As a self-proclaimed skincare enthusiast (though my fiancé might suggest hoarder as a more suitable title), limiting the number of liquids, creams, gels etc. to all fit in a quart-sized bag when traveling can be a real challenge. Last month, I talked about some ways to save space by bringing “liquid/cream alternatives” to beauty and skincare products. However, even with all of the best short cuts, your girl still needs moisturizer.
Keep reading to see what made the cut.
This post contains affiliate links.
With all of the travel that comes with medical residency interview season, I have gotten quite a bit of practice in packing. Be it overpacking, underpacking, packing just the plain wrong thing…I feel like I’ve made most of the mistakes and I’ve got it pretty much figured out.
I recently packed for six days in my carry-on only, and finally felt like I nailed the toiletry aspect to feel like I wasn’t horribly missing anything in my routine. If anything, six days of forced consistency and a simplified routine have left my skin looking better than when I left– I’m a bit shocked! It does make me rethink all of the steps that I like to do each night…Anyways, here is what I brought and why I picked it.
For reference, my skin type is very dry, occasionally sensitive and reactive, and in recovery from hormonal cystic acne. Additionally I often heat style my wavy/curly moderately thick hair.
- philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser: This is such a fantastic all-around cleanser and actually does a decent job of taking off non-waterproof makeup, too. It doesn’t leave my skin feeling overly dry or sensitized, and comes in this teeny size that was perfect for travel. Combined with a solid balm cleanser, your cleansing needs are totally taken care of.
- Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner: In prior packing attempts, I had skipped a hydrating toner or essence step and really was missing the hydration. I picked this toner to decant into a little clear travel-sized bottle (see far right in the picture) because it is supremely hydrating and refreshing…and I had the bottle open! Seriously though, I have been enjoying this toner over the past few months as a way to add some moisture immediately back into my skin after cleansing. When patted into the skin, it definitely gives a temporary “plumpness” and bouncy hydrated texture. It also contains several plant extracts (including a heaping ton of Aloe) which I find to be very soothing. As an added bonus– a big bottle of the stuff is only $14 so I don’t feel as bad decanting some of it.
- Drunk Elephant NightBright Mini Duo: As much as I wish I could tell you that Drunk Elephant just isn’t worth the $$, their products are really lovely feeling, non-irritating, and effective. As someone with dry skin, I love bringing a facial oil, like their Marula Oil, with me when I travel because it is the ultimate “mixer.” This oil is feather light and sinks into the skin very quickly, but still offers a solid dose of moisture. A few drops here and there allows me to adjust my skincare routine to the changing needs of my skin. I like to add a bit to my moisturizer if I’m feeling dry in the mornings–it just beefs it up a bit. At night, I apply a few drops onto my hands and press it into my skin after cleansing and using the hydrating toner and then top that off with moisturizer. The TLC Glycolic Night Serum is totally skippable for quick, one or two night trips. However, I do find that my skin stays hydrated much better when well exfoliated so it was worth including for this six day trip. I really love this mini duo because the packaging is so teeny and slim that they hardly take up any space.
- Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich: So I hated the original Priming Moisturizer– it just seemed to sit on top of my dry skin and not do all that much to actually moisturize…or prime. However, I’m kinda feeling the Glossier love with this Priming Moisturizer Rich. This stuff is THICK, with a truly buttery texture. It provides decent moisture and softening and an excellent occlusive and smoothing barrier that makes it perfect for layering over other hydrating layers and underneath makeup to smooth over the texture that so often comes with dryness. Maybe this is what Priming Moisturizer does for folks with non-dry skin? I don’t know, but I really like it. Its also hydrating and smoothing enough to act as an eye cream in situations like this, where you may not have room to pack one. It won’t have all the bells and whistles of a depuffing, unwrinkling, and glitter-infusing eye cream…but it will do the job! I used a spatula to decant this product into the little tub.
- Glossier Invisible Shield SPF 35: I did a full review of this product several months ago…but to summarize what I thought back then, it is an excellent daytime facial sunscreen with an elegant formula that layers gorgeously under makeup. My one complaint back then was that the price per oz of product is insanely small. It is for that reason (the relatively small amount of product) that this is actually a great travel product– it doesn’t take up that much space and I never have to worry about it messing up my makeup. Now, I reserve it for travel-only since I will inevitably run out soon.
- bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer: I’ve used this product for years– back since I had a pixie cut! I use this on damp hair to heat protect, as well as provide moisture, shine, and softness to my hair. It is incredibly versatile, and works excellently for heat styling but I can also get away with it on days that I want to rock my natural texture.
- Living Proof Style Extender: I’m not sure what it is about this stuff, but it definitely makes my blowouts last longer. This tiny sample tube that I got as a GWP ages ago has lasted a long time, as it doesn’t take much product. I like to layer it (a product with a teeny bit of structure) with a more moisturizing product like the bumble and bumble mentioned above for a solid base before styling.
So that’s a whole lot of text to describe products that don’t take up a lot of space! What are your travel-sized essentials?
PS– I do have some referral links if anyone is interested. If you purchase through them, I get store credit to shop for more products to review 💁🏻: