The Vacation Edit: The Only 10 Beauty Products I Packed for 3 Weeks in Europe

The best vacation beauty products



This summer, I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in the South of France, and while I was thrilled to be going on the trip, I was less thrilled about packing. I always find packing for longer trips particularly stressful, as trying to anticipate what I'll need that far out in a foreign place can be tricky. To help ease some of that stress, I decided to pack only my absolute must-have beauty products and just buy the rest once I got there. I was heading to France after all, and the French pharmacies are unmatched. 

I narrowed down my beauty bag to contain just the essentials, my "can't live without" products that I know I can rely on without the risk of irritation. As long as I had the basics covered in categories like serums and moisturizers, I could hit up the pharmacies for my other less risky product needs—body lotion, face wash, etc. The brands and formulas available in virtually any French pharmacy are the stuff of legends, but my skin is on the sensitive side, so sometimes, even incredible products just don't work for my specific skin type. 

My highly curated edit came down to just 10 products, and even I was impressed with myself. In full transparency, I'm referring to skincare only. This doesn't include makeup—that would be truly impressive. Below, I'm highlighting the 10 products that made my vacation edit, plus the French pharmacy finds you can actually order in the U.S. 

Meet my holy-grail serum. As someone with sensitive skin, I have a tough time with vitamin C, but the Pro-Heal Serum contains vitamin E and olive-leaf extract to help balance and soothe skin. It actually helps heal my skin while protecting against environmental stressors—a true win-win. 

This is my favorite daytime moisturizer during the summer. It's lightweight and contains colloidal oatmeal to help soothe dry and irritated skin. It keeps my skin calm and hydrated without causing breakouts, especially in the heat when things are a bit sweatier. 

A blend of hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, and antioxidants provides moisturizing benefits and a calming effect, making it ideal for travel. It also has a gentle cooling effect, so applying after a day in the sun just feels divine. 

I love this SPF because the consistency is similar to that of a moisturizer, making it easy to blend without leaving any residue like some other formulas. The tinted version is my go-to. It gives you a nice touch of coverage, almost like a tinted moisturizer, and assures there's no white cast left behind. It's great for no-makeup days but also lays well under foundation. 

Meet my hero product for keeping breakouts at bay. The combination of glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids gives your pores a deep clean you can actually feel, but it's gentle enough not to irritate my skin. I use this every evening, and my skin is glowing in the morning. 

Traveling, sun exposure, salt water, and (let's be honest) wine lead to my skin feeling extra dry, so a good night cream is important on vacation. This one from French brand Guerlain is heavenly—it's rich and ultra-moisturizing without clogging pores. I also feel like it helps restore plumpness and elasticity in my skin each night. 

I call this oil liquid gold. It's EWG Verified and works wonders at soothing skin and locking in hydration. It's absolutely heavenly after a long beach day, and it's a game changer under makeup to prevent those annoying under-eye creases. 

These are my secret weapon for glowing skin. They gently exfoliate using a powerful combination of actives balanced with calming ingredients like green tea–leaf extract and lavender oil. These slough away dead skin to reveal a brighter, plumper complexion, and they're the only peel pads I've ever been able to use with zero irritation. I use them once a week, and my skin has never looked better.

I've tried virtually every natural deodorant out there, and this is the only one that works for me—it's not sticky, smells great, doesn't cause irritation, and actually works all day. I would never travel without it.

It's become a fun little tradition to travel with one perfume to make the trip even more special. Scent is strongly connected to memory, so using one scent throughout an entire trip marries the two together permanently in my brain. Every time I smell it afterward, it reminds me of that specific trip, so I get to relive it over and over. This one from clean fragrance brand Eauso Vert is the perfect summer scent and will now be tied to France '23.   

Shop French Pharmacy Picks

The 10 best beauty products to pack on vacation



My all-time favorite makeup remover, this gently removes even waterproof products with zero irritation. 

Another great tinted sunscreen, this one is so lightweight with no white cast. It gives you just enough coverage for a sun-filled no-makeup day.

You've probably heard of this one already, and for good reason. This mineral-rich thermal mist is not only refreshing, but it also helps reduce irritation. 

Yes—SkinCeuticals is sold in French pharmacies. This gel works wonders at reducing redness and calming irritated skin. 

This is my favorite detox mask of all time. It combats blemishes and removes impurities, which you can actually feel as it dries down on your skin. 

This cleanser works double duty for face and body, making it the perfect travel product. 

There's a reason this one has cult status. This powerful vitamin C serum improves signs of aging, protects against environmental stressors, and firms and brightens skin. 

If you're looking for a big boost of moisture, this is it. It even helps reduce eczema flare-ups. 

Protect your skin while cultivating a summer tan with this luxurious SPF oil. 

The name says it all—this serum provides a major boost of radiance. 

A summer staple, this mask replenishes moisture and plumps the skin. 

This moisturizer is packed with vitamin A to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. 

A gentle gel cleanser that unclogs and tightens pores.