Hannah Martin

Makeup Artist

I’m terrible for overpacking beauty products when I go on holiday – I always hope I’m going to enjoy leisurely early evenings indulging in skincare and makeup application before heading to dinner. But in reality, my time is used up getting my children ready and my makeup time is as rushed when I’m away as it is at home. So, after 20 years in the makeup and skincare industry, I’ve put together a handy list of key essentials to take travelling that won’t eat into too much time or too much suitcase space.

Young latin with sunscreen on her face on the beach in a summer sunset. Blowing a kiss to the camera. Protecting her skin from the UV rays of the sun.

When it comes to skincare, there are a few essentials (most of which have a travel size option or can be decanted into a smaller pot) that’ll keep your skin protected, hydrated and clean. Sun protection is a daily must-wear, no matter where you are. For body, I love a spray like La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 50 and for face I swear by Shisiedo Clear Sincere Stick SPF 50 – it’s not sticky or greasy and works well under makeup.


Make sure you clean your skin thoroughly after wearing sun protection to prevent pores from clogging. The Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm is a great place to start. Not only does it break down waterproof makeup, but it’s also a lightweight solid balm that won’t leak into your luggage. Then follow with a second cleanser like Simple Kind To Skin Refreshing Facial Wash. If you have blemish-prone skin, then I suggest using a spot patch like Dots For Spots or a gel like Malin and Goetz Salicylic Acid Gel.


When it comes to exfoliating you can continue using your acids and retinoids as usual or if, like me, you’re a little anxious about sensitive skin when using actives and spending time in the sun, then you can try a physical alternative like Dermalogica Daily Micro Foliant. For daily hydration I pack a few Elizabeth Arden Hyaluronic Acid Advanced Ceramides capsules that I follow with my SPF.

Young caucasian redhead woman smiling and applying face cream

When it comes to makeup, I’m a huge fan of sticks. They’re compact, more robust when travelling (unlike powder which can break) and often come in long-wearing formulas. A stick foundation or concealer gives you complete control over how much base you wear. Tap a little with your fingers into areas you want to perfect or buff into the skin with a foundation brush for more of a full makeup finish. I highly recommend the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation and Concealer Sticks.


Stick bronzers and blushers are also fantastic for travel. The Clinique Chubby Stick Bronzing Contour stick or Nudestix Bondi Bae Bronzer are fantastic as they’re smooth and creamy without being sticky. I also love a blush stick – think Nudestix Sunset Strip or Revolution Fast Base Blush. A little pot might be more compact like Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush or e.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Blush.


For eye shadow, long-wear cream shadow sticks are available from multiple brands like Bobbi Brown, Kiko, By Terry, Laura Mercier, Vieve, Delilah, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Beauty Pie, Revlo and many more. Simply swipe over the lid and blend out with your finger and allow to dry for smudge proof, long-wearing eye makeup. I do find a sheer layer wears best so don’t be tempted to layer too much. 

A professional makeup artist holds a contour stick in his hand. Makeup Brush. Beautiful manicure. Small business.

Waterproof eyeliners are also handy to have on holiday. A few of my favourites are Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil, Rimmel London Scandal Eyes Waterproof Pencil and Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof but there are many others you’ll be able to find to suit you. When it comes to mascara, I love Bobbi Brown No Smudge, Lancome Idole Waterproof and Maybelline Sky High Lash Sensation Waterproof but tubing mascaras are an excellent option if you find waterproof formulas tricky to remove – tubing mascaras slip off the lashes easily with warm water. The Trish McEvoy High Volume Tubular Mascara, Hourglass Unlocked and Beauty Pie Wrap Star Tubing Mascara are some of my favourites.


For lips I’m all about gloss on holiday – it’s casual and quick and easy to apply. I love the Maybelline Lifter Glosses as they wear really well and come in a great selection of shades. But if you find fun in a pop of colour, you might like the Nars Power Matte Lipstick in shade Feel My Fire (it’s a really vibrant orange-red.)


I also think a little setting powder can be really helpful, while maybe not essential. Huda Beauty’s cute little 6g powder, the Baby Cake Loose Powder, is a great choice, while a powder bronzer can set your cream bronzer nicely. If you’re on a warmer holiday and you’re worried about makeup slipping, then a setting spray like Urban Decay All Nighter will lock your makeup in place. And it also comes in a 30ml travel size bottle, making it perfect for packing.