Main content

Forget Your Emails, Not Your SPF: Top Travel Skincare Tips

A person in a big floppy straw hat on a beach

Dust off your suitcase, grab that favorite pair of oversized sunnies, and pack the sundress that fits just right — it’s vacation time!

Not quite sure how to pack a skincare travel kit? No sweat (and hopefully, no sunburns either). We’re dropping our best vacation skincare tips — including pre-flight and mid-air travel tips plus sunscreen application musts — and sharing our favorite travel-size skincare and skin-loving makeup goodies to keep you looking healthy and glowing in every sun-kissed selfie.

How Do I Prepare My Skin for Travel?

Listen up, fellow packing procrastinators: as with anything in life, a bit of preparation will help things go smoothly. Follow these skincare tips, from packing the right products to prepping your skin the night before, prior to adding those stamps to your passport or exploring closer to home.

Step 1: 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 and maintain results while traveling. A super simple sheet mask can be a relaxing vacation activity, but don’t go overboard with packing new skincare treatments or deviate too much from your existing routine. Introducing new active ingredients 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 year-round glow and minimize breakouts and clogged pores in your vacation pics.

  • Cleanser: At home or away, never skimp on cleansing your face. Available in full and travel sizes, Confidence in a Cleanser gently sweeps away makeup, dirt, oil and sunscreen for soft, clean and hydrated skin.

  • Serum: A good face serum features concentrated active ingredients 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. And don’t worry — unlike acids or peels, this is a gentle active that may already be an element of your daily routine.

  • Moisturizer: Moisturizer is a must while traveling. Try Confidence in a Gel Cream Oil-Free 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. The latter comes in a TSA-friendly travel size.

  • SPF: Sunscreen is an everyday must, at home or abroad! Choose an SPF strength of 30 or higher and reapply every two hours. Try Hello Sunshine Invisible Sunscreen For Face SPF 50, our daily 3-in-1 invisible sunscreen, hydrating serum and makeup primer.

Whether you’re opting for makeup or not, it’s the perfect sunscreen for vacation. It wears beautifully and blends out instantly to an invisible finish on bare skin or under makeup. Either way you wear it, you’ll get skin-priming benefits, skin-loving hydration, plus pollution and sun protection. With SPF 50 and a built-in serum of 1% pro-vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid, it’s got your skin covered.

IT 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 2: Pack Your Skin-Loving Makeup Must-Haves

With your skincare travel kit 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:

Step 3: Bring Some Mid-Flight Essentials

Flying on a plane is notoriously tough on our skin. We suggest packing an in-flight skincare travel kit to boost skin’s hydration at cruising altitude. A travel-sized moisturizer is a no-brainer (as is a TSA-approved sunscreen, especially when flying during the day), 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.

IT 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 4: 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. Be sure to cleanse your skin thoroughly and slather on a luxurious night cream like Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream (it’s available in three sizes to keep the overnight hydration going!).

You can even indulge 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 Should My Sun Protection Routine Change for Long Days in the Sun?

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend keeping your travel skincare routine consistent with your usual skincare regimen, but when it comes to sunscreen use on vacation, more is more!

You’ll want to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, like Hello Sunshine Invisible Sunscreen For Face SPF 50, every two hours, but remember: reapplication will need to be more frequent if showering, sweating or swimming more often.

For a routine customized to the weather you may encounter on your trip, Dr. Camille Howard, board-certified dermatologist and IT Cosmetics Advisory Board member, shares her ultimate travel skincare pro tip: “I like to look at UV index and dew point. It helps me to figure out if I should pack UPF clothing and the type of cleansers and skin care products I will need. The UV index takes into account factors such as the angle of the sun, ozone levels, and cloud cover to estimate the amount of UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface. It's an essential tool for helping people make informed decisions about sun protection. The dew point helps me to understand how much moisture is in the atmosphere.”

Wondering what UPF is? It’s similar to what SPF is to sunscreen. UPF, or ultraviolet protection factor, will tell you just how much UV radiation reaches skin through clothing. Next time you’re packing your travel wardrobe, be sure to look for sun-protective clothing.

How Can I Take Care of My Skin on a Long Flight?

In addition to packing a mid-flight skincare travel 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 if you’re 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 on a Trip?

While the in-flight skincare tips above will take you a long way, on your trip you’ll also want to make sure to apply and reapply sunscreen every day. Finally, stick to your skincare routine each day. Cleanse and moisturize as usual and be consistent with your morning and evening rituals.

For the deep hydration your skin will likely crave while traveling 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.

Looking for more makeup and skincare travel tips? Check out Our Favorite Skincare Products for Skinimalists and then read up on How to Get Glowing Skin.

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device