Vacation Beauty Packing List

During a weekend getaway last month, I got a little (very) carried away when packing my beauty products. I ended up lugging five makeup bags stuffed with products for a three day trip…most of which I didn’t touch once. For my upcoming Miami vacation, I decided to be organized and only pack what I really need. Read on for my vacation beauty essentials checklist for stress-free packing!


During the day, less is definitely more. Put your heavy products away and let your skin breathe! If your skin is blemish free, go completely bare-faced. If you need more coverage, go for it, but keep it as minimal as possible. As for concealer? Put it away – it will lead to awkward, patchy tan lines. Plus, that’s what sunglasses are for!

1. Sunscreen: Sunscreen might not be the most exciting item on the checklist, but it is the most important. Ensure your skin is protected by slathering on a healthy dose of sunscreen every few hours. I’m partial to Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Sunscreen. It’s extremely lightweight and absorbs quickly.

YSL Blue Mascara

2. Waterproof Mascara/Eyeliner: There are many women who wouldn’t dare leave the house without a swipe of mascara or a flick of liner. Thanks to waterproof formulas, you never have to. Play up your eyes during your beach day with colored mascaras and liquid liners. YSL’s Effet Faux Cils Mascara in Majorelle Blue is absolutely gorgeous. Pair it with Stila’s Stay All Day Liner. It comes in fifteen incredible colors, ranging from black to hot pink. Cobalt is my personal favorite.

3. Cream Eyeshadow: Heading to brunch and want to play up your eyes even more? Apply Make Up For Ever’s waterproof Aqua Matic to your lids. The creamy, creaseless shadow is a breeze to apply. It’s literally eyeshadow in a stick…a no fuss, perfect-for-daytime option. I wouldn’t go with a dark color during the day…Metallic Pinky Beige and Satiny Pink are beautiful choices.

4. Powder Foundation: Liquid makeup can literally melt off in the blistering heat. Switch out your liquid foundation for a powder compact by the beach. bareMinerals READY Foundation has SPF 20, hydrates, is super lightweight and last for hours.

5. BB/CC Cream: If powder foundation’s not your style, go with a lightweight BB or CC cream. Pampadour founder Jen swears by Smashbox’s Camera Ready CC Cream. It has SPF 30 so it does double duty as a sunscreen, plus it provides supreme coverage and evens out your skin tone for a flawless look. There’s a travel-sized version, making it TSA-friendly!

6. Bronzer: Don’t have a tan yet? Use a light dusting of waterproof bronzer during the first few days of your trip to look like a beach regular! Try Tarte’s iconic Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer.

Fresh Sugar Tulip

7. Tinted Lip Balm: Keep your lips hydrated in the sun with your favorite tinted lip balm. I love Fresh Sugar Tinted Balms. They smell incredible, feel like heaven on your lips, hydrate like crazy and, best of all, have SPF 15 so you can keep your lips protected in the heat.

8. Cooling Gel: After a long day in the sun, there’s nothing quite as soothing as applying some hydrating, cooling gel to your skin. Enriched with aloe, Mario Badescu’s After Sun Cooling Gel is a cult classic. Keep it in your mini-fridge for extra cooling effects.


I love to do fun looks and use bright colors during vacation. I always bring a few bright lipsticks with me and keep my eyes comparatively simple. Plan in advance. Think about the looks you want to do during your getaway, and only bring what you need.

LORAC Pro Palette

1. Eyeshadow Palette: One of the hardest decisions I have to make when packing? Picking just one eyeshadow palette. If you’re not a huge shadow lover, grab a few singles and you’re good to go. If you want the option of bright, neutral or smoky, bring a palette that has different options. My go-to is the Lorac PRO Palette. As far as palettes go, it’s very sleek and portable. It won’t take up too much space. Plus, the color range is incredibly versatile and it comes with a mini primer.

2. Your Staples (Foundation/Concealer/Brow Products/Eyelash Curler): Streamline, streamline, streamline. Go through your makeup and pack only one of your makeup essentials. One foundation. One concealer. One brow pencil. There’s nothing better than options, but it’s time to be logical. If you don’t want to lug an entire carry-on worth of makeup, you have to make some cuts. Pack wisely. If your foundation/concealer will be too light once you start building up your tan, exchange them for a darker shade.

Stila Bronzing BB Cream

3. BB Cream: This isn’t necessary, but it’s my personal vacation must-have. I am a full-coverage-makeup girl: foundation all day, every day. When I go on vacation, though, I like to swap it for a lighter BB cream. I feel like my new tan hides the skin imperfections I usually have (dark spots, blemishes), and I like to take advantage of that. I am obsessed with Stila’s Stay All Day Bronzing Beauty Balm. I strictly use it when I’m traveling. It’s a hydrating BB cream that’s also part bronzer…plus, it has SPF 30. I can’t recommend it enough.

4. Cheek & Lip Multi-Tasker: The number one rule of vacation beauty – condense! Go with multitasking products when you can, like the NARS Multiple. Use it on your cheeks, lips, eyelids…even as a highlighter. For more multitasking beauty products, click here.

ColourPop Clique

5. Bright Lipstick: This is your chance to have fun! Nothing complements a golden glow quite like a bold pop of lipstick. Hot pink is the unofficial color of the season, but my vacation color is red-orange (extremely flattering on medium skin tones). I’ve been waiting two months to start rocking my ColourPop Lippie Stix in Clique…only two weeks to go!

6. Cleansing Wipes: Cleansing wipes, like Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Wipes in Pink Grapefruit, are a great, space-efficient way to remove your makeup at night. Keep a travel-sized version in your beach bag to conveniently refresh your skin after hours spent laying out in the sun.

Did we miss any vacation must-haves? Let us know what are your travel must-haves in the comments below and on Pampadour!

  • Very useful post! I think everyone should master the art of nice tidy packing – it could prevent so much weight and in some cases ruined clothes (from all the make up that spilled)!

    • Makeup spilling in my suitcase is my nightmare when I’m packing!!