The Best Beauty Products to Pack for Your Summer Vacation

When traveling light—and no checked bag—is the goal, it becomes hard to define “essential.” Do you really need serum and moisturizer? Multiple palettes? But there’s also something to be said for taking your routine on the road with a well-stocked beauty kit.  

The best travel beauty products are easily packable (no leaking), carry-on friendly (small), and fill a specific need (or several). Here’s what has earned a spot on our packing lists this summer.

Vive Sana

Daily Protezione

You’re bringing sunscreen, so why not choose an especially great one? This organic SPF 30 contains non-nano zinc oxide and an impressive set of botanicals, including green tea, raspberry seed, and licorice root. With a just slightly tinted, matte finish, it’s the perfect throw-on-and-forgo-foundation choice on humid days.

Crop Natural

Antioxidant Facial Serum

Next up (and key): Antioxidants. Even with diligent sunscreen application, free radicals can creep in, leading to dullness and wrinkles over time. Antioxidants provide an extra line of defense. Use this serum in the morning to protect against photoaging and at night on sun-drenched skin. (Aloe vera is its first ingredient, so you know it’s soothing!). The entire Crop line is also COSMOS certified, meaning it meets progressive (and rigid) criteria established in the EU for organic and natural products.

Milk Makeup

Cooling Water

There are few things better than a satisfying swipe of this stick on tired skin. It contains mineral-rich seawater, algae extract, and caffeine (energy!) to instantly hydrate, refresh, and de-puff. Use first thing in the morning, post-sun, and every time you need to cool off in between. There’s also a mini version if you’re especially low on space.

Summer Fridays

Jet Lag Mask

Many of our editors have named this their favorite new product of 2018. The moisturizer can be worn as a mask or as a heavy lotion for dry skin. It gives your skin the hydration it desperately craves post-flight (or any day in between).


Love Your Bare Face Detoxifying Cleansing Stick

A gentle cleanser, like this convenient stick version from Julep, is essential to remove sweat and impurities at the end of the day. It’s all about the oils: coconut oil melts away makeup, rice bran oil decongests pores, and grapefruit oil helps to even out skin tone.

Source: @cynthialions


Swipe Up Charcoal Dry Shampoo Hair Blotting Tissues

Some products are more challenging to carry on than others (ahem, aerosols). These genius charcoal-infused sheets solve the dry shampoo conundrum and pack down to nothing. When you want to skip a shampoo or extend saltwater hair, press one against the scalp to refresh and soak up oil.

Olio E Osso


Who wants to wear much makeup on vacation? Arguably no one. These hydrating, tinted balms from Olio E Osso are the kind of easy, no-makeup makeup that feels light and gives a natural, “I did nothing” effect. Our picks: No. 6 Bronze for allover glow, No. 2 French Melon for an ultra-flattering and brightening pink flush, and No. 3 Crimson, a pop of red for lips and cheeks.

Drunk Elephant

D-Bronzi™ Anti-Pollution Sunshine Serum

This new serum is really a serum-bronzer hybrid, packed with peptides, antioxidants, and marula seed oil, a nourishing standout ingredient in the Drunk Elephant line. The color comes from cocoa extract and is gorgeous but intense, so it’s designed to be mixed with oil or moisturizer to create a custom shade.


Bust Dust

See: humidity. This powder is a major step up from the old-school baby variety. It contains naturally antiseptic lavender to stop bacteria and cornstarch to absorb sweat—and, despite its anatomically specific name, can be used pretty much anywhere.