Could you narrow down your weekend makeup bag to just six products? We challenged ourselves to pick five essentials and one bonus product for the ultimate capsule makeup edit
As beauty junkies there are few instructions we fear more than ‘pack light’. But for short breaks and weekends away, needs must, especially for staycations - all kinds of weather must be catered for in the clothing department, leaving very little space for lipsticks, eye palettes and other such luxuries.
So could we, a team of product hoarders, narrow down our weekend getaway makeup bags to just five products and leave the rest at home? It turns out that no, we couldn’t - so we allowed ourselves a sixth bonus pick in the interest of keeping it real.
Read on for each of the GTG team’s capsule makeup edit ( find our travel skincare edits here ) - and please do give us a few tips in lighter beauty loads if you can do yours in under six items… we need all the help we can get.
Victoria Woodhall, Editor
I struggle hugely with minimalism and knew that for this task I would need professional help. Having recently discovered the Trish McEvoy Correct and Even Full Face Perfector and loved the way it made my skin look as natural as possible, I took myself off the Trish McEvoy makeup counter in Selfridges for a makeup consultation, bought myself the smallest of Trish’s famous makeup planners (a kind of makeup Filofax) which you can’t overstuff and with the expert eye of makeup artist Becca, filled it with five products.
First up for my base I chose Beauty Balm SPF 35 Shade 1 , £65 (moisturizer, SPF and foundation in one). I’m a terrible sleeper away from home so a concealer comes with me too - Correct and Even Full Face Perfector £40 for dark circles, redness and blemishes.
The Petite Makeup Wardrobing Page £13 slots into your ring binder and you fill it with magnetic inserts of bronzer, blusher, shadows etc swapping in and out according to what your day has in store. I use Weekend Bronzer , £22, Pink Blush Easy Going , £16 (a dusty rose) and a couple of eyeshadows - Heather and Deep Taupe , £12 (the latter gives brows a bit of depth too and can be used as a liner) topped off with Lash Curling Mascara in Jet Black £22.50, which stays put all day but magically comes off in one with just warm water.
Then for lips, Essential Pencil Nude £20 - a crayon that gives the definition of a liner and layers up for fuller coverage for evenings.
Bonus item: my weekend makeup would be nothing without the Mini Makeup Planner , £46 itself. It has simplified my packing, lays everything you need in front of you and they’ll even monogram it for you for free in Selfridges so you’ll love it that much more.
Sarah McGinnis, Art Editor
If you'd have asked me to edit down my skincare haul, I would have found this a very difficult task! My day-to-day makeup bag meanwhile is pretty light. Ideally I'd add a few more cheek and brow products here, but if I had to cut it back, then this is my go-to beauty face, and what I literally couldn't travel without. I had to be brutal and not include concealer, so I've picked my trusty La Roche Posay Effaclar BB Blur in fair/light , £16.50 for base.
I cannot stand anything that's too greasy and heavy on my face, but this little gem is a mousse like texture; light, easily absorbed, and completely blurs out an uneven complexion - a kind of concealer, foundation with brilliant coverage all in one. I’d follow this with my desert island product, Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder in shade 30, £39. This is a little darker than I need for a powder, but it’s so brilliant at warming my complexion and adding a sun kissed glow, plus it can be built up for a little bronze hit on the cheekbones too. I will never live without it so Chanel, never discontinue this product, I beg of you!
The main bulk of my kit has got to be the eyes - I'm fair so my eyelashes are pretty non-existent and I look like a boy if I don't give my eyes a bit of a pop! I love the Rosie for Autograph Cream Eyeshadow Stick , £12.50; it blends effortlessly, creating a slightly shimmery cover over the lid and can be built up for a sexy smokey eye come evening. Pair this with the Dior Show Mascara , £25.50, then you're on to a winner. Still one of the best mascaras I've tried; it lengthens, thickens and plumps up the lashes to create a fuller flutter. For lips, I've opted for a smoothing balm type with Dior's Addict Lip Glow , £25 in shade Berry. Incredibly hydrating with a sheer flush of colour, it gives the effect of a punchy lipstick without drying lips out. Great for taking me from day to night, it's long-lasting and doesn't need constant top ups in-between those bottles of wine!
Bonus item: The one which I would fight for is my absolute favourite eyeliner, YSL Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner in Black , £21. Soft and creamy enough to glide along the lash line, it's intense, budge-proof and really packs a punch in one gentle sweep. A must-have to ramp up the evening look.
Alexandra Harrison, Admin Assistant
I am not one to travel light in the beauty department – I’m the girl that gets worked up about the liquid restriction at airport security as I just cannot choose between my beloved products. If I don’t have each and every one of my everyday essentials with me on a trip I won’t feel put together, so condensing it down to just 5 is a huge task for me. That being said, if I had to choose my first essential would always be concealer. At the moment that’s the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard , £24 as it has great coverage without being too drying on the skin. I tend to slap this all over my face after my moisturiser and blend out with a beauty blender to hide any imperfections. Ideally, I’d use another lighter concealer to brighten up my sad under eye bags, but for the sake of this task it’ll have to just be the one shade (sigh).
Next I move onto powdering my skin with the KIKO Weightless Perfection Wet & Dry Powder Foundation , £13.90. This is a recent discovery of mine and has transformed my makeup routine. My oily skin typically tends to dissolve my base throughout the day, which means I end up looking like I have a serious caked face. To try and combat this I recently switched out my beloved liquid foundations and have been using this powder option instead. It gives a great amount of coverage without looking too flat on the skin and because it’s quite lightweight it’s perfect for a weekend away.
Next up is my Too Faced Sweethearts Bronzer , £25 which I love for giving a bit of life to my face. It warms up the skin as well as adding a bit of radiance. My brow and eyelash products are essentials as both are naturally blonde and need some help to actually show up on my face. For my brows, I use the NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Taupe , £9, which gives just the right amount of colour without being too dark. And my holy grail mascara is the L’Oreal False Lash Sculpt , £10.99 – I love this as you can apply a light layer for the day time, but it can also be built up to give a real intense false lash effect for a night out.
Bonus item: Finally, my bonus item to amp up the drama would have to be the MAC Eye Khol in ‘Teddy ’, £14 – a beautiful bronze shade. I love this blended over the top or lower lash line to give a real smokey effect and take a look from day to night.
Judy Johnson, Digital Editor
I must admit I really struggled with this - my makeup bag is one of my most prized possessions and is the cause of much anxiety if I’m packing for a weekend away and am only allowed hand luggage (those 20x20cms clear bags are one of my biggest sources of rage). I won’t leave the house without eye makeup thanks to my dark eyelids - not to mention the under eye circles which I’ve had since I was about 12 - which makes it very tricky to whittle it down to just five products.
However, challenge accepted: I decided an even skin tone and fresh, defined eyes are my absolute must-haves, so to narrow it down I picked my all-time favourite Clarins Instant Concealer , £19.80 for base instead of my usual foundation; I’ve gone without foundation and used this alone before because it’s that good (albeit an expensive way to use it) and it’s the ultimate concealer for all areas, whether you’re covering redness, under the eyes or angry blemishes. It has a glowing finish despite the high coverage, too, which makes it a handy multitasker if you’re travelling light. I’d use this to cover any of the aforementioned areas for a flawless base and then dab on some Liz Earle Healthy Glow Cream Blush in Camellia , £17.50 to finish off. It’s the best cream blusher I’ve had the pleasure of using and it melts on to skin to give a really natural, flattering flush to the cheeks.
With my base taken care of I’d then slick on some of my daily essential, Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Sin , £17.50 - a rose-golden, shimmery cream primer which I often happily wear as eyeshadow in the day (though if the numbers weren’t so strict I’d certainly pack a Zoeva shadow palette for a more exciting evening look). Lastly I’d have to have the Eyeko Black Magic Liquid Eyeliner , £16 to line my lids and add my signature flicks as I don’t feel myself without it, topped off with my mascara of the moment Benefit Roller Lash , £21.50 - it really does add a bit of curl (seeing as my lash curler will be at home) and gives definition and volume in one. Altogether, it wouldn’t be my usual, completed look, but I could definitely leave the house that way…
Bonus item: As a natural blonde with fair, sparse brows, my bonus product would have to be another hero from Eyeko - last year I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about their Brow Gel , £18 and I’ve used it daily ever since. It fills and tames in one easy sweep and lasts ages, and unsurprisingly given my love for eye makeup I now consider it an essential day and night; it just adds definition so that everything else looks polished.
Gemma Bellman, Managing Director
Travelling light is my forte! A skill honed over the last year of life with my daughter who, I must say, has not yet mastered this art, and subsequently spills over into my (already limited) handbag space forcing me to edit and re-edit my core selection. All of this has made for a finely tuned, can’t live without, capsule collection.
First is my base - a light coating of MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation , £24.50, which gives me a light, even, matte foundation to work from. Next up is my trusty Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder, £30, which I apply generously to my face, working a lighter dusting down my neck, across the ears and back into the hairline to fade it out. The latch on this compact annoys me no end as it always gets stuck but honestly I don’t care - I love this bronzer. I’ve tried many in my time and this one gives me the just the right touch of warm bronze without a spec of sparkle or hint of sheen - both of which I avoid. This is where I’d usually apply my blush but as we’re paring right back for the world’s smallest ever travel bag I’ll skip this step and perhaps substitute with an extra stroke of bronzer on my cheeks.
My next must have is my Benefit Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil £20.50 which I go nowhere without. Perfect applicator, right angle, good staying power, ideal shade and a nifty brush at the other end for tidying up with afterward - what more could a woman want in a brow product? Well right now, I’m actually also loving the Glossier Boy Brow £14, in Clear which I use to just define and seal in the pencil. The perfect duo in my opinion.
My next staple is mascara, which is definitely my most promiscuous companion in that I’m always trying out something new. My most memorable, however, has got to be IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes 1-in-5 £19. It has a brilliant applicator which catches even my most meagre of lashes, and a lovely light formula but with real staying power.
Bonus product: My bonus ball here has got to be eyeliner - if we’re going out-out it will be a liquid liner for sure (I like Rimmel Exaggerate Eye Liner) but my handbag staple is a brown MAC Eye Kohl £15, which I love to smudge along my top lash line (the bigger the night the bigger and bolder the smudge) and of course along my water line on the bottom. I find this product really versatile as I can dial it up or down from day to night and it takes up minimal space. That’s all folks!
Anna Hunter, Senior Features Writer
This feature is kind of the editorial equivalent of trying to squeeze all of your liquids into one flimsy plastic envelope at airport security. Something key always gets left behind, you can’t justify bringing along a razzle dazzle lip gloss and you’re wondering how you can style out your mascara as a liquid liner too. But here we are. My high five starts with a brightening, fatigue bashing blusher- bareminerals Gen Nude Powder Blusher , £22, to be precise. The new colour range takes in everything from ‘bellini’ to ‘merlot’ to ‘coffee’, and look as delicious and enlivening as the shade names would suggest.
Base-wise, creamy, multitasking Nars Velvet Skin Tint SPF30+++ , £30, would be next up. It offers more coverage than your average tinted moisturer, with all of the benefits of a very decent sun cream and a ‘matte but not flat’ finish. It’s also really light to cart about. I’ve cheated on the next bit - a Trinny London stack, or at the very least the Starlight Highlighter , £25. It’s seriously dinky and gives lids and cheekbones a slightly gold tinged, healthy-looking glow. To keep the gleamy theme going, I’m rarely without L’Oréal Paris Infallible Gel Liner in Super Copper , £4.98. It gets more compliments than most makeup I wear put together, and the sheeny rust shade seems to big up my hazel eyes with very little effort on my part. Lastly, a bit of definition care of Clinique High Impact Mascar a, £18. I have a few mini tubes of this lash lifter for travelling, and it opens up even the most jetlagged of faces.
Bonus product: Surely I can get away with slipping a lipstick into my hand luggage? Lipstick Queen Dating Game , £22, is my current lip pick. A selection of grown-up, wearable pinks that don’t come off too bubblegum, Good Catch is my favourite, but they all offer a modern way to wear a pink lip with a formula that’s impressively balmy.
Ayesha Muttucumaru, Senior Features Writer
How I’ve wished over the years that I could be one of those people who only packs the essentials. I’m known as the one in my friendship group (there’s always one isn’t there) who pays for luggage rather than squeezing it all in a carry-on - most of which is filled with clunky bottles and totally impractically large eyeshadow palettes.
However, I’ve had to learn to downsize over the years - mainly because of the relentless piss-taking from my friends and also because of the Bank Holiday road trips that my family and I have taken a shine to where boot space is minimal. It’s a work in progress, but I think I’m getting better at it. Liquid eyeliner is a staple of mine - so that always goes in. More specifically, Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Blacquer , £21, a fine-tipped budge proof pen that allows me to easily sketch in my feline flicks with minimal faffing and smudging. Next comes my mascara - Benefit’s new Badgal Bang , £21.50 - its slim and streamlined brush provides volumes of lift and length. I always get comments about my lashes when I wear it.
For my base, I try to keep it minimal during the day to save both time in the mornings and space in my suitcase. A quick application of the buttery-textured NARS Creamy Concealer , £24, under my eyes and over blemishes and I’m good to go. If I’m looking for a more long-lasting base for a night out though, Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Foundation , £26, is my go-to. Rather than all over though, I only apply it where I need a little more shine-proof coverage - my cheeks, nose, and upper lip - and blend it out. It’s great for sorting out the odd bit of pigmentation.
And as for my highlight, Huda Beauty’s new Bronze Sands 3D Highlight Palette , £40, is one of the best I’ve tried in recent memory. Created especially for deeper skin tones, its quad of high-watt shades are amazing layered on top of one another as well as used solo to contour, blush and strobe - I also use them on my eyes too. It’s one hell of a multitasker.
Bonus item: If I’m in the mood for a statement lip, Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution Lipstick in Opium Noir, £24, is a firm favourite of mine. A deep crimson red inspired by the screen sirens from the Film Noir era, it’s deliciously dramatic and long-lasting, but not drying like some other matte lipsticks thanks its more moisturising formula.
Kully Buhal, Head of Business Development
So luckily I am a fairly low maintenance girl when it comes to my beauty buys and in recent months I’ve found myself living between two homes whilst I look for a new flat to buy, so have had to whittle all my wears down to the minimum - so this edit has been a breeze for me. I look for natural looking, long lasting products and the one product I absolutely can’t travel anywhere without is my Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer , £16.55.
It’s by far the best concealer I’ve ever tried and also the best match (I have light Asian skin and there aren’t many brands that can match my colouring correctly). The coverage is great and it always provides a flawless finish especially over my dark under eye circles. I also love the creamy texture which makes it very easy to blend without leaving a cakey look, and it lasts all day.
I moved away from liquid foundations a couple of years ago as I have oily skin and I never found one that agreed well with my skin leaving me with regular breakouts. I now can’t be without my Bare Minerals Performance Wear Powder Foundation £24.30. It’s so easy to apply, lightweight on the skin and provides a truly natural look. I rarely find myself having to top up during the day. Like Urban Decay, Bare Minerals caters well for Asian skin, with this foundation offering 20 shades to pick from; I use Honeycomb. Another big plus point is this won’t have to go in your liquid bag at airport security!
My other 3 picks are all around the eyes as if I’m going out this is the feature I normally concentrate on, preferring a dark smokey look. I start with a tidy up of the brows with Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz £22 - the ebony shade is the perfect match for my black hair and fills in any brow gaps I have perfectly. Onto the eyes, and the Urban Decay 24/7 Waterline Black Eye liner pencil , £13.95 is my go-to pencil. I’ve never quite got the hand of liquid liners! It applies smoothly to lids and waterlines, and the creamy texture is easy to smudge to your heart’s content. But once it’s set, it stays. I usually follow this with Bobbi Brown Everything Mascara , £22.05 - it just works. It goes on easily and evenly and lasts all day with no clumping. I find just one coat provides me with fuller lashes.
Bonus item: It’s an oldy but a goody - Chanel Ombre Essentielle Soft Touch Eyeshadow £20.70. The midnight shade is my colour of choice for my smokey eyed look. It’s silky, smooth and long lasting.