Living far away from family and friends can be really hard. Facebook keeps me in the loop so I don't feel too out of touch when I go back, but it's difficult only getting to go back to Texas once or twice a year. When I'm back, I try to see and spend time with as many people as I can, and I usually go back and forth between staying with my Mom in my hometown and seeing friends in Austin. What this means is that I need to be ultra portable, so I can pack up quickly and drag my stuff in without much muss and fuss while I'm staying on a friend's couch or in my mom's spare room. Every year I try to get better about bringing less and less, and yet I seem to add more and more things to my skincare and makeup routine. Enter the weekend bag.
I have seen this type of bag plenty of times before, but I don't think I really thought about getting one until I watched this video. Then I was like duh, that would be so nice to have one bag with all of my makeup and skincare stuff in it without having to juggle a bunch of cosmetic bags, and the hook makes it easy to hand on a door frame or door knob or shower rod or towel rod or whatever. Genius! I went shopping around and found a few different options at Target, but the ones I really liked were 30 bucks. I thought I could do a little better than that, so I headed over to TJ Maxx. I found this one there for 20 bucks, so I saved 10 dollars and got a totally cute, totally functional bag. Win win! There were two different styles I was choosing from there, this one and one that had three or four smaller pouches and a big pouch at the bottom. I really liked the other one, and I probably would have been able to fit my hair stuff in that one as well, but it snapped rather than zipped which I didn't think was as secure, the other one didn't have the brushes slots, and this one was a bit cuter, so that's what I went with.
This is a nice, compact bag with a surprising amount of room inside. When you zip it open you've got two large pockets, one with mesh and one with plastic, and a smaller pocket/brush holder with the hook attached to it (the hook is totally legit, by the way, and has no trouble holding up the full bag). I have the plastic pocket dedicated to makeup, the mesh pocket dedicated to skincare, brushes in the brush slots, and cotton balls and q-tips in the small pocket. If you wanted to keep your brushes in a separate bag you could totally use that space for your eyeliners and mascara and things, but I like having everything I need to get my face done here in one place.
You can't see everything I have in the pockets super well, but I thought I'd give you a run down. I've got my Hard Candy Primer which is nothing fancy but gives you a nice, smooth base to work with, my Revlon ColorStay foundation, a couple of concealers, my sample of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter which I love mixing with my foundation for a more luminous finish, my MaskCara illuminator, my Flower blush/bronzer duo, a fun eyeshadow palette, a neutral eyeshadow palette, my NYX brow powder, a pink lipstick, red lipstick, berry lipstick, and coral lipstick, one of my favorite eyeshadows ever, Clinique bottom lash mascara, Revlon Lash Potion Mascara (loving this lately), Kat Von D felt tip black eyeliner (easy to use, easy for traveling), a couple of fun colored eyeliners, coral blush, Nars Orgasm blush (which is another pink blush, but has a little sparkle in it), Rimmel Stay Matte powder, eyelash curler, MaskCara foundation. Typically I travel with a full coverage foundation and a BB cream, but this year I decided to eschew the BB cream and bring the MaskCara foundation which is more of a light to medium coverage. I'm still playing with that makeup, but I'll be posting a full review of the MaskCara HAC pack soon. I'm able to get a lot of different looks with this set of makeup and I have some items that make for a super quick face on busy days and also items for a full face for nights out.
The picture quality on this pouch looks bad because of the mesh, so sorry about that. In here I've got my viatamin C serum (which I'm almost out of and need to repurchase), a small size of my Neutrogena face wash (I got a travel size at Target a year or so a go and just refill it from my big bottle when I travel now), the face wash, exfoliator, and mask from my Origins kit, DIY tea tree oil toner, Evian mineral water spray, Sea Buckthorn Facial Cream
, which can be used as a morning as evening moisturizer since it doesn't have SPF in it and is easy to use with its pump, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunblock
, face wipes for makeup mishaps, facial tissue, Origins eye cream, Sephora cleansing oil, and Alpha Hydrox lotion. I will probably move that last lotion into a travel size bottle before I go, especially since I only use a tiny bit of it and only in the evening. It's not a step I want to skip though. I got my travel bottles at Target, but you can find them at most places with a beauty section. The only full size skincare products that I'm traveling with are my eye cream, sunscreen, serum, and moisturizer, and that's just because they happen to be small items. My mineral water travel size bottle came free with my full size bottle, the Origins products came in a kit and are a little small that the full sizes, and the other items like my makeup remover oil and toner have been moved into small bottles. This saves on weight and space and when I get back from traveling, I just stash them away and have them ready to go next time I travel, so it saves me time too.
The bag comes with a plastic cover held shut with an elastic, so your brushes don't get damaged or dirty when the bag is opened or closed. I like having all of my brushes at hand, but honestly I don't need a ton. Here I've packed a slanted eye brush and spoolie for filling in my eyebrows, three different shaped eyeshadow brushes, a blush brush which can also be used with bronzer, a flat foundation brush which can be used with both foundations I'm bringing and the coral cream blush, a concealer brush, a detail brush for contouring my nose or brightening up the inner eye corner, a powder brush which can be used for face powder and bronzer, and my Real Techniques expert face brush for using with both foundations.
I've stuffed the pouch on the other side of the brush holder spot with cotton balls and q-tips so they are easy to access.
I packed the bag a few days early so I could make sure the bag was a good size for me before I took the tag off. I think it's perfect. Even with all of my stuff in there, it still closes easily. If you close the bag carefully, the items inside won't move too much. One thing I've done since taking these pictures is rubber band together the eyeliners and the lipsticks, just because those are the small things that you usually have to dig to the bottom to get after everything has gotten jumbled together.
The great thing about packing early is that I'm able to do my routine out of it for a couple of days before I leave and adjust what's in there based on what I find myself reaching for and what I forgot and what I feel like isn't actually necessary. I may end up swapping out my spray toner for my liquid toner; I haven't decided yet. I am definitely going to add in my NYX dewy finish spray, and I may take out the fun eyeshadow palette just because I have a couple of fun eyeliners that can serve the same purpose for the most part. I will probably end up throwing another lipstick or two in there, just because I can't help myself. And of course it's likely that I'll acquire a few things while I'm in Texas since I don't have a Sephora or Ulta close to where I live in Virginia, so I'll definitely be popping into both of those store while I'm in Austin, not to mention if I get gifted any beauty items. I've tried to limit myself primarily to items I use every day, but I've allowed myself a few extras simply because I'll be gone two weeks and that's a lot of time to be away from your stuff; plus, you never know what situations may arise!
I will also say that if you have absolutely no counter space or no good place to store your beauty products, this is not a bad solution for that as well since you can zip it up and tuck it away under the sink or wherever. What are your beauty product packing tips?
Yours Truly, Jen
P.S. My Morning Skincare Routine, My Evening Skincare Routine, The Essential Drugstore Makeup Kit, and Gift Guide: Beauty Junkie.
December 16, 2013