Packing for vacation can be an overwhelming task–especially if you’re traveling with kids. After you’ve gathered everything your children could possibly need (and then some), you’ve still got your own suitcase to sort out. What outfits should you bring? And how many pairs of shoes is too many? (I am not the authority on this. Just ask my husband.) But most importantly, how do you cram your bathroom into one small toiletry bag? The answer? With a very strategic collection of travel beauty products.
Related: Your next hack for traveling with kids: Rent your baby gear when you get there
Since TSA regulations limit each person’s carry-on to a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, and creams in containers that are 3.4 oz. or less, tossing your at-home favorites into your bag isn’t always an option. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with your skincare routine and look fabulous as always.
Whether you’re headed to the beach, the mountains, or the city, these products are compact, multitasking, and perfect for busy moms who want to look and feel their best. From sunscreen to dry shampoo, eye masks to lip balm (and even the best bag to pack it in), I’ve got you covered.
My favorite travel beauty products
Medium Clear Cosmetics Case
If there’s a more thoughtfully designed toiletry bag out there, I haven’t found it. (There’s a reason it has a very dedicated fan base!) The sturdy, built-to-last Clear Cosmetics Case from Calpak is small enough to fit in your carry-on but large enough to haul all your essentials and then some. (“Essentials” being subjective when it comes to traveling, as I remind my husband. Don’t judge me.) The clear, zip-around construction keeps everything in view while the interior zippered flaps make it easy to access exactly what you need without digging around. It comes in mini and large sizes as well, but IMO this one is just right.
Looking for something more budget-friendly? These will do the trick. Personally, I find the side zip so much more convenient than top zippers for keeping things organized. And while theses are smaller than the Calpak, you can still fit a good amount of product in each. (Comes as a set of three.)
Dirty Gal Dry Shampoo
How did we ever live–let alone trave–without dry shampoo? This one from FoxyBae does an awesome job of absorbing oil and refreshing locks without making it feel dry or sticky like some formulas do. It works better than dry shampoos that cost twice as much and comes in a convenient 2 oz. travel size.
Essential Face Wipes
I never travel without these handy wipes from Ursa Major. A quick swipe makes me feel clean and refreshed without leaving my face stripped and tight–an amazing feeling after a long flight. I also love that they’re individually wrapped so you can tuck one right into your pocket or purse and not have to rifle through your toiletry bag to find them.
Mini Jet Lag Mask
If flying makes your skin turn to dust, toss this into your cosmetics bag. The Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask works like a moisturizer on steroids to re-hydrate and plump skin thanks to the hard-working trifecta of niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants. Just slather on a thin layer, wait 10 minutes then wipe off with a damp cloth. You’ll be dewy, fresh and ready to make the most of that OOO message.
Lip Sleeping Mask Intense Hydration with Vitamin C
Nothing like hours of recycled air and zero humidity to turn your lips into cornhusks. A little proactive application of everyone’s favorite Lip Sleeping Mask will keep them comfortably hydrated and soft as ever.
Baggage Claim Eye Masks
Nothing says vacation like some gilded self care. For that post-plane puffiness the gold Baggage Claim Eye Masks from Wander Beauty are drenched in hydrating and smoothing glycerin, panthenol, aloe leaf juice, and calendula extract to do battle against tired eyes. The gold foil fabric helps trap the serum so it sinks in thoroughly leaving you refreshed and ready for the day of fun ahead.
Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm – SPF 30
But if you’re heading outdoors, you’re going to need some SPF protection for that pout! I’ve found many formulas I’ve tested to be super drying (which also happens when they get sunburned so why am I being punished for doing the right thing?) but there is a stand out: MDSolarSciences Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm. It’s got shea butter, avocado and olive oils for long-lasting moisture and even comes in tints if you prefer a little color.
Packing sunscreen should be as non-negotiable as packing toothpaste no matter where your travels take you. This one from Supergoop is perhaps the most raved about facial sunscreen in the game–and for good reason. The fuss-free formula blends right in (on all skin tones), doesn’t pill and leaves skin feeling silky soft.
Best Sellers Discovery Kit
With a cleanser, exfoliator, serum and moisturizer, this kit isn’t just great for travel–it’s also an easy way to try some of my absolute favorites from this raved-about brand. The probiotic enriched formulas are gentle and effective, protecting and giving a noticeable glow-up to all different skin types. (Be prepared to immediately purchase the full size So Polished Exfoliating Sugar Scrub which actually smells like vacation in a tube and instantly fixes dull, tired skin.)
MAKEUP BY MARIO
SoftSculpt Shaping Stick
Multitaskers rule–especially when you’ve got limited space. This contouring stick is designed with an angled buffing brush under one end so you don’t have to bring a separate one along.
Baby Cheeks Lip + Cheek Cream Blush Stick
Another multitasker that deserves some coveted real estate in your makeup bag is the luxe Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Lip + Cheek Cream Blush Stick. The buildable, blendable formula offers lips, cheeks and lids a healthy glow and it’s even enriched with ingredients like Jojoba Seed Oil and fruit extracts to help hydrate and soothe skin. And even though it’s what’s on the inside that counts, the packaging gets a gold star as well– the magnetic lid means never opening your bag to find a rosy pink disaster.
This cult favorite, minimalist skincare staple checks so many boxes–which makes it something I never travel without. The gorgeous blend of nourishing oils can be used as a face and body moisturizer, cleanser, hair oil, and even a makeup remover. But more than its delivery of dewy, hydrated skin, it’s the intoxicating and calming scent that got me hooked. One sniff of the signature blend of palo santo, lavender, geranium and clary sage sends me right into my happy place.
Madeline Downs is a writer who covers everything from arts and crafts to automotive. She's also a travel junkie and fashion enthusiast, so you can bet she's always on the lookout for new places to visit and things to wear.