Whether you’re a fully-fledged aficionado of skincare or simply enjoy using facial masks on the regular, there’s no denying that regularity is at the core of every good skincare routine. But as you’ll soon find out, packing up your multi-step, multi-product skincare regimen when traveling can turn out to be a massive challenge, especially if airplanes are involved at any stage during your trip. The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is rather strict when it comes to traveling with liquids of any kind — whether toners, gels, creams or serums — in your carry-on luggage, so bringing along a whole skincare apothecary isn’t very practical.
At the same time, you want to make sure that neither your routine nor your skin will be compromised while you’re on the road, so the thought of leaving anything behind can be downright scary. The question is, how do you conquer the challenge of traveling with skincare? It’s possible — and we’ve got the best travel skincare routine and tips to help you cope. Read on to find out how.
First, What’s the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule?
One of the TSA’s most-hated carry-on luggage rules of all times, the 3-1-1 liquids rule refers to the amount of liquids allowed in a carry-on luggage per passenger. The TSA requires any liquids, gels and aerosols to be carried in travel-size containers of 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters each. The containers must fit in 1 quart-sized, resealable bag (zipped bags are not allowed) and each passenger is limited to only one bag of liquids. If you’re a topical prescription user, the 3-1-1 liquids rule doesn’t apply. Prescription liquids aren’t required to go in your quart-sized bag and can be in excess of 3.4 ounces, but you will need to declare them to a TSA agent when going through security.
1. Travel Size Beauty Products Are the Best
The easiest way to beat any logistical hurdles associated with the 3-1-1 liquids rule is to get the travel size version of your favorite skincare products, or a downsized version if no travel size is available. Most companies offer travel size skincare products in 30ml, 50ml and 100ml containers, which are all acceptable under the TSA regulations.
2. Decant, Decant, Decant
When it comes to skincare, the great news is that a little goes a long way. In other words, you don’t need to pack the full size bottle of your antioxidant serum or face mask. Instead, you can simply bring along the amount you need while you’re traveling — and if no travel size version is available, decanting products into travel-friendly containers is just as good. You can find packs of 30ml, 50ml and 100ml bottles that you can use to decant cleaners, toners, serums, gels and creams so they abide by the 3-1-1 liquids rule.
The smaller containers also mean you can fit more products into the quarts-sized, resealable bag you’re allowed to travel with in your carry-on luggage. It’s a win-win deal.
Pro tip: After decanting the products into travel-friendly containers, add a piece of plastic wrap/cling film over the opening and screw the cap back on. This will add an extra layer of protection and prevent the products from leaking everywhere in the bag.
3. Pack Multi-Purpose Products
Instead of packing a face mist, a makeup base and an afternoon make-up refresher, why not choose a versatile product that fills all the gaps? Multi-purpose travel size beauty products will streamline and dramatically simplify your skincare routine while you’re on the road, so consider switching some of your favorites if it will make packing easier. For example, the OKOKO Cosmetiques SUBLIME BALM ($95) is a must-have multi-tasking balm that delivers sumptuous hydration, fortifies the skin’s moisture barrier and reduces the appearance of redness. The luxurious formula can be used as a moisturizer, night balm, eye balm and cleanser as it emulsifies in contact with water.
4. Consider Any Changes to Your Routine During Your Trip
The best travel skincare routine is minimal and fuss-free — plus it addresses the needs of your skin wherever your travels may take you. Whether you’re going to lay in the sun on the white-sand beaches of Fuerteventura or have the time of your life skiing down the high slopes of the Alps, you should select your skincare products based on where you’re going. Will you need extra sun protection? If so, then packing sunscreen is essential. Will you have access to water? If not, consider bringing wipes and creams instead of your regular foaming cleanser. Spend some time thinking about how the climate and environment of your travel destination may impact your skin and plan your skincare accordingly.
5. Skip the Non-Essentials
Because there’s only so much you can pack in a quart-sized bag, you may not be able to bring your entire skincare routine and other liquids you may need, such as shampoo and conditioner. Meaning, making some sacrifices will be necessary.
As a rule of thumb, you should make a list of any product you’re unwilling to sacrifice. For instance, will going a week without your witch hazel toner make a difference to how your skin looks? Is there only one moisturizer that doesn’t cause you to break out? Will skipping your AHA/BHA wreck your skin? Once you’ve decided on the essentials, you can either choose to buy everything else at the destination or replace them with multi-purpose alternatives.
Traveling with skincare is a massive challenge, but one that you can overcome with a little planning. Remember, the best travel skincare routine isn’t about packing every single product on your shelf — rather, it’s about packing the right products for your skin based on where you’re going.