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Testing (and Loving) Travel-Sized Indie Beauty Line Stowaway

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The new collection aims to do for beauty what Everlane did for fashion.

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Stowaway Cosmetics has created the first collection of cosmetics made to be used up before the makeup expires. The idea is to challenge bigger brands that sell products in oversized packaging at a high mark-up. Like the fashion start-ups before them such as Warby Parker and Everlane, and new beauty startup Glossier, Stowaway has taken an industry flaw and made it their own strength.

Stowaway was founded by girls who get it: Chelsa Crowley, makeup artist and creative director, and Julie Fredrickson, an e-commerce and digital entrepreneur (and founder of OG fashion blog Coutorture). They saw the need for products in sizes that would not only be portable, but that customers could finish while the makeup was still good–all made with the highest quality ingredients. These aren't travel sizes, they're the sizes we should have been using all along.

The collection consists of six essentials, which Stowaway deems the "Little Black Dress" of beauty. I took them all for a spin.

The Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm ($22): Chelsa and Julie opted for a BB cream over a foundation because BB creams are typically a more versatile product. They found that more and more people prefer BBs to foundations because they tend to be more approachable and easier to work with. I am not one of those people.

HOWEVER, I found the Stowaway BB provides a little more coverage than a typical BB cream would, evening skin tone and hiding imperfections, but letting your skin show through, drying down to a glowy finish. You don't have to load up on it to get nice coverage, but it's not going to cake on or weigh you down like a foundation might.

It's worth noting that the Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm is available in four shades to match light to dark skin tones. In a time when some of the biggest brands in beauty still aren't making shades for people of color, it's good to see a start-up striving to be inclusive of everyone on their debut.

The Crème Lipstick ($15): This glides on buttery smooth, giving you rich, creamy coverage in just a few passes, feeling feather light, and wearing well for hours. It's available in Champagne, a peachy beige, Peony, a dusty pink, and Scarlet, a true red. Each of the three shades work in conjunction with the tones of the BBs and the cheek rouges to be extremely flattering on your face.

I especially like that the bullet is a little thinner than a normal sized lipstick. This, for me, made it easy to apply the color and define the lips with one pass, without worrying about coloring outside the lines, so to speak.

The Lip & Cheek Rouge ($15): For a collection that is built around both usability and portability, this is the perfect product. This tiny pot of convertible color is perfect for a natural flush on your cheeks and lips with buildable intensity. The Lip & Cheek Rouge is available in Peony, a fleshy pink, or Burnt Rose, a rusty antique pink. Tap it on and blend it out for a wash of matte, healthy color.

The Creaseless Concealer ($16): This is very creamy and pairs with the BB flawlessly for spots where you need just a little bit more coverage. It's also a relief that the colors of the BB cream and concealer match perfectly, so minimal blending is needed to hide the fact that you're trying to camouflage an imperfection. Whether trying to cover a tiny blemish or hide a hickey, the Creaseless Concealer has got you covered (no pun intended?)

The Effortless Eyeliner ($10): The definition of portable, just smaller than a cigarette. The liner is available in two shades, "Spice," a dark brown with just the faintest hint of shimmer, and Jet, a classic black. It's creamy, applies with minimal drag, and has buildable intensity so you can subtly make your eyes standout, or go for major drama. The short wand eases application because you can get in close and apply precisely where you want it.

The Mascara ($12): Everyone looks for something different from their mascara, and Stowaway came through and made sure that we'd have most, if not all of our bases covered with this one little tube. The curved, diamond shaped brush evenly applies the mascara to every lash, preventing binding of the lashes or clumping of the product . The mascara gives you length, volume, and separation to give you sophisticated, defined lashes with the first coat, and big, fanned out, "fuck me" lashes with the second. Overall, it's a huge win.

The Stowaway concept is great, and so are the products. Is it going to take the place of everything you're using now? Maybe not. But it has the potential to revolutionize the way that we wear makeup, and our access to quality products that aren't going to slow us down, or weigh us down, or expire before we get through them.

Stowaway Cosmetics are available at individually, or in a customized kit for $75.