Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guest blogger - Laura Faye Smith.

Laura Faye Smith is a theatre, voice over, and commercial actress living in Portland, Oregon.
Her blog
Finding Lagom explores her complicated relationship with her stuff, and her attempt at a simpler life.

It also recently inspired me to clean out the glove compartment of my car.

I had the good fortune of meeting Lori while working as a touring actor - we met the night before we both embarked on our first tour to Europe. I knew everyone else on the tour, but was a little wary of this new woman I didn't know anything about - what if we didn't like her? What if she was crazy? But my worries were for nothing - I loved Lori from the moment I met her, and so did everyone else. Lori and I would do two more overseas tours together, and the gift of her friendship has been life-changing for me. I couldn't have done better if I had sat down with a team of experts and designed a friend.

So when Lori asked me to do a guest post for Once Upon a Product, I of course said yes. And it seemed only appropriate to write a post relating to the thing that brought us together - travel!

At the time of that first tour, I had only previously been on an airplane four other times in my life, and I'd never been overseas. I bought a GIANT rolling duffel bag from Eddie Bauer and stuffed it to bursting with WAY more stuff than I needed. My bag weighed almost as much as I did, and contained countless items I never used on that trip. (Lori and I also proved to be shopping partners in crime, so we made matters worse by continuing to cram our luggage full of t-shirts, shot glasses, and other souvenir-type crap from every country we visited.)

I've traveled extensively since that first trip, and become a much better packer. Now when I travel, it is rare there is an item in my suitcase that goes unused. I have traveled in Europe in the winter for two and a half weeks with only a small roller bag that could fit in the overhead compartment of the airplane, plus a tote bag. Experience has taught me how to mix, match, re-use, and pack only what I really need.

It did take me a while, however, to figure out the perfect travel makeup kit. Right after 9/11, when airline restrictions around liquids became so intense, I had to check my bag even for a short trip, because I couldn't figure out how to pare down my products. Today though, I am carry-on ready, and never lacking a thing.

Here is my makeup bag:

It's pretty small - 7.25" x 3.25" to be exact.
Yet it is comfortably full and still easy to zip closed.

What specifically is inside? Take a peek:

1. Daytime Moisturizer: I have pretty dry skin, and am starting to notice the signs of age (sigh). So I decided to start using an retinol cream during the day that contains sunscreen. There are fancier, more expensive ones out there, but Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream by Neutrogena can be found at any drugstore and I'm not allergic to it (which is no small selling point, since I am allergic to a lot of products. Stupid sensitive skin).

2. BB Cream: I am a huge fan of BB creams. They moisturize, provide sunscreen, and cover your blemishes, all in one product. I do realize I am kind of double-dutying it by using a moisturizer AND a BB cream, since the BB cream is supposed to cover all those needs. But like I said, I have pretty dry skin, so I feel like using both is the right combination for me. Clinique's Age Defense BB Cream is the best one I've tried, again for how well it works with my sensitive skin. I've been hearing a lot about CC creams lately too, but haven't tried one yet. I apply the BB Cream with a makeup sponge by Laura Mercier, that is great for blending but also super dense so the product doesn't seep in and get lost in the sponge.

3. Blush: Nars Blush in Orgasm is just the BEST okay? It goes with everything. It looks good on pretty much everybody. I also take this squat little travel blush brush, that came in an Estee Lauder travel kit with a bunch of other brushes I've either lost or broken. It's the perfect size.

4. Mascara: I'm always experimenting with mascara. I'm a sucker for ads that promise fuller, thicker, longer lashes - even if it's pretty clear that the model is wearing false eyelashes. Right now, I'm using Mac Extended Play Lash. It works pretty good, and I do like it, but I guarantee in a month I'll be trying out a new product.

5. Eyebrow pencil/brush combo: I mostly use the brush end of this Lorac tool to groom my eyebrows - I don't usually fill in my brows unless I'm doing full on eye makeup. But combed brows just make you look more put together, don't you think?

6. 2 lipsticks: One reddish, one neutral pinkish. I'm constantly trying new lipsticks. The ones pictured are two of my standby colors - Laura Mercier's Bare Lips, and Mac's Hot Tahiti

7. Sheer red gloss: I love a good sheer red - it punches up a more muted red lipstick, and gives more dimension to a pink. I have quite a few glosses, but I do love this Girlactik Beauty Ooh La La Red, because in addition to looking good over lipstick, it looks pretty all on its own.

8. Lip Balm: Again, I'm constantly experimenting, with everything from fresh's Sugar balms, to Nivea lip balm from the drug store. This little sample from Mox is great at moisturizing, smells and tastes awesome, and is made locally in Portland where I live.

9. Blemish treatment: Kiehl's Blue Herbal Spot Treament is the best blemish gel I've tried. And I should know, because I've been treating pimples since I was a teenager. Will the zits EVER end? It's kinda depressing to be treating my skin for wrinkles AND acne. Sheesh.

10. Makeup Remover: I've tried many other makeup removers, but I love Clinique's Take the Day Off Makeup Remover, and I love this little travel sized bottle that came in one of those gift with purchase bags. I just keep refilling it. This remover gets my mascara off easily - even waterproof mascara.

11. Cleanser and night lotion: I use Cetaphil cleanser with my Clarisonic at night to take my makeup off, and then moisturize with Cetaphil lotion. It's super hypoallergenic, and was recommended to me by my dermatologist several years ago after he chastised me for experimenting with so many products on my super picky skin. I have a big pump bottle of both the lotion and cleanser at home, so I just put some in smaller bottles or travel containers when I'm on the road.

And that's it! I'm terrible at applying eye makeup, so I don't usually wear it. But when I do, I still have room in my bag for a little 2 color palette and some brushes to apply it. I used to bring a lot more options with me when I traveled - more lipsticks, a couple different shades of blush, eyeliner, nail polish, pencil sharpener, etc., but they just ended up being extra weight and clutter. The great thing about this travel combination is that only a few of the items have to be put in a Ziploc bag to get through security at the airport (the moisturizer, BB Cream, gloss, cleanser & lotion, eye makeup remover, and blemish cream). They still leave plenty of room in the bag for my other liquids like travel toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and hairspray.

What about you? What do you take with you when you travel? What can't you live without?

1995 - Shots in Belgium.

1996 - Fish market - Seoul, Korea.

1996 - Just hangin' in Tezar, Hungary.
Laura, Lori, luggage.


  1. I love the concept of your blog and yours and Lori's friendship. You are both lucky!

  2. In that picture at the fish market in Korea, it is hard to tell where my hair ends and Lori's begins.

  3. A halo of endless mid-nineties hair! And obviously giant gray ear warming headbands were very hip.