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I travel a LOT. Not as much as I used to, but still a fair amount. When you have family spread out all over the country, it’s hard to avoid it. And because I don’t like to check my bags, I’m forever searching for travel sized beauty products that I love. Oh, sure, I could buy those bottles and fill them up, but the labels always rub off, or get ruined by water. Then I inevitably lose the bottles themselves. Sometimes with the product still in it. So I’ve learned to stick with smaller, easily identifiable potions and primers. These are my favorite travel sized beauty products, the things that I almost always have. It’s not anywhere near a full accounting, but staples of my traveling (clear!) makeup bag.

Skincare products that are perfect for travel

  • Dermologica Normal/Oil Skin Kit: oh, I looooooove kits like this, where I can grab the whole system at once and not give it any more thought. And I’m currently on a Dermalogica kick, what with their new line that is taming all my dark spots.
  • Evian Facial Spray: everyone has their own uses for this classic, but I keep it on hand to hydrate my face during and after a long flight. I learned this trick from my flight attendant mother, who always kept a bottle of it in her kit bag. She flew international flights and was forever battling dehydrated skin. After she touched up her powder and lipstick, she would spray a liberal amount on her face. She swore that it not only rehydrated her face, but helped set her makeup.
  • Japonesque Pro Makeup Artist Wipes: these come in a box of 20. Be sure to put one in your bag for each night you’ll be away, and a couple more for good measure (trust me on this – I never regret it). These wipes are amazing because not only are they portable in their own packaging, they do an amazing job on waterproof makeup, helping with dehydrated skin while removing makeup. Notice that this dehydrated skin thing is a common problem when traveling.
  • Yes to Cucumbers Facial Wipes: these are supposed to remove makeup but I didn’t find them to be helpful in that regard. However, it’s super hydrating (there it is again!), and works really well as a light, gentle cleanser. They sell these in travel sizes too. I carry a large one around, because it’s amazing how often someone needs something like this.
  • Tatcha Beauty Papers: best blotting paper I’ve found. Thin enough to fit anywhere. I like to blot the oil and then spray a good amount of Evian on my face. Bliss.

Best makeup picks for serious travel



  • LORAC Pro Eyes and Cheeks palette: Listen, I love makeup as much as everyone else. But when you’re traveling stand-by and have minimum suitcase room because you’re not into losing your bag, you gotta keep it simple. This palette times you several eye looks, or if you’re not feeling all that creative, just use the three grouped together in a line. Three are matte and three are shimmer, so throw yourself into that. Then dash a little blush on (you have two to choose from), and some bronzer so you don’t look all pallid after your flight.
  • Mally Beauty Travel Size Perfect Prep Poreless Primer: this is available in regular and glow, so you can decide just how luminous you want to be. I use primer every time I wear makeup, so this is a must-have for me. But I do have a little secret trick for you: if you are running late (say, to a 6:15 AM flight), you can just apply a little primer over freshly cleansed skin to give you a blur – it softens wrinkles and hides pores. Trust me – it can be better than most foundations.
  • Sally Hansen Nail Polish Remover Pads: if you wear nail polish and get a little cranky when it chips, keep some of these around, because they have been a lifesaver for me more than once. One pad removes polish on 10 nails. Seriously. Not kidding.
  • Smashbox CC Cream SPF 30: I’m obsessed with CC creams, I can’t help it. I buy them all. Including this little travel sized tube of wonder. Includes sunscreen AND dark spot fader, so it’s obviously my everything. Two shades available, wear under foundation if you need full coverage.
  • Your Superheroes Full Size Travel Brush Set: if you haven’t tried IT brushes yet, you need to stop what you’re doing and go check them out. Life changing. So soft, and work beautifully. I don’t ever leave brushes behind, so this is a complete kit of most-used brushes to always keep in your makeup bag. Don’t make the mistake of taking them out – you’ll be tempted to use them and won’t have them available when you’re throwing stuff in that duffel bag.
  • Lights, Camera, Lashes! by tarte: you simply cannot go wrong with this mascara. Tiny little thing to fit in your bag, with a tube full of absolute goodness. Lots and lots of volume, no clumping. It also lengthens, curls, and conditions. I have this in a waterproof formula, and it’s fantastic.
  • Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector: listen, nothing makes skin duller than airplane travel. It’s just one of those universal truths. Your body is seriously affected when it’s at altitude, and all we can do is try to prevent. But when our preventions aren’t good enough, reach for Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector. This will add a glow back to your skin so people won’t be asking you if you’re sick all the time.

Best hair products for your travels


  • damage reverseā„¢ Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner: I love this line. I’ve loved it for so long, that it’s just my go-to when I talk about shampoos. No idea why I have such an attachment, but I truly do. They should pay me for promoting their products to everyone! Ha! No, jk, jk. This is great stuff for thick, coarse, and sometimes curly hair. Adds shine, too, and the TSA won’t take it away.
  • batiste dry shampoo: the original, and thank goodness you can still find it. I’ve always used the original scent formula, but they have Cherry and Blush scent too. No time for a shampoo and condition because you’re once again trying to catch that 7 AM flight? Why do you do it to yourself? That’s what Batiste is for. Spray it in, wash it out. A secret trick from my mom again: spray it in before you go to bed, and brush it out in the morning. She swore it worked much better.
  • John Frieda Frizz Ease Moisture Barrier Firm Hold Hairspray: this is amazing. Just the best hairspray I have used to date. I carry this small can in my purse all the time. If you have frizzy hair, you know that moisture in the air is your sworn enemy. Spray your strands with this, and you will avoid most of the frizz problems. Pro tip: pull your hair up into a ponytail or top knot. Spray your brush (boar bristle-style work best, I don’t think plastic bristles would work) and immediately run brush from temples to the pony. Your hair will stay in place like a champ.
  • DermOrganics Leave-In Argan Oil Treatment Repair: this is the modern version of the hot oil treatment. This is awesome stuff when you’ve exposed your hair to sun, salt, chlorine, and/or anything that taxes it. Just work a few drops in and style as usual. No big production.

take your bath and body care with you when you travel


  • bliss high intensity hand cream: listen, your hands are going to dry up and flake away after a few hours on the airplane. Keep this nearby, because you’re going to want it. After all, you’re probably going to be shaking hands, and no one wants a dry, crusty hand. Ew.
  • H2O+ Spa Sea Salt Must-Have set: the sea salt set includes Sea Salt Body Wash, Sea Salt Hydrating Body Butter, Sea Salt Hydrating Body Gloss, Sea Salt Hydrating Body Lotion, and Hand & Nail Cream. Seriously everything you need to keep your bod supple and moisturized, even if you’re hanging out in the desert.
  • St Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse: if you’re a big tanning buff, you’ll want to take some along to touch up or give yourself a good once-over so you can spread the goodness on those hotel sheets instead of your white dress. If you’ve never self-tanned with the freedom of not having to worry about your own sheets, you really should. Highly recommended.
  • Supergoop Everyday SPF 40 Sunscreen: you need sunscreen. Every day. Sometimes twice a day. If you’re in the islands, every few hours. Get some.

I hope you enjoyed my magnum opus here – I didn’t mean to include so much but I just kept finding stuff and saying, “Oh, I need to include that – so glad I found it.”

Do you have any travel favorites? Because I still have room in my kit.