Don't let your cosmetics bag stop you from traveling light! Learn how to downsize your beauty bag so you can carry-on & be a minimalist packing pro!
I find it comical that my cosmetics bag used to take up more space than my clothing on those short weekend trips.
When your carry-on has plenty of space you don’t think twice about the size of your beauty musts. When you have a longer trip, every inch begins to count. You start to evaluate your minimalist packing skills and wonder why your beauty products take up so much space.
After several years of learning to become a minimalist packing pro, I've learned that having a small cosmetics bag is essential.
I've listed 8 tips below on how I sized down my beauty bag by half. These tips aren’t just for female travelers either! Jake was able to dramatically decrease his toiletry bag size after I
reorganized his entire bag for him helped him put these tricks into practice.
Become a rockstar at traveling light after implementing these minimalist packing tips!
Size Down your Beauty Bag | MInimalist Packing Tips
1. Collecting samples is a MUST for traveling light
This is a game changer for becoming a minimalist packing pro. I collect and ask for samples everywhere. Spas, makeup counters at the mall, and beauty stores like Sephora, Kiehls, and Make Up For Ever.
Sometimes this means I get a sample I will actually use while traveling like a packet of eye cream or a face lotion. 1 or 2 tiny sample eye creams take up much less space than your full-size eye cream.
Another plus is you can throw these samples away at the end of your trip, which will save space for the trip home.
Other times I don’t use the actual product, but the sample size packaging ends up being useful. I find that many of the sample size bottles and containers are just the right size for a one to two week trip.
If you switch out all your products for sample size you will be shocked at how much space you save and become a minimalist packing queen (or king).
2. Buy concentrated...the secret to minimalist packing that not many think of
One lesson I learned from switching to higher quality skincare and beauty products was that they were much more concentrated than my cheaper products. My drugstore Neutrogena facewash required at least a quarter size amount. Once I switched to higher quality brands like Skinceuticals, Mario Budescu, and Philosophy, I only needed to use a pea size amount.
When shopping for products tell the sales person you need a highly concentrated product so you don’t have to pack as much when traveling.
I personally don’t bring shampoo with me, but if you can’t bring yourself to use hotel shampoo, look into Pureology. This shampoo is the most concentrated shampoo I've found and there are different formulas for different hair types.
3. Skip 3.4 oz. travel bottles...a big no no for minimalist packing
3.4 oz. travel bottles are way too big for minimalist packing and any trip that’s less than a month...especially if you are following tip #2 above and packing high quality, concentrated products.
If you really need a full 3 ounces for your trip you need to rethink that product and why you need so much of it.
4. Multipurpose is your new best friend
When I’m at home, layering a sunscreen with a BB cream and a powder is all fine and dandy, but no way will you find me bringing those 3 products with me when I could find one product to do the job.
Think about ways you can combine your products into a multipurpose product when you need to travel light. I use a BB cream that has SPF and light enough coverage that I don’t need powder or foundation when I travel. My current favorites are IT Cosmetics CC+ (matte version) and Tarte BB Cream.
Do you use a makeup remover and a face wash? Skip packing the makeup remover and find a face wash that removes everything including your waterproof mascara. My current favorites are Kiehls and Philosophy Purity Made Simple (sample size set)
If you want to go all out, think about multipurpose makeup. I’ll buy a cream blush that I can also use as lip color. Make Up For Ever has a good one, but many brands offer nice cream products.
5. Size down EVERYTHING – travel size & mini
This should be obvious for minimalist packing, but I’m always surprised when traveling with friends to see the full-size items they pack like hairspray and mousse.
These items may not seem big on their own, but put everything together and it really adds up. Every beauty item should be travel size when packing light.
With high baggage fees these days, beauty companies have really caught on and the amount of travel size beauty products has grown dramatically. You may not find your favorite brand, but I’m positive you can find something that will get the job done.
6. Makeup palettes are your new best friend
Makeup palettes have made minimalist packing so much quicker and easier. There are many palettes available that are travel size and have everything you need in them from a few staple eyeshadow colors to blush and bronzer.
If you're super picky you can always make your own palette by buying a palette case and then choosing your own colors to fill it. I really like the new palettes M.A.C. came out with because it gives you a lot of color options in a teeny tiny case.
*Fold a tissue and place it between the eyeshadows and lid when traveling. Palettes tend to crack and crumble because there is too much space between the eyeshadow/blush and the lid.
7. Forgo items your hotel can provide
When you're focused on packing light you MUST stop packing items your hotel will provide. I know hotel shampoo and conditioner isn’t the best, but trust me, your hair will survive being without your designer shampoo for a few days.
If you have super finicky hair, make do with the hotel shampoo but bring a tiny bottle of super thick conditioner to keep your locks under control. I'll fill a small bottle with a hair mask (the kind that's so thick it looks more like a face cream). I only need to mix a tiny bit of that with the hotel conditioner to achieve soft/detangled hair.
Other unnecessary items that I see people pack are cotton rounds, razors, body wash and shaving cream. If you aren’t sure what your hotel will provide, send them a quick email or call and find out. It may take a minute out of your day but will save you from packing items you don’t need.
Oh, and don't pack a hair dryer. It takes up so much space and almost every hotel provides a hair dryer these days. I'm really surprised by how many people are still packing hairdryers. Again, I think your hair can survive a few days without your designer hair dryer.
8. Simplify...the name of the game to minimalist packing
I love my Clarisonic and Sonicare, but no way will I bring those bulky items with me when travelling light. Think about what you can survive without for the length of your trip.
Do you layer 3 different face creams at night? Do you bring several different lip gloss, eye shadow, and blush colors? Simplify! Make do with 1 face cream and 1 lip gloss.
No one is going to notice that you are wearing the same color every single day. Heck, you might even find you like this simplified life and will want to minimalize your routine when you get home.
I hope this post helps you to size down your beauty bag and a become a minimalist packing pro. I've often found having a small makeup bag/toiletry kit makes the difference between being able to carry-on or having to check a bag...which can become costly and annoying.
To sum it up, samples are king, skip 3.4 oz bottles for smaller options, buy concentrated products, travel-size and minis of staples are a must, skip what the hotel provides, simplify your routine, and find travel size makeup palettes.