How to Pack Your Makeup & Toiletries for Travel
‘Tis the season of planes, trains, and automobiles as we travel about to see our loved ones for the holidays. Organizing a well-stocked toiletry bag ahead of time may seem a little type A, but having an efficient system in place means one less thing to stress about when you’re preparing for a trip. It’ll also help protect your precious beauty loot from spills and cracks while in transit and lighten your luggage load so you can cruise through the airport security line with all your glam essentials in tow. Try these tips to pack your beauty travel kit like a pro.
1. Choose a soft, padded toiletry bag
Train cases and boxy toiletry bags may look chic, but their bulky shape and stiff walls will eat up a lot of space inside your luggage. In fact, many are too tall to fit into carry-on size suitcases that zip down the middle and have shallow storage compartments.
Instead, invest in one or two softshell, padded toiletry bags with waterproof lining, which will safeguard your products and fit easily into small suitcases and duffles. When packing, place the toiletry case in between soft items like clothes in your travel bag to help cushion it and keep it stable when your bag is being carted around.
2. Have a packing checklist
When initially pulling together all the items for your toiletry kit, make a list of every product you put into the bag. Then whenever you hit the road in the future, simply refer to your list to confirm that you have all your necessities packed.
In addition to your regular skincare, body care, makeup, and haircare essentials, don’t forget to include other beauty must-haves like a pair of tweezers, fabric ponytail ties, bobby pins, a hair clip, comb, nail file, and a fabric headband (for workouts and washing your face).
3. Downsize to TSA-friendly containers—even when you’re not flying
Regardless of your mode of transportation, there’s no reason to lug heavy full-size bottles and jars with you on any short length trips. Save space and lighten the weight of your toiletry bag by transferring your products into refillable travel-size beauty containers.
For formulas that you use just a small amount of per application, like liquid foundation or eye cream, pour a little into a contact lens case or travel pill box—each can hold a surprisingly plentiful amount of product and seals up tightly to help avoid leaks.
This is also the best time of year to find portable versions of your skin, hair, and body care essentials, as many brands’ holiday gift sets include mini-size (and often refillable) bottles and jars of their most popular products. Look for a rollerball version of your favorite perfume, too, which tends to come out around the holidays—or you can find refillable fragrance roller bottles on Amazon and Etsy.
Of course, some products are travel-ready by design, such as lip color, so for the festive season, we’re offering five Wonder Blading Holiday Gift Sets. Each one features an assortment of full-size lip products, including some with our new Top Gloss that comes in Blue Glitter and Holographic. Treat yourself and anyone who loves makeup to gorgeous party-perfect hues that you can easily take with you everywhere you go.
4. Swap out liquids wherever possible
The fewer liquids you can carry in your toiletry bag, the better (they add weight, can leak and spill in the bag, and are subject to scrutiny by TSA), so substitute non-liquid alternatives wherever you can. For zit emergencies, pack a sheet of pimple patches in place of a liquid spot treatment. Freshen unwashed hair with a powder dry shampoo rather than an aerosol formula, and take off makeup with facial wipes instead of liquid remover.
5. Rely on multipurpose products
Streamline your travel regimen with products that serve double duty. Pack a daytime face moisturizer with SPF 30 or higher built in, and try multipurpose makeup sticks or creams that you can swipe on without a brush anywhere you want to add color. Leave highlighter at home and instead bring skincare that adds a little sheen. OurPUREVOC All Day Glow Serumhas light-reflecting pearl pigments and can be dabbed on over makeup as highlighter or blended with a dollop of liquid or cream foundation, blush, or bronzer before applying to give the formula a beautiful, subtle luminosity.
6. Protect pressed powders from cracking
Press powders are super convenient for traveling—provided they don't crack and unleash a flurry of pigmented particles everywhere when you open the compact. To help prevent this cosmetic tragedy, place a cotton round in between the pressed powder and the compact’s lid or, in a rectangular palette, line up a few cotton rounds next to each other under the lid. The padding acts as a cushion to help prevent the powder from cracking; for extra security, place your powder compacts in a snug space in your cosmetics bags so they’re less likely to be knocked around during transit.
7. DIY a travel pack of makeup wipes
Rather than buy a separate travel-size pack of facial towelettes or ones that come individually wrapped (which just creates additional packaging waste), pull out enough wipes for your journey from a full-size pack. Place and seal them in a quart-size, zip-top sandwich bag, which will keep the towelettes damp throughout the duration of your trip
8. Refill all your minis once you get back
Unless you only travel once or twice a year, in which case some formulas may expire by the time you go away again, refill all the travel containers in your toiletry kit as soon as you get home and unpack. You’ll thank yourself when you’re getting ready for your next trip and don’t have to think twice about your toiletry bag being all ready to go.