
L’Oreal Lumi Cushion / So, I have mixed feelings on this. I actually liked it because it made my skin look really fresh and healthy, but there’s also not much product and the cushion sponge it comes with sucks. I applied it with my beauty blender instead because of how terrible the cushion was. It also only has light coverage and definitely doesn’t hold up to the intense (aka 100%) humidity and heat in Okinawa, so it’s not on my list of items to repurchase. It does have a nice shade range though!
Estee Lauder Double Wear / Y’all I drank the Kool Aid and was obsessed with this foundation for a long time. I even wore it on my wedding day. I’ve seen the light though…and I will not be repurchasing. It’s heavy, doesn’t control my oil, and is not pale-skin friendly.
Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin / I loooooove the Better Skin concealer, but this foundation doesn’t live up to the same hype. The foundation is hard to color match and oxidizes, so if your skin isn’t naturally orange, I don’t recommend it. It also made me a hot, oily mess. Kind of like a McDonald’s fryer.
Revlon ColorStay / I swore by this foundation in college so I did one of those things where you look back on the past and reminisce on things you thought were great but really weren’t. I thought to myself, “Remember when your face looked super cakey and broken out all the time? Let’s relive that.” And I bought this foundation. And then remembered why I stopped using it.
L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte / I think this foundation is a good, affordable drugstore foundation. It’s not something I reach for often, but I do usually have a tube of it somewhere in my makeup closet. It has medium coverage is surprisingly paraben-free.
So…we need to talk about something. It’s about how lazy I am with my hair. I have never, and I seriously mean never, taken an interest in hairstyling. If I wouldn’t look like a naked mole rat, I’d probably shave it all off my head. (Props to all the people who rock the hairless look, I envy you) As you can imagine, I have a super strict hair routine. It goes something like: brush every 3 days, shampoo, occasionally condition, messy bun, dry shampoo, repeat. 😬 I used Batiste religiously when I lived in the States, but unfortunately it’s not available here (apparently Japanese people aren’t lazy bums like me) and aerosols can’t be shipped overseas. Recently the PX has gotten more dry shampoo options, but over the past year it was super limited.
Bumble and Bumble Hair Powder / This stuff was life changing when my hair was red/brown. It actually might be the best dry shampoo I’ve ever used, but unfortunately it’s $30 and I can’t justify that kind of investment into a product that will only last a couple of weeks.
got 2b Rockin It Dry Shampoo / If you like chunks of whatever dry shampoo is made of floating in your hair like extra-large flakes of dandruff, buy this. If not, avoid it like the plague.
Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak / This dry shampoo is just okay. It smells non-offensive and works decently, but I’d say it’s only good for the day after washing and not anymore after that. It only helps with minor shine, so definitely skip it if you want to extend your style further than that.
Dove Dry Shampoo / As you can see, I repurchased this a lot, lol. It smells good and actually works decently, although I still wouldn’t really give it more than four stars. It just happened to be the best product available to me. One day I’ll return to my precious Batiste.
That’s all, folks! This isn’t a complete list of products, since I know I slipped up and threw stuff away every now and then, but I hope you enjoyed being nosy and reading all about my trash. What products are you trashing?
It’s been terribly rainy and stormy here, so I’ve had plenty of time to play around with makeup for fun. Today I kept telling myself that I was going to do a natural look, and then I had an oopsie with my eyeliner and ran with it 😬 What are you wearing today?
Details are as follows •
Face | Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 foundation in classic ivory • Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in fairly light neutral • Rimmel Stay Matte powder in translucent
Cheeks | Benefit Hoola bronzer • Nyx Baked Blush in foreplay • Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal
Brows | Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in dark brown • Nyx Auto Eyebrow Pencil in taupe
Eyes | Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette (I used creme brulee, salted caramel, hazelnut, milk chocolate, & marzipan) • Wet n Wild creme eyeliner in black • Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara
Happy weekend everyone! This is a short entry, although I promise I’m sitting on about four blogs that I need to roll out. Alex and I visited the big new Aeon mall, and at his suggestion I picked something out from the cosmetics counter in the department store. If you read my last Fri-yay blog you know that the drugstore and high end cosmetics are all together in the Aeon department store, which is kind of cool.
My husband and I love Star Wars, and since I didn’t try any of the cool Covergirl x Star Wars beauty products back in the US, I thought it would be fun to try out one of the products here. My Stila Stay All Day liquid liner is on its very last threads of life, so this liquid liner caught my eye. Just look at the cute Stormtrooper! I wish I’d taken photos in the store because they also had a cute one with R2D2 and C3PO. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what shade they were, even with the assistance of Google Translate. I did a lot of Google-ing and figured out that the Stormtrooper one was “soft black.” I don’t know what I was expecting out of soft black – maybe still black but not like…black hole black? I’m not sure. I will say that I was super disappointed!
^That’s with multiple swipes back and forth. It is barely pigmented! The tip is very precise and similar to the Stila, which I like. However, this barely shows up over my eyeshadow, so it’s almost not worth it. It does add a teensy bit of definition though, so I’ll still use it on occasion. It was ¥1200, so roughly $11.
Although this was fun to try, it’s definitely not something I’ll repurchase. If you have any recommendations of products to try or things you’d like to see reviewed, let me know! I’m waiting on an order from Colourpop and I’ve been testing some drugstore brow products, so look out for those in the coming weeks!
It’s a beautiful (and hot!) Friday here in Japan. I’ve been struggling over the last few weeks with what to blog about – it seems like I have so much to share and yet writer’s block has been haunting me. So I figured for now I’ll spare you all of the details of our journey (although we did make it to Japan safely almost exactly 4 weeks ago and have been settling into our new home) and instead jump into a fun Friday series of fun things I’ve been able to see, try, or experience!
Alex and I took a trip to the Aeon Mall in American Village and I got to see Japanese beauty counters for the first time. I was surprised to see high end beauty products sold right next to what would normally be sold at a drugstore in America. I was also surprised to see that brands such as Revlon and Maybelline were much more expensive than in the States. I picked out two products to test, Makeup Revolution’s Blushing Hearts triple baked blusher in Candy Queen of Hearts, and Maybelline’s The Magnum Barbie Mascara.
I was drawn to the blush because it looked like an awesome dupe for Too Faced’s Sweethearts blush, which carries a $30 price tag. The MUR dupe was ¥1300, roughly $11.80 with today’s exchange rate. Definitely more affordable! It’s a beautifully pigmented blush with a satin sheen. The Candy Queen of Hearts shade looks like it’s an almost identical dupe for the shade Candy in the Too Faced counterpart. I’ve been using this blush almost daily for a week now with no complaints – it’s gorgeous!
I was drawn to the mascara, because, well…Barbie. The packaging is cute and I was intrigued by the fact that I hadn’t seen anything like it in the States. I have absolutely no idea what any of the packaging says, so I tried to read as many English-translated blogs as I could to figure out what the claims were! I was able to gather that it is waterproof and meant to give doll-like lashes. It had a curved brush and lash fibers to extend the length of your lashes! One of the first things I noticed about this mascara was the smell. I can’t describe it, but it’s strong. I compared the scent to my Maybelline The Falsies Black Drama mascara, and they smell the same, although the Barbie one is definitely stronger. The brush is pretty similar to the Falsies brush in the US, and I think it has a relatively wet formula. I haven’t taken many photos wearing this mascara, but you can see below in my Snapchat update that it definitely gives doll-like lashes even with one coat.
Despite how beautiful it makes my lashes look, I have a few complaints. First of all, this mascara is beyond waterproof. In fact I think it might actually be bulletproof. After using makeup wipes, eye makeup remover, and cleanser, I still had residue on my lashes. It took so much scrubbing that it irritated my eyes. My next complaint is that if I don’t seal the final coat with another mascara, the fibers flake off into my eyes. That’s no bueno! Overall, I still think it makes my lashes look fabulous and I’ll definitely use it for special occasions! It was ¥1400 yen, so again, it was more expensive than I had anticipated. Maybelline The Falsies mascara in the States runs for about $6-7.
Overall, I’m generally pleased with both of these goodies and it was so fun getting to explore new products! I hope to experiment with some skin care products next, so if anyone knows of some great products available in Japan, please let me know in the comments!
Forgive me for being a week late – we are so close to our moving date and I’ve had a lot on my plate! March has been a fun month, and I can’t believe April is already upon us. I think every month that I blog about my favorites I write something to the effect of being surprised at the passage of time. But it really does shock me at how quickly it seems to pass! The past few weeks I have really been loving a light, fresh faced look, and my favorites for this month definitely reflect that!
Fizz & Bubble Large Bath Bombs // $6 // Ulta / A friend of mine gifted me a few of these. I love taking baths to de-stress, so this was a perfect gift! They smell fantastic and the fizz is fun. The Hawaiian Lei one did turn my bath water a little blue, but other than that I haven’t noticed that they have any special effects like LUSH bath bombs typically do. If that’s not important to you, definitely check these out! I actually dropped the Lavender Fields one in a bath right after I finished taking these photos and it left my skin feeling super soft!
Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Peony // $5 // Target / If you’re like me and love the peppermint tingle of Burt’s Bees lip balm but also like a little color on your lips, this is a great product. Peony is a shimmery soft rose pink shade. This is a perfect everyday product and I love that it’s just a tinted balm! I also have the shades Fig and Rhubarb.
Nyx Micro Brow Pencil in Taupe // $10 // Ulta / I’ve been on the hunt for a product similar to Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz (my fave brow tool!) because I go through it so quickly and it’s expensive. At half the price, this is an amazing product! Taupe isn’t the perfect shade for me, but my Target is always out of stock of most Nyx products, so I didn’t have a choice! They only had the shades Taupe and Espresso. I think that Ash Brown is probably the shade I need, so I’m going to try to find it on my next trip to Ulta, but for now the Taupe is actually working really well! I love that it’s a super skinny pencil, which allows you to make precise lines and draw in what looks like natural brow hairs. It is a little on the dry side, but I can look past that for the price! I will definitely be repurchasing this when the time comes.
Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating Foundation in Warm Ivory // $11 // Ulta / This foundation was recommended to me by Emaly over at The Traveler’s Wife, and although it’s definitely not one of my favorite foundations ever, I have been using it a lot! I typically reach for matte foundations that give me a flat look and keep me from getting oily. With the summer months ahead, I’ve been going for a more laid-back and natural look. This foundation has a satin finish that gets a little dewy on me throughout the day. It’s medium coverage and does actually feel a little hydrating, which surprised me! For a drugstore foundation, I think it’s pretty good. My only complaint is that it builds up a lot of gunk in my brushes.
Benefit They’re Real Tinted Primer // $24 // Ulta / This is a deluxe sample, but I am seriously considering buying the full size! This is not your average mascara, and unlike the regular formula of They’re Real, it’s much softer on your lashes. The original They’re Real formula seems to dry to a really hard, crusty finish, and is nearly impossible to wash off. This formula is in a deep brown shade, and can be worn in place of mascara, or underneath. It gives a really pretty false-lash effect that basically makes your natural lashes look super long. If you have blonde hair, I think this is an amazing product! My eyelashes are nearly see-through without mascara, so this is perfect for the laid-back look I’ve been going for.
Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream // $42 // Sephora / I honestly have no idea where I got this from! It must have come in a kit or as a deluxe sample, because I don’t believe that you can buy this small size on its own. I randomly found this in one of my beauty bags and have been using it in favor of my beloved Clinique Dramatically Different moisturizing gel, which I ran out of. This is more of a day cream, so it’s pretty thick, but it doesn’t make me oily or greasy at all! It also smells fabulous.
Chapstick Total Hydration in Soothing Vanilla // $3 // Walmart / I’ve mentioned my anxious habit of picking the skin on my lips several times before, and I’m always trying out new lip products to help heal them. My usual go-tos, Vaseline Lip Therapy and Bag Balm, are not very portable. I love that this comes in a twist-up tube, and also that it feels super lightweight on the lips. The smell isn’t very noticeable, but I don’t mind. I also have the coconut flavor, but I feel like the formula is different in that one so I’m sticking with the Soothing Vanilla!
Aveda Smoothing Body Polish // discontinued? // Aveda / I searched everywhere on the internet for this and was only able to locate it on eBay and Amazon from unauthorized sellers. I am assuming that this product has been discontinued, which is a huge bummer! I love using this body scub before fake tanning. It has a soothing scent and leaves my skin soft and prepped for a tan.
doTERRA Lavender Essential Oil // $28 for 15 ml // doTERRA / Coping with anxiety can be complicated and difficult. This move has really heightened my anxiety, so I’ve found myself using this essential oil regularly. One of my favorite products is Aveda’s Stress Fix oil, which is a blend that includes lavender and clary sage. For a stronger aroma, I like to dab this oil on my wrists, behind my ears, and dabbed on my neck and chest. I find that turning the lights out and simply taking deep breaths and smelling the aroma are very calming. This was a gift from my sweet Aunt-in-Law and I am so grateful to her for sharing this with me because it’s been really helpful and healing for me!
That is all for March! If you have any product recommendations please leave them in the comments below so I have time to pick them up before we leave for Japan!
Hi lovelies 💕
It has been pretty cold here lately, so I’ve been getting good use out of my Hunter boots. I’m wearing a loose fitting black top with a ruffle detail from Forever 21, a 3/4 sleeve sweater from Madewell, and my beloved black Jessica Simpson skinny jeans. Casual, comfy, and black like my soul. Hubs and I met up with some friends for pho, and then ran some errands at Target, where I couldn’t resist the glorious selection of drugstore makeup.
Nyx Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Tea and Cookies // $7 // I’ve been dying to try this! The soft matte lippies are a no go for me because the formula is so dry, so I’m hoping I can make this one work.
Essence Blush Up! in Pinky Flow // $4 // As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, Benefit Dallas is my go-to everyday blush. Sadly, I’ve hit pan on it, so I was on the hunt for a substitute. I found this pretty ombré blush from Essence, and while it’s not a natural flush like Dallas, it’s perfect for spring!
Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Foundation // $9 // I bought this on the recommendation of my friend Emma over at The Traveler’s Wife Blog. I just ran out of my Covergirl 3-in-1 this morning, so the timing was perfect. I don’t typically branch out and try new drugstore foundations for fear of breakouts and bad shade selections, but the reviews of this look really promising! I’m excited to give it a try.