how to: pack makeup when traveling

As you read this I’m 36,000 feet in the air on my way to Nashville, Tennessee for a blogging conference called BlissDom. I’m 10 kinds of excited for this trip. I didn’t go to the conference last year and heard wonderful things about it, so I can’t wait to hop off the plane and party like it’s 1999 with all my blogging friends.

For the record, Precocious was born in 1999. I wasn’t doing a whole lot of partying. Or sleeping. But that’s neither here nor there.

While packing for this trip I got to thinking about what to take on a 4-day trip. I tend to *ahem* over-pack a little {a lot} because I hate being left without the one thing I knew I’d need on the road. I’m getting better the more I travel, I really am, but it’s taken some time.

Here’s a really compressed version of my makeup bag, the traveling kit I take when I fly. Don’t laugh. I really do need this much at my disposal when I travel; I never know if I’ll want to go natural or smoky eyed. I’m mysterious like that.

And these are all the brushes I need. This is a compact version of my makeup brushes, I have at least twice this many. I know, I know, it’s a sickness.

But look! It all fits nicely inside this cute pouch my friend Donna made for me. Isn’t it great?

In case you were wondering, yes, I was able to zip it closed. I only had to offload a few things to an extra Zip-lock bag for safekeeping. Shhhh.

Which leads me to jewelry. Yes, I pack my jewelry in Zip-lock bags. I probably could use a fancy jewelry roll but these work just fine. Who says Zip-locks aren’t fancy?

I have to do a little bit of untangling when I land, but no one is worse for the wear and all the jewelry is contained in its own little space. I love things being in their own little space, it’s the organizer in me.

What packing tips do you have? Anything I should know to streamline the process? Do tell.

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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. TM_Erin :

    I keep/pack my makeup in a very small tupperware container. Good make up brushes are expensive and it provokes my anger when the hairs of the brushes get caught in a zipper.

    It's not the most space-saving solution, but what do I need space for? It's not like I'm buried in fashionable clothes and shoes. ;)

    • Allison :

      TM Erin,

      You are brilliant. Tupperware! Why didn’t I think of that?

  2. Boston Mamas :

    Handy! Given that I still need to pack. Doh! See you soon!

    Laying all of my clothes one on top of the other and folding in half is my trick. Saves a huge amount of space.

    • Allison :

      Wonderful idea. Why have I never done that?!

  3. jules @ The Diversion Project :

    I think you're a bloody legend (sorry, aussie slang) – anyone that uses zip lock bags on the destination to somewhere fabulous – is alright by me!!

    make sure you schedule a flight down under sometime my friend!

    (wow, i wish i could be heading off to all these cool jaunts you go on!)


    • Allison :


      Australia is in my top 3 places to travel before I die. I might take you up on a visit soon. Really and truly.

  4. Emily :

    Love that you're a MAC junkie! And I'm always on the lookout for a good foundation. Do you like the Mineral Power one you're using? Have fun at Blissdom!

    • Allison :


      I’m obsessed with MAC, it’s the best bang for your buck in addition to being beautiful!

      I like the mineral powder okay, I’m just not a big fan of foundation period, but this was good.

  5. 5 ibarras :

    maybe this is too much work (and not very "green") but i had a mishap where 2 of my necklaces somehow got way too tangled and it took an hour to undo, so now i put my "chain-y" bracelets and necklaces in individual little "snack" ziplocks and then put those in the big ziplock to keep them separate…
    and i'm totally like you in the sense that i have to pack anything i might remotely be in the mood to wear, which usually ends up being a good portion of my closet!

    • Allison :


      No, it’s brilliant and I’ll do that for sure. Fabulous tip.

  6. Donna :

    As I've been traveling more lately, I've found that I'm actually packing more than I used to! It's always that 'Just in Case' scenario: Just in case…it rains, I spill on my clothes, it's hotter/colder than expected, I decide I don't like what I packed…and on and on and on. Have fun!

    • Allison :


      The problem is that it’s always JUST IN CASE.

  7. MarySquare :

    You take after your parents with your need to pack everything "just in case."

    • Allison :

      Well, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been validated. It reinforces my behavior.

  8. Dandy :

    We just spent 2 weeks in New Zealand and the packing was very interesting. I mean how do you fit 2 weeks of honeymooning in different climates into one bag?

    I used a travel bag that had spaces for my make-up and jewelry. I'm fancy like that.

    • Allison :

      You ARE fancy! Way fancier than me and all my Zip Locks. But I love my individual bags!

      Congrats on a great honeymoon!

  9. Jill :

    is it bad that my makeup is much more valuable than all my jewelry combined?

    • Allison :

      NO! I shop for jewelry at H&M, Forever 21, and Charlotte Russe.

      I heart my makeup.

  10. Tammy :

    Cute pouch! I always put jewelry in socks, haha. That way the different pieces don't scratch each other.

    • Allison :


      That’s brilliant! I’ll have to do that next time I go.

  11. Doll Clothes Gal Pal :

    Zip-locks are very handy! I LOVE it. I keep my brushes in a small pouch, and keep the rest of my make up in a smaller pouch. The ziplocks are for the jewelry (like you!) and for the liquids (lotions, gels, etc). I hope youre having a grand time!

    • Allison :

      I have an explosion every time I travel, no matter what. Having it all in separate Zip Locks keeps it contained.

  12. erin wilson :

    I live on the road doing a little show called Wicked. I pack for a living. Zip Lock bags are my go to for EVERYTHING. I can't live without them. But, a travel case that hangs up with clear protectors for make-up is my favorite. Got mine at the Container Store :)

    • Allison :

      A little show called Wicked? I may have heard of it.

      Also, if I lived by a Container Store? That would be trouble. I’d have a maxed out Container Store credit card.

  13. Karina :

    Ziplocs are the way to go! I put socks and small things inside shoes and roll most of my clothes. It all fits really nice and leaves plenty of space

    • Allison :

      I love the idea of putting it inside shoes! Look at you, multi-tasking.

    • Allison :

      I’ve got to figure something out for my longer chain necklaces, those ones are tricky!

  14. Marie {Make and Takes} :

    We failed to do a smokey eye on me! We're going to have to do that at Mom 2.0, pa-lease!

    • Allison :

      One of these days I’m going to get you in a corner.

      p.s. no one puts Baby in a corner.

  15. Julie {Angry Julie Monday} :

    Gosh, we are soo alike. I packed about the same amount of makeup, and the jewelry came in freezer bags. I also used freezer bags to store the business cards I collected.

  16. Allison :

    Ahh, see? All my collected business cards end up at the bottom of my purse. One Zip Loc is perfect for those!

  17. Deanna :

    for the long necklaces how about wraping each one individually in tissue paper and lay them out carefully in a large ziplock bag and carefully lay the bag flat between your sweaters, pants or what ever will keep the bag snug and prevent it from shifting around during the flight.