Travel Beauty: What to Pack in your Carry-on

  Reading time 8 minutes

When gearing up for a trip, deciding what beauty products to pack in your carry-on can be as tricky as choosing your outfits. The key to an expertly packed travel beauty kit is selecting versatile, multi-purpose items that comply with travel regulations. This article will guide you through the essentials of carry-on beauty, ensuring that you will look fresh and fabulous from departure to arrival, without overstuffing your bag with unnecessary items.

The Essentials: Skincare

Your skin can take a beating while traveling, especially during long flights where the air is dry and recirculated. Prioritize hydration and simplicity in your skincare routine with these carry-on friendly picks:

  • Facial Cleanser: Choose a travel-sized bottle or cleansing wipes, depending on your preference, to keep your skin clean and prevent breakouts.
  • Moisturizer: An all-day hydrating moisturizer is essential to combat the drying effects of plane air. Products with hyaluronic acid are particularly effective at retaining moisture.
  • SPF: Regardless of your destination, sun protection should be a daily habit. Opt for a travel-size SPF to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Lip Balm: Your lips are one of the first places to show signs of dehydration, so a nourishing lip balm is a must-have to keep them soft and supple.
  • Face Mist: A refreshing spray can be a savior for tired and dry skin, giving you an instant pick-me-up.

Remember to keep all liquids under 3.4 ounces to comply with TSA regulations, and pack them in a transparent, resealable quart-sized bag.

The Fun Stuff: Makeup Must-Haves

While traveling, your makeup routine should be as minimal and multifunctional as possible. Focus on products that enhance your natural beauty, and that can be applied quickly, without a lot of fuss:

  • Tinted Moisturizer or BB Cream: This will even out your skin tone while keeping the skin hydrated, plus many contain SPF.
  • Concealer: A little concealer can go a long way to cover up any imperfections or under-eye circles from a less-than-restful flight.
  • Multipurpose Stick: One that can be used as blush, lipstick, and eyeshadow is a travel-friendly champion.
  • Mascara: It’s an instant eye opener. Waterproof options can be particularly helpful to withstand any travel-induced tears or if you take a quick nap.
  • Brow Gel/Pencil: Defined eyebrows frame your face and can give you a put-together look with minimal effort.

Stick to a neutral color palette for versatility and consider products that come in stick forms – these are often solid and can save you precious space in your liquids bag.

Don’t Forget the Tools

While you’re downsizing your beauty products, remember that the right tools can make all the difference. However, it’s not practical to bring your entire set of brushes and gadgets. Instead, prioritize:

  1. A multi-purpose brush that can apply powder, blush, and even help blend eyeshadow if necessary.
  2. Small travel-sized tweezers which can be a lifesaver for stray hairs or an in-flight splinter.
  3. Quality makeup remover pads or a small, microfiber cloth which can be used for cleansing your face or fixing makeup mishaps.
  4. A compact mirror, ideally with a magnified side – a necessity for touch-ups on the go.

Make sure that any sharp tools like tweezers or nail clippers comply with airline regulations to avoid any hassles at security.

Authentic Milwaukee Brewers Shop | Travel Beauty: What to Pack in your Carry-on

Travel-Size Triumphs

Travel-sized products are not only adorable but also convenient and often necessary to meet airline regulations. There are several ways to achieve this:

  1. Purchase travel-sized versions of your favorite products.
  2. Utilize empty travel containers to decant from your full-sized products.
  3. Choose samples or sachets which are perfect for a trip’s duration and can be discarded before you return home, creating more room in your luggage.

This approach won’t just save space—it will simplify your routine and lighten your load. Plus, if you’re keen to test out a new product, travel sizes offer the perfect non-committal opportunity.

Hair Care Hacks

For most travelers, hair care is as important as skin and makeup, but it’s also one of the easiest areas to overpack. Keep it simple with a few well-chosen products:

  • Dry Shampoo: It’s a great way to refresh your hair between washes and add volume. For travel, consider a non-aerosol powder version.
  • Travel-size Brush or Comb: A folding brush or compact comb will suffice for detangling and styling needs.
  • Mini Hair Styling Products: If you must bring styling products, travel-sized hairspray, gel, or serum bottles will help keep everything in place without taking too much room.
  • Accessories: A few hair ties, bobby pins, or a headband can help manage your mane with minimal effort.
  • Leave-in Conditioner: Especially if you’ll be in the sun or saltwater, a small bottle of leave-in conditioner can keep your hair protected and nourished.

Another tip is to check whether your accommodation will provide essentials like shampoo and conditioner, allowing you to leave those out of your carry-on entirely.


Traveling with a carry-on doesn’t have to limit your beauty routine if you plan wisely and pack effectively. By prioritizing multi-functional and space-saving products, you’ll be able to maintain your beauty regimen on the go while adhering to airline regulations. Remember to stay hydrated, both inside and out, and let your natural beauty shine. By packing efficiently, you’ll have more time to relax and enjoy your journey, knowing you’re prepared for any beauty situation that may arise.


Q1: Can I bring full-size beauty products in my carry-on?
A1: No, TSA regulations require liquids, gels, creams, pastes, and aerosols to be in containers that hold no more than 3.4 ounces, and all containers must fit into a single, transparent, quart-sized bag.

Q2: Are there any beauty products I should avoid packing in my carry-on?
A2: Avoid packing anything flammable, sharp, or heavily scented. Some airlines have strict policies about strong fragrances due to potential allergies or sensitivities of other passengers.

Q3: How can I bring makeup products that are not in liquid form?
A3: Solid or powder makeup can be packed outside of your liquids bag and doesn’t have a size limit. But it’s still smart to pack only what you need and perhaps opt for multi-purpose products.

Q4: What’s the best way to keep my beauty routine while on a long flight?
A4: Keep it simple and hydrating. Stick to a good moisturizer, lip balm, hydrating face mist, and a few makeup essentials. Always cleanse your face before re-applying any products.

Q5: How can I pack my beauty tools in my carry-on without them taking up too much space?
A5: Choose multi-purpose tools like a brush that can double up for various applications. Pack travel-sized or foldable versions, and consider which tools you truly need for your trip.

Related Posts