My Travel Beauty Essentials | New York Edition

NYC Trip details

Ideally, this would be a post about a compact, fuss free, all encompassing, travel friendly makeup and skincare routine. But I would be lying to my (beauty-addicted) soul and my greedy heart if I took that route. Let’s face it, this is a neat little excuse to talk more skincare and makeup!

Hi Everyone! Please welcome Pavithra, my dear friend and a makeup-beauty enthusiast unparalleled, who kindly agreed to share the deets on what made the cut and went with her to New York City! I pestered and bullied her to grace the blog with one of her half-part-useful-half-part-hilarious accounts of what beauty products one needs for a summer week in NYC given how much I (and I am assuming all of you) love to take a peek in beauty bags around the internet! Lets continue..

My packing skills were put to test again on a recent week long trip to New York City. The challenges I faced were:

SizeEven though I was going to check in a bag, I found it challenging to pack boring essentials like clothes and shoes in addition to absolute essentials like cream blushes, and 55 eyeliners.

HumiditySummer in New York, ‘Nuf said!

WorkAlas, it wasn’t a vacation. It was a work trip, I had to carry stuff that was business-casual-office-appropriate, and also some bits that would take me from day to night (read BRIGHT lipstick).

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt from my travels is that I need to make sure I don’t slack on skin care. I spent a good part of my last vacation in India with painful breakouts, and that rarely happens at home! No amount of bright blusher is going to take away from the pesky visitors. A good cleanser, makeup remover, sunscreen, and a face mask – it might sound excessive, but to me it seems fair that if you’re spending all that time and money researching amazing skin care products, you might as well look and feel your best on vacation also, simple no? However, the thought of carrying just skin care and very little makeup sounds heartbreaking to me, so I now do the worst best thing possible – carry everything!

Let’s get cracking then!


NYC Trip details

I guess its a case of greener grass, but I always long for dewy skin – even in the summer. I have normal-dry skin, and the looks that instantly appeal to me are the dewy-but-not-shimmery ones. The Forest Essentials Madurai Jasmine & Mogra Light Day Lotion is an unsung hero in the blogging world. It is a deeply hydrating, naturally fragrant day cream with SPF that leaves my skin looking plumped and glow-y. I tend to get carried away and over apply when I use this by itself, hence I combine this with another unsung hero – the Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint. This unlike the Forest Essentials moisturizer is mattifying, non-fragrant and minimally hydrating. Used together, these products gave me sun protection, hydration and a nice evened out skin tone that lasted well through a long work day.

NYC Trip details

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil is a UK YouTuber favorite. And I, as per usual, fell for the hype. This brand will one day will be the sudden death of my wallet. I’m not a huge fan, but my impulse shopping gene kicks in big time when I walk past the store. So much so, that I now cross the street and walk by a Uniqlo (sorry, Uniqlo fans!) instead. Thankfully this impulse purchase paid off – it is a work horse that does the job really well and saves me the burden of carrying cotton pads or wipes along. I know that it seems like it would be a pain in the posterior to travel with, but it clicks shut and I carried it along with the Fresh Soy Cleanser in a nice big zip lock baggie to handle any unfortunate leaks/spillage. Thankfully, both of these cleansers behaved really well whilst in my bag and on my face. However, I plan to using a bit of tape around the Body Shop Cleansing Oil – I can’t even imagine what the outcome of a spill on a 16-20 hour flight would be *shudder*.

I made it a point to go the whole nine yards with my night time routine especially because I knew the food I was eating along with the humidity was going to play tricks with my skin at some point. The Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement is a recent purchase. What I do like about this one, is that it feels lightly hydrating and also gets absorbed pretty quickly. For my night time moisturizer, I used the Body Shop Aloe Soothing Day Cream. This moisturizer works really well when your skin seems petulant, irritated or sun burnt even. It is also deeply hydrating without feeling too greasy, and I think this did help me wake up with plump looking skin everyday. I felt a little too heavy to be piled on during the day but worked magic when used before bed instead. I’ve been skipping using an eye cream in the AM this summer, and use it at night when greasy skin is a non issue. I love that this cream does not sting, feels super luxurious whilst having some really good, safe ingredients.

The best decision I made skincare wise on this trip was to carry my masks along! After a sleepy, long six hour cross country flight, I landed at New York City with dehydrated and tired looking skin. It didn’t help that I was ridiculously hungry and mostly annoyed with everything. A large veggie burger took care of the hunger and annoyance bits, but the real life skin saver was the Caudalie Instant Detox Mask. I tried hard to put what this mask does to my skin in a concise sentence – it deep cleans, tightens, brightens and gives my skin a lot of TLC. I also feel like the effects last at least a couple of days. Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate is a nice mid week three minute pick me up that can be used in the shower – I’m pretty sure this product was made for lazy girls like me!


NYC Trip details

I’m not going to lie, I carried TWO foundations! And  used a grand total of zero! I don’t think you can ever be prepared or judge just how humid a place is going to be. I spent the first two days whining about how I could cut through the air with a knife. And the last thing I wanted to even look at was a heavy base. But my jet-lagged dark under-eye circles needed some work, and Tarte’s Maracuja Creaseless Concealer (Medium) is my current go-to as it doesn’t crease much, hydrates the under-eye area and best of all is a good shade match at the moment. Post concealing, I used a kabuki brush to work Chanel’s Les Beiges (N 30) pressed powder all over my face – I love that this doesn’t ever look powdery even if I go to town with it, and also doesn’t completely matt-ify my skin, letting just the right amount of dewy-ness show through.


NYC Trip details

This was the easiest part to pack as I didn’t have to bother with a bunch of eye-shadows. 99% of my eye ‘looks’ are disasters, and I didn’t want to end up at work with shimmery incoherent bunch of colors on my lids. I did however carry a single eyeshadow to add some warmth to my eyes as I tend to conceal my lids as well. Pacifica’s Treasure is a gorgeous light bronze gold that blends easy, and has a subtle sheen. This paired with Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner (Trooperwas my favorite combination the entire week. For going out, By Terry’s Bronze Moon was an M.V.P. – this shimmery golden bronze-y shadow stick is popular and expensive, with good reason! What impressed me the most though, was the longevity, and the fact that it didn’t crease all evening! Highly recommend!

I’ve been wearing non-black liners for my waterline all summer and this trend came along with me to New York as well. I alternated between NARS’s Abbey Road (Turquoise) and Sephora’s Surfer Babe (Peacock Blue), and loved how these liners provided a nice pop of color without being too bright or conspicuous. For mascara, I used a YSL sample, it didn’t melt off/down my face, and was easy to take off at night – good job little mascara!


NYC Trip details

For me summer equals color. I used the much loved trick of layering a powder blusher over a cream one to extend wear and be colorful bright enough to be spotted from the Empire State Building just in case Chris Messina went looking for me there. Chanel’s Presage cream blush and Tarte’s Tipsy, Burberry’s Poppy by itself or under light dusting of Tarte’s Natural Beauty are harmonious, safe combinations that are guaranteed to last well and look good through the day. Let’s take a moment to admire that Hourglass Blush Palette. I realized how shallow I actually was when I fell in love with this palette only after it was completely out of stock everywhere. Now I treat it like gold, and love using a mix of the shades to create radiant, unique ‘cheeks’ that last ALL day!


NYC Trip details

Ah! we’re on home turf now. I carried waaay too many lip options. Some in my suitcase, and a bunch that sneaked their way into my handbag while I was asleep at night. But the ones pictured here were the ones I reached for during the trip. As much as I love a bright glossy lip, I don’t have the guts to pull it off at work.. yet. I took my favorite sheer lipsticks along for the day – Chanel’s Desinvolte, a gorgeous peachy pink that stains, Burberry’s Rose Pink – a matte warm pink that feels like silk and is super long wearing and Tom Ford’s Didier, a deep plum worn again as a stain. For evenings out, NARS Luxembourg was my lone soldier – that pencil deserves a make-up Oscar, the color, finish, texture –  mind-blown!


It does appear like I carried half of the products I owned for a week long trip – but I don’t make these trips often and could not bring myself to decant and/or buy travel sizes of products I already owned. To be honest, I would carry the same set of products even if the trip were a month long (except that I’d multiply the number of lip options by five). What I would change though is how I carried these products. I used separate little bags for each category of items, I’d instead love to invest in a sturdy, fairly large organizer that could safely house of all of these – suggestions are welcome!

Ah, I had a great time on the trip. New York City is very close to my heart, it was the first place I visited in the States. I’d never lived in a foreign country before, I could barely cook a pot of rice and had never lived away from my parents – but everything changed in the few years that I lived on the east coast. I owe my career, some of my nicest friends, and the best life experiences to it. The resilience is apparent in the city, its magnificent buildings and most importantly, its people. The beautiful city, with its ever changing landscape,  has countless sights, sounds and experiences to offer, and I love how busy and vibrant it always is (Seriously people, the Sephora at Times Square was open until 12 AM…on a Sunday!) 😀 I wish I had some pretty pictures to show you, but alas I spent most of my free time staring at 1 World Trade Center,  eating the Spicy Jalepeno Burgers at Bill’s Bar and Burger, downing chocolate at Max Brenner and chugging down huge cups of latte at Financier.  #sorrynotsorry

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