Let’s delve into toiletries and how to pack them efficiently for your travels. Here’s a comprehensive rundown covering what to pack, how much to pack, advice on swapping liquids for powders and solids, choosing suitable containers, and steering clear of common issues like spills.

What to Pack: Tailoring Your Cosmetics

When it comes to cosmetic packing, there’s no universal rule. Your skincare routine, seasonal skin reactions, and preferred beauty looks are unique to you. Stick to what works best. But consider exceptions like bug spray, sunscreen, and after-bite solutions for tropical destinations. And extra moisturizing cream, and lip balm for cold and windy climates. If you’re taking a long flight, pack eye drops and moisturizer with you in the cabin, and hand sanitizer always. I’m sure hair enthusiasts would also tell you to pack special products for humid places. If that’s you, please leave a comment, because I need recommendations too.

Streamlining Your Cosmetics for Different Trip Needs

The first step is to think about your trip, and what you’ll need. Think critically about what you can leave at home. For events like destination weddings, decide whether to DIY your hair and makeup or book professional services at your destination. Each choice has its pros and cons, affecting the load of tools and supplies you carry.

There can be extra stress of getting to your appointment, and the added cost, but on the flip side, you’ll look amazing and not have to pack a blow dryer, styling tools, and the hair serum, hairspray, primer, contouring kits, setting spray etc etc, and maybe only bring a paired down version of that necessary for the rest of your trip.

For business trips, consider the importance of a polished appearance for essential meetings. On more relaxed trips, simplify your routine or stick to your daily look.

Tips for Minimizing Your Packing List

In my video about packing for 36 hours, I recommended bringing lots of samples. However, a word of caution: samples often mean products you don’t usually use. If your skin is reactive, trying new products during a trip might not be the best ide. Especially those with extra-strength active ingredients or for different skin types than your own.

So, you’re evaluating your beauty routine, here are some helpful questions you can ask yourself to minimize your packing list:

How long is my trip?

On short trips, I bring product minis and samples. For medium trips, maybe I bring my cosmetics transferred into a travel container or a mini size I know is sufficient. Then, on long trips with a checked bag, I might bring a full size or buy the item at my destination.

Will I have access to things there?

For a short trip at a nice hotel, I’ll use their soap, shampoo, and conditioner. In some cases, they might be nicer than mine.

If I had to streamline my beauty routines, what’s a non-negotiable?

I’ve seen curly hair routines that use six products or more. But, maybe there is one holy grail in there that alone can do 40% of the job.

What 2-in-1 products can I use to replace more complex routines?

I’m not talking about sacrificing yourself for harsh 8-in-1 products. However, small improvements like using a leave-in conditioner to style your hair, choosing a cheek and lip tint, an eyeshadow you can use to fill in your brows, or a hair and body oil.

What beauty services can I get done before my trip that will allow me to pack less?

I am not very good at nails and don’t love packing nail polish, but also hate having chipped nails. So I get my nails done before a trip. I also like lash lifts and tints and have been taking better care of my skin so I don’t need as much makeup.

Am I checking a bag or not?

If you’re not, you’ll have to consider the TSA 3-1-1 rule, which means using bottles of 3oz or 100ml of liquids or gels or less, that fit into a 1-quart bag. Assess what items can be swapped out for solids or powders to save space.

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Choosing the Right Containers and Packing Techniques

Dopp Kits: Consider what toiletry bag, or dopp kit, you’re going to pack this all in. Some airports are strict about pulling out your liquids and having them in a clear bag, while others don’t care at all! I’ve experienced the whole spectrum, and typically my go-to bags are clear, but more substantial than a Ziplock bag. That being said, a Ziplock bag is a perfectly fine bag to use. You may also take a few of the baggies they provide at the airport and stash them for future trips, so you can be super prepared for the strictest TSA.

best Dopp kits for travel

The Best Dopp Kits for Travel

Read my tips and recommended products to find the perfect dopp kit for your toiletries.

Optimizing Space: Don’t waste precious space by using bigger bottles than you need. If you have products, like shampoo, you use a lot of, save the 100ml bottles for those, and put your pimple cream in a tiny jar. Not all products require as much volume, so be smart about what you fill up.

Container Options: I’ve packed almost every kind of container on my trips before and I can say all have merit in different situations. I’ve done the one and done sample, the free sample size of a product I like, the official travel size of a product, transferred it into a drugstore bottle, transferred it into a bottle I saved from another product and labelled it, the silicon GoToob style, Muji containers, and recently, I was gifted the cadence magnetic jars and bought the Ries pump to give it a try. Tiny vials and jars are ideal for short trips, and transferring full-size bottles into smaller jars as you need them is way more economical than constantly buying the travel size.

Are the Original Containers Always Best?

That being said, I do like the official travel-size bottles when I’m not sure of the best material for a specific product. Some products need dark vials to protect the integrity of the active ingredients, some need hard plastic, some, like oil, need a specific type of lid to not leak, and if you watched my short on silicon bottles, you know the dangers of putting a silicon product in a silicon bottle. Spoiler alert: explosion. So, make sure you’re picking the right material for the chemistry of the product. If you’re not sure, sticking to the original packaging is always the safest bet. Also, this is a no-brainer but I’ll mention it, pick the right dispenser for the product consistency. If it’s a spray, transfer it into a spray bottle, if it’s a foam, you can’t just pour it into a spray bottle and expect the same results.

What to do with perfume? Well, I’ve purchased the travel size of a perfume in the past if it was available, but right now, my scents don’t come in smaller sizes, so I use an atomizer from amazon, which you refill from the bottom like this!

How to Travel with Perfume

Can’t leave home without your signature scent? Read six ways to travel light with your favourite fragrance.

Solids and Powders: A Smart Alternative

I also want to touch upon swapping out liquids for solids and powders. There are lots of reasons to do this, the first one being that with precious limited space for liquids when following the carry-on 3-1-1 rule, you’ll want to save that room for the liquids high on your must-have list. If you need your prescription antiperspirant that comes in liquid form, then you might be happy to swap out your perfume bottle for solid perfume if that’s the sacrifice you must make. Plus, nowadays, there is almost a solid or powder alternative to every product. Toothpaste? We’ve got tablets.

packing solid cosmetics

10 Solid Beauty Product Alternatives to Liquid Toiletries

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The second reason to pick solid products is they don’t spill, third, they usually have much bigger volume, meaning one solid shampoo bar is 80 washes vs 2-3 in a small bottle. And lastly, they also often come in recyclable packaging, so there is way less plastic use and waste.

Keeping Your Bag Clean and Secure

Putting your toiletries in the correct type of container is the first step to keeping a clean bag. If you want to add a layer of protection, I sometimes put cling wrap over an opening and then put the lid on. I also make sure everything is closed, including putting caps on things like makeup brushes, which I find keeps my makeup bag cleaner. As an extra precaution, you can put your liquids in a Ziploc bag and close that tight.

In conclusion, optimizing your cosmetic packing for travel involves thoughtful planning and consideration of alternatives. This comprehensive guide aims to simplify your packing process, allowing you to enjoy your travels hassle-free.

Happy travels!