InStyle’s Travel Beauty Breakdown: Exactly What to Check and What to Carry-On
Though traveling to see loved ones during the hoidays can be rewarding, it does come with a few minor inconveniences. Unpredictable winter weather combined with jam-packed airports can lead to flight delays or worse, a cancellation. That means you may get separated from the beauty essentials you put in your checked luggage. Although the TSA is starting to ease up on the restrictions on liquids, gels, and aerosols, we'd never forgive ourselves if the TSA happened to confiscate your massive jar of La Mer. (What? That stuff is expensive!)
As seasoned travelers who often pack more beauty essentials than we need, we know exactly what to pack in your checked bag and what to stash in your carry-on tote. Here's our best advice:
Makeup: Though some bottles of foundation, like Dolce & Gabbana's Perfect Reveal Lift version ($72; sephora.com) may appear too large for your carry-on, all products under 3.4 oz. will make the cut. To avoid hold-ups in the security line, pack any liquids (foundation, BB cream, lip gloss, etc.) in a zip-top bag so the TSA won't have to rifle through your makeup. Thanks to their streamlined shape, palettes take up less room in your bag, so make sure to bring one in lieu of single shadows or blushes. Your nail polish can also go into your carry-on bag, but if you're bringing a few hues from your lacquer collection, stick them in a well-padded makeup bag and place them in your checked luggage.
Hair: If you don't have travel-size products on hand, transfer your Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo ($30; bumbleandbumble.com) into a smaller container to fit in your carry-on. If you must bring the full-sized bottle, it goes into your checked luggage. To avoid any spills (and wardrobe mishaps), unscrew the top and place a thin sheet of saran wrap directly between the bottle and the cap, then screw the top back on as tightly as you can. Place the shampoo in a plastic bag for extra insurance. Bringing along dry shampoos or hair sprays? Klorane's Tinted Dry Shampoo ($20; birchbox.com) is by far one of our favorites, and at 3.2 oz, it meets the standards. Unless you're taking a with a mini hair dryer, we recommend stashing your full-size tool in your checked bag, though any flat irons or curling are usually tiny enough to place in your carry-on...you know, just in case you need a gateside touch-up.
Fragrance: Obviously, the rollerball version of your B. Balenciaga fragrance ($25; nordstrom.com) makes for a more carefree travel companion than its full-sized counterpart ($145; nordstrom.com), but that doesn't mean the larger bottle can't fly. At 2.5 oz., it can be put in your carry-on, but we usually pack it in our checked bag to minimize the hassle. If you still have the fragrance box around, place it back in to minimize movement, and stick it carefully between your stacks of folded clothes. No box? No problem! We've used the same method with a pair of socks---put the bottle into one sock, cover it with another, and nestle the bottle between the rest of your clothes in the center of your suitcase.
Skincare and bodycare: Most skin serums like SK-II's ($160; sephora.com) or Soap & Glory's ($25; ulta.com) weigh in at about an ounce, so you'll have no trouble placing those in your carry-on. Face washes, toners, body washes, and body creams should follow the same rule of thumb as your shampoos and conditioners---if you can't transfer the liquids into smaller containers, pack them in your checked luggage, and line them in plastic to avoid any leaks onto your designer dresses. Though sharper objects like nail scissors or your Venus razor are tiny, we recommend erring on the side of caution and placing them into your checked bag.