I travel a lot and if I don’t have my toiletry bag all ready to go, it only adds to the stress of trying to get everything done and get out of town. To counteract that, I keep my toiletry bag fully packed and stocked and separate from my everyday routine. It costs a little bit more up front, but the hassle it saves later is really valuable.
I have two kits for travel. One is my liquids which all have to be less than 3 ounces and fit in a quart-sized plastic bag and the other kit has all my other stuff. Inside the second kit, I keep a pouch with all my make-up brushes and other long, skinny things like eyeliners, mascara, concealer and lipstick. I have the contents of each listed below where I give the nitty gritty and a packing list PDF at the end if you don’t want the details.
– Shampoo and conditioner. If you don’t already have travel-size containers, Pureology or Aveda make great shampoos and conditioners in travel sizes. Aveda sends free samples with shipping which are nice for travel too.
– Facial Cleanser – Aveda and Eminence Organic make great travel sizes. Lately I’ve been doing the oil cleansing method so I just bring a small bottle of oil.
– Moisturizer. Consider asking Sephora for a sample and try a fancy new one in a small size at no cost! Any time I need something from Sephora, I mail order it because then I get the samples (and I have a mall phobia, shudder).
– Dr Bronner’s Soap. This can do duty as cleanser, shaving cream, clothing detergent, or shampoo. If all else fails, bring this one thing!
– Lotion. I never trust the nasty scented stuff in hotels. I’ll often mix a fragrance free organic one with vanilla oil.
– Sunscreen (Bring a lotion with sunscreen to further limit products.) I also love this Colorscience powder SPF and keep it in my purse to apply to my face. I can also apply it to Chief to protect his face as he sits patiently and curious onlookers giggle as he begins to sparkle like a teenage vampire.
– Eye drops – this is a lifesaver after traveling!
– Morrocanoil Hair Oil This stuff is great for keeping hair silky without adding weight. You may also want to get a travel-sized container of whatever mousse or finishing product you use. Pure argan oil works great too and can double as night eye cream, as pomade for hair, or can be added to your cleansing oil.
– Travel size perfume. Ask at Sephora or a department store for your favorite scent. The vanilla oil below can also work as a subtle perfume.
– Vanilla oil in jojoba oil (for moisturizing, eye cream, perfume, taming flyaways or frizzies and eye-makeup removal) or to add to your cleansing oil.
– Toothpaste. Chief recently discovered you could refill the small tubes by “kissing” the big tube to it.
– Coconut oil. I have lately been packing it in to a small glass jar I had leftover. It works great for the beach (for body or for putting in your hair and braiding), moisturizing (instead of lotion), or as a personal lubricant.
– Egyptian Magic Skin Cream in a small container. I just scoop some out of the regular full-size jar and put it in a travel container. This stuff is amazing for a night cream and can be smeared over the whole face to moisturize eyes and lips as well. It also works as a pomade or body moisturizer.
– Baby powder or dry shampoo. I like to keep the powder I make in a brush with a refillable base.
– Venus razor with cartridge. No shaving cream is needed.
– Smile’s PRID Drawing Salve. This stuff is great for scrapes or surprise blemishes. It’s antibacterial.
– C.O. Bigelow’s Rose Salve. This can be used for a unisex lip balm, for chapped faces, for a dewy glow, or for eye make-up removal. I talk about using it on the eyes in this post.
– Ceramic Velcro rollers. I assume wherever I’m traveling will have a hair dryer. If not, go natural or twist hair in small sections and pin up with bobby pins until it dries.
– Brush. I was extravagant and made this purchase about 6 years ago, assuming I will have it forever.
– Small wide-tooth comb for wet hair
– Rubber bands and bobby pins. These can be lifesavers when hair is wacky from traveling.
– Deodorant. I really like the LaVanilla mini deodorant trio while I’m still perfecting my homemade deodorant recipe.
– Body brush. Body brushing really helps to invigorate you after a travel and helps fight off some of the infections that can result from lack of sleep or germs in the airplane.
– Empty spray bottle. You can fill this with water later and a couple drops of essential oil to get wrinkles/smells out of clothes, hydrate your face, or spritz flowers for macro shots!
– Beauty Balm for moisturizing, light coverage, and sun protection. I really like Stila tinted moisturizer and Origins VitaZing cream and have recently been introduced to an obscure brand called Elisha Coy that has an SPF of 30.
– Double-duty foundation/powder. I have been using Clinique’s Superpowderfor literally 20 years.
– Stain for lips and cheeks. Sephora brand and Benefit make good ones. There are probably some great ones on the market I haven’t tried. Lipgloss or lipstick can also work as blush.
– Eye shadow palette including neutrals and dark/smoky colors and one bright color if you like. I had a palette made up at MAC that includes my tried and true favorite colors: Vanilla (for highlighting or sweeping across the whole eyelid), Shroom (for the crease) Black Tied (for smoky eyes or liner) and Atlantic Blue (blue wakes up a tired eye and makes the whites look more white). I also travel with this Coastal Scents palette (it’s very affordable and has a wide range of colors).
– Blush (if stain won’t work for you). Nars Orgasm is a great color that works on almost everyone.
– Mascara. I religiously use MAC’s Zoomlash in black.
– Black eyeliner. Rimming the inner part of the lower lids is an easy way to glam it up.
– Concealer. I love MAC’s Moisturecover. It draws in and maintains moisture which is key if you’ve been traveling by air or partying at night!
– Any other lipstick or gloss. I try to bring my favorite red, pink, and neutral.
– Make-up brushes. MAC makes good travel sets but they are only available around the holidays generally. You can find them at Cosmetics Company Stores at outlet malls in the off-season. I would recommend the following brushes: Powder brush, blush brush, eye shadow brush, eyebrow brush, blending brush and eyeliner brush. For a more in-depth tutorial on these, see my blog post on make-up brushes and the tutorial video.
This list looks like a lot but it is all really compact. You’ll see on the attached PDF that is is not a lot when broken down without the detail. I almost never check a bag (carry-on only packing) and it always fits on my person.
That’s the details that I have also chatted about in this YouTube Video, but I have also made a link to a simple packing list that you can print and/or modify:
Toiletry Bag Packing List