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Yes, You Can Travel With Your Fave Beauty Products

Travel Beauty Tips
Photo Artwork: Joy Adaeze

Between your multi-step K-Beauty routine, TSA travel regulations and airline baggage limits, it can feel near impossible to pack for vacation. What gets to take up precious packing space? Your peptide-filled night cream in its luxe, heavy jar or your arsenal of skin cycling products? 

We shouldn’t have to sacrifice our skincare in the pursuit of sun, sea, sand and relaxation!

To make your beauty packing (and subsequent traveling) as pain-free as possible, try some of my hard-won tips from logging almost 300,000 air miles over the past five years.

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[SEE ALSO: 5 Summer Makeup Trends To Try Today]

Know Your Limits

Carry-on luggage has size and weight limits that vary depending on the airline and domestic versus international travel. (Here’s a handy size chart for 64 major airlines.) You want to avoid a pricey up-charge, which is a bummer way to start a holiday.

If you’ve splurged on check-in luggage (or gotten one for free), the weight limit is usually 50 lbs (23kg). Again, don’t go over this because they will force you to remove items to meet the weight limit or pay for oversized luggage.

There is a 3.4 oz (100 ml) limit on liquids and creams for your carry-on and they need to be in a clear plastic bag. Airport security will coldly confiscate—and chuck—your expensive serum if it goes over this limit. You can also replace liquids with bars for shampoos, cleansers, and body wash.

Some good news for the carry-on travelers of the world: The UK is getting rid of this limit for all their airports by 2024, thanks to powerful new 3D scanners, and the US is following suit. 

@exercisewithextrafries

Replying to @_julieeu This is how I pack my liquids in my carry on to be TSA compliant for a weekend trip or a longer trip. More packing tips in the comments! #howtopack #packingtips #packwithme #carryonliquids #travelhacks #travelessentials

♬ original sound – Joanna & Grace Park

Get Essential

Seriously rethink your beauty routine and decide what’s a non-negotiable versus a nice-to-have. 

In the summer, you probably don’t need your heaviest creams. Ditto all your contour brushes. And leave your hairdryer at home. Almost every hotel and Airbnb has one. 

Choose products with multiple uses like a blush stick that can be worn on lips and eyes or a face, body and hair oil. In a pinch, your face oil or moisturizer can take off makeup. If you’re comfortable with it, just use concealer as needed and forgo foundation altogether.

Here’s my bare-bones skincare and beauty packing list:

  • Face wash
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Vitamin C or peptide serum
  • Face and body oil
  • Face cream
  • Sunscreen
  • Concealer
  • Eyelash curler
  • Mascara
  • Blush stick
  • Lipstick

Sun-kissed skin, minimal makeup and beachy hair are a timeless summer beauty look. Channel Gisele Bundchen on a Costa Rican beach.

Stock Up On Minis

Beauty retailers often give away free samples when you order from them. I’ve had eye cream samples last up to three weeks. Mini mascaras can last over a month.

Sephora and Ulta have dedicated sections to travel sizes of favorite products. Major beauty brands often have a “discovery kit” or a straight-up travel kit, but you will pay for the convenience. In Europe, pharmacies sell small versions of classic beauty products so stock up when you’re there.

I’m a hotel product hoarder (no shame) because they are perfect for travel and can last for at least a week or two. Body lotion is my favorite to stockpile since lotion isn’t often sold in small sizes. If you’re returning to a hotel whose products you know and love, you can skip packing those altogether. Lucky you!

Use Travel Containers

If you’ve got the time and patience, make your own bespoke beauty travel kit by decanting your non-negotiable creams, toners, conditioners and perfumes into TSA-approved travel bottles.

Use up any leftover product at home and clean your bottles so they’re ready to go for your next trip.

Relax and Enjoy

If I can give any advice about packing, it’s that if you forgot something, your destination probably has something like it, giving you the opportunity to try some new products you may fall in love with. Vacation is about getting out of your routine, so apply that energy to everything, including your usual beauty rituals.

When it comes down to it, the only REAL essentials are your passport, phone, and wallet. (I learned that the hard way.)

Bon voyage!

We hope you put these tried and true tips to use for your next vacay. Which products are making it into your suitcase?

Maggie Kim

Maggie Kim is a writer, editor and content strategist for startups (We-Ar4, Fitz Frames) and global brands (H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Lancôme). Her byline appears in Grazia, Glamour, Marie Claire, Bon, WSJ, Cosmopolitan, People and more. Maggie is an advocate for family court reform and splits her time between Paris and Los Angeles.

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