How To Travel With Skincare

If you’ve invested in medical grade skincare and are working with me on your skin then you’ve probably thought about what traveling with your skincare should look like. Do you go minimal and only bring a couple products? Do you load up and bring it all? Do you leave it all behind and hope for the best?

If you work with me, then you know skincare in general is not always one size fits all… so what you need to bring versus what your best friend might need to bring is likely different. I am going to help you navigate how to choose which products to pack up and little hacks on how to pack them.

The Essential Travel Skincare Packing List

You will likely have limited space, so you won’t be able to bring your entire skincare routine along with every other liquid you might need. I recommend keeping your travel kit simple and to the point.

The rule of thumb: think about what you’re unwilling to sacrifice and pack those things first. As an example, below are my travel skincare must-haves.

My travel skincare packing list includes:

Write your own “non-negotiable” list and then commit to buying the rest at your destination (or going without).  For instance, you might not have room for shampoo and conditioner but you can buy those at your destination or use the one that the hotel provides. 

Determining Your Travel Skincare Packing List

To figure out your travel skincare packing list, ask yourself some questions:

  • Will your skin be a wreck if you stop using your pads for a week? (If yes, that makes the cut)
  • If you leave behind your moisturizers will that cause you to dry out? (If yes, that makes the cut)
  • Can you get through a week without eye cream, masks, spot treatments or any of the “extras” you might use? (If yes, then those stay behind).

Know Your Active Ingredients

The first step in downsizing your skincare routine, at least temporarily, is understanding why you use each product in your regular line-up. What is it about your go-to cleanser that makes it your go-to? If you are using exfoliating pads, keeping your cleanser gentle is important. Are there any products with one active ingredient that you can swap out for a product with two or three? For example, if you are using retinol, Koji-C, and or Lux pads I would suggest picking just one of those to bring along for the trip. Most times, there is no need to pack multiple sets of pads for one trip. Use as many multi-purpose items as possible, based on what your skin needs and what you know works well for you.

Consider the Length of Your Trip

If it’s a quick weekend trip…keep it simple! You could leave your exfoliants at home and focus on hydration during your weekend stay. This would mean just pack the gentle cleanser and moisturizer and pick the exfoliants back up when you get home. If it’s a 2-3 week trip it might be more worth it to pack some of the extras.

Think About How Your Routine Will Change On Vacation

Another good way to trim your selection of skincare products is to think about how your routine will change based on where you’re going. If you’re going to the beach, you’ll need lots of sunscreen and a good moisturizer, and forgoing your Lux pads, which could dry out your skin, might not be a bad idea. If you’re going hiking or camping, you probably have less access to water with which to wash your face, so bring some makeup wipes and creams instead of your regular face wash. Think about what you’ll be doing, and what you’ll have access to, you’ll cut out a lot of unneeded products and maybe swap them out for multipurpose ones.

The Go To For Travel Size Skincare 

The rules for carry-on-sized toiletries in the United States are set by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Toiletry size rules are consistent around the world.

The rule for toiletries is 3-1-1:

  • 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottles or less (by volume)
  • 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag
  • 1 bag per passenger

Your liquids and gels must be in 3.4 ounce (or less) bottles. Those bottles must fit into a one quart plastic bag. Each passenger may only carry one such bag. For more details on these rules, refer to the TSA’s website.

Packing It All Into Your Carry-On

For most skincare, a little goes a long way. To make your travel skincare routine carry-on friendly, bring the amount you need, not an entire bottle. Instead, decant liquid serums into small dropper bottles and pack your exfoliating pads in a small Ziplock bag.

Here are some tips on how to pack face wash, lotion, serum, and anything else that falls in the liquids category so that you can bring it safely on a plane:

  1. Invest in travel-sized, reusable bottles. 
  2. Decant it into smaller bottles. 

Here are some affordable options I use and recommend:
Mini Glass Dropper Bottles
Fine Mist Spray Bottles 
10 pc. travel bottle set

*If you have an item that cannot be decanted (Ex: foamy cleanser) and you do not want to bring it, then consider a temporary alternative like gentle cerave or cetaphil cleanser*

  1. Cover bottle openings with plastic wrap

To avoid exploding bottles inside your carry-on, take the lid off of the bottle and squeeze out the excess air as best you can, then place some plastic wrap over the opening. Once you cover the opening with plastic, screw the cap back on and this will give you an extra layer of protection to help prevent your products from making a mess in your luggage.

  1. Pack everything in a leak-proof, see-through bag. This is both TSA-compliant, and will keep the rest of your luggage safe if anything leaks or breaks in-transit.
  2. Place it in the top of your bag. This will make it easy to take out during TSA screenings.

Here are some nice toiletry bag options that I use and love:

Makeup Travel Case
This was recommended to me by a professional makeup artist and I love it! It is great for organizing makeup and taking it on the go! There is definitely room for everything including your skin care products! I bring all of my makeup and brushes with me when I travel.
Toiletry Travel Bag 
I pack all of my skincare and haircare in this bag when I travel. It has been great to me 🙂

I hope these tips help ease your travel packing stresses! Enjoy your trip!



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Racquel Frisella

Board Certified Nurse Practitioner & Aesthetic Specialist based in Saint Louis, Missouri

I work as a cosmetic injector and skincare specialist with 12 years of experience in the Aesthetic Industry. I see patients both in-office at Racquel Aesthetics for treatments as well as online for customized, complimentary skincare plans. I focus heavily on preventative and corrective injections, treatments, and skincare.  My career is my passion and I love to help people feel like the very best version of themselves. I am a wife and a mother of 3 beautiful children under the age of 3. I love all things beauty, fashion, and fitness. I am creating this site as a place to share my expertise on beauty, anti-aging, and skin while also giving a glimpse into my lifestyle as a mom, wife and lover of fitness!  


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