Dust off your suitcase, grab that favorite pair of oversized sunnies, and pack the sundress that fits just right—it’s vacation time! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to throw in all the skincare and makeup essentials to keep your complexion healthy and glowing in every sun-kissed selfie.
Not quite sure how to pack skincare for travel? No sweat (and no sunburns, either). We’re dropping our best vacation skincare tips—including pre-flight and mid-air travel tips, beach skincare musts—and sharing our favorite travel-size makeup goodies to toss into your toiletry bag. Here’s to seamlessly slipping into vacation mode with glowing skin and not a care in the world.
How Do I Prepare My Skin for Travel?
As with anything in life, a bit of preparation will help things go smoothly. (Listen up, fellow packing procrastinators.) Follow these skincare tips whether you’re adding stamps to your passport or exploring closer to home.
Step One: Pack Your Skincare Travel Kit
You likely put a lot of care into your vacation wardrobe. Prepping your toiletry kit is worthy of the same attention and ensures you can stay on top of your skincare while traveling. That said, don’t go overboard with packing skincare treatments or deviating too much from your existing routine. Introducing new active ingredients to your skincare routine should not be on your vacation to-do list. Not only could you have an adverse reaction, but certain actives like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) cause sun sensitivity and put you at greater risk of burning.
Simplicity is best since you’re introducing so many new variables to your world on vacation, such as climate adjustments, schedule fluctuations, and perhaps a bit of travel stress. We recommend packing the following travel skincare items to help create that summer glow and minimize breakouts and clogged pores.
Cleanser: At home or away, never skimp on cleansing your face. Available in full- and travel-size, Confidence in a Cleanser gently sweeps away makeup, dirt, oil, and sunscreen for soft, clean, and healthy skin.
Serum: The benefits of a skincare serum is that it features a concentrated active ingredient that targets specific skincare concerns. Because airplanes are notorious for zapping the moisture from your skin, we recommend packing Bye Bye Lines Hyaluronic Acid Serum to hydrate, visibly plump skin, and smooth fine lines.
Moisturizer: Moisturizer is a must while traveling. Try Confidence in a Gel Lotion Moisturizer for oily skin types or scenarios when you prefer a lighter touch. For dry skin types or situations when your skin craves a bit more oomph, reach for Confidence in a Cream Hydrating Moisturizer. Both are available in a TSA-friendly travel size.
SPF: Sunscreen is a must whether you’re on vacation or not! Still, spending more time outdoors requires increased diligence, so slather away. Choose an SPF strength of 30 or higher for your face and body and re-apply every two hours.
Pro Tip: Apply travel skincare products in the order listed above. When in doubt, apply from thinnest consistency to thickest, and always finish with sunscreen before moving on to makeup.
Step Two: Pack Your Makeup Must-Haves
With your travel skincare routine perfected, it’s time to think about packing a few makeup must-haves. It’s best to be strategic: Even if you’re checking a bag, keep a few essentials for touch-ups in your bag if your luggage (gasp!) and favorite IT Cosmetics products (double gasp!) get delayed.
Can you bring makeup on a plane? The answer is almost always yes. Most makeup is carry-on and TSA-friendly, so your only limit is liquid makeup that needs to go in a clear bag. As for travel makeup must-haves, the following are always included in our packing list:
Under Eye Concealer: Let’s be honest—jet lag is real. And when you’re on vacay you want to savor every moment, which often translates to late nights and early mornings. But dark circles in all those fun selfies? Not on our watch. Fake a bright eyed look in mere seconds with Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer, which is available in an even tinier travel size option (3.25 ml) in select shades for complexion perfection. One dot does it all, and this waterproof and expression-proof formula won't crease or crack for up to 24 hours. (If you’re trying to save more space, you can even use this concealer as your foundation.)
Minimalist Eye Makeup: Any makeup that makes vacation breezier is a winner in our book. Nail the perfect vacation makeup every time Superhero No-Tug Waterproof Eyeshadow Sticks, Superhero No-Tug Retractable Eyeliner, and Lash Blowout Mascara.
Skin-Loving Foundation: For buildable medium coverage and glowy skin, choose CC+ Nude Glow Lightweight Foundation + Glow Serum with SPF 40. For full coverage and a poreless finish, we love CC+ Cream Full-Coverage Foundation with SPF 50+ (available in travel size). If you have oily skin and/or prefer a full coverage matte finish, try CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte Full-Coverage Foundation with SPF 40 (available in travel size).
Step Three: Bring Some Mid-Air Essentials
Flying on a plane is notoriously tough on our skin. We suggest packing an in-flight essentials travel skincare kit to boost skin’s hydration at cruising altitude. A travel-sized moisturizer is a no-brainer, but you can also bring a hydrating mist to refresh your complexion throughout the flight. Your Skin But Better Setting Spray+ is available in both 3.4 ounce and 1 ounce options, which are both TSA-approved.
If the flight is longer than five hours or you plan on washing your face and completing a skincare routine on the go, keep travel-size items of your cleanser, serum, and moisturizer in your carry-on. You can also bring a toner on a plane permitting it’s under 3.4 ounces.
Pro Tip: No shame in your travel skincare game? Some moisture devotees will do full-blown sheet masks on the plane, but if that feels a bit much for you then just apply a thicker layer of your moisturizer.
Step Four: Give Your Skin Some TLC the Night Before
One of our best travel tips is to carve out some time to pamper your skin the evening or morning before vacation. This pre-flight skincare routine sets your vacation skin up for glowing success. Take care to cleanse your skin thoroughly and slather on a luxurious night cream that’s available in three sizes.
You can even partake in a glowy skincare treatment. Our favorite option is the gently exfoliating Hello Results Baby-Smooth Glycolic Acid Peel + Caring Oil, a unique bi-phase treatment that hydrates while buffing away dead skin cells.
How Can I Take Care of My Skin on a Long Flight?
In addition to packing a mid-flight skincare kit, there are a few other ways you can help keep your skin in tip-top shape. Pick and choose a few of these travel tips that work for you.
Opt for minimal makeup: A CC cream with SPF and a touch of mascara is really all you need—especially when traveling with a mask. Go easy on the eye makeup and no need to wear lipstick.
Drink lots of water: The air on planes is very dry, so make sure you’re hydrating frequently.
Mist your skin: Use a hydrating mist as needed to keep skin supple and soft.
Apply hydrating lip balm: A nourishing, hydrating lip balm, such as Je Ne Sais Quoi Hydrating Lip Balm Treatment, will help prevent dry, cracked lips.
Go easy on salty foods: Salt can further dry you out, so opt for unsalted snacks and meals.
Wash your face: If you’re taking a red-eye or long-haul flight, complete your skincare routine per usual. You’ll feel much better and your skin will thank you!
How Do I Take Care of My Skin When Traveling?
Much of the above advice applies to general skincare tips while traveling. Make sure to stay hydrated, apply and reapply SPF to your face and body throughout the day, and keep a hydrating mist and lip balm nearby so you can re-up as needed. Finally, remain consistent about your skincare routine. Cleanse and moisturize as usual and adhere to your morning and evening rituals.
Wondering “How can I minimize my makeup when traveling?” Consider doubling down on makeup that’s infused with skincare and SPF along with products that are buildable in their formula so you can add on as your day progresses. You can also try some swaps, like sheering out your Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer with moisturizer and using it as a foundation.
If you’re looking for deep hydration and a 2-for-1 product that saves on packing space, use Bye Bye Makeup Cleansing Balm as a hydrating face mask. Simply apply a scoop of the cleansing balm onto your clean face and leave it on for 10 minutes before wiping or rinsing it off. This technique helps skin look and feel softer, moisturized, and more radiant.
Feeling briefed with the above makeup and skincare travel tips? Peruse Our Favorite, Easy-to-Use Products for Skinamalists and then read up on CC+ Nude Glow, a Foundation Delivers Major Skincare Benefits in One Glowy Makeup Product.