You know the feeling you get when you’re halfway to the airport and suddenly remember that one important item you forgot to pack? That used to happen to me every time. In fact, I still leave myself Post-its on the door that read, “prescriptions, glasses, contacts, passport” just to be sure I don’t forget—until I decided to adopt a strategic packing technique. While there’s still the occasional slipup (curse you, wandering AirPods!), I can confidently say that I finally have my travel beauty essentials down pat. The trick? They never leave my suitcase.
As neither a frequent nor infrequent flyer, I used to think that it wasn’t necessary to purchase travel-size items or minis of my favorite products—the cost per use just didn’t add up—until I realized how much more relaxing a vacation or business trip can be when I don’t have to sweat the small stuff. Let’s face it: Hotel toiletries can be hit-or-miss, checked luggage doesn’t always arrive when you do, and there’s not always a convenient drugstore nearby to pick up an emergency spot treatment. After suffering through each of these travel pain points more than once, I now keep my 10 essential, TSA-approved beauty products in a cosmetics pouch tucked inside my go-to carry-on bag at all times.
While I encourage you to evaluate what “essential” means for your personal on-the-go beauty regimen, the below products have helped me maintain my hair, skin, and makeup routine from coast to coast. Browse below to shop my favorites, and start putting together your own set-it-and-forget-it travel beauty kit!
I always carry face wipes to use on cross-country flights and keep on my nightstand at hotels. Sometimes you're just so tired you crash before washing up thoroughly. Thankfully, these micellar cleansing towelettes get the job done in a pinch.
The idea of using hotel bar soap on my face sends my skin into a panic—clogged pores and dry skin are imminent. Even though I'm not that picky about my routine, I use several Caudalie products at home, and this portable foaming cleanser is the one must-have that always makes it on the road.
These new cleansing oil capsules come with a seven-pod travel case and are great for taking on both business and pleasure trips. I like how the oil removes skin-dulling pollution when I'm in a city, and the capsules are 100% biodegradable: win-win.
Although I have fine, straight hair, it is extremely temperamental; changes in water quality are the difference between a good hair day and utter disaster, and random shampoo-conditioner combos are nonstarters. With that in mind, I keep this Drybar arsenal in my bag since each product is under the TSA limit of 3.4 ounces.
Holiday gift sets are a great way to get a bunch of practical minis at once. I like this set by Benefit because it includes several of the products I use in my everyday routine. Just throw in a dual-action blush/lipstick, and you're good to go.
Last but not least, my go-to toiletry bag. I like that this one has organizational features inside to accommodate various containers and keep personal hygiene products separate. The neoprene material is also very easy to clean.
Need to stock up on more travel essentials? Don't miss these: