Along with shoes, your travel toiletries are likely to be the heaviest things in your suitcase. Try these ideas to lighten your load but still look great. We are always looking for ways to lower the weight in our suitcases, and as we are about to travel for 10 weeks the pressure is on to cut back in every way possible. I should add that this is a trip which will be mostly quite casual, without a lot of need to dress up ,or wear lots of make up.
[This post contains some affiliate links but is mostly just about products that I love. If you click through and purchase from an affiliate link we will earn a small commission, but you won’t pay any extra].
Reviewing my travel toiletries
This lead me to look at each item that would usually be in my travel toiletry bag and get ruthless about what stayed and what got left at home. I wanted to look good but not be weighed down. I also rationalised things with what is in Rowan’s wet pack (no make up there!) so, for example, he has the toothpaste. Given the length of our trip that was no mean feat, but I managed to reduce the weight of my travel toiletry bag to just under 2 kgs. We will of course need to top up along the way but that’s fine too.
I am pretty fussy about what I use on my hair and my skin and I am also not a fan of those small plastic bottles and tubes that one finds in hotels – not only is the quality usually rubbish, but they don’t fit with living an ethical life. I also have some small indulgences which I have managed to include in my travel toiletries.
I use a Lapoche toiletry organiser (that’s it in the image at the top of this post) in the large size, and have found it excellent. It has a good selection of pockets for organising the various items in the bag and it also has a hook for hanging. Add the fact that it is reasonably well padded and waterproof, and it was a good choice. It also fits everything I need.
The basics in my travel toiletries bag
There are of course some things which come along on every trip and they got number one billing in my bag. But I also managed to fit in one of my small indulgences; a cake of lovely hand made soap. Along with the hair products in hotels, the soap is also usually awful and it is nice to have a small treat to enjoy.
Deodorant is a given for me and I prefer an aluminium free one. I have tried numerous of these over the years but I seem to keep coming back to the Redwin pump pack. It is readily available in supermarkets here in Australia and it does the job. Similarly I have used many body moisturisers and oils but this one from Aveeno works best for me.
Cleanser and moisturisers
I am taking tried and tested products on this trip, which will meet my needs and address the expected weather. We are travelling in Autumn (Fall) and expect top temperatures in the high teen (celsius) in most locations. I need to be able both to hydrate my skin but also protect it from sun damage.
I have used the Gorgeous Woman face cleanser oil for several years now and I love it. Not only is it hydrating, it also cuts through make up. Not shown here, it has a pump dispenser, which makes life easy. Other oil cleanser options you might consider are those from MooGoo.
After cleansing I always use the beautiful oils from Bettyquette. Get up and Glow in the morning, and Sleep on It before bed. I find these oils soak in beautifully without leaving an oily residue. In the mornings I will add the MooGoo Anti Ageing SPF15 face cream for some sun protection.
Travel make up
Beauty bloggers avert your eyes, you may well be shocked at the paucity of make up I am carrying. I went through quite a convoluted process here and had a good stern talk to myself. “Yes it might be nice to wear eye shadow on the one occasion that we go out for a fancy dinner, but does that justify the inclusion?”. Of course the answer was “no”.
My make up routine is pretty stripped back at the best of times and nothing has changed on this trip. But as I have had my hair cut very short I really need to add colour and life to my face, so these are my choices.
- Garnier Skin Active BB cream. Added on top of my moisturiser, this cream gives me extra SPF protection and goes on easily too. I have used it for a few years now. I also know it will be readily available in Europe when the current tube runs out.
- MAC cosmetics loose powder. I might not use this every day, but when I do it will even out my complexion and can be layered up for extra impact for evening usage.
- Nude by Nature contour palette. This covers both blush and highlighter for me, and at a pinch I could also use this on my eyes instead of eyeshadow. In a lightweight case it was a great choice for every day use.
- Benefit brow shaping kit. I picked this up duty free on a previous trip and it has been a terrific product to use. It comes with two brushes, one for the powder and one for the wax. I rarely use the wax but I have found the powder excellent.
- Natio eyeliner in Charcoal. This is a soft eyeliner in a retractable tube. Again a product I have used for years to define my eyes and ‘lift’ them from behind my glasses.
- Nude by Nature mascara. I have chosen this in brown, and used it for the past few weeks. It isn’t one of those ‘big’ mascaras, but I like it because it is non clumping and gets the job done for me.
- MAC lipstick in two colours – MAC Red, and Captive. Between these two I can cover any colour combination in my travel capsule wardrobe and they are both a cream finish, so nice and moisturising as well.
Hair care for travel
This is where things got really serious 🙂 Shampoo and conditioner are always bulky and I didn’t want to carry either. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t like hotel supplied products and also we are staying in Airbnbs and apartments for a lot of the trip so I have no idea what I will find at our accommodation.
As I have also had my hair cut very short, the travel hairdryer might end up redundant but it can also be used to dry other things, like clothing, at a pinch.
We will both be using hair soap on this trip, something we have done previously with great success. To last the ten weeks we have packed two cakes of hair soap. The soap tends to be gentle, so conditioner should not be needed, but should I feel the need to tame my hair I will use some of the Bettyquette face oil. In addition, I have packed my other small indulgence, which is my Kevin Murphy Body Mass spray. It will ‘plump up’ my hair as well as giving it some texture.
On previous trips I have had gel or shellac manicures done and managed to get 3 weeks out of each manicure. But the nail damage these treatments to do my already fragile nails really isn’t worth it. However, I do like to keep my nails looking tidy. So this is the pared down package.
I use the Revitanail strengthener on a regular basis. It gives my nails a nice smooth finish and some gloss but it contains no nasty toluene or formaldehyde. To remove that I use the remover pads which are highly portable. I have had these for a while and have just topped up the container with some more remover. The container is packed in a zip lock bag just in case it spills.
I also have a pair of nail clippers (not shown) and a small tube of hand cream. The hand cream won’t last the distance, but as we are going to be in France, “hello L’Occitane” and my favourite Shea Butter Hand Cream. It’s the most most emollient hand cream I have ever found, and there is always a tube in my bedside drawer and on my desk.
So what’s missing from my travel toiletry bag?
I haven’t talkeda about first aid but we do always travel with a few basics that can cover a number of contingencies. These are shared across our two bags and typically include:
- Band aids
- Antiseptic powder/liquid
- Ibuprofen tablet and cream
- Diapet for tummy troubles (a herbal remedy from Bali)
- Gaviscon tablets
- Hydralyte – we use this in flight too to ward off jet lag.
And of course any prescription medications that each of us needs, accompanied by a GP letter listing what we are carrying. Always check SmartTraveller if you are carrying medications, as some are banned in certain countries; for example codeine based products are not legal in certain parts of the world.
My final small treat will be some French perfume. I will purchase some miniatures duty free to take on this trip. Not too heavy and will give me a choice to suit my mood.
So, that’s what’s in my travel toiletry bag. What’s typically in yours? What are your must haves and what can you live without?