Choosing the right beauty products for your travel carry-on bag is somewhat of an art I'm still finessing. Without fail, I always pack more than I ultimately use, and worse, always end up with something exploding in my bag. On a recent trip, my makeup remover completely leaked, soaking all of my makeup and brushes, and laughably making it nearly impossible to apply makeup for a wedding I was attending a few hours after landing. It goes without saying: spill-proof beauty products are a must for traveling.
This past week I returned from a 10-day trip during which I took seven flights, really putting my latest lineup of travel products to the test. While I still experienced spillage (I should have known better than to pack hand sanitizer), I've nailed down a handful of products that travel very well under pressure. Here are the products that survived the seven flights—and make great travel companions, wherever you're going.
A solid cleanser is a game-changer when traveling. Not only do liquid and gel cleansers heighten the risk for spillage (and typically take up a lot of much space), but I find that solid cleansers do double duty in effectively removing makeup (meaning one more item you don't have to take up carryon space with—a makeup remover).
I used to always pack a setting spray and finishing spray on any trip and without fail, every single time one or both would leak. I've finally nixed the duo and recently bought this primer that's super compact (and works wonders at not only setting makeup, but leaving my skin with a beautiful, smooth finish).
Liquid sunscreens are a risk in the spill department and the greasy mess is never worth it. They also tend to take up more space than other products, so a sunscreen stick is a great way to tackle both problems. I'm obsessed with Sol de Janeiro's Bum Bum Cream and this smells just as delicious. It's the ultimate multitasker and can be used on the lips and to protect tattoos and because of its shape is great for the ear area and spots you usually miss.
I don't really do lip glosses anymore, but for a similar sheen without anything sticky, Eve Lom's Kiss Mix delivers. The Kiss Mix Colour provides the perfect amount of pigment for everyday wear and has a cooling effect when applied. I use it as both my daytime and nighttime lip balm when traveling, and the super compact size makes it the perfect addition to your beauty bag when space is tight.
This one isn't so much about spilling as it is about space and convenience. I love a good eyeshadow palette any day of the week, but when I don't have as much real estate in my beauty bag, an eyeshadow option that's super small and made to be applied without brushes is a welcome solution. The formula is also super creamy and hydrating, which I feel is always a bonus when taking flights or fighting jetlag.
I love a good pampering session after a long flight. Normal clay masques aren't ideal occupants in a carryon, especially considering you'll likely only mask once (maybe twice) on your trip. These single-use sachets from Ranavat Botanics are the perfect solution—offering a slim space-saving product that's ready to go, just add water. As a bonus, these powder masks are free of preservatives and can be customized to suit your needs—mix with serum or even honey or yogurt for an upgraded experience for your skin.
Serums are a staple of my nighttime routine but tricky travel companions. This retinoic face oil is a new favorite of mine and the smaller iteration (which is perfect for packing) comes with a rollerball instead of a pipette so you don't have to stress about spillage. It's even gentle enough to use during the daytime in case your skin needs some extra love while you're on your trip.
I find that hair products are especially difficult for travel, especially most things meant for styling. I've been obsessed with Sachajuan's Matt Wax since it first launched. It's perfect for keeping stray hairs in place and adding just the right amount of subtle hold when styling up or down. When traveling, I even use it to add dimension to my wavy hair or to keep it wave-free when I straighten it.
I get nervous about aerosols while traveling and have had a couple of travel-size dry shampoos end up not working upon arrival. R+Co (which happens to make Death Valley, my favorite aerosol dry shampoo for at-home use) makes a terrific dry shampoo paste option. A little goes a long way and it can also help add body and texture when your hair is looking lifeless.
Looking for more TSA-friendly ideas? Blogger Aimee Song shares the beauty products she never travels without.