It’s that time of the year when a number of us will set out on a summer adventure—from traveling to a tropical oasis, taking a trip abroad, to going on a weekend getaway. Having just returned from a trip to Arizona and now planning my vacation to the East Coast shoreline later on this summer, these trips motivated me to research the best travel size products. I took a lot of things into consideration like personal experience, bang for your buck, and what others are saying. This curated list of TSA-approved products includes literally everything you’ll need, from kits that have a variety of mini versions, to makeup, skincare, haircare, SPF, bath and body, and more. The best part—testing out mini versions before committing to full size products and being able to save space in your suitcase.
Cases and Pouches
When packing for a trip, I’ll purchase a new cosmetic case to hold all my makeup and toiletries needed for my stay. Then I’ll pick up a smaller size pouch or cube so I can transport my essentials between my carry-on, purse, and beach bag. I also like having empty travel size bottles in case I want to bring any liquids from home with me. This Ban.do kit has everything you’ll need from an assortment of bottle sizes, labels, a funnel, and they come in a cute pink holographic pouch!
Kits With A Little Bit of Everything
I’m a huge fan of beauty boxes and travel kits because they come with an assortment of the best travel size products presently available. These are the kits I’m currently obsessing over…
The “Let’s Get Away” box is curated with summer must haves like Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream, R+Co Rockaway Salt Spray, Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45, Becca Be A Light Palette, and more.
Malin + Goetz Essentials comes with the brands cult favorites packed inside a clear pouch: Grapefruit Facial Cleanser, Vitamin E Facial Moisturizer, Bergamot Body Cleanser, Vitamin b5 Body Moisturizer, Peppermint Shampoo, and Cilantro Conditioner.
Another favorite of mine is the “Natural Beauty” box which consists of makeup and skincare essentials for sun-filled days. It comes with goodies like The Beauty Chef Glow Inner Beauty Powder, Herbivore After Sun Mist, By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum, RMS Beauty Master Mixer, Stila makeup products, and more.
Living in the city, my skin is susceptible to harsh chemicals and pollutants. I apply the products included in this “Summer In The City” kit more so for everyday use rather than on a vacation. I recommended it to anyone that will be traveling to a city because it comes with a ton of stuff that will protect your skin against the harsh elements of city life. Some of my favorites are Natura Bissé’s Diamond Cocoon Mist, Lixir Skin’s Electrogel Cleanser, Tan Luxe’s The Butter, Charlotte Tilbury’s Brightening Youth Glow Primer, Agent Nateur’s Holi(stick) N3 Deodorant, David Mallett’s Fresh Eau de Concombre Spray, and more.
These beauty boxes make packing a breeze since you’re getting a ton of mini versions of your favorite products.
To Use On The Road or In The Air
Whether I’m taking a long flight or going on a road trip, I don’t feel complete unless I have my go-to products at my fingertips. They need to be TSA-friendly and can easily slip into my carry-on, beach bag, or makeup bag. Some of my favorites are Milk Makeup Matcha Cleanser so I can wash my face without having to worry about anything spilling; Pinch Provisions Deodorant Towelettes because they take up very little room; and OUAI Anti Frizz Smoothing Sheets which banishes the frizziness caused by high altitude.
These curated summer kits from brands like Wander Beauty, Ulta, Stila, Tarte, and Estee Lauder come with a variety of their classics in travel sizes making them perfect to toss in your carry-on or beach bag.
Foundations and blushes
When it comes to summer + makeup, I have two beauty routines. One is a light application for when it’s hot out and I’m going to be in the sun and water for most of the day. The other is more involved where I use a lot more products. Both require a few essentials: primer and setting spray, a waterproof foundation and concealer, and a natural-looking blush that adds the perfect sun-kissed tint to my cheeks.
Prime and set - Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 Replenishing Spray
Foundation - Hourglass Cosmetics “Vanish” Liquid Foundation
Waterproof concealer - Urban Decay “All Nighter” Waterproof Concealer
Concealer - Uoma Beauty “Stay Woke” Concealer
Highlighter - Winky Lux Charm Holographic Highlighter
If I had to choose just one makeup product to take with me, it would be either waterproof mascara or eyeliner. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of forgetting to apply waterproof eye products and immediately regretted it. After trying multiple brands over the years, I’ve seen first-hand how they’re not all created equal. Some claim to withstand the sun, sweat and water, but an hour into your day they’re running down your face.
Eyeshadow palette - Anastasia Beverly Hills Riviera Eyeshadow Palette
Eyeliner - Benefit Cosmetics Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Eyebrows - Laura Geller Brow Sculpting Palette
Waterproof mascara - Too Faced “Better Than Sex” Mascara
Lipsticks and glosses
Protecting your lips from the sun is just as important as discovering a new shade of lipstick. I love Coola products and their Mineral Liplux SPF 30 doesn’t disappoint; it goes on smoothly and lasts for hours.
When it comes to lipsticks and stains, I search for bright and bold colors that turn up the summer heat. Right now I’m obsessing over Tony Moly “Get It“ Tint Mini Trio and Nars “NARSissist #JetSetter” Lip Pencil Trio.
Lip liner - Sephora Lip Liner To Go
Lipstick - Lipstick Queen Mini Lipstick Trio
Makeup remover wipes, a set of travel size brushes, and a beauty blender (that comes in a travel case) are my list of things to not forget. Often when we’re thinking about waterproof makeup and sunscreen we overlook these necessities even though they‘re just as important.
Makeup remover - Savvy Travelers Designer Wipes
Travel size brushes - Illuminare Mini Synthetic Brushes
Beauty blender - Ulta Super Blender and Travel Case
When it comes to skincare kits, I’ll pick up one (or sometimes a few) that have the best travel size products for (sun protection, beating breakouts, or the basics—cleanser, toner, etc.) I’ll then evaluate what else I need and pick up the rest. By doing this, it saves me a ton of money and space, while keeping my skin looking fresh and refined.
In the past, when I traveled, my skincare routine took a backseat to sightseeing, shopping, sunbathing, and drinking. I’d get back to my hotel room late at night, tired and wanting to pass out. I’d do the bare minimum, like washing my face and applying moisturizer. Towards the end of my vacation I’d see a tremendous change in my skin tone—it appeared dull, uneven, and occasionally I’d have a breakout. As I got older, I learned that my skincare routine is just as important (if not more) while on vacation. Protecting it from the sun, harsh elements, and a change in the type of water is key to maintaining a healthy appearance. Now I’ll search for the best travel size products of my favorite brands so I don’t have to pack everything on my bathroom counter.
Cleanser - Alchimie Forever Purifying Facial Cleanser
Exfoliator - Osea Malibu Ocean Cleansing Mudd
Self-tanner - Tan Luxe The Face Illuminating Tan Drops
Under eyes - Patchology FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gel
SPF (face) - Shiseido Clear Stick UV Protector SPF 50+
Moisturizer (nighttime) - Osea Malibu Ocean Lotion
Moisturizer (daytime) - Paula's Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer
Between the sun, saltwater and chlorine, if my hair isn’t protected these elements will do a number on it. (Read a Q&A with a Los Angeles hair stylist on blondes + the sun, and how to maintain your color.) When it comes to choosing a hair care kit, I look for ones that have a color protecting shampoo, a conditioning mask and leave-in conditioner, and an assortment of styling products.
Mini Haircare Favorites
A few years ago when my luggage was over 50 pounds, I told myself I would buy travel size bottles of my favorite hair care products for future trips. Since I cut back on the size and therefore the weight, I have extra room for clothing, shoes, and accessories. When it comes to determining what I’m going to purchase, I look for a good quality shampoo and conditioner, from brands like Rahua or Oribe. Other must haves in my arsenal are a hair mask made for blondes (PS: Christophe Robin makes them for a variety of shades), leave-in conditioner, and detangling spray.
Shampoo - Rahua Voluminous Shampoo
Conditioner - Rahua Hydration Conditioner
Detangler - Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray
Leave-in conditioner - Not Your Mother's “Way to Grow” Leave-In Conditioner
Shower cap - Kitsch Palm Shower Cap
When styling my hair during the summer (or on vacation) my go-to routine is to step out of the shower and let it air dry, which produces natural waves. I prefer this because it’s less harsh, and I don’t want to be wasting time in my hotel room getting ready—I’d rather be out exploring. Creating natural waves still requires a variety of products like mousse, anti frizz serum, and sea salt spray. Then there are times when I’ll decide to do a blowout (date nights, hitting up the town for drinks, etc.) and I’ll need to have my own hot tools on hand, along with a heat protecting spray, and hair spray.
Anti-frizz - Redken “Frizz Dismiss” Anti Static Oil Mist
Sea salt spray - Herbivore Botanicals Sea Mist Hairspray
Heat protector - Sun Bum Heat Protector
Blowout spray - Kenra Professional Platinum Spray
Hairspray - Oribe Superfine Hairspray
Added texture - Ag Hair Tousled Texture
Dry shampoo - Klorane Oat Milk Dry Shampoo
Styling tools - Amika Mighty Mini Jet Set Kit
Bath and Body
When I’m getting ready for a summer vacation, sunscreen is at the top of my list. I’m a big fan of Sun Bum and love their SPF 30. Before I go away, I’ll mix Tan Luxe’s self-tanning drops with my body lotion and it gives me a sun-kissed bronze glow (you can read more about it here). Then of course I’ll buy miniature versions of body wash, body lotion, after sun spray, and waxing strips. While I was preparing for my Arizona trip, I discovered this portable razor that doesn’t require shaving cream, and I’m obsessed with it.
Kits with everything - Kocostar Body Therapy Kit
Body wash - Plant Apothecary Set of 5 Body Washes
Body lotion - Kiehl's “Creme De Corps” Moisturizer
SPF (body) - Sun Bum Sunscreen SPF 30
Self-tanner - Tan Luxe The Body Illuminating Tan Drops
Razor - Sphynx Portable Razor
Waxing - Parissa Laboratories Wax Strips
Deodorant - Tarte “Clean Queen” Vegan Deodorant
After sun - Herbivore Botanicals After Sun Body Mist
Recently I wrote about how I prefer to do my own nails rather than get them done at a salon. This is especially true before I go on vacation because I’m able to bring the polish with me for touch-ups. I have a few must haves that go into my beauty bag: a manicure kit, cuticle oil, mini nail polishes, and nail polish remover wipes (they take up little space, and they’re less messy). My hands get super dry whenever I fly so this Ghost Hand Cream by Byredo takes care of that. If you’re looking for a UV gel lamp, this portable and compact macaron kit comes with everything you’ll need to do a gel manicure on the go.
Kit with everything - Le Mini Macaron Le Maxi Deluxe Gel Manicure Set
Manicure kit - Japonesque Travel Manicure Set
Cuticle oil - Bliss “Soften Me Up” Nourishing Cuticle Oil Cream
Nail polish - Ncla Swim Club Collection
Nail polish remover - Pinch Provisions Nail Polish Remover
Hand cream - Byredo Mojave Ghost Hand Cream
Ever get to your destination and think you’ve remembered everything only to realize you forgot a few of your essentials? This has happened to me several times, but ever since I created a list I haven’t run into this problem. Number one is hand sanitizer—I pack a few of these because they’re always getting lost. For skin-related problems, this pocket-size Intensive Therapy roll-on serum is a must have. It helps with a number of issues like breakouts, dry skin, scrapes and burns—and it’s vegan. When I travel, I’ll often get rundown and end up getting sick. I’ve found “Something For Jetsetters” helps with jet lag, aids in digestion, boosts the immune system, and can help reduce hangovers.
Hand sanitizer - Everyone Coconut Lemon Sanitizing Gel
Natural stress relief - Credo 21 Drops Essential Oil Blend
For scrapes and cuts - Keys Tortuga Intensive Therapy Serum Roll-On
Pill case - Neiman Marcus Metallic Zip-Around Pill Case
Toothpaste & toothbrush - Marvis Kit Beauty Bag
Fashion tape - Hollywood Fashion Tape
Headband - Kitsch Palm Spa Headband
Supplements - Biocol Labs “Something For Jetsetters”
Travel candle - Primal Elements “Rose All Day”
Hangover remedy - The Good Patch Plant Based Hangover Patches
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