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My favorite travel-sized toiletries

The Balm Eyeshadow Palette
The Balm Eyeshadow Palette
Courtesy of The Balm

Unless I’m heading out on a business trip, I’m not a high-maintenance traveler in terms of my beauty routine. I don’t need a hairdryer, curling iron or flat iron while I’m on the road. While I use those products at home, they only weigh down my bag and take up space that could be better used for souvenirs.

When it comes to toiletries, I prefer airplane-approved, multi-tasking products. Even if I’m traveling with a huge backpack, I prefer carrying my toiletries with me.

Here are the 9 essential beauty products that I can’t travel without:

Skin care

BB Cream
What’s a BB cream, you say? It stands for beauty balm or blemish balm and it’s a magical all-in-one beauty product that offers sun protection, coverage, moisturizer and blemish treatment. Almost every major cosmetics company has a BB cream. For travel purposes, look for a BB cream that has an SPF of 30+ and is less than 3 oz. Instead of bringing separate facial sunscreen, foundation and moisturizer, I only have to bring along one product.

Recommended product: I’ve tried a lot of BB creams, and my favorite is Bobbi Brown BB Cream with SPF 35 ($39). There are 5 colors available, ranging from extra light to dark. The cream also covers well and doesn't make me break out.

Acne treatment
From dirty, dusty roads to dry airplane air, my skin gets exposed to a lot of elements when I’m on the road. It’s no surprise that I tend to break out the most while I’m traveling. Acne spot treatments get rid of blemishes once they've already formed.

Recommended product: B Kamins Medicated Acne Gel is my go-to product to fight blemishes ($22). It has 5% benzoyl peroxide and it comes in a TSA-friendly 1 oz tube.

Face cleanser
To remove makeup, dirt and prevent blemishes, you’ll need a face cleanser. Looking for a multi-functioning cleanser that not only cleans, but helps promote moisture retention.

Recommended product: Origins A Perfect World Antioxidant Cleanser with White Tea, 1 oz travel site. This cleanser leaves my skin feeling fresh and I notice less blemishes when I use it.

Being fair-skinned with freckles, I burn easily and find that I have to re-apply sunscreen frequently to avoid a sunburn. Look for sunscreens that have a minimum SPF of 30. If you’re going to be swimming or participating in an activity that will make you sweat, buy a sunscreen that has a water-resisent, sport label.

Recommended product: Banana Boat Sport Performance Lotion Travel Size, SPF 50, 2 oz ($9 for a pack of 3).


I wear eyeshadow every day and tend to stick to neutral colors that brighten my eyes. Choose a mini palette so that you have some flexibility with colors on the road and look for a palette that includes a makeup brush. I don’t typically pack eyeliner with me and opt to use a dark eyeshadow color to fill in as eyeliner.

Recommended product: The Balm Cosmetics 9-Color Meet Matt Eyeshadow Palette. I love this palette due it’s size and the fact that all the shadows are matte.

I only wear mascara if I’m going out for the evening or dressing up for a performance. I always opt for a small travel-size tube of mascara so that I can carry it in my purse in case I need to re-apply.

Recommended product: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara 0.17 ounce. This tiny mascara does everything you could possibly want it to. It adds volume, it doesn't clump and it holds a curl.

I always look for a lip color that’s hydrating, somewhat sheer and easily to apply. If it can double as a blush or eyeshadow, even better.

Recommended product: NARs The Multiple ($48). I use this on my lips and my cheeks. All the colors have a little bit of shimmer, which gives you a nice glow.


Travel shampoo and conditioner
I rarely purchase travel shampoo and conditioner. When I stay at a hotel that provides free toiletries, I take any leftover shampoo and conditioner with me and use it on my next trip.

Dry shampoo
On some of my more adventurous trips, I've had to go multiple days without having access to a shower. After a couple of days of skipping washes, my hair turns into an itchy, unmanageable grease ball. To add volume and get rid of oil, I use dry shampoo when I have to skip washes.

Recommended product: blowpro Faux Dry Shampoo, 1.7 oz. ($20). Yes, this is pricey for dry shampoo but it’s equivalent to 5 bottles of dry shampoo sprays and it’s one of the few dry shampoos that don’t leave a white powder residue.

Share your favorite travel-sized beauty products in the comments section below.

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