Travel Skincare Essentials: How to Maintain Skincare While On-the-Go

Travel Skincare Makes a Huge Difference

One of the most important things about skincare routines is their consistency. Traveling usually throws a wrench in that consistency. Choosing travel skincare essentials can be overwhelming, especially if you have a giant collection of pots and potions like I do. 

Generally, I prioritize my skincare when packing. As I write this, though, my skin is recovering from a weekend away when I neglected my travel skincare. This, plus the subtle scolding of my Hydrafacial aesthetician, has really reminded me of the importance of a good on-the-go skincare regimen.

Travel Skincare Essentials, including Obagi Foaming Gel, Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Cream Cleanser and Moisturizer, and Indie Lee's I-Waken Eye Serum

Finding Your Travel Skincare Essentials

The first step to figuring out what you need to pack for your next trip is determining what your skin cannot manage without. 

As much as I love my serums and facial oils, when I’m only gone for a few days, they’re not my essentials. My short-term essentials are much narrower. That is: my face wash, eye cream, and moisturizer (and sunscreen, but I consider that part of my makeup packing). If I’m gone for more than three or four days, I like to pack a little travel bottle of witch hazel as a toner, too.

If you’re going to be outside and in the sun for an hour or longer, you’ll want to carry a broad spectrum sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30. Experts recommend reapplying sunscreen every two hours or so if you’re staying out in the sun to get the necessary protection from harmful UV rays.

Picking an Essential Cleanser

I generally stick to a few types of cleansers. Obagi’s cleansers — their Foaming Gel and the Gentle Cleanser — are my go-to daily face washes (I rotate between the two). Obagi’s face washes do a good job at getting makeup off, so they’re great for multitasking while traveling. I’ve accumulated a few little TSA-approved bottles (like these available on Amazon) that I generally refill with a few tablespoons when I travel. 

Alternatively, I’ve recently acquired a couple of Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Cream Cleanser samples from Sephora purchases or tester and gift sets. Samples like this are great for packing because they’re small and easy to pack. Since I liked the cleanser independently, using these little samples as my essential cleanser for my travel skincare set has been quite handy. 

Deciding on One Perfect Eye Cream

While I only have a few cleansers that I rotate through, my eye cream collection is a bit larger. The decision on which eye cream to take is pretty easy. Indie Lee’s I-Waken Eye Serum. The reason for this choice is two-fold. 

First, it’s super hydrating and works well either in the morning under makeup or at night before bed. It’s a clean recipe with a good mix of calming ingredients and skincare basics.

Second, you can see how much is left in the tube. It’s always frustrating to pack something only to find out it’s almost empty once you go to use it. I have a few other great eye creams that I love, but that are in opaque or solid tubes. Conseqeuently, I never know how much is left. This isn’t the case with Indie Lee’s eye cream

Narrowing Down to One Favorite Moisturizer

Like eye creams, I have a bunch of moisturizers. A lot of them have similar characteristics – water based, mainly – so bringing more than one is a waste of space. I don’t have a particular moisturizer that I prioritize for travel over others. 

However, like with the sample size cleansers, I’ve found that sample or mini-sized moisturizers are great for travel skincare. 

Sunday Riley sells mini versions of some of their moisturizers, like a 0.5 oz C.E.O. Hydration Cream, as does Peter Thomas Roth. This can be a great chance to try out a new product, too, if you’re hesitant to splurge on something you’re uncertain about.

Travel Skincare Essentials, including Obagi Foaming Gel, Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Cream Cleanser and Moisturizer, and Indie Lee's I-Waken Eye Serum

What are your travel skincare essentials?
What products are you always sure to bring with you when you travel?


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*This Travel Skincare Essentials article was originally published on June 29, 2019. It was most recently updated on December 3, 2021.