Beauty travel essentials that won't leave you longing for your products at home

Remember the last time you packed your suitcase, then decided to pick it up to see how heavy it was and it was clearly over the weight limit? ...mostly because of the cosmetics and beauty products that you packed?  You're not alone!

When I moved to Asia for work I was fortunate enough to be assigned to a project that allowed me to travel on a weekly basis - which is definitely not as glamorous as it sounds but still a great experience - although this meant that I needed to adapt my style and packing approach to fit a week's worth of everything into a mere carry on bag.   Yes, just a mere 7kgs including the 2.5kg for the suitcase itself.  After a month or so of transiting back and forth each week, I decided that I packed waaaaay too many toiletries and prioritised these over other items - literally half of my carry on suitcase was filled with beauty products - eek..!!

travel beauty essentials


After succumbing to the never ending lures of social media and going on a little spending frenzy at Sephora (they don't have it in Hong Kong... so....), I felt like I had to pack so many different items that I'd been rotating in and out of my weekly routine, which included various body and face moisturizers, serums, masks, oils, essences, rollers and even brushes.  It got to the point where it was a little out of control and at times would spill over to the other side of my suitcase sacrificing clothing and other functional space.

I mean, who doesn't get caught up in the hype of new products to try out that you see on all of those pretty beauty blogs from time to time?  Well, let's just say I had to stop being materialistic, start travelling light, and trim down to include only the "essentials".

travel beauty essentials
travel beauty essentials
travel beauty essentials

So here you have it, the trimmed down list of what I pack to take when travelling. Of course, you could definitely slice and dice this list as you like based on what works for you and also what fits in your bag.  One trick I have is to pack some of these items into my (over-sized) handbag, so as not to go over the 7kg carry on weight limit.  A bit cheeky I know, however if you're travelling somewhere cold you might need a bit of extra space in your suitcase to pack boots, jumpers, jackets etc, AND you might want to use some of these beauty items whilst you're flying.  Cue facial oil on an overnight flight.


  • Sunscreen - SUN BUM Moisturising Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+

  • Day Serum - CosRX Triple C Lightning Liquid Vitamin C

  • Night Serum - Skinmedica Retinol Complex 1.0 (prescribed by Dermatologist)

  • Facial Oil - NUDE Skincare ProGenius Omega Treatment Oil

  • Cleansing brush - Clarisonic Mia FIT with sensitive brush

  • La Bang Body - Nourish Me Hydrating Body Oil in Vanilla


  • Brush Set - Morphe Brush Set 690, 6 Piece Deluxe Contour Set

  • Sponge - Beautyblender

  • Foundation / BB - Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45

  • Makeup Palette - NARS, NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette, also used as eye shadow


  • Hair Oil - L'oreal Elvive Extraordinary Hair Oil

  • Brush - Tangle Teezer Compact Hair Brush

I pack other cosmetics - an eyebrow pencil being one of those things - and items such as shampoo & conditioner etc, although they tend to interchange depending on mood, travel destination and also realistically what I have available in a travel size at the time.  If you've ever been a little too excited about hotel freebies and ended up with a handful of soaps and mini tubes of anything and everything, they're a great option to bring on weekend trips away and if you're in luck you could re-use the tubes with your own products once they're empty.

Arguably, the most important item on any beauty packing list is sunscreen i.e. sunblock.  I'll post another article on the importance of using UVA & UBA protection daily, but for now if you have trouble remembering to apply every day then check out the SUN BUM range.  The moisturizing range smell like banana paddle pops which aside from smelling amazing and prompting serious nostalgia being a kid from the 80s, it has a super smooth texture, comes in a carry on size and won't leave a sticky coat on your skin.  I picked up this one from Priceline in Australia, otherwise there are plenty of surf shops and online stores that stock the range.

All in all these items don't take up too much room in a carry-on or check in suitcase, and cover almost all the beauty needs that you might have when travelling.  Hopefully, with a trimmed down list like this, you won't miss your items at home too - bonus!

travel beauty essentials
travel beauty essentials
travel beauty essentials
travel beauty essentials

Tanya Zena uses affiliate links. Read the disclaimer for more info.

travel beauty essentials


I know there are plenty of peeps out there that aren't fans of the any types of mechanical face brushes as they can be quite harsh on some types of skin, however as someone with oily / combo skin, my skin goes nuts if I leave my Clarisonic at home even for a few days.  It makes a vast difference in the brightness and texture which I'm sure is because I'm sloughing off plenty of outer layers each time.  Yes, it might sound all too harsh using a Clarisonic + Vitamin A / Retinol, but hey each to their own I say as it really does work wonders for me.

If you're in the market for a cleansing brush, a smaller and more compact alternative is the Foreo Luna Mini 2.  I picked up one of these at Sephora a while back, and it's great to travel with and is a little more gentle on the skin.  The best part is the battery lasts aaages, I've only charged it once and it's been working for over 12 months now.

If you've tried a cleansing brush and love it or hate it, it would be great to hear your thoughts and why it has worked / not worked for you! 



What beauty travel essentials are on your list?