Product Review: Best picks for travel makeup

Helloooo! I took the month of September off from blogging, as life got a bit crazy with work and travel schedules. But nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from continuing to try out new products, and discover a few favorites in the process. I’ve got a bunch of new blog posts that I’m composing, and my first begins with the subject of travel-friendly makeup. I don’t think this topic is covered very well in most normal beauty or fashion magazines and blogs. Most of the attention is paid to luxury or prestige products, but there’s a huge need for many women to get solid recommendations on makeup that not only travels easily, but performs too. This could also apply to women who keep a touch-up stash in their desk drawer, in their gym bag, or just want fuss-free products. Travel is stressful enough, let alone worrying about a glass bottle of foundation or a compact of blush breaking apart inside of a suitcase. So, let’s get into my picks per my recent trip to Europe, and the reasons why I chose them!


Before we even get into the product details, there was one requirement that I used when choosing the products: all of those selected did NOT need to be applied with makeup brushes. Reason being is that I only took 2 makeup brushes with me (a foundation and a blush brush), as I was trying to keep my bags as light as possible.

Ok, and now for the products! You may notice a common theme within the brands shown, and that is that the majority of what I selected are Julep products. I looooove Julep – they are a USA-based, K-beauty inspired brand, and I’ve always had great quality and performance from their products. But what I also love is that their products are very user-friendly, and the packaging reflects a no-fuss type of application style. Here are 3 of their products that I nabbed for my trip and my thoughts:

  • Julep Cushion Complexion in 130 Ivory:  It’s the similar concept of Clinique’s Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer, but the travel-friendly twist-up sponge applicator made application a breeze. The formula contains turmeric (naturally anti-inflammatory and brightening) and camellia seed oil (lightly moisturizing) to care for skin, and is buildable for coverage. The finish is a semi-matte effect, and helps to blur imperfections and fine lines. Traveling from England to Scotland to Paris, this makeup held up between both climates, from country-side misty rains to hot and sunny strolls around the city.
  • Julep Eyeshadow 101 in Slate Shimmer: If you don’t like most eyeshadows, I challenge you to give this a try. The creamy, twist-up stick formula applies with super smooth and shimmery color, yet is easily buildable to be as low-key or intense as you want. Plus, it’s waterproof, and did a decent job of staying put all day. The sponge blending tool on the other end of the wand was awesome to easily smudge into place on lids. Slate Shimmer is a beautiful neutral – it can be dressed up or down, which makes it super versatile for travel.
  • Julep Skip The Brush Blush Stick in Golden Guava: This is by far one of my most favorite of the Julep line. This beautiful pink + peach + rosy-gold color gives a natural flush to cheeks, with a hint of shimmer. It also doubles as an awesome lipstick, which can be super useful in packing light. Simply dot onto cheeks, and easily blend with fingers or a blush brush for a soft effect.

And now for the rest! Most of these are routine favorites of mine, but there are 2 newcomers that I’m super happy I tried on the trip:

  • butter | LONDON’s Sheer Wisdom Serum Shadow in Rose Petal: I love liquid or cream eyeshadows that also act as a creaseless base for building on other colors. This product contains a blend of anti-aging peptides, and acts either as a solid wash of color or as a neutral primer. Easy to apply with a doe-foot applicator, it can be applied with or without a brush. As we traveled between various climates and humidity levels, this performed and stayed put all day.
  • Model’s Own Grand Master Lash mascara: From the UK, this brand has had limited distribution in the states, but if you can get your hands on it, it’s awesome! After e.l.f. discontinued the version of Mineral Mascara that I loved, I’ve been on the hunt for a replacement. Grand Master Lash (love the name, btw) delivers!! The wand is a dead-ringer for the silicone brush that made the Mineral Mascara awesome, and this formula does not disappoint. It’s buildable, smear-proof, and easily washes off. But I can’t find it at Ulta anymore! Hopefully this brand is not discontinued…

To round out my travel-friendly makeup assortment, I relied on a few tried-and-true selections:

  • LORAC Alter Ego Lip Gloss in Heroine: LORAC makes my absolute favorite lip glosses. They are hydrating, super pigmented, and made from high-quality ingredients. “Heroine” is a beautiful neutral rosy-gold pink, and has a slight shimmer. It was my main lip color through the entire trip, and can look either casual or super polished. Win!
  • NYX Tinted Brow Mascara in Chocolate: As I’ve written about before, this brow mascara is my jam. Simply stated, it’s quick and easy to use, and lasts through the day – without any touch-ups needed!
  • L’Oreal Brow Stylist Definer in Brunette: I’ve also written about this automatic pencil + spoolie before, and it was one of my go-to’s for the trip. I love pairing it with the NYX Tinted Brow Mascara to achieve super-defined brows in a snap.
  • e.l.f. Brush Cleanser Wipes: These are the travel-friendly versions of my favorite daily makeup brush cleaner. For whenever I chose to use the makeup brushes that I took with me, I used these to quickly clean them up.

So, after traveling through 3 countries, which product in the travel line-up was a true game changer? To me, the Julep Cushion Complexion was the winner! Quick and easy to apply, with skin-caring ingredients to boot, this product is innovative, packs easily, and is a new favorite.

Julep Cushion Complexion

©2018 28daysbeauty

Beauty Haul Review: IT Cosmetics 

I’ve known about IT Cosmetics for a while, and I decided to try some of their higher rated top picks. IT Cosmetics reminds me a lot of Clinique, and is even more highly-concentrated and high-performing. Developed by a former news anchor, who suffered from Rosacea, this line is developed with plastic surgeons and dermatologists to offer a full line of skincare and makeup. Sensitive skins can comfortably wear the products with sunscreen too, as all of the sunscreens are physical and not chemical. So, in short, I had to try them out for myself and report back after 30 days of daily use.

One thing to note right away is that this makeup is best for that “no-makeup makeup” look. This line doesn’t really offer the standout, bold shades like Urban Decay, Kat Von D or Smashbox – think bright blues, vibrant greens or shimmery purples. If you want a natural, everyday go-to makeup look, then give this a try. 

What I chose (pictured above) I was actually able to use as a full-face everyday. The Bye Bye Concealer is super concentrated, and I was able to get fantastic coverage to even out tone and shadows/dark spots. I decided to then layer the Bye Bye Pores powder over that, and forgo foundation. Neither of these products contain sunscreen, so just note you’ll need to cover off on that with your moisturizer. I used my Cargo Magic Brush to buff in the powder after applying concealer, and was immediately happy with an even tone and finish. My combination skin felt comfortable – the powder has an anti-aging collagen and vitamin formula, and I noticed it kept my skin feeling great without any irritation that I’ve had before from loose powders.

Next up, the Radiance Vitality Disc – this is the workhorse of the group. This combines contouring, strobing and blush all in one – and it makes your skin look amazing. It’s got the slightest hint of shimmer, which applies almost like a sheer sheen. The champagne highlighter makes for a beautiful eyeshadow, and the matte bronzer blends very easily. The blush is a very pretty peachy pink, and looks like a natural glow on skin. I was super impressed by how well the colors and powders lasted all day, and gave me a completely natural-but-polished look. 

Lastly, the Hello Lashes 5-in-1 mascara was the one product I was somewhat a bit less than excited about over the 30 days. I appreciate the technology of the formula – it contains a lash enhancing serum to increase volume and length. The brush has silicone bristles with a ball end, which is great for individually lifting and separating lashes for added definition. To me, it just didn’t perform above and beyond my e.l.f. Mineral Infused mascara – which gives high impact effects immediately. However, if you are concerned about thinning lashes, or a formula that contains a lash-building treatment, then you may like this formula. I am impressed that it didn’t flake or smudge, and came off easily with my makeup wipes.

Overall, I really like this line and especially recommend it for sensitive skin. I’m also loving how my skin feels after using the brand, so I’ll definitely be looking at their assortment for more products to try. 

© 28daysbeauty 2016

Beauty Topic: What to do with beauty products you don’t like…

We’ve all been there – you thought you would try the beauty product that was hailed as the next “miracle” in a jar, only to wonder who actually defined the word miracle. Or you got suckered into buying a small fortune worth of products at a makeup counter, because you didn’t have the heart to say no to the salesperson. My golden rule of thumb is keep your receipt whenever you try new products. Most people think that they can’t return a used  beauty product, but in truth you absolutely can (at most large retailers) within a specified amount of time. Ordering products online or via infomercial (buying stuff at 2am while drunk happens!) is trickier for returns, so I do recommend trying more expensive products from a local store. You can try it from a tester, play with it for consistency, texture, or talk with a salesperson about it. But then it’s also local for returning it, if you absolutely don’t like it after taking it home.

But what do you do about products that currently may be taking up space in your closet, shower or drawers? Here’s some advice, and also some myth-busting tips:

1) Shower Gels or Bar Soaps- if you develop a rash from using, then either return or toss asap. Allergic reactions are nothing to mess with. But if you simply don’t like the scent, foaming factor, etc, then dump bubble bath or shower gel into a hand soap dispenser. These make great guest bathroom handsoaps, and don’t go to waste. Same with bar soaps – just use up by the sink.

2) Shampoo or Conditioner – if they just don’t work for your hair type, or if your scalp starts to itch, you can always use them to wash and condition the dog. If you bought them from your salon or stylist, see if they can give you a refund or exchange for different products. Human scalps can be sensitive to fragrances, and hair products are loaded with them. Shampoos could also double as hand soap, since they do clean and foam up. Conditioners also can double as shaving cream for legs.

3) Lipstick – all the rage is bright pink, but you feel like a clown wearing it? Or you thought that you could rock the ’90’s throwback brown Wet n’Wild shade that you spent all of your junior year in high school wearing, but it just doesn’t fit your vibe now? If you bought an expensive lipstick from a counter, see if they can give you a store credit. Or at least, you can give it a try as a cream blush. You can easily blend it in with a foundation brush, and layer a highlighter over it to give it some added effect and staying power. 

4) Eyeshadow Palette – I can tell you that in my 15 years in beauty, I’ve rarely met anyone who has used ALL shades within an eyeshadow palette equally. But if you are using one shade in the palette only, then look at using other shades as eyeliners, or matte brown shades as brow colors. Don’t ever feel pressured that if you don’t have a makeup palette, you aren’t doing makeup “right”. There are a couple of celebrities that don’t ever wear eyeshadow – and you probably can’t tell the difference.

5) Bronzer – similarly with eyeshadow, not everyone loves contouring or the sun-kissed look. If you have a bronzer you just don’t like, give it a try as an eyeshadow. 

6) Nail Polish – guilty of having a ton of nail polishes, but using only 2 shades routinely? Give these a try at Easter for decorating eggs with the kids, or try some fun crafts at home (vases, pottery, canvases) that normally call for acrylics. If they are old, and liquids are separating, then toss!

7) Facial Moisturizers or Serums – these make fantastic anti-aging treatments for your hands. Our hands often get neglected from the same care we give our faces – but the wear and tear on our hands is so easy to detect. Hands often show the first signs of aging, especially with sun damage. If you spent a lot on face cream and just don’t love it, give it a try as a nightly hand treatment.

My biggest tip of all is to know what you are comfortable with and stick to it. If you feel like you got “oversold” by visiting a makeup counter or a beauty store, then make a visit back with the products and give them a chance to make it right – based on what you like. As a former counter manager, I would rather have my customers happy and coming back, rather than fear approaching the counter at all. 

© 2016 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: Stick-style Makeup

Stick makeup, whether automatic or pencil-sharpener style, has been growing in popularity over the last several years. Especially due to certain brands, such as Nudestix, which are entirely sold in stick packaging only. I’ve heard many women say that they really don’t know how to use this type of makeup, but in reality, its incredibly easy and fun to use. Not to mention very convenient, especially if you are someone who doesn’t have a ton of time in your schedule or travels often. Hint: these are great choices for gym bags!

I much prefer automatic-style over pencil sharpening, especially for travel. Also, you end up getting more use of product and less waste, because you aren’t having to scrape away so much with a sharpener. The brands and products that I’m featuring below are the exact choices I used in my recent trip to Italy – they are not only easy to use, but also high-performance formulas in a high-humidity climate.  

cargo, clinique, billion dollar brows, revlon
my top picks for stick-style makeup

From the top:

1) Cargo Color Stick (in Key West) – Cargo has a hold on my heart, since their products are versatile and performance-driven. I love using this Color Stick with my foundation brush to create a beautiful flush of color on my cheeks, and also use with my fingers as a neutral lipstick. It’s creamy, with just a slight shimmer. Plus, it doesn’t streak or fade. Just twist up and dot to apply, then blend.

2) Billion Dollar Brows Univeral Eyebrow Pencil – this is amazing!! It’s a fantastic neutral shade that many can wear, and is an easy to use twist up pencil, with a spoolie brush on the end. It holds up to humidity, and is very buildable. The formula also controls brow hair, which makes it even more versatile.

3) Clinique Chubby in the Nude Foundation Stick – new from Clinique, this is a bit of a echo of the Maybelline Express Foundation Sticks from the 1990’s (all hail Sarah Michelle Gellar’s ads), but the formula is modern and outstanding. Twist up and smooth across the broadest areas of forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. Blend easily with a foundation brush, and the formula feels lightweight yet buildable. It also makes a great spot concealer, if needed. The formula does not contain sunscreen, so make sure to prep with an SPF moisturizer.

4) Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm (in Enchanting) – honestly, this is quickly becoming my favorite matte lipstick. The style is similar to glossy balms, but the coverage is full. Plus, the formula just rocks – it’s matte, but moisturizing, and wears well. I haven’t experienced the cracks or icky goo spots that some matte lipsticks create after an hour or so. Matte lipsticks can be hard to wear, especially lighter nude shades. But this one doesn’t disappoint – just beautiful! 

5) Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes – this is a great combination of color and staying power, which also can act as a base for powder shadow. This formula definitely has shimmer, but spreads easy with either your finger or shadow brush. The dry-down is fast, and is long-wearing. What I really like about these is they can be easily layered – just make sure to allow dry-down before applying the next shade.

clinique, cargo, revlon
easy to use formulas

I highly recommend these brands and formulas if you are going to be traveling, or want multi-tasking products that are easy to use. Plus, I think all are a great value for the performance you receive. 

©2016 28daysbeauty