Why Travel + Make-Up = Bullshit

For months on end, I’ve carried this bright, pepto-pink bag around with me. Year after year, as much of a nuisance it has been, it’s still there. It’s a nagging reminder of the so-called femininity I am expected to possess. And every time I arrive somewhere, unpack my belongings, and then have to do it all over again, I have to shove its unwanted, awkward shape into my backpack.

The enemies at hand...

The enemies at hand…

Why the hell would I keep bringing it, then? Just like Cheryl Strayed brought 12 condoms in her bag, Monster, to hike the PCT alone. What for? Open up this small bag and you’ll find foundation, powder, an eyelash curler, eyeshadows, eyeliners, and several shades of lipstick. All useless to me. When was the last time make-up actually enriched someone’s travel experience? When was the last time you saw me on the road with my face done up? I’ve come out into the world to travel and explore, not to do a photo shoot with Vogue. That’s just not my style, and I don’t think it should be expected of women to paint their faces if they feel comfortable in their skin as it is.

Feeling super miserable without make-up at Cafe Hafa in Tangier, Morocco

Feeling super miserable without make-up at Cafe Hafa in Tangier, Morocco

And so, I’ve made up my mind. Traveling and make-up just don’t go together. Not the way I travel, at least. It’s bullshit. Yes, people want to put their best foot forward. But we can do that with our words, actions, and behavior. Isn’t that a better way to represent yourself than by wasting 20-40 minutes of the day layering powders and liquids on your face? Personally, I think natural beauty goes much further.

Eliminating the little pink bag will be like saying good-bye to the potential self I could be. Not the one I want to be, but the self that many people desired me to be. The status quo. Less grit, more flowers. Less raw truth, more masks. Less me, more you- whoever “you” may be.

My ultimate reaction to traveling and wearing make-up on the daily

My ultimate reaction to traveling and wearing make-up on the daily

The bag has got to go.

What do you think? Do you wear make-up while traveling, and why/why not? Let us know in the comments below.


12 thoughts on “Why Travel + Make-Up = Bullshit

  1. Helena says:

    I wear makeup sometimes. Not because I have to, but because I want to. My makeup bag is small though, it has a mascara, a primer (to reduce my oily skin) and a bb cream that doesn’t really cover up much. And chapstick. That’s all I usually ever wear and need. Well, sometimes I use eyeshadow as well but that’s mostly when I’m home and not travelling.


  2. Tara says:

    The same thing happened to me years ago when I was traveling with my would-be husband. I was still sneaking off to campground bathrooms with my make-up bag – not a lot of makeup, but enough to make it a pain in the butt. A week into our trip, I snuck the whole bag into the trash can.


  3. aliceteacake says:

    I still can’t let go of my makeup. Sometimes I’ll wake up and think ‘Yep, I’ll just put on the mascara’ but then I love my eyeliner and my blusher and so on…haha. I’ve loved wearing makeup since I was a young teenager and travel hasn’t changed that ^^


  4. Head Elsewhere says:

    I’m obsessed with make-up, but it’s become more of a hobby for me and it’s something I enjoy doing for myself. I don’t mind going without it though either. When I’m traveling, I’ll tend to veto it or seriously reduce my primping time. It’s just not practical if I’m staying in a hostel, or if I’m somewhere super hot. It’s definitely a personal choice though, and I don’t think anyone should feel bad about deciding to go either way.



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