I'm a Pro at Packing Beauty Products—I Never Travel Without These Essentials

Packing for trips longer than a weekend can mean suitcases stuffed with items you never use. I get it. You're planning for the what-ifs. I've been there, done that, and have the sweaty memories of lugging my bags around Portugal's cobblestone streets to show for it. (I quickly learned less is the only way to pack after that trip.) If you've ever found yourself in a similar situation, you know it's a workout you didn't sign up for. And if the streets you're lugging your suitcase up have any elevation…well, good luck.

Shoes and beauty products are two categories I've struggled to pack well in the past. As a beauty editor, I once thought traveling was the best time to put all of the new products I wanted to try to the test. Spoiler alert: I rarely tried new stuff until I was back home, and thus ended up carrying a bunch of extra weight for no reason. This travel season, I'm opting out of overstuffing my suitcases and leaning into packing mindfully by switching products in large packing for those that come in smaller sizes. It also means thinking about what I'm really going to use. Curating this list was more complex than I thought, but I did it. Keep scrolling to see my top picks and the best beauty products I recommend for traveling. 

I discovered this case on TikTok, and it's truly the best addition to my travel routine. Before this case, I was packing three to four little bags filled with hair products, makeup, skincare, and miscellaneous things. But with this case, I can store everything in one place, and I can actually see it all too. I find the medium-size option is perfect, but if you're a chronic over-packer, the large may be your best option.

This gel-to-oil cleanser rinses away the day without stripping the skin. The full-sized glass bottle is great for use at home, but this mini tube is excellent for travel. And if you're worried about running out quickly, don't. A little goes a long way if you apply it to dry skin first!

This cream-to-milk cleanser is the first step in my skincare routine, and coupling it with a warm towel on my face feels heavenly. Additionally, the clean formula is packaged in a tube that can be packed in any bag without taking up too much space.

I can't remember the last time I used a peel at home. However, this one from Shani Darden is a clear winner for me. This peel makes my skin brighter and softer without overstimulating my reactive skin. Because it's both a peel and mask in one, you're killing two birds with one stone while taking up minimal space. 

If you enjoy a 12-step skincare routine, I absolutely love that for you. But it's just too many steps for me. Not too mention how much space you need to pack multiple bottles—even if they're only one ounce. I love that this essence has vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and a host of other ingredients curated to hydrate, brighten, and restore skin in just one step.

This service has been a game-changer for me. I don't have to leave home to see a dermatologist or pick up my prescription. That means no pre-trip prescription refill anxiety, and the team checks in often to ensure the formula is working for me without being irritating.

Heavy moisturizers aren't typically my thing, so I always pack an ultra-hydrating serum. This honey-infused formula nourishes my skin without breaking it out, and the gorgeous packaging fits into my cosmetics organizer with ease. Plus, since it has a pump, I don't have to worry about spills.

Looking for an eco-conscience serum that nourishes skin without actives and takes up almost zero space in your carry-on? You've met your perfect match with these capsules of moisture-retaining serum.

Masks are a travel essential for me, and because my skin is congestion-prone, I like investing in ones that prevent breakouts while keeping my skin supple and hydrated. Not only does this formula help combat new pimples, but it's also formulated with soothing green tea and honey to help reduce inflammation and encourage the repair of skin cells.

Sleep masks are essential to helping me sleep on long-haul flights and when I'm adjusting to a new time zone. The band keeps this in place whether I'm trying to get comfy on the plane or nestling into my pillow. Plus, I can fold it up and easily place it in my backpack.

I slather this formula on my lips every night. However, packing a large tub of Vaseline isn't space-conscious. Luckily, there are mini tubs that fit in my backpack and cosmetic organizer.

This innovative set keeps my gums and teeth healthy, and the UV case disinfects, charges, and keeps all the essentials in one place.

I love my large jars of physical body exfoliators, but they just aren't ideal for a less-is-more approach to packing. Enter this chemical exfoliating serum formulated with glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids alongside gluconolactone to help smooth the skin and unclog pores while you sleep. The fact that it's housed in a 3.38-ounce bottle is a bonus.

Since I can't pack all my Costa Brazil shower products, I'll settle for this travel-sized body oil infused with passion fruit, pataua, and bacuri butter. It smells like a dream and melts into the skin without messy, oily residue.

How so little of this formula is needed for SPF coverage is beyond me. But it's because of that it makes an excellent travel companion. This mini bottle can fit into even the snuggest of spaces.

Since my second fibroid surgery, I've become a supplement girlie. But traveling with bottles of HUM Nutrition essentials like OMG Omega the Great, Here Comes The SunGut Instinct, and Arrae Bloat Alchemy Capsules overload my backpack. Cadence's latest launch offers a customizable capsule system in multiple sizes. A new extender option lets you store larger items or just more of what you need for long excursions. For example, the large size is definitely needed for my bigger supplements like fish oil. But for my probiotics and vitamin D, the medium option is perfect. These help save space, keep me organized, and are pretty.

I wasn't expecting to enjoy this shave cream as much as I do, but it leaves my legs smooth and hydrated after each use. Infused with silky rosehip and sea buckthorn oil, it comes in a tube to make it easier to pack compared to a traditional can or bottle of shaving cream.

I can't get enough of this skincare-infused primer formulated with Augustinus Bader's signature TFC8 technology. In addition to using it under my makeup, I love using the bronze-tinted formula on days when I'm traveling bare-faced (which is most days). 

Liquid foundations are one of my least favorite products to pack. First, they take up tons of space. Second, there's a huge risk of spillage. This foundation stick matches my skin to the letter without mixing colors and travels like a champ. Plus, it comes with a built-in kabuki brush that makes blending easy and effortless.

From full-face coverage to contouring, the Cheekbone Multi-Pencil can do it all. Instead of my usual bronzer compact, I used this pencil to contour when I'm on the go and trying to save space. Just be sure to pack a jumbo sharpener!

This blush is an internet sensation. However, sometimes when things are overhyped, they don't live up to their reputation. Not here. This oil blush is beautiful on everything from bare skin to full-bodied makeup looks. And the tiny packaging makes it perfect for packing.

Loose powders were my go-to until I discovered this. Not only is the gold compact beautiful, but the talc-free formula sets makeup, stops oil in its tracks, and looks great on my brown skin. No ash in sight.

Brows are essential, but I always struggle with filling them in without overdoing them. This eyebrow wax packs on pigment, so I can leave my brow pencil at home. Additionally, the formula is easy to work with and looks natural, even if I get a little heavy-handed.

Monochromatic looks are a simple way to brighten the face without using an overabundance of products. This newbie from Ami Colé is a buildable multitasker. You can apply the fragrance-free formula to the cheeks and lips. The Flame shade is my current go-to.

I really enjoy creating depth on my lids with bronze and gold hues. This five-piece compact from Dior is all I need.

When Rare Beauty first launched, I fell in love with the blush and this setting mist. I've only just now realized it comes in a mini. It's now a part of my travel beauty tool kit.

I'm too lazy to clean multiple brushes and sponges. It's just not going to happen. I feel like Kevyn Aucoin was thinking of me when it designed this brush. I use it to blend my foundation, concealer, contour, and blush! This might be a beauty faux pas, but it works swimmingly for me.

Multiple broken full-sized perfume bottles later, I don't even think about traveling with them anymore. I love the notes of Glossier You, and it's cool I can bring the fragrance with me in a tiny solid form that I can drop into any bag I'm carrying—even a fanny pack!

This new drop is rockstar material if you're traveling for festival season or a concert. The leather, saffron, and rose notes really jump out. This one is worth a spritz if you like unique and less floral fragrances.

This fragrance sparked my love of perfume (I loved the bottle). I can take the handy mini size, which has the same stiletto-shaped bottle, with me when I travel. To apply, pop off the heel and spritz. 

I typically have my hair braided when I travel, but I don't neglect washing, conditioning, and replenishing the moisture of my curls. With Pattern's three-piece set, I get all my essentials in one travel-friendly mesh bag. Hot tip: I also add the mini mousse into the mix to reset my braids after washing.

Okay. This mud mask isn't exactly travel-sized, but I love using it on my scalp when wearing scalp braids because it keeps it flake-free and feeling its best. So, it always comes with me. Luckily, because it's housed in a tube, it's easy to wedge into even the most overstuffed suitcase.