Style & Beauty

Beauty Tips for Travellers

Find out what you should—and shouldn’t—take with you


By Lola Augustine Brown

Photo: iStock/izusek.

Travelling can demand a set of beauty products different from those we use at home. We need products that are adapted to different climates in order to protect us from sun, sand, and surf (or harsh mountain climates, depending on whether you run from or towards the cold at this time of year). Those products need to be sized for travel—especially if you’re part of the carry-on-only crowd—and preferably do double duty. We’ve rounded up some of the best products for travellers to help you upgrade your on-the-road beauty routines.

Ditch the Liquids
Minimizing the number of liquid products you take will reduce bulk and weight in your bags. Depending on where you’re staying and how manageable your hair is, you might be perfectly fine using the shampoo and conditioner provided by your hotel/cruise ship/resort, but the quality of products provided can vary greatly. Renaissance Hotel bathrooms come stocked with Aveda products, for example, and Fairmont uses the luxe line Le Labo, but some hotel shampoos can leave your hair crispy and dry. You can pick up travel sizes of quality brands at your local drugstore or decant your favourite into travel-sized bottles (widely available at drugstores; Mountain Equipment Co-op has travel containers made to endure). Another alternative is to try dry products instead.

While it may sound like a kooky concept, shampoo in bar form that you lather up just like soap is a great travel solution. LUSH carries a range of shampoo bars designed for all kinds of hair types, some of which also condition, such as Avocado Co-Wash, made with rich coconut and avocado oils ($15.95). Rocky Mountain Soap Co. has an all-natural Shampoo Bar with rosemary ($5.95), formulated for use on hair and body.

These days, you can buy tons of different products as prepackaged wipes, which are super-handy and save on the space that cleansers otherwise would have taken up in your carry-on liquid allotment; plus, they’re easy to take wherever you go. Many different brands offer makeup-removing and cleansing wipes, such as CeraVe Makeup Removing Cleanser Cloths ($9.99) and Clinique’s Take the Day Off Micellar Cleansing Towelettes for Face & Eyes ($20). You can also buy individually packaged wipes for smoothing your hair (such as IGK Swipe Up No-Frizz Smoothing Hair Wipes, $22), removing your nail polish (such as Butter LONDON Scrubbers 2-in-1 Prep & Remover Wipes, $14), and tackling skin problems (such as Soap & Glory Fab Pore Cleansing Cloths, $8).

Sheet masks, which offer extreme moisturizing and skin benefits, come perfectly packaged for travel. These are heavily moisturized sheets with cutouts for your eyes, mouth, and nostrils. They look a bit strange, but people are increasingly wearing them on flights to counter the dryness of the plane. You can, of course, wait until you get to the privacy of your hotel room to use them. Sephora’s replenishing Aloe Vera Face Mask ($8) is an excellent soothing and moisturizing remedy for days when you’ve had too much sun.

Switch Up Your Makeup
Heading to a warmer climate can play havoc with your makeup, and the last thing anyone needs in those holiday snaps is racoon eyes or sliding colour. These types of problems can be avoided by investing in lighter products better suited for warmer weather. Opt for a tinted moisturizer that’ll add colour without becoming cakey in the heat, swipe on some highlighter and waterproof mascara, and you’re good to go. IT Cosmetics CC+ Color Correcting Full Coverage Cream ($49) is super-hydrating with an SPF of 50 and makes for a perfect travel companion. The just-launched Clarins Glow 2 Go Blush & Highlighter Duo ($32) is easy to apply. CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Waterproof mascara ($10.99) will hold fast while you’re swimming or on the beach.

Wearing lipstick can be a chore on vacation, but if you feel you need some colour on your pout, try an easy-to-apply tinted balm instead. Guerlain KissKiss Roselip tinted lip balm ($45) comes in three flattering shades and will keep your lips soft and moisturized. The more pocketbook-friendly Maybelline Baby Lips moisturizing lip balm ($4.99) also comes in several shades to give a pretty tint to the lips.

If you want to wear more makeup, which is often the case in the evenings when we are vacationing, then you’ll need to use a good primer to help it stay put. Another new Clarins product, Instant Poreless Pore-Blurring Matifying Primer ($32), creates a flawless base for applying your makeup, then works to absorb excess sebum so that the colour stays where you want it.

Some clever makeup brands offer their bestselling products in mini sizes perfect for travel. Benefit Cosmetics offers lots of “minis,” including the company’s dramatic They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara Mini ($17) and Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain Mini ($16). Laura Mercier’s very flattering Tinted Moisturizer mini ($29) has an SPF of 20, and you’ll also find mini primers and powders available in the brand.

Covering the Basics
Having a ready-to-go travel kit filled with favourite products is a good idea if you’re a regular traveller; that way, you’re less likely to find yourself lacking something you need at a destination and then having to pay much too much for something that would cost much less at home. Make sure your kit includes toothpaste, sunscreen, hairbands, and other basics that it would be a pain to be without. You won’t have the bother of having to track these things down instead of doing something much more fun.

If You Forget Something
Even pro travellers forget important stuff sometimes; often a call to housekeeping can help you out. Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York, for example, will happily provide guests with “razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, toothbrushes, slippers, hairspray, deodorant, nail-filing kits, sewing kits, hypoallergenic products, cotton swabs, cotton balls, shoeshine, shower caps, tampons, and bath salts,” says Nicole Stewart, the hotel’s director of housekeeping. Amenities will vary, of course, but most places carry at least the basics for their guests.