Beauty / Travel

Travel Tips for Packing Beauty Essentials in a Carry-on Luggage

As you are reading this, I’ll be on a plane jetting away for my family’s annual ski trip in Colorado. It’s a favorite getaway of mine: to breathe the fresh air, spend hours outdoors skiing in the midst of gorgeous nature and relaxing with family and friends. A much-needed break from the everyday.

The thing is, with all the new formalities and restrictions of domestic and international air travel, I’m forced to pack all my beauty essentials for 1 week’s worth of travel in my carry-on suitcase which can get a bit tricky. And who really wants to pay an extra $25 or more to check in an extra, unnecessary bag? So here are my tips on how and what to pack regarding those skincare and beauty must-haves of yours for a short trip with only a carry-on luggage:


Consolidate your collection and take only what you need— Yes, it’s harder said than done but really think about the amount of time you will be away, the climate of your destination and the absolute daily essentials of your skincare or beauty routine. Since I know that I’ll be spending lots of time outdoors and sometimes in bright sunlight and harsh winds, my top priority for this trip is moisturizing. I’ve packed essentials that will help keep my skin hydrated, moisturized and protect from being chapped or flakey.


I’m also trying to lessen my load with unnecessary makeup bits since this family trip is more low-key and cabin-casual. Taking along multi-tasking makeup like my ILIA Illuminator stick in Sway (used as bronzer or eyeshadow), lip tints (blush or lip color) or mineral pigments (eyeshadow, blush, eyeliner or foundation). Also packing travel-size makeup brushes (I’ve sworn by this EcoTools travel brush kit for years) or retractible tools are a space saver. Otherwise, I try to bring makeup products like cream brush or cream foundation that I can apply with my fingers alone.

Use reusable containers or smaller sized products— According to the TSA, all passengers are allowed “3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume); 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin.” That’s not a lot of room for people with a comprehensive list of skincare and beauty essentials like me. This is when I like to go crazy with all those pesky (but lovely) vacuum sealed, paper/plastic, trial samples that I save like a hoarder from my online orders or package deals. They’re usually less than 3oz, lightweight and traveling with them also ensures you get to try new products.

samples1Decanting liquid products into small, reusable containers that are TSA approved-sizes is a great way to stay within the limit and ensure nothing spills or breaks while traveling. I usually save plastic containers from samples or trials I’ve received but you can purchase travel-sized bottles for this purpose at most drugstores. I’m very cautious when it comes to traveling with liquids because of numerous product fatalities I’ve experienced en route to Colorado. My destination is at a particularly high elevation: 6,732 ft (2,052 m) so the flight definitely experiences air pressure changes due to elevation levels. More times than not, I’ve found mini explosions of shampoo, soap or cleanser all over my toiletries bag and clothes after landing.


Packing products inside my toiletries bag within several individual plastic bags prevents future spilling incidents and makes things easier to place in screening bins when going through the x-rays. Bottom line: bring LOTS of plastic bags. An additional tip I’ve learned to prevent air pressure explosions: before packing liquids inside bottles, open caps, squeeze out any excess air then quickly screw the lids back on. You can also add plastic wrap on top of any containers for an extra layer of protection before closing or putting the lid back on.

Don’t take risks– When worse comes to worse, if you’re questioning bringing a product, it’s better to leave it home. In my experience, airport security employees’ checking process seem a bit discretionary when checking your belongings so if it’s suspicious to them, they might just make you get rid of it. My priority is always getting through security with all my belongings and on time. I’d rather not risk having to throw out a $50 facial cleanser just because the airport security officials didn’t approve. And, you can always buy products like cleanser, body soap or shampoo at your destination too.

Secondly, for me personally, traveling is all about comfort. I try to avoid bring totally new products that I still might need to time to get used to or want time to practice applying (for makeup). Bring products that are essential to your routine and that you are comfortable applying away from home. I never want to be the one stuck in the bathroom applying hours of skincare or makeup products while sacrificing vacation and family relaxation time.

endbagLastly, to me I think of vacation as a time to have fun, be with family and friends and enjoy not thinking too much about my makeup.

Hope these tips helped! Or at least revealed my crazy thought process to you…

Do you have any tips when it comes to packing beauty or skincare items? How do you travel if you’re only bringing a carry-on luggage? Let me know your thoughts!

Some helpful packing resources I’ve found online:, ExpertFlyer.comRenee Rouleau, TSA

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2 thoughts on “Travel Tips for Packing Beauty Essentials in a Carry-on Luggage

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