Travel Beauty // What I Brought

travel beauty

Laurel’s post reminded me that I wanted to share with you my travel beauty regime. Her minimal toiletries put my giant bag (+ two more) to SHAME, but also inspire me to pare down. I’ve done it with my clothing, so why not my beauty products? Work in progress…work in progress. Anyway, this post made me tired just trying to find links to EVERYTHING I bring with me when I travel. That’s not a good sign is it??

Here’s what I brought (scroll down for comments – and what I learned I can do without):

Recently I’ve started bringing my own hand & body soap because I absolutely DESPISE hotel soaps. Especially the little ones they give you for hand soap; they’re so drying. So I brought a small Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap for using on my hands, and a bar of Lush soap (in it’s travel tin) for the shower. These I will not compromise on, but the Dr. Bronner’s soap sprung a leak in my quart-sized bag, so I might have to put that into a different container for next time.

Things I brought and didn’t use – because I don’t use them at home. Duh. If I don’t use it at home everyday, why would I bring it when I travel? Because MAYBE, I MIGHT want to use it.

Naked palette: I don’t use eye makeup except eyeliner and mascara. Sometimes I’ll use the primer on my eyelids but I hardly ever use eye shadow. Mostly because I literally have NO IDEA what to do with it.

I didn’t end up using the eyelid primer on this past trip either. But I used pretty much everything else. It still feels like too much though.

Things of note:

I’m sure I don’t need to bring two different eye creams (At home I use the Caudalie cream at night and in the morning I use Origins), so I can probably stick to just bringing the Caudalie cream when I travel.

The Caudalie divine oil I have in a very small bottle, and I use it on my hair after I wash it with a little of the B&B texture cream, and it’s great as a body oil. Smells wonderful also. So it does triple-duty!

I SWEAR by the Bobbi Brown corrector cream (for under eyes), so I always have to have that – and I don’t have to use concealer over it. But I have to use a brush to apply it, which is kind of a pain…it’s not the same when I use my finger.

I normally only wash my hair once if I’m gone for 5 days, so I could probably use the hotel shampoo/conditioner, but I’ve always brought my own. Maybe I’ll re-think that. Even though I do put them in smaller containers, they take up a lot of room.

When I travel, I tend to stick to wipes for cleansing – the Josie Maran ones are my favorite, but I also like the Yes to Carrots brand. This time I brought my sample size of Fresh soy cleanser, which I love, but wasn’t necessary.

I did start thinking I should use my Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners more often, and I did a few days, but I CANNOT for the life of me apply them correctly. You’re supposed to hold the brush sideways and just press it on, and I try to do that, but it’s much easier for the makeup artist to that while she’s looking at you than it is for me to do it myself! The morning we left to come home, I actually noticed I got some eyeliner on my CONTACT LENS, and it was bothering me ALL morning until I could go into the bathroom on the airplane and try and wash it off. AND since I don’t normally bring solution with me (mine are dailies) I used water. Oy. Anyway, I’m done with gel eyeliner. I’m going back to my hourglass pens, I like the Lancome liner as well, but I was happier overall with hourglass, and I think it’s also easier to remove.

I can’t live without my eyelash curler, and I love the Bobbi Brown everything mascara because it’s so “natural” looking. I love my new Nars powder, but I could probably bring a Bobbi Brown cream blush instead of Orgasm with me when I travel, just to avoid having to bring multiple brushes. Those were a BIG pain, actually. And of course, since I didn’t use eyeshadow, I didn’t need the eyeshadow brushes at all.

Ugh. I know I’m just CRAVING minimalism right now in every aspect of my life…and that’s why I’m so frustrated with “needing” to bring so many things for travel. If I just take exactly what I use at home every day, then that will help (I tend to throw things in I might need at the last minute), but still, it seems a bit much.

How do you pare down your beauty products for traveling? Or do you? Do you use less when you travel? Or bring more, like I do? Any secrets to share???

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

enjoy this post? subscribe to future posts via RSS or e-mail. and why not follow me on twitter?

Disclosure: this post probably contains affiliate links through which I'll earn a commission when you buy something. If you'd like to know more about the links within posts, how I do reviews, or choose advertisers, please take a look at the Grechen's Closet editorial policy. Rest assured, I would never, ever in a million years link to something I wouldn't buy myself. Period.


  1. says

    Lush makes a bar shampoo too. I just spent a couple of hours over the weekend going through all of my samples, tossing the stuff I’m never going to use and organizing what I’m going to pack for our upcoming France trip. I’m always looking for products that do double or triple duty, am really liking Shiseido’s tinted sunscreen right now. I usually bring whatever eye cream I have samples for (providing I know the line and that it hasn’t irritated me in the past). My Clarins SA tends to give me a LOT of samples.
    déjà pseu´s last blog post ..Travel In Style: Let’s Get Personal

    • says

      I actually asked about the lush bar shampoo for colored hair and she wouldn’t recommend it… I guess it wouldn’t hurt just once, but neither would hotel shampoo…

      And i tried that shiseido tinted sunscreen after you posted it a while ago and didn’t care for how it felt on my face. I also tried one by clarins that I liked a little better, but not enough.

      Samples are a great idea actually… I have done that in the past…

      Thanks for your suggestions :-)

  2. says

    Ah, my post wasn’t meant to put anyone to shame! Just to give some tips on how to pare things down. I think you’re making the right moves towards that goal. My biggest tip is to pare down the toiletries you use at home so that you have fewer things to take with you when travelling, which it sounds like you’re starting to do. And use products that are double- or triple-duty like deja pseu’s comment (e.g., a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen instead of moisturizer, foundation, and sunscreen).

    I do love the Lush shampoo bar, the Seanik one. It works great on my hair and can double as a bath bar as it lathers up so nicely. I took it on a three-week trip to Europe because I only had carry-on and it didn’t count as a liquid. I was staying with friends and didn’t want to use up their toiletries. Only problem was, the bar gets really gooey in the container and it takes forever to get the lid off in the shower, so I found it not very practical for when I was showering.

    Just keep experimenting and noting what you use and don’t use, and you’ll get there. Use up all the product you already have and don’t chastise yourself too much.
    Laurel´s last blog post ..Things to do on holiday instead of clothes shopping

  3. Lisa says

    I have super sensitive skin, need lots of sunscreen, and have color treated hair. Paring down on trips just doesn’t happen! I travel with a very tiny wardrobe and little makeup, so I feel like it offsets the skincare products. The only problem being that I have to check my bag when flying because of the liquid restrictions.

    FYI, if you have new, unused samples and travel size products that you don’t want, AAA has had collection boxes in its offices in the past (haven’t checked recently). They collect them for people in emergency situations (like house fires, etc). Much better than keeping a hoard of unwanted mini shampoo bottles or throwing them away.

      • Mamavalveeta03 says

        Great idea, Lisa! I took a TON of “deluxe sample size” goodies to a women’s shelter once. They said the small sizes are actually more convenient than large for their purposes. Like you said, as long as they’re new and unopened.

  4. joannawnyc says

    When I travel I always take lip balm, sunblock, eyeliner and mascara. Then if I’m travelling by plane I add samples of heavy-duty moisturizers and eyecream, since the only time I can use those without breaking out is when I’m exposed to the dry plane air.

    If I’m going to have to get dressed up at any point, I bring a metallic shadow or liner and a lipstick or gloss.

    If I’m going to the beach, I don’t bring any makeup at all, just skin- and haircare (and of course sunblock).

    For my hair I often decant samples into those little plastic pots from Muji (especially if they’re in sachet format) plus I collect sample size containers from Birchbox etc (especially if I’ve liked it enough to buy a full size) and fill those up, or use what’s left. I use a lot more product on my hair then I do on my skin, but relatively speaking I think I have a fairly low-key routine. I do have to restrain myself from tossing things in at the last minute “just in case.”

    • says

      yes, that’s my problem – “throwing” things in at the last minute…it’s like i’m not sure, so i take more than i’ll ever need. which is what i have done in the past with my clothing, but am not able to resist ;)

      i do have tons of little plastic pots and bottles, but what happens a lot of time is i’ll decant my product into them and then forget what’s inside. obviously i could fix that with a sticker or marker, but i guess i always prefer to have the actual container if it’s small enough to begin with.

  5. Maryann says

    I travel with what I use at home – cleanser, jojoba oil, rosehip oil, deororant, body/hand lotion, BB cream with suncreeen, product for hair totame the curls/frizz. I use hotel shampoo/conditioner and soaps. I have found using oils I do not need eye creams etc. I like the less is more idea.

    • says

      can you tell me how you use the oils? for cleansing? or just as “moisturizer?”
      was just reading on into the gloss about cleansing with oils, and i have done that before, with specific cleansing oils, and use coconut oil to remove eye makeup frequently, but wonder about just using oils (not cleansing oils) for cleansing…

      and you’re right about not needing eye cream if you use oils – when i use coconut oil to remove eye makeup i don’t need an eye cream. i guess i’m just really nervous about NOT using an eye cream at my age LOL

      • Maryann says

        Hi Gechen, I use oils as a moisturiser as I like to use water to cleanse. In the morning the jojoba and evening rosehip. Although when travelling I may use both oils at night if the enviroment is really drying or cold. My skin has never been better and it is cheap. I buy the oils in a health food shop.

  6. Mamavalveeta03 says

    Even though I don’t travel all that often, I hate packing for a trip, so I have a travel toiletries, cosmetics and jewelry bag all loaded and ready to go at a moment’s notice (Like, just in case my husband walks in the door and says, “Are you ready to leave for Paris right NOW?”????) It’s one of those tri-fold do-hickies with a tiny hanger on the end to hang on the back of a door. It’s been a life-saver for me! Like Laurel and Deja Pseu, I have sample sizes of so many things, that I decided the best way to use them up before they go bad was for traveling. And because many are in packets, they don’t weigh anything. I also found that I tend to not wear much makeup when I travel, but I want the option for a night out, so I bought the “Bobbi and Katie” palette, which contains eye shadows, one that can be used as liner when damp, pot rouges that are suitable for lips, too, and the best Long-wear Eyeliner pencil. (The colors would be great on you, Grechen. Or, find a palette that has everything YOU’D really use!) This way, I just add mascara and a gloss or lipstick, a powder foundation since it won’t spill, and the Josie Maran concealer crayon (I feel like I’m betraying Bobbi! Shhhh….). I don’t travel with my face oils because of the danger of leaks, but they’re my faves at home. I ALWAYS bring my own shampoo and conditioner! It only takes one wash to strip your color!

    An aside: Instead of turning the brush sideways and pressing to line, one of Bobbi’s Beauty Team artists taught me to line with small dashes and then go back and connect them to make sure it looks smooth. WAY easier! And I just bought her new Fine Line Gel liner pencil and have high hops for it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge