How to Pack TSA-Friendly Toiletries

While I’ve shared how I pack light for carry-on-only travel, a friend preparing for a trip to London was recently mystified over how to fit all her toiletries into a TSA-approved, clear bag. I’d imagine many people struggle with that very same question, and it’s taken me years of traveling to get it down. So on the heels of my own recent trip, I wanted to share my tried-and-true tips for getting my beauty routine into that one tiny, quart-sized bag. I’m also spilling my must-have travel products. Hope it’s a handy guide for your next trip!

  • Downsize your beauty routine. An absolute must if you’re planning to carry on. Narrow to your must-haves versus nice-to-haves. I skip the extra serums, eye creams, moisturizers and even leave my cleanser at home. I keep makeup super minimal with just tinted moisturizer, mascara, and a favorite lipstick. For hair, I bring shampoo and conditioner so I don’t need many additional hair products, but maybe the opposite will work for you.
  • Find travel-sizes of your favorites. Travel sizes are readily available at Sephora, the drugstore or online. If your favorite brand doesn’t, transfer product into travel containers or ask for samples at Sephora.
  • Choose multi-tasking products. Products that serve multiple purposes–tinted moisturizer, cheek/lip sticks–save space.
  • Find liquid alternatives. From face towels to powdered makeup, try to substitute some liquid products with non-liquid versions.
  • Skip the sunscreen. Packing it, that is. Particularly for beach vacations where you’ll need sunscreen everyday, that tiny bottle won’t last you long enough. Avoid the airport and hotel gift shops and buy a full-sized bottle at a local grocery or drugstore when you arrive.

And the travel-sized toiletries I can’t live without, pictured left to right above:

  • Living Proof Frizz Shampoo & Conditioner. My foundation for frizz-free hair.
  • Living Proof Prime Style Extender. My secret weapon for a good hair day, whether I wear it naturally wavy or blow dry it straight.
  • Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I spritz this on my face to freshen up between flights and use as a toner for day.
  • Caudalie Divine Oil. A delightfully scented multitasker for body, face and hair.
  • L’Occitane Lavande Hand Cream. Great for hydrating dry hands–the light lavender scent is unisex enough my husband likes it too.
  • L’Occitane Moisturizing Lip Balm. Nothing worse than dry lips.
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. A moisturizer and foundation in one is the ultimate in low-maintenance–plus it has SPF.
  • Opti-Free PureMoist Contact Solution. One of those things you can’t get around if you wear contacts!

*Note: My husband packs toothpaste and shaving cream, which I borrow.

  • share this post:
  • Keren Bunnell

    I LOVE how you used the little Truffle bag for storing toiletries in carry ons!! After reading your post, I just had to buy one for my summer trip to London. No more drab ziploc baggies!

  • PerpetuallyChic

    Ziploc baggies no more! Glad you picked up a Truffle pouch for your summer trip – they are great!