To be honest, when I told my family I was going backpacking they were like “yeah right“. Reason being I was always the one to carry a couple of kilos of nail polish while going on holidays (those small glass bottles are super heavy!). I have worked several years in the cosmetics industry and was taught by amazing make-up artists how to use all those magical products : highlighter, blush, brow wax, base coat, top coat, lash curler, eyeliner and – my favorite – glitters! I understand I was going to travel light, digital nomad yes, vagabond no thank you !
Some people will find this article very superficial and it’s ok. Personally I have found that make-up products are tools that allow some women to feel more confident, helping them in hiding their less-appreciated features and revealing what they like most about themselves. I believe a lot of women feel ready to face the world only once they have gone through a little morning make-up session. And who are we to judge them?
Anyways reducing the weight of my make-up case was a challenge that I was ready to face and here is the result :
– as I mentioned in a previous article about cosmetics I decided to take with me the Big Easy bb cream by Benefit and used it as a foundation. I also took with me the Booing concealer that I find really effective on dark circles and the Agent Zero Shine Porefessional powder that is unifying and – more importantly in hot and humid weather – matifying. I also took a stick to treat and cover undesired pimples, this one is from the Pâte Grise line by Payot and is really a life-saver.
– I also took a little blush by Bourjois, I love this one because of the Eiffel tower and the subtle scented powder. In the end I offered it to my friend Priyanka in Mumbai as a token of my love!
– for the eyes I decided to carry with me a MAC palette with 9 shades that I would combine to create different looks. I always use Indian herbal kajal stick by Biotique with a small brush and the Colossal Kajal by Maybelline that is the only one who doesn’t smudge and leave you with panda eyes. I bought a travel-size mascara by Sephora but to be honest it wasn’t good at all, I ended up throwing it away.
– I wondered if I should take care of my eyebrows while traveling, this big dilemma felt like a somewhat superficial question but I decided to take my favorite pencil, the GoofProof by Benefit. It is a 2-in-1 with a pencil and a brush, it never smudges.
– for the lips I took ONLY one lip balm – the BeneBalm by Benefit – and one lipstick, my all time favorite Girl About Town, a beautiful fuchsia by MAC. I love MAC lipsticks because you can really control the intensity of colour you want and they’re long-lasting.
– I took some unbreakable plastic hairbands, eye drops, a small mirror, oil blotting papers, refreshing wipes and a hand sanitizer to keep all of that in my bag while traveling by plane, train or bus.
– please note I haven’t taken ANY nail polish! I ended up buying one for a wedding and then offering it to little miss Roshi at the Yoga Institute, and Queen Zara of Bangkok treated me with a homemade OPI manucure session which felt like luxury!
And I did not go to any beauty salon or nail bar whenI was in Asia. With a step back, I could have done without the lip balm, the mascara and the blush. You can work on traveling lighter and lighter every day
To be honest I was very happy to have my make-up with me. I think the beautiful French women in my family have taught me taking care of your looks is a form of politeness to society (I mean, being a Parisian you have to maintain certain standards no matter what…just kidding!). It happened a few times that I faced the day without make-up but I was happy to have it when we were going out with local friends, for example at my friend Rajvi’s wedding and in the skybar in Bangkok, forgetting I was wearing the same 7 t-shirts for half of the year. Make-up became my only accessory since I didn’t bring any jewellery or fancy handbag or so. Even if you travel backpacking, you sometimes just want to feel like you’re a regular city girl.
The trip gave me the opportunity to rethink my relationship to make-up and I realised my mood or confidence actually did not depend on it. It seems pretty obvious but it’s clearer when you experience it yourself. Backpacking teaches you that you are not defined by your physical appearance, that there is so much more to you as a human being. I feel empowered by this experience, realising I don’t NEED make-up, it is a nice to have. I still love make-up for it feels to me like a form of art, like painting and I love to play with textures, colours according to seasons, outfits, occasions and emotions.