The Ultimate Backpacker’s Guide to Makeup

Every year, millions of people head off on a backpacking adventure. Southeast Asia is a popular destination, but there is no shortage of other places you can visit. Part of the fun of backpacking is that you can travel light and you don’t need to worry about dressing up.

Most backpackers live in loose harem pants and funky tee-shirts they picked up cheaply in Bali and Thailand. You won’t need much makeup either, but if you want to glam up after a day on the beach, here is a quick guide to the items you’ll need to pack.

Be Prepared

Backpacking usually means enduring long-haul flights, mammoth bus rides, and long hikes in difficult terrain. Unless you’re a 5* backpacker, which most people are not, you need to be prepared for the rough as well as the smooth. Keep a few essential items on hand. These include a nail file and nail clippers to sort out chipped and broken nails, plenty of sun protection, and moisturizer to restore your sun-frazzled hair.

Sun Protection

Unless you’re heading to northern Europe, sun exposure is a given. Most backpackers head to warmer climates because they want to laze on beaches and do nothing for a few months. The good thing about spending weeks and months in the sun is that you will soon have a tanned complexion. The bad news is that you need to watch out for sun damage.

Always carry a good quality moisturizer in your makeup bag – check out the offerings from if you need any ideas. Look for one with added UV protection. A tinted moisturizer is handy on hot days, as it evens out skin tone. This means you won’t need to wear foundation.

Makeup Essentials

Do carry a bottle of foundation, however, as there will be times when you want to up the glamour. Go a shade darker than you normally wear, as your skin will be darker in a couple of weeks.

Pack a blusher

A swish of blusher adds a warm, rosy glow, which is perfect if you want to look naturally beautiful. Select a shade that matches your skin tone and apply it with a good quality makeup brush. Avoid cream blush as it will melt in hot weather.

Mascara is essential

Even if you wear nothing else, don’t skip the mascara, or your eyes will disappear into your face. Waterproof mascara is best, as it will withstand monsoons, swimming in the sea, and heartbreak when your crush dumps you in Phuket.

Eyeshadow is not really an essential item, but there will be times when you want to dress up. Pack a small eyeshadow palette. Stick to neutral if you want to play it safe or go for a vibrant combo for wild festival nights. Every girl needs at least one lipstick. Bright shades work well with tanned skin but pack a nude lip gloss too. Lastly, a concealer stick is handy for the day after a mammoth beach party or long-haul flight. Just because you’re a grungy backpacker with only five dollars to your name, it doesn’t mean you have to let your standards slip!

Flush the Fashion

Editor of Flush the Fashion and Flush Magazine. I love music, art, film, travel, food, tech and cars. Basically, everything this site is about.