We Used 6 "On-the-Go" Products On the Go—Here's How They Stacked Up

Updated 03/31/17

If your mornings look anything like ours, you’re lucky to swipe on some lipstick and concealer before running out the door. Since we rarely have enough time to put on a full face, we often find ourselves applying makeup via the metro, in bumper to bumper traffic, or in the nearest public powder room. In desperate need of quick, easy, and effective makeup, we decided to give the most buzzed-about on-the-go beauty products a try.

From multipurpose products that double as a lip and cheek color to user-friendly luminizers that give an on-the-go glow, we’ve put just about every travel-friendly beauty product to the test. And, although the task was quite challenging—we don’t recommend applying makeup via a bumpy subway sans mirror—it was worth it in the end, as we found many a new favorite makeup product. To see which on-the-go beauty products lived up to Byrdie standards, keep reading.

byrdie editors - on the go makeup
on the go makeup - nudestix nudies all over matte face
Nudestix Nudies All Over Matte Face Color in Bare Back $30
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“One of the hardest adjustments I’ve experienced moving from L.A. to New York City is not the weather, but rather the fact that I no longer have a 30-minute commute every morning to do my makeup. I am the type of person prefers sleep over, well, anything, and tricked all my coworkers in L.A. into thinking I wasn’t someone who rolled out of bed and out the door each morning by doing my makeup in the car on my drive to work. Yes, I realize this is slightly hazardous (for what it’s worth, I always waited until I was at a red light), but it allowed me to 1.

sleep more, and 2. still arrive at the office looking polished. I learned the hard way that it is not socially acceptable to do the same on the subway here in NYC (though really—who’s to say it isn’t?!). The first and only time I tried to do this I was met with both uncomfortable stares and averted eyes—like I was doing something way more intimate in public than putting on mascara. Thus, I was a little nervous to pull out NudeStix’s new Nudies All-Over Face Color on the Q train, but for the sake of the story, I went with it.

These chubby sticks are meant to be worn on the cheeks, eyes, and lips, giving you a flushed, flattering monochrome look. I chose the shade Bareback, a taupe-pink, and cautiously/shamefully pulled out my mirror after I got on the train. I quickly swiped the Nudies across my eyelid and was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was able to blend it in. It kind of looked like I had a sunburn on my eyelid, but in a chic way. Then, I dabbed it on the apples of my cheeks, patted it in with my fingers, then swiped it on my lips like a balm.

The entire process took less than 30 seconds, and I looked much more put-together than I did when I got on the train. The formula was creamy and moisturizing, and it blended easily without sliding all over my face. Plus, I was able to accomplish this so quickly that everyone else was still focused on filing on and off the train, and no one even noticed I had committed this NYC faux pas. Win!”

byrdie editors - on the go makeup
rms living luminizer - on the go makeup
RMS Beauty Living Luminizer $38
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“This has been my favorite highlighter for as long as I’ve had it in my possession. It’s a little pot of sheer, glimmery goodness made from coconut oil, beeswax, and rosemary. I take it with me everywhere I go—but, most recently, I used it in a cab on my way to a date after work. I was humiliatingly late (I’m a painfully punctual person), and I didn’t have time to apply makeup before running out of the office. Instead, I smoothed, dotted, and blended the formula along my cheekbones, Cupid’s bow, down the bridge of my nose, and in the middle of my eyelids for a subtle, candlelit glow.

I didn’t even use a mirror. Once I got to the date, I was able to scoot off to the bathroom for a mirror check, and I was pleasantly surprised. I looked strobed to perfection.”

byrdie editors - on the go makeup
rosebud salve - on the go makeup
Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve $6
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“Lately, I’ve been into using one single product on my eyelids, cheeks, and lips to create a modern, monochromatic effect. (Milk Makeup Lip and Cheek in Coral ($24) is a favorite for this—in fact, it’s what I’m wearing today.) But if I want to go really subtle and dewy, I’ll just pop some Rosebud salve—from the tube, not the tin—on my lids for that glossy look, my cheekbones for a slick highlight, and my lips for a pouty sheen. It’s not too sticky, which is important. And because it’s clear, you can apply it at a red light, mess up, and it won’t be a big deal.”

byrdie editors - on the go makeup
milk lip and cheek - on the go makeup
Milk Makeup Lip and Cheek $24
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“I don’t usually like blush, but I was immediately smitten with this combination product from Milk. The oil base makes it ultra-blendable, and the pigment is spot-on—I’ve used it as a glossy eye shadow, too.

“So naturally, I had to put it to the ultimate rearview mirror test: Is it versatile enough to slip on during my morning drive to the office? The short answer is a resounding yes: Because it’s kind of meant to be messy (and its texture makes it very mistake-proof), it’s easy to quickly dab on at a red light, and then re-blend and correct if need be at the next stop.”

byrdie editors - on the go makeup
rituel de fille rare light luminizer - on the go makeup
Rituel de Fille Rare Light Luminizer in Phosphene $29
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“Editorial director Faith told me this highlighter would give me a ‘J.Lo Glow,’ so naturally I was sold in a heartbeat. It’s creamy, shimmery (but not glittery, which can be problematic), and it indeed makes me radiate like Jenny. I also love that it’s more of a rose-gold tone than plain gold or champagne so it warms up my face more than traditional highlighters. I almost don’t believe it’s a ‘natural’ product given its wearability and color payoff, but I love that I’m not adding extra toxins to my skin when I tap it on.”

byrdie editors - on the go makeup
eyeko me and my shadow - on the go makeup
Eyeko Me and My Shadow in Quartz $20
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“Going from work to dinner shouldn’t be that difficult, but when you factor in rush hour traffic in Los Angeles, it can get a bit chaotic. Fearful that I would be egregiously late for standing dinner plans, I opted out of applying a full face of makeup and threw this shimmery eyeliner stick that doubles as a cream shadow into my bag. Upon parking, I rubbed the creamy shadow all over my lids and blended it out with the attached brush. In just 60 seconds my face went from dull and tired to elevated and wide awake.”

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