Is there any bigger rush than packing for a trip two hours before your flight takes off and making it just in time? As a proud procrastinator (I’m working on it), nothing makes me feel alive like cramming an hour’s worth of travel prep into fifteen minutes (again, I’m working on it). Stress aside, there are some unexpected benefits to this approach.
First, I’m efficient. I have a go-to universal packing list (all credit to Joan Didion for that idea), which cuts down on time. Second, I’m picky about my products. When it comes to travel size, multi-use, or space-saving beauty favorites, I’m a bit of an expert. Nothing makes it into my bag unless it serves multiple skincare needs or is an absolute necessity.
This brings me to my next point: I’ve recently found a new holy grail essential, Tri-Balm ($65) by Frances Prescott. A cleanser, exfoliant, and hydrating mask in one, this product really does it all. Plus, with its balm delivery system, you’ll never have to worry about TSA liquid limits again. Ahead, learn all there is to know about this multi-purpose essential, including the formula, uses, and my honest review.
Traveling with skincare products—and the inevitable chaos that ensues from carting around creams and serums in a moving vehicle—inspired Tri-Balm’s creation. As founder Frances Prescott puts it, “I had every mishap that a professional woman could have. I left products in a hotel. I had them confiscated at security. They opened in my suitcase.” We’ve all been there, but unlike many of us, Prescott decided to do something about it. A year and a half later (and 16 tries to find the right formula), Tri-Balm was born.
When it initially launched in 2017, the U.K.-based brand quickly became a cult favorite among beauty connoisseurs for its unique formula and practicality. The proof? Tri-Balm sold out within two months of its launch. Now, this beloved does-it-all product from across the pond is finally available in the US.
Thanks to a creamy combo of oils (wheat germ, sweet almond, blackcurrant) and exfoliating enzymes (derived from pumpkin seed), this balm formula washes off makeup while also gently sloughing off dead skin cells. Plus, hyaluronic acid locks in hydration for all the skincare basics in one neat package.
How to Use It
Most importantly, the balm acts as a cleanser, easily dissolving a long travel day with its milky lather when you add water. Without the mess or bulk of a traditional cleanser or exfoliating product, this really cuts down your skincare steps to the basics. As a bonus, you can also apply this balm as a 10-minute mask when you need some extra hydration post plane ride.
Plus, you can roll this product directly to your face or hands. No water means no risk of bacteria finding a home in your applicator.
To be honest, I was a little skeptical about using this as both a hydrating mask and cleanser. I figured that, like with most 3-in-1 products, I’d prefer one use over the others. But, I was game to try out its full potential. Over a two-week trip, I used exclusively Tri-Balm as my cleanser in the morning, exfoliator at night, and a moisturizing mask whenever I felt a little dry.
I’m happy to report that my skin stayed hydrated and clear for the duration of the trip—a pleasant and unexpected surprise considering my skin gets irritated easily. Any change in exfoliating ingredients or new active products usually freaks my face out, but this formula is gentle enough that there was no acclimation period.
If I thought my packing list was tight before, with Tri-Balm, it’s a minimalist’s dream. I’ve collapsed my cleanser, exfoliant, and post-airplane mask into one product. And while I’ll never give up the comfort of a luxurious, multi-step routine at home, sometimes it’s nice to be able to grab and go with the essentials.