Travel Makeup Bag & Essentials

I’m going out of town this weekend in Duluth for Grandma’s Marathon. I’m not running in any of the events, but my good friends are and I’m tagging along for the ride. This is the first trip of the summer out of three planned so far, and I’ve been preparing for what I want to bring with for a bit. I’m testing out some products that are air travel friendly for the trip to San Francisco in just a few weeks. So excited!


I definitely tend to over pack everything when I travel. I usually justify it by saying I’d rather have options than leave something behind that I needed. I usually do the same with makeup, always packing extra item in case I want to do a smokey eye or glamorous look, but I never do. I think I’ve finally found the palette that’s going to solve this problem! I saw the Tarte Showstopper Palette, which is limited edition so go get it. You need it. I saw this palette on Lipgloss Leslie’s channel and I needed it. I went out a week later to purchase it and I’ve been loving it since. It has a large mirror, full size Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Fame, a generous amount of Park Avenue Princess bronzer and the same size Champagne Shimmer, and six eye shadows. There is no matte cream/highlight or black, which is a downside here, but I don’t mind bringing a highlight color in addition to this palette or using the very, very dark brown shadow in the Tarte palette in place of black. Love this, I really do, and it’s only $38. That’s a steal! I justified the purshase by telling Jake that it’s meant to downsize my packing when we travel this summer. He’s holding me to this, I’m sure.

Here’s the rest of the makeup products I’m bringing:


While I’m not flying this weekend, I am bringing mostly air travel friendly liquid products since I’m flying to San Francisco in about three weeks to test them out before our trip. I am cheating by bringing a full size conditioner, but that’s because my hair relies on conditioner to function each day.


I don’t get too picky with my skin products when I travel. I am on the search for an air travel sunscreen, but Target has quite the selection so I’m hoping to find something there. Most of these products are in my usual rotation every day.

I feel like I’ve done a good job at packing for this trip, and I’d like to attribute most of it to my new Tarte palette, but who knows! Maybe I’m just getting better at packing. I’m super excited to be visiting Duluth again; I probably haven’t been then since I was 14 years old. I’m hoping the weather holds out to at least get a few good pictures of Lake Superior and with Jake! Will be reporting back.

May | Empties

Another list of products I’ve used up.

Nothing special here. Just 100% acetone. I use it to take off my polish enough though it can dry out my nails.

Aussie Moist Conditioner
I purchased this conditioner for my trip to Iceland and left it at Jake’s for when I get ready in the morning. This conditioner was pretty good, it detangled and smells great, but I don’t think I’ll repurchase it.

CVS Skin Soothing Body Wash
This body wash was not the best. I got it because it’s fragrance free which I was starting to get into with my skincare routine, but it came out of the bottle in huge globs and didn’t work into a loofah at all. Most of the time it would just fall off into the shower which was really a waste of the product. I don’t recommend it and won’t be purchase again.

Garnier Fructis Flexible Control Anti-Humidity Hairspray*
I love this hairspray and I’ve been using it for years. I already repurchased it and I’ve been using it. I spray over my hair when it’s still slightly damp to keep out the humidity and lock in the product.

Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner
This is my favorite leave in conditioner and detangler I’ve used. Again with the other trends of this month, I didn’t repurchase this as I wanted to try something more affordable, but I’m totally regretting it. Going back to it right after I finish the other leave in conditioner I bought in its place.

L’Oreal EverSleek Humidity Defying Leave-In Cream
This is my holy grail leave in, smoothing cream. I’ve been using it for years now and I honestly can’t live without it. I thought it was being discontinued so I purchased an entire stock at CVS when I saw them on clearance. Then last week I saw them at Target. Silly me. I already repurchased and I’m still using it.

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream
This is the second container of this I’ve used and I really enjoy it. I have really dry under eyes, and this formula works great for my skin. I didn’t repurchase this product though because I read the ingredients and the hyaluronic acid was near the end of the ingredient list and it’s also not helping my fine lines around my eyes. I purchased the Cerve Hyaluronic Eye cream because the ingredient is higher on the list. I’ve been eyeing, ha, the Murad Vitamin C eye cream and I think I’m going to purchase it next along with the skin serum that comes with that line.

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser Creamy Formula
I’ve been using this cleanser for about a year and I really love it. It’s hydrating but gets my makeup off while still being gentle. It worked great with my Clarisonic too. I wanted to try something new this time so I didn’t repurchase it, but I will definitely buy it again soon. I already miss it.

Not Your Mother’s Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream
I purchased this on a whim for something to use on the weekends and it’s surprisingly good. It’s silicone free if you curlies are interested, and has a good hold on frizz-free curls. I don’t love the smell or consistency of this product, but if came down to it I’d purchase it again.

Plus White 5 Mintute Speed Whitening Gel
I repurchased this gel with the full intention of continuing to use it. It definitely works, you just have to be consistent with it. I use it with a tray while I’m in the shower and also brush lightly with it on a toothbrush. Just follow the instructions on the box.

Suave Moroccan Infusion Deep Conditioning Shine Mask
I bought this on clearance for less than $2, but I don’t feel like it did anything great for my hair. I’d say it was just a normal conditioner.

Empties – April 2015

Just like in YouTube videos, I thought it would be cool if I added my monthly empties into a blog post. Empties are some of my favorite videos to watch on YouTube because it shows what products people are actually using. YouTube gurus are sent so many products that are “hauled” and shown in Get Ready With Me’s just for the sake of showing the product to their subscribers,  but empties videos prove that they used an entire product, often times ones they purchased themselves.

Curly Sexy Hair Color Safe Curl Defining Conditioner
I like this conditioner enough to purchase it when it’s on sale during Ulta’s semi-annual liter sales, but I don’t consider it a holy grail product. This conditioner isn’t as thick as I’d like it to be and it doesn’t always detangle the best, but it does do a good job at moisturizing and keeping the frizz at bay. I may repurchase this during the summer sale, but I’m working through a couple other conditioners at the moment that I’m liking more that the Curly Sexy Hair one.

Curly Sexy Hair Curling Creme
This is my holy grail hair product. I can almost always get a good hair day when I use this product. I’ve been using it consistently for over two years now and I highly suggest giving it a try. I will say, that my hair can get limp because of the protein ingredient, but after a good cleanse of my hair and maybe switching it out for a few days, my hair goes right back to loving it.

E.L.F. Tinted Moisurizer SPF 20 in nude
I’ve been trying to use this product up for a while now so I started mixing it in with my foundations that have a higher coverage. I didn’t really like this and I don’t plan on repurchasing it, I just wanted to use it up. I have other tinted moisturizers and BB creams that I perform better than this one and that I like more. It is a good option if you’re on a budget, need some SPF with coverage, and it’s affordable.

Inecto Pure Coconut Moisture Infusing Conditioner
I bought this while visiting Iceland this past January at a little drugstore near our hotel. It was one of the few brands in the drugstore that I didn’t recognize and also was silicone free so I could use it as a cowash. I loved the smell of it and loved it as a cowash, but it was a little too thin in consistenty for me to use all over my hair. I tried it once to condition and detangle, and it didn’t get the job done. Personally, I wouldn’t repurchase it since there’s other conditioners I prefer for cowashing. If you’re from the U.K. or this is readily available near you and you’re looking for a cowash, I’d give it a try.

L’Oreal EverCreme Sulfate-Free Moisture System Deep Nourishing Masque*
This is a great deep conditioner, that has unfortunately been discontinue from the line. This used to be readily available in stores, then I heard great things about it from various reviews, and bought it from Amazon. As much as I like this product and what it does to my hair, because it’s been discontinued, the price of it on Amazon is too inflated for me to justify repurchasing it. I have a new deep conditioner that I’ve been loving which you can read about in my April Favorites.

Maybelline Volume Express The Rocket Mascara – Blackest Black*
I’ve the used the waterproof version of this mascara for a while now as I need it to keep my lashes curled and I love it, so I tried this out expecting it to be just as good. I didn’t love it though and I don’t plan on repurchasing it.

Neutrogena Body Acne Spray*
This may be a bit of an over share, but I get breakouts on my back and upper chest, enough so that I need to treat it. A lot of the breakouts come from sweat trapped underneath my sports bra or a tight workout top. That being said, the quicker you can get out of your sweaty workout clothes, the better, but I know that’s not always the case. I use this spray, usually in the spring and summer months, after I shower especially after a workout. At the moment, I won’t be repurchasing this. Instead I asked my dermatologist for a prescription when I was in for a check-up, and that seems to be doing the job. I actually re-purposed the bottle this product comes in for the prescription prescribed to me because the bottle sprays at most angles, including upside so I can get to my back easier. Extra points for recycling!

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover and Makeup Remover Towelettes
These two products together are the full proof way to get all of your makeup off, including waterproof mascara. I use waterproof mascara everyday, so I need to use these two products every time I wear mascara and they don’t bother my skin or irritate my eye area. I purchase the towelettes at Costco in bulk and you can always find a deal at the drugstore for Neutrogena products.

OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener Original Formula
I love this nail strengthener. I’ve been using it a year now and my nails are finally long enough to look like they have a French manicure on them. My nails used to peel and I would have to always trim my nails downs hoping they would grow. I highly recommend this if you want to grow your nails out; I’ve already repurchased it and have it on backup. Be sure to get the original formula. I’ve tried some of the other formulas and I haven’t been impressed.

St. Ives Naturally Smoothing Oatmeal and Shea Butter Body Lotion*
I purchased this on a sale, probably BOGO free since there’s usually a great deal at the drugstore every couple of weeks. I like the scent of this lotion and how it makes my skin feel. I didn’t purchase this lotion, instead switching to an Aveeno unscented lotion that is supposed to be more gentle on skin. I don’t notice any difference between a scented or unscented lotion on my skin, so I’ll probably just keep switching between whatever is one sale at the store. It usually takes me a while to get through a bottle of lotion because I always forget to use it after a shower, but I’ve been keeping up with the extra step in my routine.

Suave Professionals Almond and Shea Butter Conditioner*
Love this stuff. It’s been working so well for my hair, that when it was on sale I purchased two backups. It smells nice, has a good consistency for detangling and moisturizing, and is so affordable. It’s not curly girl friendly, for those that are strict, but it doesn’t bother me or the health of my hair.

* affiliate links used

My Favorite Foundations

Over the years, I’ve tried multiple foundations, all from the drugstore.  I’ve finally figured out the best way to apply them and also how to color match myself correctly.  For many years I was color matching myself at a much lighter shade than I really am.  So here we go.  I have two foundations to share with you.

Revlon ColorStay Whipped Cream Foundation Medium Beige 250
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone.  I feel like this foundation has almost all good reviews.  The only exceptions I could see to liking it would be if you aren’t a fan of the feeling of this foundation on your skin.  I don’t mind it though after it is set with a powder.  I got this in summer, which prompted me to start wearing sunscreen under the foundation as it does not contain SPF.  I don’t mind this though because it works perfectly for photographs.  This was my foundation of choice for a wedding I attended and with no SPF, there was no reflection from the flash or lights.  The finish of this is semi-matte and the coverage is medium and buildable if you want more.  I think I do need to go up another shade in this foundation, especially in the summer when I’m more tan.  If you love foundation and you are looking for a good coverage, I suggest this one.

L’Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation Natural Buff N3
I am very surprised with this foundation.  I did not think I was going to like it because I heard it was very similar to the Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation, and honestly that makes my skin very oily throughout the day.  I have combo skin I’d say, and in the winter it tends to get a bit more dry.  This L’Oreal foundation has been really nice in keeping my skin looking healthy and awake.  I do think that the color is a little warm for a neutral color.  My skin does swing a bit on the warm side, but I think it will look better in summer when I have more of a tan.  For reference, I do wear W4 in the True Match powder, so the color I picked out is not too dark for me.

A close runner up to these picks is the original Revlon Colorstay Foundation.  The reason it’s not in the picks is because of the SPF with the coverage, which is the same as the whipped, and the finish.  It’s closer to a matte finish and honestly it makes me look a little unhealthy.  As I said, I have the Neutrogena Healthy Skin along with Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse and Dream Matte Mousse, the Rimmel London Lasting Finish Foundation, L’Oreal Magic Smooth Souffle and the original L’Oreal True Match and none of those have worked well for me.

My Shampoo Dilemma

I’ve been having trouble looking for a good shampoo for my hair.  My hair is very curly, and therefore dry so shampooing isn’t something I usually do to my hair on a regular basis.  When I do, though, I want it to be good for my hair just like when I condition it.

The problem with most shampoos, drugstore or salon quality, they all have sulfates and sodium in them.  Sulfates, while they do a good job at cleansing the hair and scalp, they are also very drying and stripping on the hair.

If you have oily hair, you probably hate how your hair gets after a day or two of not washing, so you shampoo and voila it’s back to being clean.  The sulfates in the shampoo take away that oil build-up in your hair.  For those with curly hair, shampooing can take away any residue build-up (like silicones), but it makes their hair very dry and in the end, frizzy.

For the past six months or so I’ve simply been using baby shampoo.  It still has sulfate in it, but the formula is very mild since it’s made for a baby’s skin.  I use this about two times a week and I don’t really see a problem with my hair after using it.  This morning, and maybe twice a month, I use Neutrogena The Anti-Residue Shampoo to clarify and really clean my hair out.  I find that it really works,  but it leaves my hair super dry.

neutrogena shampoo

In a past couple of posts about my hair, I’ve mentioned DevaCurl which is made specifically for people with curly.  My problem with that, and other products geared towards curly hair, is the price.  Many normal sized products from that line range from $18 to $25; that’s outrageous.  However, it’s starting to look like I’m going to have to bite the bullet and buy their No Poo cleanser.  I can’t believe I’m thinking of buying this because I won’t even buy their conditioner.  I figure though that if I only use the No Poo once or twice a week, I won’t go through the bottle very quickly unlike conditioner, which I use everyday.

Other shampoos I had looked at because they were suppose to be sulfate free.  I read a lot of reviews on Makeup Alley and Amazon and came to conclusions on the following products because of them.  I also check the brands’ websites for ingredients and claims.

Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo
pure renewal
My problem with this shampoo is that it has dimethicone in it.  I use dimethicone in some of my styling products and I need a shampoo to remove it, not add to the problem.  So Sulfate Free, yes, but kind of counteractive in my opinion.

Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo and Repairing Awapuhi Ginger Shampooo
I read a lot of reviews that the Organix shampoos are almost as drying as a clarifying shampoo.  I had high hopes for this brand because of the many options to chose from, but they still has forms of a sulfates in their ingredients listing.  Also the Acai shampoo has dimethicone in it.

Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo and Wash Tear Free
burts bees
This is honestly still in the playing cards with me.  I might go searching for it in stores.  A lot of reviews say the scent is quite strong, same problem with DevaCurl.  The scent is likely a “natural” scent from the ingredients that most people aren’t used to smelling in beauty products.

Let me know if you have any suggestions on a shampoo I should try!  My goal is to find one in the next week or so.