The Best Travel-Size Toiletries & Products for Travel
Over the years, I’ve tried to find travel-size toiletries that are effective to use for everyday life but also for traveling in all circumstances. Yes, I actually use these products and carry them in my toiletry bag no matter if I’m backpacking, traveling with a suitcase, or just a small backpack.
Here you’ll find my honest opinion on what I feel are the best beauty products for travel. Obviously depending on your make-up preferences, skin type (mine is mostly combination), age, and hair type you may want to try something else!
Might I add, if these travel-size toiletries get me through a summer of backpacking in Japan, living in the Florida humidity, AND running around as an elementary teacher… I trust them!
TRAVEL SIZE TOILETRIES: MAKEUP ESSENTIALS
MAKE-UP PREP ESSENTIALS
When my mom and sister told me about makeup primer I scoffed at them and thought “yeah… right… now I need another product? SURE!” But then I tried the stuff and *facepalm* I was hooked. It helps to hold your makeup in place and feels like you just gave your skin a glass of water. It also helps grip your make-up after putting it on.
The e.l.f Power Grip Primer is currently my favorite primer!
This is one thing I never used until a few years ago. I always just slapped on some powder and called it a day. However, I use foundation when I want more coverage.
Over the years I’ve used a number of different foundations to find the one I love best. I tried a ton of the drug store brands and high-end brands too. The Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Foundation and Tarte Face Tape Foundation have both proven themselves for all-day wear.
Traveling doesn’t always play nice for your complexion. So if you have a pesky spot you need to cover up or dark undereye circles, a heavy-duty concealer is sure to do the trick!
My current favorite for undereye concealer is It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye and for spot concealer I really like Tarte Shape Tape Concealer or Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer.
You’ll notice that I only included one pressed powder and that’s because I haven’t found a dupe or anything better for my combination skin. In high school, I worked for an Aveda salon and instantly fell in love with their dual foundation powder. It applies easily, has good coverage, and lasts a long time. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come in as many shades as I would like to see.
Highlight & Contour
Another one of the travel-size toiletries I didn’t realize I would love or find necessary until I tried it. Contour kits have become all the rave in the past years. When I first tried a contour kit I was impressed to find that I could add definition to my face and emphasize features like my cheekbones and nose.
I don’t use my contour kit every day depending on the kind of travel I’m doing, but it’s definitely awesome when you’re planning to be in photos or for going from a day-to-night dramatic look. The palette is also very slim and slides easily into a make-up bag. However, I’m also the type to take a small drugstore non-shimmer bronzer to use as a contour option if I want to save space.
The Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit is my personal favorite for day-to-day use. I do take this traveling but it can be a bit bulkier at times. If you want something more compact I suggest the Ilia Nightlife Powder Bronzer.
If I could only pick three make-up items to bring on a trip, one would be blush! It’s one of my favorite staples! I personally like using either liquid or powder blushes so I’ve included both options. Liquid blush is best used before any setting powder and is heavily pigmented so you only need the TINIEST amount and I mean tiny! I learned this the hard way. I like to use powder blush after I’ve added some powder but before setting spray.
My favorite liquid blush currently is the NYX Sweet Cheeks Blush and my favorite powder blush is the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush.
EYE MAKE-UP ESSENTIALS
By now you’re probably beginning to wonder if I lived under a rock for a while but eyeshadow primer is another one of the travel-size toiletries I didn’t know I needed until recently. It helps keep your eyeshadow in place and saves you from having shadow “dust” all over your face. I’m probably aging myself as a Millenial here but I still use Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion.
Eyeshadow is something I tend to change up daily depending on my mood or outfit but when traveling I tend to stick to neutral colors and only bring a few small individual eyeshadows or a small palette. Some of my favorite shadows are from MAC or Colourpop.
This is one of the travel-size toiletries where I’m usually going with whatever small sample came with another larger purchase so I’m always trying new mascaras. However, below are a few of my favorites that I’ve tried.
I would say the only difference between some of the drugstore mascaras and the higher-end mascaras is how long they last. I feel like a lot of drugstore mascaras I buy can also have some “flakiness” to them as well.
I left my tweezers once on a trip and it’s surprising how much they grow in just a few weeks’ time! Now I bring a pair with me every time because they’re super small and I don’t like being without them.
I have virtually no eyebrows without an eyebrow pencil, partially due to a bad brow wax (my first and last) and years of overplucking… I blame Teen Magazine. My favorite is the NYX Eyebrow Pencil which comes in a variety of shades and lasts a long time since it can be sharpened. But I also like Benefit’s Brow Pencil for more precision. I recommend both of these because they’re easy to apply and stay on all day. I never worry about smudging.
I am pretty much obsessed with lip stuff. Chapstick, gloss, lipstick, you name it. You’ll pretty much find me applying it all day. These are a few of my long-time favorites.
This setting powder takes away shine,
Makeup Setting Spray
THIS STUFF IS A DREAM. I have used it on all different trips and have been impressed with how much longer my makeup lasts because of this spray. One helpful tip I have is to spray this one after applying all of your makeup but before you apply mascara so it doesn’t dampen your mascara and cause it to run. Then finish off with your setting powder. I use the Urban Decay All-Nighter setting spray because it works well for me!
TRAVEL SIZE TOILETRIES: HAIR ESSENTIALS
Shampoo & Conditioner
Nowadays many hotels offer complimentary toiletries. Depending on where I’m traveling determines whether or not I bring my own shampoo and conditioner.
For example, in
When I’m traveling in the U.S. I try to bring my own reusable silicone bottles and fill them up with my regular-size shampoo and conditioner at home because most hotels only have travel-size toiletries that are single-use plastic. Here are some additional eco-friendly travel essentials and some gluten-free shampoos to choose from.
My current favorite shampoo and conditioner.
I actually don’t wash my hair that often. Usually, every 5-7
As I said before, I have extremely thick and dry hair so I am always looking for styling products that will amplify volume in the roots and smooth out pesky flyaways. These are four products I typically use but when I’m traveling I usually only bring a root-boosting spray and hairspray. I prefer a light to medium hold hairspray that I can brush out easily because heavier hold hairsprays tend to be too sticky for me.
TRAVEL SIZE TOILETRIES: SKIN ESSENTIALS
I love to use makeup-removing balms at home and recently found out that my favorite one by Farmacy has a travel size! If I use a make-up removing balm I usually bring cotton pads or a small towel to remove my make-up so I don’t ruin hotel towels. I have also used makeup-removing wipes before which are convenient for travel!
I don’t typically buy travel-size face wash because when I switch things up too often I tend to have breakouts so I am picky about what products I use on my face. Instead, I get travel-size bottles that are refillable that I can put my favorite cleansers in such as La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Cleanser.
Even on humid days wearing a moisturizer is important for hydrating and protecting your skin. I usually apply a moisturizer in the evening and in the mornings use an SPF moisturizer.
Here are two of my current favorites for moisturizers.
I take sunscreen pretty seriously so one thing I always recommend is wearing SPF daily and reapplying frequently, especially while traveling. Below you’ll find a number of my favorite sunscreens for the face and body.
I frequently am using different kinds of lotion but regardless of the brand or scent I always like one that is lightweight, non-greasy, and doesn’t have an overpowering scent. SheaMoisture has been my favorite for over a year now and they do have a small travel size of a few different scents.
The list could go on and on! I know it seems like quite a bit but it’s not so bad once you condense it into your toiletry bag. What are some of your favorite travel-size toiletries you can’t travel without?
Comments & Reviews
Kimmie Conner says
Ahhh this is all amazing! I am always looking for the best travel products and I have even learned about a few more here 🙂 thank you!
Glad it helped Kimmie! There are so many out there that I don’t think I’d ever make it through them all. Just thought I’d spark some ideas for others on what has worked for me. 🙂
Looks like I need to get into the Hard Candy brand, especially if the concealer is really comparable to the MUFE one. And now I really want to try setting spray… Good thing you included inexpensive dupes or my wallet would be very sad! Hahah Thanks for the post!
Thank you Jessica! Hard Candy is quickly rising to the top of my favorites list. I can’t afford to purchase many of these more expensive makeup brands either and received some as gifts or smaller sample sizes. I loved them but soon searched for dupes to each of them in order to be more budget friendly. My husband will never understand the cost of makeup!
Jenna Kvidt says
Lots of great products! I know what you mean about looking young without makeup–that’s always been me too, but unfortunately I feel like that has been disappearing for me the past year or so, lol! Physicians Formula is always one of my favorites and that Urban Decay eyeshadow looks great! Fun suggestions!
I feel you on that Jenna! I’m definitely not complaining about my “baby face” but sometimes I feel as if people don’t take me as seriously because I look so young without makeup! I even had a clerk at a store ask to call my “daddy” when I used my husbands credit card – I was mortified! Thanks for reading. 🙂
Thank you so much! That’s a really good question! I bought the dupe blush at Target here in the States but I will look into shipping internationally. 🙂
This is an amazing list of products. How convenient when someone else does the research and you have just have to pick up on their tips 🙂 Personally, I carry minimum makeup when travelling, mostly just lipstick and eye liner pencil.
Thank you very much! Smart advice on not carrying too much! I too try to be minimal depending on the type of travel but alas… I still overpack at times! 😉
Lol, I’m a lot like you! I don’t really wear much makeup, especially when traveling but I also look about 16 years old without it (and 18 with it on haha!) I don’t do foundation but I love a good mascara! The mini naked palette is also a winner!
Thank you! I find it hard to WANT to apply makeup but I’m learning to live with it. 😉 Glad you and I are in the same boat. The mini naked palette is life changing!
Chris Walker-Bush says
Sweet Lord! I didn’t realize just how much variety there was and how much work goes into it all.
While I’m not a makeup wearer (often), I reckon my girlfriend and my sister-in-law might both appreciate this post being travelers who also like to look good. I’ll definitely be sending it their way.
Hiya Chris! I swear putting on makeup is like painting a piece of fine art and let me tell you, I’m no Rembrandt! 😉 Thanks for sending it on to your gf and sis-in-law! I hope they find it useful/helpful. Cheers!
Very handy post! Did you find the acne removal cream useful? I used to try one of those and the stubborn acne was still on my face for days… I’m also the type of girl who is too lazy to make up every day but still wants to look good, so I’m currently not using primer and foundation. But from what you’ve reviewed, maybe I should try them once to see how different my face looks / feels 🙂
Hi there Fiona! I have used a variety of different acne creams and the clean and clear persa gel is my favorite – I even think it’s better than the prescription stuff I’ve tried. I think the key is the ingredient benzoyl peroxide. 🙂
I’m soooooo lazy when it comes to my makeup but recently I’ve realized that sometimes putting in a little extra time in the morning allows me to spend less time throughout the day worrying about my makeup wearing off! Primer is awesome!
Wow girl! Pinned this post as it’s definitely going to help me! I’ve seen lots of buzz over the elf brand in the UK so definitely one I’m going to try! 😀
Thank you Amber! Elf has SERIOUSLY been a game changer for me… Extremely budget friendly and it works! Let me know what you think. 🙂
That is so much make up to travel with. I love not having to wear makeup when I travel but I do take, eyeshadow, mascara, concealer, blusher and lip gloss with me!!
You’re right! I don’t usually travel with ALL of this depending on the situation. However – I have many travel sizes of these products that don’t take up a lot of space. Each of these fits in my small makeup bag. 🙂
Mar Pages says
I’m also not a fan of spending hours putting on make up. Would rather get out and go travel. But these are great, compact options when on the move – especially when you’re going fine-dining at a high-class restaurant!
SAME HERE! Most days I don’t put on much, but I do love being prepared for the days that I am planning to go out in the evening and/or be in a photo! 😉
Meg Jerrard says
Thanks for putting this post together! When I travel I’ve previously gone with very minimal makeup, minimal as in one foundation one mascara and one lipgloss minimal! But we’re starting to try and prioritize gorgeous instagram shots so I’m thinking I should expand my collection of on the road beauty products to have a little bit more to play with … so this is a huge help!
Meg, thank you for reading! At home it’s easy to slap on makeup but I’ve tried to get into it more when I’m traveling – especially being in photographs. I prefer to carry small travel sizes so that I don’t have a ton of extra weight and so they fit easily in a small makeup bag. 🙂
wow such a cool list! many brands I didnt even know before so next time I see them in some shop during travelling I might try some 🙂 concerning makeup during travelling, I would say it really depends on destination – if I go to some town sightseeing than I feel better with makeup (even though I dont use much) but while some adventure travelling I dont consider it important – less stuff in backpack less effort carrying 😀
I couldn’t agree with you more Suzie! I typically only wear makeup when I’m strolling around a city, going out at night, etc. But wearing makeup with hiking, camping, or any other outdoor activity? NO WAY! 😉 Thanks for reading.
Bahahaha! Thank you Christopher. I guess we do try! 😉
Aveda is the best! I also love their products (if you couldn’t tell)! Thanks Nathan 🙂
Bronzer has become a favorite of mine as well! Thank you very much 🙂
Thank you very much for reading anyways! We definitely try. 😉
Hi Loudy! This body lotion is great but I’m not horribly picky about my lotions. My main requirement is that it isn’t greasy but also moisturizes. I usually go through a few different ones a year and they’re all about the same! Recently I’ve been a fan of the Jergens I listed and Gold Bond 🙂
I am a big fan of Urban Decay’s palettes, I had On the Run for our big 18 month travel trip. I am all about the factor 50 face moisturiser too. Great post!
Love all the cool colors on those palettes! I always try to mix it up but often go back to the same ones. 🙂
Great tips! A girl never has too much makeup items, nevertheless looks like too much stuff to take while traveling. Over the years I’ve learn (the hard way!) to travel lighter.
I would never take these in full sizes! It would be ridiculous. Granted I also pick and choose what items can stay behind depending on the type of traveling I’m doing. Camping and hiking? No way! 😉
It can be at times! Thank goodness for travel sizes. Thanks for sharing it with her. 🙂
You are spot on! While in Jamaica I hardly put anything on unless going to a fancy dinner. I can’t imagine having to wear it daily in a tropical area!