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The Best Beauty Products To Use While Traveling

Photo Credit: Sentelia/Shutterstock

When I was younger, I never brought makeup with me when I traveled. I wanted to keep room for souvenirs; plus, who was I trying to impress, the flight attendants? With over 15 years of international travel under my belt now, I’ve realized that even a small bit of makeup or hair product can make a huge difference, so I’ve amassed a go-to collection of creams, powders, sprays and more that come with me. 

I’m a carry-on bag kind of traveler, and all of these products come in travel sizes or are TSA-friendly. Whether you’re traveling for a weekend away, a two-week vacation, or a family event, here are a few essential beauty products that work great wherever you’re going.  

Night Cream

Slightly thicker than normal lotions, night cream is the perfect thing to wear while flying to help combat dry, cracked skin. I slather on cleen’s Lavender Chamomile Night Cream, which smells great and has calming properties that help me doze off a bit on the flight. I apply it before the plane takes off to ensure it has time to set on my legs, arms, and face, reapplying a few more times if needed, but the result is always the same — smooth, happy skin upon landing.

Sheet Masks

Christina Grasso, the face behind The Pouf, used to post pics of herself wearing sheet masks on her flights. She’s definitely on to something — I put on Orgaid’s Anti Aging & Moisturizing Organic Sheet Mask when the plane begins its descent, which is usually about 20-30 minutes from landing.  The slippery sheet has amazing moisturizing properties, and honestly, it’s barely noticeable by my seatmates when paired with some sunglasses and the required face mask.

Dry Shampoo

If I could only pack one beauty product for the road, it’d be dry shampoo. It’s a lifesaver when I don’t have enough time to shower, but it also helps boost hair volume after a long day of sightseeing and helps me look less matted when I get off the plane. In a pinch, I’ve also used it as a spray-on deodorant and a chafe-preventer on hot summer days. My brand of choice is Batiste Dry Shampoo, which can be bought in any drugstore and comes in travel sizes.

Sea Salt Spray

Another great hair product is sea salt spray, which helps me create beachy waves on days when I can’t style my hair with hot styling tools. French Girl’s Jasmine Sea Spray is travel-friendly and has helped me look great during more than one unexpected evening out.

Cleansing Oil

No matter how you travel, the most annoying part about wearing makeup is removing it. Face wipes can be bulky and dry out my skin and cream-based makeup removers never seem to get the gunk off, but oil-based cleansers have been a lifesaver for me. I swipe some Pai’s Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil on my face, wet a washcloth, and in less than two minutes, my makeup is completely gone and my skin is moisturized in the process.

Waterproof Eyeliner

It should go without saying that waterproof eyeliner is the greatest gift the cosmetic goddesses could have ever given us. I apply it as my first layer so it’s easier to correct if I make a mistake, and I love that I don’t have to worry about it smudging in the hot sun or dripping down my face in the pool, ocean, etc. Wet ‘n Wild’s Breakup Proof Liquid Eyeliner is my go-to as the felt tip brush makes application easy, and it can be found in almost any drugstore, including abroad.

Makeup Palettes

These days, beauty companies offer palettes of different products so you can travel with makeup essentials and eliminate the space that bottles, tubes, and containers take up in your suitcase. I love the Signature Set from RMS Beauty because it has the perfect amount of supplemental makeup, with primers, highlighters, and double-duty items for lips and cheeks. I toss it into my day bag for easy touch-ups on the go.


If I can’t bring a ton of makeup with me, I always opt for a bronzer — either powder or balm form — which can be placed in my carry-on without issue. I mix it with sunscreen and apply it to my face and, sometimes, other parts of my body to look sunkissed but protected from the sun. It also just helps pull my face together if I don’t have a chance to apply a full face of makeup. W3ll People, which is made from plant-based ingredients, is my favorite.

The Bottom Line

Makeup and hairstyling shouldn’t feel like an overwhelming aspect of your trip. Finding products that work double duty, keep your skin fresh, and make you feel great will prepare you for wherever the road takes you. Everyone’s beauty regimen is different, but if you’re stuck trying to figure out which products to pack, hopefully this list will come in handy.

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