Choosing the best travel beauty products or the right travel cosmetics can be overwhelming. With so many beauty products available out there, which ones both work and are the best to pack for travel?
I used to take too much when I packed beauty products for travelling, because I wanted to be prepared for anything and everything.
I like to think of myself as ‘skincare savvy’. Some people love makeup and hair products but skincare is my thing. I believe we should look after our skin as much as possible and travelling can really take its toll on the skin. I’m also an advocate for keeping it natural whenever I can, so I do invest in some organic and natural skincare products.
I’ve now been travelling for 10 years, I’ve tried a lot of travel beauty products so I know what beauty products are awesome, which ones work and which ones are priceless in their travel value.
I’ve divided it all into sections for hair, skincare and makeup and I’m happy to share with you, my Ultimate Guide to the Best Travel Beauty Products.
Best Travel Beauty Products for Hair
The Tangle Teezer is a LIFESAVER. I have naturally fine hair and lots of it, so it tangles really easily and if you even show it to the wind or the surf, it’ll knot up tighter than Scrooges wallet.
And it’s SO painful to get a brush through when its wet, if you have fine hair I know you feel my pain – literally. It used to feel like I was brushing my wet hair with the back of a hedgehog.
I’ve tried tangle-friendly hair brushes before, but they just don’t get the job done when I’ve been in the ocean or the sun and my hair is reminiscent of a barn full of tangled straw. Or hay.
The Tangle Teezer not only does what it says – gets hair untangled – but it does it with no pain! Now I don’t go anywhere without it, it’s a permanent item in my travel beauty product arsenal now. I actually think I’d cry if I had brush my wet hair without one now.
I LOVE my Tangle Teezer, it’s worth 10x its weight in gold and I love it when something just works. I’ll probably never try anything else, this thing wins every time.
I have the travel-size, compact Tangle Teezer even when I’m not travelling, because my hair isn’t very thick so it’s the perfect size for my head.
And in case you’re interested, I have the metallic purple one, although there are heaps of other colours or designs to choose from.
Batiste Dry Shampoo
Batiste Dry Shampoo is an amazing travel beauty product, it cleans and refreshes the hair without water, so it’s great for the in-between hair washing days. It’s an absolute winner for camping too.
Many times in New Zealand, we have freedom camped and the free campsite doesn’t have a shower. So this stuff becomes so important when you can’t wash your hair, as it stops you sporting that nomadic, street urchin look.
Denman Hair Brush
I’ve tried lots of hairbrushes over the years and I’ve always tried to find one that strikes that perfect balance between quality and travel-size friendly. The one I currently use is the Denman Classic Styling Hairbrush. It’s durable but soft on the scalp, easy to clean, good for styling when you’re blow drying, has lasted me years and its lightweight and travel-size friendly.
I have also used the Denman Medium Paddle Hairbrush in the past, but I find the Classic Styling hairbrush is more of a great all-rounder travel beauty product. Denman also do a teeny handbag size travel brush too that I keep in my hand luggage or bag.
Whoever made that word up – hair bobble – what’s a bobble anyway? That’s something for Google for another day.
Anyway crashing on…. the ultimate hair tie or hair band for me is the InvisiBobble.
In the past I’ve always bought a large pack of regular, snagless hair bands and just used them until I lost them all. They did their job ok, but because I expected them to lose their elasticity over time, I always end up using most of the pack. And losing the rest.
I tried InvisiBobble because they promised no pulls, no snags, that they hold even fine hair up and no kink left in the hair after using one. I didn’t really believe they’d live up to their claim but blow me down with a feather – they do.
They DO hold my fine hair up, they don’t hurt when you pull them out – no snagging – and they don’t leave a kink. Not unless you wrangle them around 5 times real tight, then you get a little curl going on. And sometimes I like that.
Super cheap, come in packs of 3 or 5 and in many colours. I like the clear InvisiBobbles and sometimes the silver ones to mix it up a little. My wrists are always adorned with bracelets and wristbands so these look cool on my wrist too, without cutting off circulation. Short story they’re brilliant.
Travel Mini Straightener and Curler
These awesome Elie Mini Hair Straighteners have high quality heat plates for smooth straightening and reduced frizz. They also have a round barrel, which is perfect for creating curls or waves as well as straightening hair. So now you don’t have to pack both a straightener and a curler.
Dual voltage for worldwide use (110v/240v) means you won’t blow up your devices when you’re in countries with a lower voltage and it comes with a handy storage bag for travel.
Some people may laugh at you for taking a hairdryer travelling with you, don’t listen and take one anyway. If it’s what you usually use in your everyday life, you’ll feel better taking one. So just buy tiny.
I’ve got the tiny BaByliss Travel Hair Dryer and it’s perfect for travel as it’s light, has dual voltage and a folding handle, so it folds down really small for packing.
And with this product, travel-size doesn’t mean less drying power, it packs 2000w of power, the same as a regular Hair Dryer.
Best Travel Beauty Products for Skincare
For moisturiser, I never buy anything with fillers or harsh chemicals in. Not all organic skincare is expensive though, I use Sukin Face Moisturisers or Green People Natural Moisturisers and they’re both budget friendly.
For the rest of the body I use any Burt’s Bees Body Lotion but their Milk and Honey Body Lotion smells yummo and comes in a tube that’s a great size for travelling.
Trilogy Eye Cream
Like moisturisers, I’ve tried many eye creams too. The best one I’ve found is Trilogy Eye Contour Cream. Comes in a small tube, but its super concentrated so it lasts forever.
It’s superpower main ingredient is Rosehip oil, which I swear by as I’ve been using it on my skin for years. It’s great for softening, for minimising fine lines around the eyes and preventing further lines.
Trilogy also do a roll on CoQ10 Eye Recovery Concentrate which has a cooling and invigorating effect and is especially good for puffiness around the eyes or dark circles.
Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen
Sunscreen is one of the most important travel beauty products you’ll ever need.
Over the years, the sunscreen I use changes, this is dependent on what the climate is like where I’m travelling and what sunscreen is available to buy in that country.
For e.g. Australia has a great range of sunscreens to choose from whereas Thailand only has a small range and sunscreen is very expensive to buy there.
I like to use sunscreen brands I’ve used before and that I know work, so I always buy it before I go.
The brands I love and use are Sun Bum, Kiss My Face Natural Sunscreen, SunSense and Cancer Council Sunscreen.
I’ve spent a lot of time in New Zealand and Australia so I use a SPF 50 when I’m there, as the sun is much stronger down there, due to the hole in the ozone layer. Due to this skin cancer rates are much higher in this part of the world and so it’s worth using a higher factor and a trusted brand such as Cancer Council Sunscreen, Sun Sense or Sun Bum.
My two go-to sunscreen brands for being on the natural skincare side, are Sun Bum Sunscreen and Kiss My Face Sunscreen. Sun Bum is my ultimate favourite because I love the smell of coconut and aloe, plus it’s Paraben and PABA free. It’s oil-free too so your skin doesn’t feel clogged, enriched with Vitamin E and its suitable for sensitive skin.
Kiss My Face Sunscreen is paraben free, vegan friendly and feels so light on the skin. I usually use the Kiss My Face SPF 50 Face Sunscreen on my face and the SPF 30 Sun-spray Sunscreen Lotion on the rest of my body.
SunSense is an Australian brand with lots of options in their range such as SunSense Sports Gel Sunscreen, SunSense Dry Oil Sunscreen and even a Daily Face Sunscreen that also has a sheer tint to it and is light and breathable on the face.
Cancer Council Sunscreen is endorsed by the Cancer Council of Australia Charity who are the only charity in Australia to work all areas of every cancer, from research to prevention and support. Their sunscreen comes in budget friendly 110ml tubes and their range includes Sensitive Sunscreen, Active Dry Touch Sunscreen and Sports Sunscreen.
Self Tanning Lotion
As I travel so much I’m in the sun a lot and although I love it, the sun is both beneficial and harmful to the skin. I get a medium amount of tanned skin from the sun naturally, because I’m outside a lot. However if it’s too humid to spend time outside or if it’s somewhere like New Zealand where the weather is changeable – I use self tanning lotion to get that sun-kissed glow.
One of the self tanners I use regularly is Caribbean Solutions Beach Colours Natural Self Tanner. I love it because it contains mostly natural ingredients and develops into a really natural looking tan. It’s a lesser known brand but this beauty product is a total gold nugget.
It’s more of a gradual tanning lotion but I wouldn’t use it anymore than two days in a row, because it is a noticeable colour change after only one day. I’m pretty lazy with self-tan, I just want an easy one to apply and not too often and despite my lack of effort, I never get streaks from this product.
The other Self Tanning Lotion I use is Eco by Sonya Invisible Self Tan Cream. Made with natural & organic ingredients, certified organic by the Australian OFC, Eco by Sonya Self Tan is a blend of aloe vera, rose geranium oil, avocado oil & chamomile, plus its free from synthetic fragrances, artificial orange dyes, parabens & GMOs.
AfterSun or Aloe Vera Gel
After sun protection is just as important as sun protection. When those unfortunate days happen when you’ve had too much sun or just forgotten to apply sunscreen, damage limitation is the answer.
Stay out of the sun (or cover up in the sun) until your skin has recovered and apply Aloe Vera Gel on the sunburned areas until it’s healed.
As travel beauty products go, there’s nothing better for the skin than pure Aloe Vera and make sure it’s pure as possible – some products say they contain Aloe Vera but have such a small amount, it makes no difference.
I use a couple of brands of Aloe Vera Gel such as Aloe Pura and PraNaturals, but my favourite if I can get it is Amara Organics Aloe Vera Gel.
I love using organic lip balms because most of the time, you end up ingesting what’s on your lips. So I’d rather not be licking off yucky chemicals in the process.
I use Badger Balm lip balms or Burt’s Bees Lip Balms because they’re organic and taste yummo. For a high sunscreen lip balm option I use Kiss My Face Sport Lip Balm.
The Badger Balm Madagascar Vanilla is my favourite flavour and my usual choice. I also use Burt’s Bees Tinted Balms if I want some subtle colour.
All in one Liquid Soap
Dr Bronner’s Organic Liquid Castile Soap is an iconic brand well-known for making socially and environmentally responsible products. Not to mention made with organic, pure ingredients with no chemical nasties.
What makes this travel beauty product awesome is that Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap has multiple uses including; hair and body wash, shaving, laundry liquid, washing dishes, rinsing fruit, aromatherapy, killing ants or aphids, or even washing dogs. It’s a perfect multi-functional product for travel or camping.
There are heaps of different fragrances, but I love the Peppermint one.
When people ask what I use on my skin, I always tell them I use LOTS, but if you want the product that’ll make the most difference, get some Rosehip Oil. I use Trilogy Organic Rosehip Oil daily, mixed in with my regular moisturiser and I also use around 6 drops at night, as a night treatment.
Trilogy Rosehip Oil is a truly amazing product and although sometimes I try other Rosehip Oils, I always come back to this one. It’s a little pricey but you really do see results, you’ll notice your skin is plumper, smoother and it’ll even reduce fine lines. And no, it doesn’t make your skin more oily or greasy, it’s just not that type of pore-clogging oil – and your skin needs healthy oils to repair and protect against free radicals.
I use Coconut Oil for SO many things. For travel I mostly use it as lip balm or eye cream when I’ve run out, or for cooking or adding to smoothies.
Coconut Oil is high in MCT’s, in Caprylic acid and in Lauric acid and has so many health benefits. The antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties in Coconut Oil mean it’s brilliant at fighting off skin infections and blemishes too.
Vitamin E is a natural derivative of coconut oil and Vitamin E strengthens skin tissue and hair follicles, keeping hair and skin in amazing condition.
I decant into a smaller travel bottle and also use it as makeup remover, shaving balm, I oil-pull with it and I mix it with activated charcoal to use as teeth whitener. Make sure you buy an unrefined, raw, cold-pressed Coconut Oil like Lucy Bee Extra Virgin Coconut Oil or Naissance Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, or it won’t have any of the health benefits.
I used to think Lavender Oil was only good for sleeping or for anxiety and although it is brilliant for those things – it is also an amazing anti-itch remedy for insect bites.
Mosquitoes are a travellers biggest gripe and I get bitten ALL the time, especially in Asia. So I use mosquito repellent to keep them at bay but if one gets through (and they always do the little shits), I now use organic Lavender Oil on it to heal and stop the itching.
It’s unbelievable how much this works to stop the itching, I wish I’d discovered it years ago.
You can also use it to make Lavender Water which is great for spraying on sunburned skin.
I use three types of Mosquito Repellent, two natural and one slightly more chemical based, depending on which country I’m in.
The first one I use a natural product called Goodbye Sandfly which is super effective against sandflies and other bitey insects although I’ve only ever bought it within New Zealand. You can find it in most supermarkets, outdoor stores, health shops and pharmacies.
The other one I use is Incognito. It’s a natural, Deet-free Mosquito Repellent that works on camouflaging your pheromones, so the little vampires can’t ‘find’ you. It lasts 5-6 hours and is 100% natural and at 100ml in size, it’s also perfect to keep in your carry-on hand luggage.
The third one I use is Jungle Formula Maximum Pump Insect Repellent and this one is for when nothing else will stop them. This one does contain 50% Deet however, it promises up to 9 hours insect repellent protection from mosquitoes, midges and biting insects. Deet sucks but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, you know?
To carry Shampoo and Conditioner or smaller amounts of any other beauty products, I use Human Gear’s GoToob Silicone Travel Bottles. They feature their own LoopLock technology which prevents accidental leaks, and they can be hung from hooks or strapped to a pack. They’re made from BPA-free and FDA food-safe silicone, are small enough to carry on as hand-luggage and come in different sizes and colours.
They also do GoTubb Travel Tubs and I use these for carrying vitamins and knick-knacks.
Best Travel Beauty Products for Makeup
BB & CC – Beauty Balm or Correction Cream
I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but when I do I really love Physician’s Formula beauty products. They provide light coverage, are made from organic ingredients, they’re sweat-proof and come in travel friendly sizes.
I use Physician’s Formula Organic CC Colour Correction Cream or their InstaReady Super Beauty Balm BB Cream SPF 30 for a little more coverage.
Their Organic Wear Colour Correction Cream is so light on the skin and doesn’t even feel like you’re wearing makeup. It also has a SPF 20 and contains 70% organic ingredients. If you want the added benefits of a multi-tasking beauty product that you can use as a moisturizer, primer, foundation and SPF 30, get the Super ‘All Over Blur’ CC Colour Correction Cream.
Out of the few makeup beauty products I have, my concealer is great for quick cover ups on blemishes or dark circles under the eyes.
The concealer I use for general coverage anywhere on the face, is Physician’s Formula Super CC Color-Correction + Care Concealer.
The one I use for dark under-eye circles is Physician’s Formula Concealer Twin in Yellow.
It’s a colour corrective and a light, flesh-tone cream concealer, I know it sounds strange putting yellow on eye bags, but trust me this product works.The yellow hides dark under-eye circles and other bluish or dark skin discolorations, then the flesh-tone shade covers up. There’s a Concealer Twin in Green too, the green colour corrects red blemishes and scars.
And because they’re compact and two-in-one, this makes them great travel beauty products.
I am blessed with fairly long lashes naturally, so I often get asked if my lashes are real. And yes they are, I never wear falsies – too much work.
Although my lashes are long and curved naturally, they are also fair, like my hair and complexion. So without mascara on, you can’t see them that clearly.
I swear by, use and LOVE Max Factor Mascara’s – I’ve been using them for so many years and they’re amazing. They’re easy to apply and do what they say.
I try any new one that they launch but my solid favourites are Max Factor Clump Defy Mascara, which has a curved brush so super easy for applying, Max Factor Masterpiece Mascara and Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara.
For those days when you’re snorkelling, hiking in all weathers or taking naps on long bus trips and flights and you want your mascara to stay on, Max Factor Waterproof False Lash Effect is your guy. This puppy stays on when you’re in the ocean, the pool, in the shower, through sleep and even stays on through tears. You’ll need to use remover to actually get it off.
I also use Max Factor Masterpiece High Precision Liquid Eyeliner if I’m making an effort with makeup or going out for drinks.