Operation Desert Rogue Part 1: What’s in My Travel Kitbag? and Desert Makeup Tips

Greetings from amidst swirling desert sands, fellow rogues!

Hello from Sharjah! I know I’ve been saying Dubai, but that was more for convenience of recognition (and where most of my makeup shopping was going to happen ;-)). Sharjah is the neighbouring emirate, and that’s where the conference actually is. I’m so happy to be back in the Middle East – I love adventuring in this part of the world, and if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend paying the countries in this region a visit πŸ™‚

Right, so! I expect you’re all just desperate to hear all about it, right? You’ve been waiting by your computers, refreshing your blog feeds every five seconds in the hopes of a glistening gem of rogueish wisdom? Right? *tumbleweed skitters past* πŸ˜› Well, I have several posts in the works for you, but this first one will cover the makeup I took with me on my trip. Fair warning,Β  I couldn’t take my big camera with me,Β  so all of the pictures from my trip are/were done on a mobile device, mostly in bad light. Yeah. *cringe* Sorry about that, but when you don’t have a handy wizard with an illumination spell, things get sticky…

First up: What did I take with me?

minimalist travel makeup

My relatively minimalist, conference appropriate travel makeup selection!


As you can see from the photo, I didn’t take a *huge* amount of stuff. Partly this is because I wanted to keep my kitbag pretty light (amusing: my carryon, with my massive laptop, weighed 9.6 kg. My checked luggage weighed 9.2 kg – gotta leave the rest of that 30kg checked limit for the new makeup, amirite? ;-)), and I knew I was going to be doing some makeup shopping, so there didn’t seem to be much point in going nuts. I did know, however, that most of my makeup purchases here would be lip-related, so I still brought the staples from the eye and complexion catgories!

We have:

Tarte MATTEnificent palette (toss up between this and the Naked 2, but I thought I’d give the Tarte one an outing since I took the Naked 2 around Europe and Morocco last year. Can’t have the palettes getting envious, you know). This palette is also conference-appropriately matte and neutral. I’ve reviewed it here, and the Naked 2 here.

Urban Decay 24/7 liners in Demolition/Perversion and Corrupt/Zero Can’t go wrong with black and brown, right? My everyday shade is Demolition (matte medium dark brown), but I wanted to take Zero (matte black) because the Perversion (matte super black) end of my liner is a dud. Corrupt is a shimmery brown for variety. LOVE these liners!

Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Peach Pop A gorgeous blush. Need I say more? The Tarte Palette has a pink blush, so I thought I would bring my peachy friend here along too for some variety. Reveiw here.

Chanel Curlers A must-have, (well, curlers at least. They don’t have to be Chanel, although these ones are really excellent) because you can make yourself look more awake even without mascara!

YSL BB Creme in Clear My staple ‘foundation’ for when I want to be naturally, hydratedly (totally a word) polished. It’s 40 degrees Celsius (104 Farenheit) here by, like, 8am so I didn’t want too much on my face, but it’s also a desert (or heavily air conditioned), so I wanted something moisturising. Review here.

Clinique Universal Primer I’m trying this out, and I quite like it. Makeup goes on a little more smoothly, and I feel like it lasts a little longer. Review coming soon!

Clinique Waterproof Mascara A rogue and her mascara samples can never be separated, you know. πŸ˜‰ I’ve reviewed this product here – what can I say? I live on mascara samples. I like waterproof mascara though because it never smears or travels or smudges. Great for hot weather traveling!

Lancome Eyeshadow in Tres Chocolat – My Eyebrow Powder I’ve done a charisma stat-boosting eyebrow tutorial here with this nifty little eyeshadow – I absolutely love it for my brows! It’s a matte dark brown that’s great for its intended purpose (eyeshadow), but it also doesn’t budge in the brows and gives a nice soft, filling effect.

Clinique Chubby Stick in Voluptuous Violet This nearly transparent purple has the twin virtues of being balmy and hydrating (great for the desert!) and able to match every outfit (sice all it really does is kind of intensify/darken your natural lip colour. Review here.

Revlon Lacquer Balm in Demure The perfect nude conference lipstick for pale rogues! The thing I like about it though, is that although it’s quite conservative, it’s moisturising, minty without plumping, and has *sparkles* πŸ˜€ Review here.

Chanel Nail Lacquer in Frisson I wasn’t sure about nail polish for this trip. It’s kind of heavy, and all of the colours I like to wear while flying (reds like this, don’t ask me why) aren’t really conference fodder. I know that sounds silly, but see this post for a discussion of the issues academia and makeup have. Frisson is great and aptly named – it’s a peachy polish with lots of gold micro micro micro shimmer. You can use one coat for a sheer hint, or two/three for more definite colour, but it never gets too overt, and just gives you a nice sparkle in the light. Very sophisticated, but it has glitter, so yay!

Lancome UV Expert BB Complete SPF 50 PA +++Β I’m bnot sure if this is available in the US, but it’s basically a tinted sunscreen. Sunscreens and my skin don’t usually get along that well (TiO2 blocks my pores a bit, chemical ones irritate my excema), so I generally don’t wear a standalone one – I just cover my head and face with things when I have to go outside, and run from shadow to shadow (once a rogue, always I rogue, I guess!). However, when you travel to the desert (even though this one has more of an ozone layer than NZ does), I feel sunscreen is appropriate. I think this comes in 3 or so shades. I have a sample of the lightest one, although the tint is not really super strong anyway. If you’d like to see a review, let me know!


mosque in sharjah

Desert quest time! Will your makeup last till the end of the catacomb?


Lastly, I just wanted to share a couple of tips for desert/hot/dry weather makeup! Most of this is probably obvious, so I’ll keep it brief πŸ˜‰ The main thing is to take waterproof makeup, preferably with a good SPF where appropriate. It’ll resist sweating, and around the eyes it’ll resist any watering you get from dry/dusty desert conditions (or excessive aircon). The next thing is to make your layers of makeup thin. Lisa Eldridge is a great proponent of this theory and has an excellent video about hot weather makeup that discusses it. I like my foundation sheer anyway, but a good primer (mattifying if you get oily in the heat) will help to keep things fresh and in place. Make sure your lipsticks/glosses/balms are nice and hydrating. If it’s really dusty, a lipgloss is usually not your friend, as it will collect the dust and grit in the air. Fruity or floral smelling/scented lipglosses or balms are also not necessarily great, as large flies can be attracted to your lips, and (on a less gross note) if you’re covering your face with a scarf to keep out the dust/for cultural reasons, the fabric will get stuck to a lipgloss. Lastly: you’re going to be drinking a lot of water, so make your peace with more frequent re-application of your lip products now ;-).

I think that’s probably enough for the time being! Hope you enjoyed this little travel makeup ramble, and stay tuned for Part 2, my Duty Free/Travel Exclusive Makeup showcase… if you like random travel pictures (especially of food), check out my twitter feed ^_^.

What are your tips for desert makeup? Have you been to the desert before? πŸ™‚

Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!


I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided! All images and text on this blog are the property of The Painted Rogue unless otherwise stated. If you nick off with any of it, be prepared to find a dagger in your back. Possibly with a legal troll attached to it. You don’t even want to *know* what he powders that wig with.

42 thoughts on “Operation Desert Rogue Part 1: What’s in My Travel Kitbag? and Desert Makeup Tips

  1. It’s hot here in my country too (weird because summer’s about to end actually) but nothing as close to the humidity in the Middle East, I suppose. I agree with using thin layers of base makeup. And definitely, use something with a good amount of spf.



    • The humidity has been suprisingly OK (not as bad as what I experineced in Singapore), but the base heat is definitely new for me – especially since I have to cover up (wore a long skirt and a long sleeved sweater yesterday!)


  2. I love that Tarte Palette Syl! I just realised I don’t have a blush palette but no I don’t think I am going to even attempt getting on because I have way too many blushes! Anyways I have not heard much about the YSL BB cream and it sounds really good.. considering you could wear it that temperature.. which is pretty much what we have here as well! I heard that some Givenchy has already happened! Can’t wait to see the 30 kgs you buy! πŸ˜€


    • Hehe, I would be pretty impressed with myself (probably also crippled with guilt) if I actually managed to haul the extra 21 kg! Can you imagine?! I have a bunch of stuff already, but there are a couple of other things that I tried that I wanted to pick up. I have literally never bought so much makeup in my life (although when y’all see the haul it will probably still seem pretty small ;-))


  3. I was born in the desert! Not literally in the sand dunes or anything, but my parents met and had me in Saudi Arabia. I’ve only been back during a quick stop over where we didn’t even get off the plane.

    I feel like if I were ever in need of desert-proof makeup, I’d just go heavy on the cat-eye and nails, and forego the rest because I’m lazy and can’t bear the thought of having to touch up. I’d probably just wipe everything off anyway.

    Can’t wait to see the 20kg of makeup you bought!


    • Hehe! That’s such a glamorous origin story! πŸ˜€

      Forgoing the makep entirely is probably the most sensible, LOL! Makeup is BIG here though, so it’s hard not to catch the bug all over again!


  4. The struggles with lipgloss would never have occurred to me! Tell me, how did the chubby sticks hold up? Were lip pencils moisturizing enough without being too sticky? Would you recommend.

    I find this interesting, but I have no plans to go adventuring in the desert anytime soon. My sinuses hate it!


    • The chubby sticks are performing beautifully! I just wore Voluptuous Violet to the registration/reception function, and it was glorious. They’re definitely hydrating enough, and you get to feel a bit fancier than when you’re wearing a lip balm. The chubbies are also quite non-sticky and balmy – the Revlon would transfer more to a scarf, because it’s creamier.

      I get epic nosebleeds if things get too dry, so I sympathise. The humidity is reasonable here though, so it’s not too bad. Just H.O.T. If anything, it’s the onmipresent intense aircon that desiccates you!


  5. Amazing blog Sil…I am surprised I just saw it now πŸ™‚ good to know you are travelling..even I just got back from Singapore and the weather was really humid there 😦 could hardly wear only BB crΓ¨mes..wud definitely be interested in seeing your haul…travels r so much fun…n yes…I love Dubai for the pretty faces, though haven’t been to Sharjah ever πŸ™‚ have fun gal πŸ™‚


    • Hi Smita! Welcome to the Painted Rogue! πŸ˜€ Sharjah is lovely – more conservative than Dubai (in theory – some of the tourists haven’t twigged yet) but there’s a lot of beautiful architecture and museums! I’m having a lot of fun, but the heat is amazing – I went outside the conference venue at lunchtime to take a couple of photos, and the air just wraps around you like a blanket!


      • Hey Syl, yes have heard about the great heat of UAE..actually I travel to Dubai pretty often cos my husband’s work revolves quite a bit around that area…hoping you are having a great time n will wait for your haul..will b seeing you around more often.you can check my blog sometime just in case πŸ™‚ missprettypink.com


  6. Yaaaaaay, news from da desert, woot woot! It’s been hot here too. Though not as hot as where you are, obviously. You packed yourself a nice little beauty survival kit there, Syl, great product picks!


  7. Yay, Syl! Have fun in Sharjah! πŸ˜€

    I do like how you’ve packed your makeup kit! I’ll be travelling home later this month, and I’m already debating what to take and what to leave (can’t I take EVERYTHING with me? :P) Still, I know I won’t have the chance to wear as much makeup back home, so it’s just going to be sunscreen, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, a foundation, CONCEALER (so needed!) and a couple of lippies. I’ll be taking all my skincare though – not going to compromise on that!


    • Hehe, I had to be really strict with myself about what I could take, LOL! Fortunately I had the promise of Sephora shopping to keep me sane πŸ˜‰

      I considered doing a skin care post, but there seem to be mixed opinions on how interesting those are…


  8. I now want to insert the phrase “desert rogue” into Sting’s “Desert Rose” (which was, embarrassingly, my favorite song when I was 11). How long is the journey from NZ to the UAE? I shudder to think. :O Well done on whittling down your makeup stash; I need to learn that kind of restraint.

    I can’t wait to see what you pick up in Dubai!


    • Heh πŸ˜€

      The journey is 26 hours including waiting, 18 hours total flying time. London is the worst I’ve ever done, because that’s 23 hours total flying time. Worst single flight is Sydney-Dubai though, cos that’s 14 hours nonstop (which I think is the limit for commercial flights)!

      Also! my restraint is partly due to having a rather pathetic makeup stash πŸ˜‰ that’s changing a bit here though…


    • So I’ve seen πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’re enjoying the tweets – they’re the easiest thing to do given the patchy internet and minimal free time I have at the moment!


  9. I agree wholeheartedly Syl. Waterproof makeup is the way to go in hot, humid countries with a mattifying primer in the case of someone who has an oily skin. And wearing something light like BB creams or an equally light foundation. πŸ™‚


  10. Hydratedly is definitely a word. If it’s not, we shall storm the offices of Merriam-Webster! πŸ™‚

    A matte eyeshadow palette is a good idea for travel. It keeps your looks super subtle and natural.


  11. Your travel beauty choices look fabulous. Not only are they very pretty (unngg that palette) but also hot-weather appropriate. I don’t think I’ve seen (or noticed at least) a BB cream with SPF 50 in it but damn, that’s useful. I’ve heard that most makeup with spf in it needs to be slathered on in order for the spf to actually be effective, but with that high of a number you are probably quite safe! If that primer doesn’t work out for you, Tarte has a waterproof one (their “brightening” primer) that smells great and doesn’t budge in sweaty situations. Thanks for taking the time to post this, I loved reading it πŸ™‚ Have a great rest of your trip!


    • Hi Ash! *waves* I wonder if the BB cream might be an Asia exclusive? We get lots of that stuff in NZ (for example, our Chanel quads have the dome shaped, baked eyeshadows, not the square pressed ones that the US seems to get, and we have a whole special line of Shiseido -‘moisture mist’- makeup that is unique to NZ). Lancome’s the only one I can think of that makes the SPF50 BB cream, it’s true!


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  15. I couldn’t agree more about keeping it light and thin in hot weather! I literally did not use any lip gloss that I brought with me to Thailand! I mainly used the Tom Ford Pink Dusk and Revlon Love Sick Balm Stain as my main lip colors! I really regret not wearing hat and scarf to protect my skin from the sun but when it’s that hot, the last thing I wanted to pile on me was more clothing! I saw a lot of Thai people waring long-sleeved shirt over another shirt, pants, closed shoes, hat, and scarf and I couldn’t understand how they could possibly be wearing that many layers when the temperature was that hot. Now that I’m back to the States and realized that my skin has been so parched, I completely understood. LOL. Hopefully my skin will forgive me and revert back to its normal condition soon!


    • Hehe, you should see what I wore in Sharjah! I confess, even in NZ, because we don’t have an ozone layer and I HATE sunscreen, if I’m going hiking I’m literally wearing a long sleeve shirt, long pants, gloves, a hat, a balaclava and sunglasses. Not a single centimetre of skin is exposed to the sun. And I still put the dreaded sunscreen on my face! This is hiking in summer in full sun. People look at me like I’m mad, but honestly my body acclimatises after a few minutes and I’m fine. In Sharjah I was covering up for cultural reasons, but it still meant that I was wearing long pants, long sleeved sweaters and a pashmina – in 45 degree heat, totally comfortable! What can I say – I have an adjustable rogue thermostat!


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    • You should have seen me jump when the reviews first appeared! Normally i have to watch all the awesome palettes go past (an accessibility issue before it can even get to a financial one), but the packaging and undertone of this palette was just too much for me to miss! It was a huge mission to get, though (even when it was ‘readily’ available)


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