Or how to get through airport security swiftly.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that packing for air travel is about as fun as driving to the dentist — from trying to fit everything you need into a carry-on (which you know will ultimately be gate checked) to repacking it all over again on a conveyor belt while simultaneously putting on your shoes. But for women, it presents a unique challenge. While we can represent almost half the NASA astronaut recruits of 2017 and run global business empires, packing toiletries efficiently and effectively still proves to be a dilemma.
After much trial and error, gathering of collective wisdom, and product testing, these are the tried-and-true tactics I now employ at the airport, on road trips, and long weekend adventures.
1. Stay Solid
We live in a world where you can call for a ride with an app on your phone and then tell the driver to stop by a Taco Bell on the way to your destination using the same app, so it’s no surprise that there have been significant developments in skincare and makeup solids too. From face wash to sun protection, you can create an entire regiment that needn’t be scrutinized by the TSA.
Try a solid cleanser like Milk’s Matcha Cleanser (because that hotel bar soap shouldn’t come near your countenance) and Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Face and Body Stick Sunscreen. While I would highly recommend switching to rms beauty for all your makeup needs in stationary life, when it comes to traveling, their products are solid as a rock (figuratively, not literally). From concealer to bronzer and even luminizer, each one produces foolproof, mega-flattering, super-natural results in a petite portable pot. All you need to apply them is you fingers or a beautyblender sponge.
Sheet masks can also make a world of difference after you walk off a plane feeling dry as a piece of beef jerky or realize your skin isn’t as excited about a week filled with cocktail bar excursions as you are. Both Saturday Skin’s Quench and Yes to Coconuts Hydrate and Restore masks are my go-tos.
2. Bottle It Up
But if you can’t go without a certain liquid product, whether it’s the only moisturizer you’ve found that keeps you shine-free all day or a frizz oil that produces perfect hair days in jungle-humid weather, there are options. While it’s tempting to just buy the travel size of said product, it’s almost inevitable that it will have just a smidgen too little to last your entire vacation or will cost 360 percent more for the same fraction in the full-size version. Make the easy, cheap investment in a set of refillable, user-friendly bottles and mini-tubs like the ones I get from Muji. You can also buy a travel-friendly atomizer for your favorite fragrance or an amber-glass dropper bottle for face oils sensitive to light exposure.
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3. Keep Them Separated
While it may seem a total “thank you Captain Obvious” moment to mention, there is nothing that will give you more room for more products like separating your toiletries by solids and liquids. I leave most of my items in my usual makeup bag and place mini bottles of Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner, Aesop’s Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Hydrator, and Peet Rivko’s Balancing Face Oil in one of Glossier’s pink, quart-sized pouches that have bubble wrap-construction to keep things cushioned during their odyssey down the conveyor belt.
4. Set It and Forget It
If you’re venturing toward a situation where you won’t have access to shower essentials, don’t have time to cobble together something from your own bathroom, or you desperately need room in your carry-on, duffle, camping backpack, or tote bag, it might make sense to grab a travel set. Both Ouai and Verb offer kits for hair that have more generous amounts than what you’ll find in the travel-size section of Target. Additionally, this set from First Aid Beautyhas all the skincare basics you need for both face and body. Peet Rivko’s mini collection has lasted me four weekend trips in a row with some to spare.
5. Check It Before You Wreck It
Maybe you had to buy an emergency full-size bottle of Oribe’s Anti-Humidity Spray on a trip to Miami or maybe you think that 3.4 ounce Le Labo fragrance will defy the odds of breaking, but gambling with expensive items, security screeners, and/or the laws of physics is rarely a good idea. Give yourself time to check the item securely in a bag beforehand or leave it behind.