What I'm Packing for My Semester Abroad: Makeup
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What I'm Packing for My Semester Abroad: Makeup

The Panic of Packing My Favorite Makeup for Six Months

What I'm Packing for My Semester Abroad: Makeup
Zoe James

Makeup is something of which I have an excessive surplus. I really just love my makeup and am obsessed with trying new products and techniques, constantly adding to my already-too-big collection. In my dorm room, I have all of my makeup with me in one of these carts, which holds most of my products except for a few categories: foundations (so I can store them upright), setting sprays, and my Colourpop lipsticks (because I have SO many).

Come January, I'll be hopping on a plane and flying to Madrid to spend the following 6 months there. I'm so excited to travel and to practice my Spanish (as a Spanish major) and to eat all the delicious foods.

But as this semester continues to speed by and my departure for my semester abroad approaches, I can't help but become concerned with what I'm going to bring abroad with me, as there's no way I'm going to take my entire collection of makeup, similarly to how I'm not going to bring my entire wardrobe. So, what am I going to bring with me overseas?

Face Products

Primer: 1

While I have about 5 primers, I have one favorite that works with every other face product I own--the Nyx Angel Veil. I find that this primer smooths things out, doesn't feel greasy, and it doesn't feel too heavy either. It works well, it's oil-free, and it's only $16, so if I lose it or use it all up while I'm abroad, I won't be sad for wasting a ton of money on it.

Foundations: 2

Again, I have a handful of foundations, but I have some that I prefer way more than others. I'm a full coverage kinda gal most days, so for that, I'll be bringing my Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer*, which is super full coverage and super matte, two things I love in a foundation. On days when I don't need a ton of coverage, I use my Sonia Kashuk Soft Focus Satin Matte Foundation. This Sonia Kashuk foundation is lightweight and adds a medium (and buildable) coverage to the skin. Both of these are affordable, drugstore foundations, so using only these won't break my bank.

*Note: I also really love the Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation, which is one of my all-time favorites, but this Milani one is a fraction of the cost and is basically the exact same formula. So yeah, DUPE ALERT.

Concealer: 1

Okay, so this was a tougher thing to think out. I wanted to bring my Colourpop No Filter Concealer, which is only $5 and an amazing concealer, but I know I would run out really quickly if I were to bring just that. If you can't tell based off my previous selections, I don't want to bring anything too expensive with me in case I use it up too quickly, or if it breaks during the travel, or if I lose it. Even though it is a whopping $27, the formula and quantity of Tarte Shape Tape is what makes it the best option for my six months abroad. It's so creamy, blends out like a dream, and is a fuller coverage that any sane person would need--and I love that about it.

Setting Powder: 1

I like to "bake" my face (packing on excessive amount of loose powder, letting sit for 10+ minutes, and then dusting away the excess) in order to stay matte for longer than an hour after putting on my makeup, so I go through my setting powder faster than most people, who just take a big fluffy brush and set their face. The choice for setting powder was easy for me because the powder that keeps me matte-st the longest is also the cheapest (per ounce) that I own. The RCMA No Color Powder comes in the weirdest packaging that looks like a bottle of cinnamon, but it's my favorite, and it's only $12 for THREE ounces.

Blush: 2

When I was thinking about which blushes to bring, I was like, "Okay, so one cool-toned and one warm-toned should work... right?" That way, I have a blush to complement warm looks and cool looks, and anything in between. My blush needs to be able to last me all day, and my handy-dandy Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Risque is a cool-toned mauve that stays put. On days when I want something warm on my cheeks, I'll use Glossier's Cloud Paint in Beam, in a nice bright peach.

Bronzer/Contour: 1

As the contouring hype dies down, and as my time to get ready in the morning diminishes, I end up using just bronzer on my cheeks and no contour. My favorite bronzer to reach for is the Physician's Formula Butter Bronzer, because it's not too pigmented but it's really buildable--it's right in between. It's not too warm and it's not too cool--it's right in between: so I can use it for bronzer or for contour if I really feel like it. Another great thing about this product: its drugstore and affordable. I feel confident in picking this bronzer as my sole bronzing companion.

Highlighters: 2

Highlighter is something that I'm not afraid to play around with--one of my favorite looks to do when I don't have much time is with no eyeshadow or blush, and pop on some green highlighter (and the rest of a full face is underneath). But my suitcase is only so big, and I can't bring all of my highlighters. My favorite highlighter to use that's a "natural" color (but let's be real, having sparkly cheekbones isn't natural, no matter how much you want it to be) is Colourpop Glazed. It's intense ivory-gold according to their website, but you can use a light hand and make it more subtle if needed. If I'm reaching for something funkier, my favorite option is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Glowkit, which has a bunch of cool duo-chrome colorful highlighters. With these two favorites in my bag, I think I'll have a wide array of possibilities when I'm traveling.

Eye Products

Eyeshadow Palettes: 2

My ultimate favorite eyeshadow palettes are my Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette and Modern Renaissance Palette. I can create almost any eyeshadow look using these two palettes, and the formula of these shadows is my favorite that I've found. I almost always travel with the Modern Renaissance, but since I got the Subculture, I haven't been able to stop using it, so I know that these two obviously have my heart, and why should I deny my heart its favorite eyeshadows for an entire six months?

Single Eyeshadows: 3

I know, I know, I just said I can create any eyeshadow looks using those two palettes, so why on earth would I need any more eyeshadow with me? I mean, I don't need any of these things, but it's something that I love to travel with, so obviously, I'm going, to be honest here. My first single eyeshadow that I'm not leaving the country without is the Stila Magnificent Metals in Ballet Baby. This beauty is a metallic, glittery, shimmery, and almost wet-looking pastel pink liquid eyeshadow. I use it all the time, and I know it's a valuable small item to put in my luggage. The other two single shadows I will be taking are from Colourpop. The first is Tankini, a bright, shimmery yellow. I'm a sucker for yellow eyeshadows and I know that if I don't bring this, I'll be thinking, "Man, I wish I had a yellow lid shade," every other time I do my makeup. The second is Sugar, a pastel blue that pairs really nicely with the blues in Subculture and contrasts beautifully with the warm tones in Modern Renaissance.

Eyeliner: 0

This is a weird thing for most makeup lovers to read, I'm sure, but I honestly wear eyeliner so rarely. I think I've worn eyeliner once in the last month. Eyeliner doesn't take up much space, but if I don't need it, I don't think I need to bring it.

Mascara: 1

I will be bringing my favorite, favorite mascara, Essence Lash Princess. I'm not sure if I will run out of mascara during my 6 months abroad, but if I do, I know that there are drugstore mascaras in Spain that I will be able to live with for as long as I need to.

Eyebrow Goodies: 2

Eyebrow products are a necessity for those of us who were not blessed with thick, bushy brows. What I find to work the best for me is the ABH Dipbrow to fill in/draw on my eyebrows, and then the Essence Make Me Brow to keep things nice and fluffy/wispy. I can't say much about why I'm bringing these products other than these are the ones that I have, like, and that last me the longest.

Lip Products

Lip Balms: 2

Oh boy, I'm a lip balm fiend, but I have my favorite lip balms that I will continue to gift my family members for Christmas every year. The first is the Absolute New York Cocoa Butter Lip Balm. This is my long-time love and I will always recommend it to everyone. A newer, more expensive find is the Glossier Birthday Balm Dot Com. This Balm Dot Com is amazing in particular because it smells like cake, makes your lips soft and moisturized, and it has super tiny specks of glitter in it. Especially when you arrive in a new place, your lips get really dry by the end of the day. I love to slather on a thick layer of my Glossier balm right before bed, and when I wake up before I start my makeup, put on the cocoa butter one. Lip balm is an essential! I can't go anywhere (even to class) without lip balm in my bag!

Lip Gloss: 1

I'm not super into lip glosses, but when I wear lip gloss, I like a warm nude-y color. My favorite is the Too Faced Sweet Peach Creamy Lip Oil in Papa Don't Peach. It's the perfect gloss to swipe on when you're in the elevator because you overslept and didn't have time to do your makeup very well or to top off another lipstick that you're wanting to make a little bit glossy (though it will alter the color just a teeny tiny bit). Another bonus to this gloss is that it's very moisturizing. Even though I don't wear glosses that much, I think that it won't hurt to have the option of wearing it.

Lipsticks: 5

Let it be known that I am a lipstick junkie. My first must-have lipstick is from Wet N Wild. It's a statement-making, bright, almost neon, fiery-orangey-red liquid lipstick called Flame of the Game. It's probably my favorite lipstick of all time. Another statement lipstick (that I don't want to go without this spring) is ABH Madison, a vibrant magenta/plum. My last statement lip color is one that I'll be using toward the earlier half of my time abroad, and it's a deep, vampy burgundy from Lime Crime, Wicked. My favorite, favorite nude lipstick is Colourpop Aquarius 2, which I find myself reaching for more than any of these other lipsticks because it goes with so much. It's definitely a staple in my collection. Another nude, though more of a deeper nude on me, that I know I will use a lot when I'm abroad is Bite Honey Wheat, which is a statement-making sort of nude. It's so unique, but it's literally a brown lipstick. Explain that--because I can't (well, Sephora calls it "milk chocolate").

The Most Important Product Known to Man (Or Those Who Wear Makeup)

Setting. Spray. Setting spray is man's best friend, not dogs. I don't know who said that because they're wrong. Setting spray is a saving grace when it comes to keeping vibrant colors vibrant and keeping a cake-face looking not-too-cakey. Setting spray is the only thing that can keep my eyeshadow from not becoming one dark line in my crease by the 3 hour mark. That's why I'm going to be bringing my favorites with me to Spain: two of the Milani Make It Last Setting Sprays (these are my favorite, hands down, so I'm bringing a backup), and one Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray.

Phew, there you have it folks. All of the makeup I'm going to be cramming (carefully) into my checked baggage for my six months in Spain. I know that this is excessive, and I'm sure 99.9999% of people would only bring a fraction of what I'm intending to bring, but as I've tried to demonstrate: each product will serve an individual purpose. Hopefully this can give other makeup-obsessed college students who are planning to study abroad some sort of system for how they should pick which products they'll bring. I hope that someone gains some insight into the way that a makeup-lover thinks when packing for a long (or short) trip.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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