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Skincare Essentials for Every Traveler’s Carry-On Bag

several vials in white wooden organizer shelf

Between the dry air on planes, changes in climate and water quality, irregular sleep schedules, and increased stress levels, traveling can be incredibly detrimental to your skin. That’s why it’s so important to pack the right skincare products in your carry-on bag to help minimize skin issues and keep you glowing during your trip.

Here are must-have skincare products you should have in your carry-on:

Facial Cleansing Wipes

Airplanes are filled with recycled air and germs. That’s why you want to cleanse your face as soon as possible after getting off that flying petri dish. Facial cleansing wipes are a convenient way to cleanse your skin on the go and can let you quickly clean your skin when you don’t have access to a sink. Just make sure to look for fragrance-free wipes that won’t irritate your skin and stash them in your carry-on for easy access.

Micellar Water

Micellar water is a gentle yet effective way to cleanse and hydrate your skin. It attracts oil and impurities while infusing the skin with moisture. It’s perfect for travel as it eliminates the need for rinsing; all you need is to simply saturate a cotton pad with the micellar water and it’ll wipe away all the dirt, makeup, and residue. This is key after a long flight to remove impurities and get your skin ready for other products. Invest in travel-size bottles as they’re perfectly sized for your carry-on bag.

Hydrating Mist

Nothing dehydrates skin like the dry air in airplanes and hotel rooms. You can counteract this by misting yourself throughout the trip. A quality hydrating mist is key to rebalance your skin and refresh it when it starts feeling parched. Make sure to spritz your face, and neck and decollete anytime your skin feels tight or dry. A hydrating mist is also a great way to rehydrate skin during a long travel day.


Invest in a good serum — these lightweight yet powerful formulas help to deliver concentrated nutrients and hydration to your skin. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid to intensely hydrate or vitamin C to brighten and even out your skin tone. Ideally, you want to apply your serum after cleansing and allow it to fully absorb before following with moisturizer, and stick to small bottle sizes when traveling.

Rich Moisturizer

Traveling somewhere humid? Your light daily moisturizer may not cut it. Pack a richer cream to deliver serious hydration instead. Look for moisturizers with ingredients like ceramides, glycerin, shea butter, and oils to replenish moisture and prevent water loss. Apply to damp skin when you need an extra hydration boost and you’ll notice how the thicker texture locks in moisture for hours.

Lip Balm

Your lips take a beating when you travel as they have no oil glands to stay hydrated. Prevent cracked, flaky lips by applying lip balm frequently. Look for balms with hydrating ingredients like shea butter and oils rather than waxes which can further dry lips out. Stick a few in your carry-on and apply liberally throughout your trip.

It’s also worth mentioning that you can use a lip and cheek balm instead.  It saves space since it’s a lip and cheek balm in one. No need for separate balms.

Hand Cream

Constantly switching between hot and cold temperatures, dry cabin air, and using lots of hand sanitizer can affect your hands. To prevent dry, cracked hands while traveling, you need to moisturize frequently with a rich hand cream. Look for fragrance-free creams with butter, oils, and other emollients to soothe and hydrate travel-parched hands, and apply generously every time you wash your hands.

Face Sunscreen

While sunscreen should be part of your daily routine whether you’re home or traveling, it’s important to keep in mind that the sun’s harmful rays don’t take a day off just because you left town. Prevent sun damage by applying broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to all exposed areas of your face and neck, and stick to portable sizes that won’t hold up security lines.

Stay Hydrated On the Road

Don’t let travel dehydrate and dull your complexion. With the right products, your skin can glow just as much at your destination as it does at home. The key is to maintain your self-care routine with hydrating and nourishing skincare. Ensure your carry-on skincare focuses on cleansing, hydrating, protecting, and replenishing your skin’s moisture levels. With these essentials on hand, your skin will survive the trip no worse for wear.