I decided I was going to pack light for my one month of working in Bhutan. I brought along two pairs of trousers and one skirt; two pairs of boots; three scarves; four NZ merino base layers in different colours (which I accessorize with scarves); one red wool coat and one pink leather jacket. I also lugged along one corporate-looking jacket for any formal occasions I have to attend (so far two).

And the same with makeup – minimal. Well, sort of and I know a lot of you out there can and do pack much less. But for me, this is pretty good. I packed everything into my Qantas First Class toiletry bag – an Aussie mate who travelled First Class a few times gave it to me and it’s designed by Collette Dinnigan. It’s become a favourite and is quite a well-travelled bag.

I don’t know where women in Thimphu buy makeup. I’ve seen very little – some oldish-looking Revlon products at My Mart (a new supermarket) and that’s about it.

So what did I pack?

  • For eye-makeup, I brought along two palettes. The first is the Makeup Geek Starter kit, which I told you about recently. It’s a wonderfully versatile palette and Creme Brulee is now a favourite shade for the crease. Rather than bring a separate eyebrow pencil, I use Mocha to fill in the brows. Shimma Shimma is a great highlighter for the brow bone, nose, cheeks and Cupid’s Bow. I was sad to leave behind my Too Faced Absolutely Invisible Candlelight powder but Shimma Shimma is doing a good job.
  • The second palette is Bare Minerals Ready Eye-Shadow Quad in The Truth. This is HG status for me. What a fantastic palette to create a subtle daytime look or smoke it up for night. The four shades are Serendipitous, Magnetism, Fate and Apropos. Standard for me is to use Serendipitous as the base colour. It’s a soft cream beige with a hint of peach and has a buttery texture. There’s a slight frost or shimmer to this but nothing horrid. I then use Magnetism in the crease. This shade is really gorgeous and I’m not sure how to describe it – a taupe with a grey tone to it. You can blend it really well in the crease to create a soft look. Fate is a great shade for lining the eyes and it’s a reddish brown that works well with blue eyes. Finally, I use Apropos on the outer corner of the eye to give depth. Apropos is a semi-matte dark mushroom-brown with subtle silver flecks.
  • Mascara. I brought along two tubes as I’m always paranoid that one will dry up. My very favourite Revlon mascara is Grow Luscious but I recently finished up a tube of this so bought the new Lash Potion mascara in black. It’s said to give extra-length and volume and indeed it does. LOVE the funky pink, purple and green tube. No clumping and one coat basically does the job. I also packed a “just-in-case” mascara – Planters Balsamo Maxi-Volume in Black. I bought a second tube of this beauty in Italy last year and busted it open during my time here in Bhutan. It’s a wetter mascara than Revlon but I like it a lot.
  • Concealers. Two. NZ brand, Thin Lizzy, concealer creme in Miss Von Dita. I think this is my fourth or fifth tube. It’s great to start the concealing process, which for me is a thin layer on the cheeks and nose because they are subject to redness. Creamy and easy to apply. Also lugged along is MAC Studio Finish SPF35 concealer in NW20. I use this to cover up any blemishes and I bought it Duty Free at the MAC counter at Sydney International Airport in April on our way to South Africa. I’ve been through many pots of this wonderful concealer but always in the shade NC15. The sales assistant at the airport was adamant I am NW20. Yeah, maybe. I’m using it up but think the NC15 is better suited to my skin. NC15 has a pink undertone, whereas NW20 is a yellow undertone. Yellow cancels out redness sure, but it can also look a little flat and dull.
  • Under-eye concealer. CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Concealer in 210 Light. I’m kicking myself for not buying a second pot when in Australia during May. Why? Because it’s been discontinued from what I can tell. Many YouTube beauty gurus rave about this concealer and rightly so – I don’t understand why it’s been discontinued. When I bought the Makeup Geek starter kit, I also purchased an Eve Pearl Salmon concealer in Light. I’ve used it a few times as I know I’ll need a replacement for the CoverGirl & Olay one, which is creamy and oh-so-fantastic to apply. So I brought it along with me and panic each day as I can see there is less concealer!
  • Foundation. Only one yeehah!! Estee Lauder Double Wear in 1C1 Cool Bone. I didn’t want to worry about my makeup during the day so chose to bring Double Wear because basically this foundation doesn’t shift. It’s best to be matched by an Estee Lauder salesperson as I would have gravitated towards 1N2 Ecru. I also think a light hand is necessary when applying as too much equals cakey-looking. I might try the light version of this foundation when the bottle runs out but I highly recommend this foundation.
  • Powder. One only and that is Estee Lauder Invisible Powder Makeup in 1N1 Ivory Nude. This is a lovely silky powder and a light dusting over Double Wear gives you that flawless look. Helps to mattify too.
  • Bronzer. Two. Couldn’t choose just one. The first one is more of a blush really and it’s Bare Minerals Ready Color Boost The Adrenaline Rush. This is Limited Edition, hence the funky gold case. The website describes the three powders as “luminous golden ivory, natural matte pink and matte rosewood”. When I sweep the brush over all three, I get a soft peachy colour on the cheeks. Or I can use the matte pink as a blush or rosewood as a bronzer (although it’s a little difficult to get your brush into this colour as it’s a bit on the small side). I think this product is best for fair-skinned ladies like me as colour pay-off is soft (yet buildable). I’ve yet to use golden ivory as a brow-bone shade; must do that tomorrow.
  • The second bronzer is NARS Laguna. Yep, caved in. I’ve been intrigued by this bronzer for years but always worried it would be too orange or muddy on me (being MAC NC15). I’ve tested it at NARS’ counters and read countless reviews but always declined to buy. But…..I had a gift voucher for Ballantynes (Christchurch department store) and this meant Laguna was going to cost me NZ$26.00 instead of the outrageous $76.00 it normally costs. OMG. I should have snapped this bronzer up years ago – it’s perfect. No muddy look; just a soft, subtle kissed-by-the-sun look. Now HG status.
  • Primers. Two. A new tube of Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Primer that I bought in Rome last year. Basically, Spakfilla for the face and it does a good job but I’m not convinced I’ll get a third tube. I brought with me a deluxe sample of Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer and thought I’d road-test it. OMG what a great primer. It has a surprising consistency – liquid that turns almost like powder. The primer is mineral based, water resistant with SPF15 and absorbs excess oils. Yeah, it does seem to do that for my oily T-zone area. This primer glides on smoothly, stays put and I’m considering buying a full-sized tube when the Too Faced primer runs out. Although I’ve heard great reviews about the L’Oreal Magic Perfecting Base primer.
  • Eye kohl. To line the eyes, I brought along my current fav – Revlon Photoready Kajal in Emerald. It’s a dual-ended pencil with a gorgeous dark emerald green one end and a highlighting shade for the inner corner of the eye at the other end. I really want to try the Estee Lauder Double Wear eye-pencil in coffee and will check out the prices Duty Free on the way back home.
  • And finally, the day before I left New Zealand, I was in Christchurch and went to Mecca Cosmetica at Ballantynes. I know, really dangerous thing to do. That’s when I picked up the Limited Edition Bare Minerals bronzing-highlighting thing and…..where I spotted the Limited Edition Ambient Lighting palette by Hourglass Cosmetics. Who hasn’t heard of the Ambient Lighting powders! I’ve been dying to try them, particularly Dim Light. It was love at first sight; what can I say? The palette features two regular Ambient Lighting powders – Dim Light and Radiant Light – plus the limited edition Incandescent Light. The powders are said to give you that soft-focus, flawless look and they sure do. I use Dim Light as an all-over powder; Radiant Light as an eyeshadow; and Incandescent Light as a highlighter. I sure hope they make this palette part of the permanent collection. I think there are six Ambient Lighting shades and I’d certainly buy Dim Light and Radiant Light again.
  • Brushes – yeah, I know: quite a few. I am carrying them in a zip lock bag as this saves space. In the photo below L-R: Real Techniques Multi-Task Brush for applying bronzer and blush; Real Techniques Buffing Brush for applying foundation; E.L.F. Full Face Kabuki for powder; MAC 217 Blending Brush for eyeshadow application (needs a wash!); MAC 212 Flat Definer Brush for applying eyeshadow as liner; Artiste Angled Eyeliner Brush #27 I actually use to apply Makeup Geek Mocha to the brows; Stila All Over Blend Brush #9 to soften and blend crease shade; Trish McEvoy brush #29 (with the gold handle) – this is centuries old, well I bought it in the US in 1998. It’s HG status to apply shadow in the crease; Real Techniques Detailer Brush to apply concealer; and MAC 219 Pencil Brush to apply eyeshadow to the outer corner and under the eye. Phwoar!!

Travelling light?



Probably too many brushes!