Conference Makeup

I don’t know about you, but when I am packing for a trip I always think way too much about what will happen if things go wrong. This is amplified when I go on professional trips, where looking like tired or sloppy would lower my confidence. This¬†means I put a lot of thought into what makeup products I bring.¬†Since there have been lots of beauty-centric conversations among archaeologists on social media lately, I thought I’d share!

Conference Makeup Kit

My Deluxe Conference Makeup Kit

My Routine (in order of importance)


Products: Benefit Cosmetics Ka-Brow eyebrow gel-cream in 4, MAC spoolie brush

As a person with naturally bold but patchy eyebrows (thanks, Dad) I always focus attention on filling in my brows. I often stop with just eyebrow makeup to be honest. Lately I like Benefit Ka-Brow because I can build from light to very bold brows with one product, which is more control than I have with my Anastasia Brow Powder or MAC Eyebrow Pencil. I also love my brow highlighting pencil called High Brow (from Benefit) which makes them look cleaner and higher.



Products: Bareminerals Original Foundation in Fairly Light, Bareminerals Warmth, Bareminerals Mineral Veil, Bareminerals Flawless Face & Eye Brush

For me, Bareminerals powder foundation is  most foolproof foundation for evening out my complexion, even when I put on my makeup in ugly fluorescent lighting using the teensy mirror attached to my makeup bag (that seems to happen at every conference.) Sometimes I just want to feel like a human without red blotches and bags under my eyes. The beauty is I can use the small end of my double-ended brush to pack on extra powder to anywhere that needs concealing, and it requires no skills or sleep to do properly.


Once I add foundation to my face I look “unnaturally pale” (according to my mom) so I add a teensy tiny bit of Warmth on the brush and put it on my cheeks, hairline, and under my jaw.¬†If I am feeling extra fancy I will contour my face¬†by¬†pinching the Flawless Face brush into a line and¬†carve out my cheeks¬†so I look thinner.¬†After that I dust on some Mineral Veil which makes my skin look smooth even when it is gasping for moisture.


Eye Fanciness



Sometimes a little shiny stuff¬†or eyeliner can make a person feel like they’re ready to face some scary stuff on zero sleep, and that is why I pack several eye makeup products. My absolute must-have is this eyeshadow palette from Bareminerals called The Power Neutrals.¬†I use this set of colors for every type of look from neutral to dramatic so it is perfect for travel.

I usually use¬†an angled fluffy¬†brush to apply one of the beige colors (matte “Magnate” or sparkly “Boss Lady”), use the same brush to put a little bit of gray (“Exec”) in my outer crease.¬†If I am feeling¬†like a sassy eyeliner, I draw it on¬†with the MAC shader brush using¬†dark brown shadow (“Boardroom”). On occasion I put on mascara, if it seems worth having itchy eyes all day.

In case of a party, I always bring one sparkly or brightly colored thing to spice things up. This time, I am going with MAC Mineralize Duo eyeshadow compact which is ultra sparkly, in a light purple/bright bronze combination. I tested my sparkly makeups and this one falls off the least, and looks nice even when it does.


You may have noticed that the number of things I listed is way less than what is in that picture. That’s because I always pack for the makeup-pocalypse. Here are a few scenarios I plan for:

Making this stuff stay on my face through conference sweating

Products: NYX Honey Dew Me Up serum/primer combination, Bareminerals Well Rested CC Eye Primer

Primer is your friend when it comes to traveling. A good primer will protect your skin as well as hold your makeup on your face until you intend to take it off. I happen to have a primer which also moisturizes my face and has antiseptic qualities (in case my face touches a dirty airplane seat, I guess.) I like the NYX Honey Dew Me Up¬†one because it is moisturizing but it does not leave any sticky residue, so it is perfect for powdery makeup like Bareminerals. In an ideal world I would be able to fit some sort of makeup setting spray in my carry on liquids but I don’t think that is going to happen.¬†If I don’t forget, I also put on eye primer (a stick! no liquids to carry on!) so¬†my eye makeup¬†stays on my face for a long time. It is pearl color so sometimes I cheat and just use it as eyeshadow.


Preparation for redness

Products: MAC Studio Fix cream in NW20, NYX HD concealer in light

Being tired makes the skin around my eyes purple. My whole face turns red from the¬†environmental irritants associated with mass transit. Bareminerals honestly covers most of this stuff but a cystic acne breakout or rosacea¬†requires the big guns – MAC Studio Fix¬†–¬†otherwise known as industrial strength, tattoo-covering concealer. I am currently testing out a lighter formula of concealer (NYX HD concealer) that can double as a highlighter, to bring lightness to my face in contrast to any contouring product I may use.


Lip situation: undecided

I have been watching Japanese makeup tutorials and I gather than bright colors and extreme looks are not popular there and may instead draw attention to my foreign-ness, so I am not sure if I will bring lipstick. Frankly, I usually get paranoid that it is getting all over my face anyway, so it may not be the best choice for a busy conference. Here are some things I’m trying out:


L to R: Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate in 10, same line in 104, Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain in Deep Berry, Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate in 17, Maybelline ColorSensational in Nude Lust

I am inclined to just bring the stain because it is multi-purpose and I can build it to a bright color for the wedding I am attending after the conference.

What do you all think? Will I stick out like a sore thumb if I wear my signature red or mauve (the left 2)?

What is in your essential makeup kit?


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