April 1, 2013 -- Every time I read a beauty blog, I'm in awe of how many products the bloggers seem to have in their personal arsenals, and I wonder how on earth they ever pack for a trip without checking a suitcase full of cosmetics and skin-care products. I mean, I sometimes have problems squeezing everything into my 3-1-1 zip-top bag, and I don't even wear much makeup. So I decided to ask top makeup and beauty bloggers about their personal tactics for traveling with beauty products. Their tips, it's hoped, will lighten your luggage and make getting through that security line much easier.
Solids and Powders Better Than Liquids
Nadine Jolie, beauty and travel expert at NadineJolie.com, won't travel without Bare Minerals pressed powder foundation. "It's perfect for travel: not as messy as loose powder, and because it's not liquid, it bypasses TSA restrictions," she says. Christine Mikesell, a blogger at 15 Minute Beauty, recommends Lush solid moisturizer, shampoo and conditioner, as well as Tom's powdered toothpaste. By packing those along with stick foundation and concealer, she says, "I can get my 3-1-1 bag down to just a mascara, eye cream and lip gloss."
Save Those Samples
Nancy Houlmont, editor of the Beauty411 blog, says that whenever she gets a sample beauty product, she puts it in a box. Later, when a trip is on the horizon, "[I] dig through to find what I'll need." Jolie agrees: "I shop my closet for samples." Plus, it's a cool way to make a blah hotel room feel like a spa. Mikesell says, "I also love to bring small single-use samples of products like face masks and scrubs so I can still feel pampered while out of town." You can even reuse the sample jars you get at a cosmetics counter. "Keep the little jars they give you once you've used up the product," recommends Amber Katz, writer of Beautybloggingjunkie.com. "I refill with like items so I don't have to relabel them."
Decant, Decant, Decant
Speaking of refilling containers, most beauty bloggers are big fans of decanting liquid products into smaller containers. "I always decant into bottles from the Container Store," says Christina Farrell of TheMakeupBlogger.com. Katz even jokingly refers to the process as "Decanturbury Tales." Lianne Farbes of The Makeup Girl blog says, "I put foundation in a clean contact lens case to save space." But decanting isn't only about saving space: "Many flip-top bottles that are convenient in a shower will open in a suitcase, spilling everywhere. I decant into small Nalgene bottles that are spill-proof," Mikesell says.
Zip-Top Bags: Not Just for the TSA Line
Gianna, editor-in-chief of NouveauCheap.blogspot.com, recommends enclosing anything that could potentially leak in its own zip-top bag. This way, she says, "If a lotion spills, it will be contained and you won't have to clean up all of your other products as well." Katz notes, "Wipes are phenomenal -- if you make sure to package them in a zip-top bag, lest they dry out."
Look for Products With Multiple Uses
According to Christine Mielke, editor of Temptalia.com, "Tinted moisturizer is one of my favorite products to travel with, because it's easy to apply and doubles as your daytime moisturizer, so it means it's one less thing to pack." Jolie agrees: "Creams that double as blush/balm/shadow and disposable or travel-sized moisturizers/leave-in conditioners/face cleansers are key."
If You're Going Abroad, Shop There
Jolie says you can find fantastic products at your destination. "Often, popular beauty brands will have special offerings that either aren't available to the U.S. market or will be cheaper and more readily accessible. I just went to Japan and stocked up on DHC Cleansing Oil, which is like Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil, but a thousand times cheaper," she says. Katz says, "Take three-fourths of what you need, and buy the rest there. It's more fun and part of the cultural experience. Plus, it forces you to pantomime things like 'shampoo' in a country where English isn't spoken, so you get an authentic experience interacting with the locals even if you aren't fluent." Gianna says it's smart to bring extra zip-top bags for anything you buy on the road, but in a pinch, "use the complimentary plastic shoe bags in your hotel room to wrap your products. ... If you can't find a shoe bag, improvise and use a shower cap."