DIY: Compact Makeup Palette for Travel

To bring makeup traveling or not to bring makeup traveling… a common query when it comes to packing. Personally, I don’t wear much (or any) makeup in hot climates because it’s nearly impossible, it just melts off your face. That being said, I like to have some makeup for those special nights out or when I am in a climate that allows for it. Since we have no foreseeable end to our travels, I like to be prepared for all occasions and climates — this means bringing makeup. Sometimes, a girl just wants to feel glamorous.

When I gathered all my makeup I wanted to take with me, I knew there was no way I could bring it all and still travel carry-on, all the packaging simply takes up so much room. So, I looked up how to remove the makeup from its packaging so that I could repackage it all together in a more space-efficient case, solving my dilemma.

I thought I’d share how I did it so others facing the same problem can do the same.

DIY Makeup Palette - Roamaholic

What you will need:

Potted Makeup — as much as you want or can fit in your palette.

Flat Metal Case or Palette — I used the tin from a set of drawing pencils, it was the perfect size while staying quite thin. You can buy actual makeup palettes on eBay and elsewhere, but I wanted to use what I had around the house.

Pointed Knife

Heating Element — other people use a hair straightener for de-potting makeup, but I don’t own one so I used the stove-top.

Wax Paper

Rubbing Alcohol or Goo Gone


Strong Glue

Magnetic Sheet or Strips — I used a big old magnet my parents weren’t using anymore.


Let’s get started!

Gather your makeup. It doesn’t have to be brand specific, I used a variety but mostly MAC because that’s what I’ve collected over time.

Alot of makeup - Roamaholic

Remove the pots from their plastic casing. All makeup brands are packaged differently so sometimes this entails using a knife to pry them out, some being trickier than others.

Depotting Makeup - Roamaholic

For MAC brand eyeshadow, the metal pots are glued into a plastic pot. You first need to use your knife to pry the plastic pot apart from the plastic casing.


Depotting Makeup - Roamaholic



Heat your element to medium-low and place the wax paper on it for protection. Heat the pot of makeup for 2-3 minutes, enough for the glue to become gooey. Be careful to only touch the sides, as it will be quite hot.

Heating Makeup Pots - Roamaholic

Carefully use your knife to pop the metal pot out of its plastic holder. I like to stick the knife in between the metal pot and the plastic and circle it around to loosen it up. You have to be very, very gentle and make sure the glue melts enough or you risk breaking the makeup.

Depotted Makeup - Roamaholic

Use Q-tips and Goo Gone or rubbing alcohol to remove the excess glue from the bottom of the metal pots.

Removing the glue from makeup pots - Roamaholic

Cut your magnet into squares slightly smaller than your pots. If you don’t have magnet you can always just glue them straight in, but magnets are good because that way you can replace your makeup as they run out or if one breaks it’s not stuck in there forever.

Glue the magnetic squares to the bottom of the makeup pots. Some pots of makeup are already magnetic, it depends on what it’s made of. If you’re makeup is magnetic, you can skip this step.

Case and Magnets for Makeup Palette - Roamaholic

Metal Case for Makeup Palette - Roamaholic

Arrange your magnetic makeup pots in your palette and voila! If your palette is not metal, you will need to glue down a sheet of magnet. If you have enough space you can add a few makeup brushes in there or even glue a mirror to the top. It’s yours to customize!

DIY Makeup Palette - Roamaolic

If you’re using any MAC makeup don’t forget about their awesome recycling program where if you bring in six empties you get a free lipstick! I cashed in mine for a nice pink shade to bring with me for special nights 🙂

Empty MAC makeup - Roamaholic

Now my makeup fits nice and compactly into my toiletry kit and I can carry it around guilt-free for when the mood strikes.


So I want to know… do you bring makeup traveling? How do you make it all fit?

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