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Beauty products travel
Credit: izusek, Getty Images

Over the years, I’ve become a professional procrastinator when it comes to packing. It’s not that I like being unprepared for a trip (does anyone, really?); packing just gives me so much anxiety that I throw in the towel before I even start. Of course, I know I have to change my attitude if I ever want to make packing anxiety-free, or maybe even enjoyable. So I thought I’d start with the most difficult packing category: cosmetics.

If you’ve ever been on vacation and attempted to do your face, only to realize you left an essential item at home, you know just how important it is to pack carefully. Between skin, makeup, and hair, you likely use way more products than you can pack for one trip. By following the philosophy of “working smarter, not harder,” though, you can develop a travel-friendly version of your beauty routine.

I spoke with some of my favorite beauty industry babes about their essential travel beauty hacks. Before I share their tips, here are three of my own:

1Pack your products in the order that you use them

Credit: Mika Robinson / Hello Giggles

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a terrible packer, it’s that it’s way too easy to overpack or worse, forget a product at home that you really need. Packing in the order that you complete your routine ensures that you take exactly what you need, nothing more and nothing less. You may want to try this technique while you’re actually doing your routine at home so you don’t miss any steps.

2Hold onto sample sizes of your favorite products

Unpopular opinion: I’m not a fan of non-labeled travel containers (unless they’re necessary). I don’t have the patience to keep labeling, and I like to know exactly what’s in my jar. Unfortunately, some of my favorite products don’t come in travel sizes (all year ’round), so when I do get my hands on them, I hold onto the packaging or completely save it until it’s time to travel. For instance, I use a lot of Sunday Riley products in my skincare routine, so when I come across sample-sized kits, I stash the products away until it’s time for me to pack for a trip.

3 Lay out all your products when you arrive at your destination

Credit: Mika Robinson / Hello Giggles

A lot of people I know use this technique with their clothes so they can effortlessly pick out outfits on vacation. This also works wonders for beauty products. If you can see all the products you have to work with, it’s easier to keep track of everything, and it also takes some of the stress out of doing your beauty rituals in an unfamiliar place.

And now for advice from my beauty gal pals. Get your notepad ready.

Nandi Howard, Assistant Fashion Editor, ESSENCE

Never Travels Without: Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray

“When I travel, my hack is to put my products in travel size toiletry containers so I don’t have to bring the actual products with me. It’s so convenient and less of a hassle.”

Try: TSA Approved Travel Bottles

Kristin Corpuz, Editorial director, Off The Shelf and Lifestyle Staff Writer, Elite Daily


Never Travels Without: Korean sheet masks and Skin Gym Face Sculptor

“When it comes to packing cosmetics, I always find it helpful to separate everything. I have a kit that’s just for the plane (I’m currently loving the Carry-On Cosmetic Case from Beis Travel), as well as one that I use for the bathroom and even another one for the shower. My makeup is kept in a totally separate pouch. That way, when I have to do any part of my beauty routine, I only have to reach for one bag.”

Try: Beis Travel, The Cosmetic Case in Black

Kendra Massicot, Fashion, Travel, and Beauty Influencer

Never Leaves Home Without: Blue Marble setting spray

Travel Beauty Hack: “One life-saving hack I use when packing cosmetics is to transfer any liquids that come in bottles larger than 3oz into a travel-size container so I can pack it into my carry-on for easy, seamless travel. Also, I place scotch tape over my powders so they don’t spill while my bag is being tossed around—it helps me preserve my product!”

Ashley Hall, Beauty + Lifestyle Content Creator

Travel Beauty Hack: “I always condense my cosmetics when traveling; I opt out of foundation and just use concealer to cover blemishes, lots of powder, and bronzer! I always do brows and using a multi-stick like the Fenty Beauty Match Stix to make getting ready a lot easier.”

Try: Fenty Beauty Custom Match Stic Trio

Tatayana Yomary, Freelance Fashion, Beauty & Entertainment Journalist

Never Travels Without: Urban Skin RX Even Tone Cleansing Bar

Travel Beauty Hack: “In addition to traveling with a solid face wash rather than a liquid one, I always make sure to seal each product with tape to prevent any spills during traveling.”

Try:Urban Skin RX Even Tone Cleansing Bar 3-in-1 Treatment

Mimi Sillah, PR Coordinator, MamaTress

Never Travels Without: Baby Tress Edge Styler!

Travel Beauty Hack: “I just never put my makeup in a checked bag or suitcase. I always pack my makeup in a carry-on that I can stow it underneath my seat. Always. I only pack exactly what I need. Sometimes I go to the extra mile and plan my makeup looks the same way I plan my outfits. I do not bring extra brushes or palettes. I limit the lip products as well.”

Try: Baby Tress Edge Styler

Put these hacks to use for stress-free beauty on your next adventure.