2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label.
gone are the days where you pack up your bottles of shampoos, conditioners, serums, lotions, gels, moisturizers, hairsprays, and cleansers in your suitcase for vacation. now you’re in this ‘learn as you go’ world of DIY beauty products that are great – well, great as long as you’re home.
how do you travel with all these beauty recipes? and travel efficiently…?
here are my tips i’ve gathered from all my flying over the last few years!
if i can do a week-long international trip out of a carry-on, so can you!
for carry-ons, you get 1 quart-sized clear plastic bag full of liquid/gel items that are 3.4 ounces or less. that means even if you have the allowed 2 carry-ons, you still only get 1 baggie. “liquids and gels” has a very fluid definition i’ve learned (pun intended). hummus can’t go, peanut butter can’t go, toothpaste is fine, but sunscreen isn’t… you see how this can be confusing.
for checked baggage, your liquids and gels are unlimited, provided your bag stays under a certain weight limit and nothing in your bag is on the prohibited items list.
- plastic baggies – you’ll need one to take your containers through security checkpoints, and you may need others for your “dry” ingredients. i like to reuse the same ones until they fall apart. it kills me to use plastic, but when traveling, it’s a must for transporting DIY beauty products in an efficient and TSA-approved way. you can use a grocery bag as a double for transporting mixes/ingredients, but also as a hair mask wrap, if needed.
- travel-sized reusable containers – for these containers, glass is best, but also the heaviest and most bulky. if you’re backpacking or only taking a carry-on without wheels, you may opt for plastic to save weight.
*squeezable containers – these can be used for your homemade shampoos, conditioners, lotions, toothpaste, etc. for example, you can pack a container or baggie of clay and for each wash, you add the clay and water into the squeezie and shake. then you have the perfect tool to put it directly on your scalp! you can also put your favorite lotion directly into this squeezie so you’re not carrying around the full-sized bottle during your travels. i have some similar to these.
*small plastic jars and/or bottles – these hold basically anything – baking soda, vinegar, your homemade deodorant, your low-poo (if you want to dilute into a plastic bottle of water later), moisturizer, etc. i have these exact jars and some bottles similar to these. you can also get spray bottles like these.
*glass dropper bottle – these can be used for oil blends, as they come in 1 and 2 ounce sizes. you can also put your toner, scalp treatments, etc. in them for easy transport. i have some similar to this one.
here’s a little travel kit if you’d prefer to buy it all together.
TRAVEL AND PACKING TIPS
these might seem like no-brainers, but here are my big tips for traveling with homemade products:
- always put full-sized products into your designated travel containers. for example, my foundation, deodorant, and makeup remover all go in little plastic jars, and dry ingredients fit into small baggies, which are also space-savers!
- find ways to maximize multi-use ingredients for your trip. as you know, different ingredients can be used for multiple things. sometimes i pack unrefined coconut oil for a quick deo, an eye makeup remover, hair moisturizer, and body moisturizer. it may not be my favorite blends, but it’s perfect for the stretches of time that i’m traveling. you can do the same thing with your favorite carrier oil (face wash, moisturizer for hair/face/body), rose water (hydrating face mist, scalp soother, deodorant, lightly scented body spray, hair moisturizer), etc.
- pre-make as much as you can, yet keep multi-purpose ingredients separate. maybe you can opt for clay hair washes that also double as face masks for your trip. this way you can put your blend of dry ingredients in one container and you can keep your oils (also multi-use) and liquids (acv, rose water, witch hazel) in another container. this gives you maximum use out of the least amount of products.
- be open to buying basic items once you arrive. this one is tricky! it takes some research to see what’s going to be available around you, but it might work in your favor. i’ve had to do this with sunscreen a couple times! it’s not ideal, but sometimes you just have to keep your options open.
- pack for the unexpected. it’s the little things that’ll get ya! i now always carry a balm that is multipurpose for bug bites, rashes, cuts, and scrapes. and people – always pack extra underwear and socks. you can re-wear pants/shirts/jackets/shorts/bathing suits, but underwear and socks… ya just can’t. and bring extra hair ties! i’ve lost so many unknowingly.
- bring supplements you trust. i always carry a few capsules of activated charcoal. you never know when an upset tummy could strike and you don’t want to be empty-handed when it does. same with vitamin c tablets. you might start feeling under the weather and need to have this on hand.
- bring safe hand sanitizer. the travel-sized sprays and wipes don’t take up much room at all and are great to carry around when you’re traveling. dr bronner and cleanwell are 2 brands i have. there are others, so shop around! cleanwell uses thyme oil instead of alcohol, so it’s personal preference.
- pack soap. i don’t even use soap, but believe i pack it. you never know what could get stuck in your hair or spill on your clothes. that way you’ll have an all-natural cleaning agent with you. right now i have a chunk of a dr bronner’s bar soap. just wrap it in a washcloth to pack (and use). done!
- if you have room, bring an empty water bottle. you can fill this up and take it with you as you travel (can’t be full through security).
- if you’re packing liquids, always put plastic wrap under the lids to prevent leaks. i’m sure everyone knows this, but i’ve learned (and uhm, re-learned) the hard way.
- bring plain lip balm/chapstick. besides keeping your lips soft, in a pinch this can work as a spot moisturizer for under your eyes, very lightly on your face, and even your hair.
MY TRAVEL-SIZED FAVORITES
- makeup remover and facial moisturizer all-in-one – i take square cotton pads and put a few drops of my favorite oil blend on each. i then fold the pads twice over and place however many i need for the trip into a small plastic jar. next i pour a decent amount of rose water in the jar. voila – easy DIY all-in-one pads!
- all-over oil blend – in a small glass dropper bottle, i have a mix of kukui nut oil, argan oil, tamanu oil, and sea buckthorn oil. this can be used on my face, body, and hair.
- body spray, deodorant, blemish-fighter, and scalp soother– in either a dropper bottle or small spray bottle, i mix equal parts alcohol-free witch hazel and rose water, then add 1/5 part acv, and a few drops of rose EO. this has been a great gentle yet powerful multi-use mix for my travels.
- setting powder and dry shampoo – kaolin clay pigmented with brown iron oxide doubles as my face powder and dry shampoo. i store this in a small plastic jar. easy peasy!
water-only is the lowest maintence routine ever, but as we know, hard water is a ROM-er’s worst enemy! to protect against a disaster during traveling, you can bring a few things –
- bentonite clay – powder form – like this
- travel bottle full of acv
- pure vitamin c powder (ascorbic acid) – like this
with these items, you can opt for a clay wash on your travels, an acv rinse to combat hard water, a combo of clay and acv, or an ascorbic acid rinse (works like acv to cut through the mineral deposits). kick hard water to the curb!
SALT WATER/CHLORINE TIPS:
awhile back, i posted this on how to protect no-poo hair from sea and pool water. it’s applicable to all hair routines though! if you’re not low-poo, you may consider using a very diluted version to help get the salt and sand out of your hair if water rinses aren’t helping.
hopefully i helped ease your travels!
leave your travel tips and travel-sized favorites below!
photos: lead – st. thomas; middle – iceland; last – paris
this post does NOT contain affiliate links or anything that i can profit from!