A few weeks ago I shared some photos on Instagram of the toiletries bag I took with me on a one-week trip to the mountains of Maine. I wanted to expound a bit on my tips and tricks for travel skin care here.
I opted to bring only carry-on luggage, so I was limited to a 3-1-1 bag, as per TSA standards. I found out that sheet masks don’t generally count towards your liquids/gels/aerosol limit, and can confirm that I brought them through security with no trouble. But I still had to fit a multi-step, Korean-inspired skin care routine, hair care for thick, mid-back-length hair, plus deodorant and bug spray into a quart-sized bag. While I managed, it was a tight fit and definitely used my Tetris skills.
You can see the difference between the compact bag and the laid out contents of just the plastic bag above! Here’s a list of products:
- Julep Love Your Bare Face cleansing oil, trial size
- Sulwhasoo Snowise EX cleansing foam, sample packets
- Skylake Herbal face mist, trial size
- Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence and Night Activator Ampoule, sample packets
- Assorted foil samples (Tatcha Rice Powder exfoliator, Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery moisturizer, Fresh Black Tea Age Delay cream)
- Trilogy Antioxidant oil, trial size
- Mamonde Rose Honey sleeping mask, decant
- Urban Decay Vice lipstick, two sample blister packs
- L’Oreal Nude Balm in Plush Plum
- Missha Signature Real Complete BB Cream in #23, sample packs
- Sensodyne Pronamel toothpaste, trial size
- Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting unscented deodorant
- Sawyer Picaridin bug repellent, trial size
- Kiss My Face SPF 30 lip balm
- Homemade lip balm
- DHC Lash Tonic
- Skylake Silk Cocoon Conditioner, 2 trial size tubes
- Skylake Herbal Cool Shampoo, trial size
- Biore UV Perfect Milk
In addition to this, I brought three sheet masks: Skylake Trouble Care, Evercos Chameleon Leaf, and LoveMore Aloe and Loofah. As you can see, I’ve left a few things at home, like exfoliating acids, vitamin C, and most of my makeup. I chose to focus on skin care, and include just enough makeup to cover a breakout if I needed and enhance my lips naturally. I opted not to bring bright red lipstick to the mountains. Here are my tips for traveling with your complicated routine:
- Decide what is non-negotiable: For me, number one is sunscreen. I knew I was bringing a full-sized bottle of a water-resistant sunscreen that I knew wouldn’t break me out. I also knew I wanted my essence. In the future, I will refill my decant jar with my preferred gel moisturizer as well.
- See where you can edit: Like I said, I didn’t bring my whole makeup bag or even all the steps I use for skin care. The first thing I decided to leave at home was my vitamin C, as the antioxidant oil has some vitamin C in it, and I didn’t want to risk oxidizing my vitamin C serum by carting it around for who-knows-how-long during travel. Then I also chose to leave my exfoliating acids at home because travel notoriously upsets my skin and the last thing upset skin needs is actives. Finally, I drastically simplified my makeup because the conference I was attending involves a lot of outdoor activities and I knew I wouldn’t be wearing a red lip while hiking anyway. I also chose to buy sunscreen for my body at the conference site because you need enough to get proper coverage, that it’s not hard to use up a full-sized tube during a week of constant daily outdoor activity.
- Find trial and sample sizes: I found trial sizes of my shampoo, a good conditioner, cleansing oil, facial oil, and toner. I’ll probably refill some of the trial-size containers with products I use regularly, too. Then I got sample packets of essence, ampoule, cleanser, and BB cream. And I tested literally everything weeks before leaving on my trip. I also had some samples from Sephora and other orders that I’d tried before and knew I liked. Generally not a good idea to bring anything that’s utterly untested on travel.
- Decant where necessary: I didn’t have to decant my own products (the Mamonde decant was one I bought off a skincare exchange board), but I will next time. I can replace the cleansing oil with my everyday cleansing oil and the sleeping mask with my night moisturizer. I also have some small travel bottles to decant my other hydrating essence, if I want to in the future.
- Supplement with soothing and hydrating sheet masks: I looked around and decided that it was a pretty safe bet to bring sheet masks outside my 3-1-1 bag, so I threw a few sheet masks in my bag. I focused on masks that are good for breakouts and upset skin because I knew that 1.) travel makes me break out and 2.) I would be spending a lot of time outside. And it turned out great. I came home from one particularly long afternoon hike, took a long shower, and sat for a half an hour with an aloe mask on before evening sessions and my skin was very happy indeed.
So those are my thoughts about traveling with skin care. I will have another chance to put the tips into practice soon, but I think that’s a good place to start when trying to curate your routine for travel. Who still has fun vacation plans coming up?
I am not an adventurous person. Oh, yes, I will try new foods or new teas, or even put snails on my face. But when it comes to venturing outside my own house or neighborhood? Not so adventurous. My anxiety spiked when I took a new job that required a one-hour commute into the city rather than a 15-minute drive in my nice, familiar suburb. And the other thing I don’t often is travel.
Now, to be fair, until recently I’ve worked in a field where people at my level don’t get paid enough to travel much on their own dime and where it’s typical to only take time off to visit family once or twice a year. But there are plenty of people who find opportunities to go to international meetings. My ex-husband found himself invited to at least one international meeting per year and I did take the opportunity to travel with him when we were together. And it was a nice easing into the idea of travel because he took care of all the arrangements, but I was still left with eight or nine hours to fill by myself in a strange city where I may or may not speak the language well.
But even then, I tended to stick with European destinations for international travel. It’s my comfort zone. I speak fluent French and the other romance languages come pretty easily to me. And I’ve never really planned an international trip myself.
So this year, my new year’s resolution was to travel somewhere outside the country. And it seemed like it was going to be deferred, until Boyfriend and I decided that our vacation after his graduation didn’t have to be to a comfortable place we’d been before. So I started looking into planning a trip to Montreal — not exactly exotic, but it requires passports and may even put some of my rusty French into use. And it’s placing a toe outside my comfort zone.
Which is a first step.
Because I’ve decided that next year, I want to take a trip entirely outside my comfort zone. I’ve decided to visit Japan.
To that end, I’ve spent the last week learning hiragana and katakana, and even started a kanji study program, as well as lessons in speaking Japanese. I had forgotten how much I love learning new languages (I briefly studied Latin, German, and Romanian in the past, as well as picking up some Italian for a couple trips there). It feels like exercise for my brain. And I’ve been learning about the customs and culture, from the perspective of a visitor. It’s an exciting plan, and I hope to realize it next year. It will certainly be a bigger step in getting me out of my shell.
This weekend, my mother had surgery, and so Boyfriend and I went over to help her while she recovered. I arrived late Friday morning, where I could work remotely for the rest of the day, while Boyfriend arrived that evening after a day at work. Mum got home shortly before noon and was instructed to lie flat and not get up except to use the toilet, so I did a bit of waiting on her. I got her water and made her a milkshake and helped her with her medication.
We stayed the night Friday and then on Saturday morning decided to stay one more night to make sure she was doing alright. Part of packing for the weekend was packing up a version of my new skin care routine to hold me over for a night or two. I was able to put together a travel skin care kit from samples and deluxe samples I’ve gotten in packages, plus a sample kit from Trilogy I bought recently.
Trilogy Natural Skincare is a natural brand from New Zealand that has a Rosehip range, based upon rosehip oil as an ingredient. I found this sample kit on sale at Whole Foods just after the holidays for half price. It has a sample of the cream cleanser, Vital Moisturizing Cream, and Rosehip Antioxidant+ oil. And the whole thing comes in a little bag that’s great for non-air travel. I tried out the products for a day or two to make sure they didn’t cause immediate breakouts, and then put them away for travel.
To create my skin care to go kit, I added in a deluxe sample of cleansing oil, glycolic-lactic acid mask, and serums. Then, I popped in some little single-use samples of facial sunscreen and foundation or skin tint. The brands mostly don’t matter, although I’ve recently bought the full-size of the BareMinerals serum because I love it. It’s not a full version of my skin care routine, but it works for a day or two. And anywhere I travel will provide me washcloths. I think the only thing I would add is a mini acid toner instead of the exfoliating mask because I can’t use that two days in a row. I know Pixi makes a travel size Glow Tonic.
I just pop all of this into the adorable little bag from Trilogy to go on a car or train trip. I would have to transfer it to a plastic zip-top bag for air travel, but that’s not so much of a bother. This is just for a couple of days’ travel. I’ll have to start working on a kit for longer, as I have to travel for work over the summer.
As mentioned in my last post, I spent the week before last struggling with an illness. Just when I thought I was feeling better, and even had made it back to work, it hit me again. I only recovered in time to fulfill my duties as a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding that weekend. But from there, I practically got straight onto a plane to go on a trip for work.
So, worn from illness and the stress of a long day at the wedding, I immediately stressed my poor body further with travel, and then with the rigors of a conference, which often involves late nights and more to drink than I generally have. Of course, I’d used up any buffer of posts during my illness and did not have my computer or camera with me to post while I was away (which is a shame, as I encountered some beautiful pastries!).
But, I managed to keep myself up, perform my nightly skin care ritual, and swipe on my red lipstick at the conference. I found that my favorite wrap-front dresses were a godsend for traveling. I managed to travel in vintage-inspired style and made it home safely. So now I’m back, and I have some work to do getting myself fully healthy and rested and stress-free again. I hope all of you had a lovely week last week!