Whether you’re heading out for a long girls’ weekend, a quick trip south with your littles or a whole week away with the family, there’s no need to say bon voyage to keeping up appearances. Even if you always insist on travelling light with just a carry-on, you can still have all your makeup and hair needs on hand with this mom-approved checklist of what to take when you’re heading north, south, east or west.
Obviously, you’re going to pack things like face wash, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a hairbrush and a comb, we’re covering the essentials that you need in addition to those no-brainers.
Whether it’s a trip to the cottage or the Caribbean, a travel-sized dry shampoo always comes with us, because let’s be honest, we’re not washing our hair every day on vacation (especially since we don’t wash it every day when we’re not on vacation).
We love anything that does double (or triple) duty when we’re travelling, and this moisturizing, all-purpose balm does A LOT. Use it as a lip balm, shaving balm, post shave balm, sunburn relief, rash relief, dry skin relief and more. Rose wax soothes irritated skin, candelilla wax creates a protective barrier and locks in moisture, and organic jojoba oil provides essential moisture to your travel-weary, possibly sun-smacked skin.
Ultrabalm All-Purpose Balm. $14.95, available at Lush.
Yep, you read that right. Though below you’ll see us recommending clear mascara for our lashes when on vacation, we do usually throw brow mascara into our kit. Why? Because sometimes our brows need a little extra lovin’. And bonus: this one has a brush that will work on eyelashes as well so if you absolutely must mascara, do it with this tiny beauty.
Stressed about flying? Put a tiny drop on your hands to breathe in during take-off and landing; this can also relieve airsickness and carsickness. Put a little on your pillow case for a more restful sleep. Put a little behind your ears and in the crooks of your elbows to make sure the bugs don’t fancy you. Sunburned lips? Add a drop to your regular balm or coconut oil and rub it in.
Now Essentials, Aromaforce, Aura Cacia and Thursday Plantation Lavender Oil, prices vary. Available at Well.ca.
A truly unique, talc-free loose powder. This silky, luxurious blend has the perfect amount of sophisticated sheen and blends with any skin type. Sprinkle all over your body and rub in for itch relief, sweat absorption or just so you smell amazing. Bonus: these powders double as dry shampoo (and don’t count towards your liquid restrictions in carry-on bags). Sprinkle into your hands and run through your hair, concentrating on root area and voilà: clean, bouncy, non-greasy hair that smells delicious.
Emergencies happen, especially when you are least prepared. Take a page out of the Girl Scout manual and just be prepared for the little emergencies that will undoubtedly crop up and have a mini sewing kit on hand. We love this one from Amazon (or this one you can make for yourself) because it has buttons, scissors that actually cut (little things), buttons, safety pins and 18—yes 18! colours of thread. Toss a tiny emery board and a pair of nail clippers in there and you’ve got a sewing AND manicure kit. Throw it in your suitcase and move on.
Mudder Sewing Kit, $17. Available at Amazon.ca.
Tie a scarf around your bag handle to add a bit of flair (and so you can see your bag on your chaise lounge from far away without your glasses) and you have an instant accessory for your hair, your neck, your wrist and even your waist. Our editor took a large, square scarf on vacation once and wore it in a different way every day for 7 days (top, headscarf, bracelet, shawl, sarong, neck scarf, as a bag and a headband). It’s also perfect for wrapping around still damp hair when you’re running late for anything at all. Bonus: These particular scarves are part of the Anchal Project, which supports the empowerment of women in India.
Anchal Project Scarves, $46 USD. Available at Anchal Project.
For centuries, tea tree oil has been used around the world for its medicinal benefits. Tea Tree Oil is an antiseptic essential oil. Stashing a 10 ml bottle in your carry-on can be a god-send on vacation. Got razor burn? Swab with tea tree (or add a little to your shave cream). Acne? Tea tree will likely zap it. Small cut? Clean it out with tea tree. It’s also a great alternative to chemical bug spray repellents.Do a test area before you leave to see if you need to water it down in another carrier oil like Almond, Coconut or Jojoba. Some people can’t handle the potency of it full-strength on their skin.
10 ml Tea Tree Oil, $12. Available at The Body Shop.
Perfect for a light swipe before dinner, for cleaning up your brows and even for taming the odd, stubborn cowlick, clear mascara is the first thing we pack when we’re headed just about anywhere. If you want to make your lashes look thicker without the worry of mascara (because honestly, is there one that stands up to 40 degrees in the sun, salt water and chlorine?), use the tiniest bit of waterproof eyeliner in between your lashes along the lash line. But really…we’re on vacation; the less makeup the better.
Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara, $4. Available at WalMart.
Your carry-on should always contain face towelettes (we even make sure to put a few [these come individually wrapped] in our pocket or wallet so everyone can have a quick clean up on the way to the hotel in the cab). Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Oil Cloths are soaked in honey, jojoba oil sunflower oil and eight essential oils. They may be called a wipe but on the contrary, they are a refreshing, cleansing cloth, soaked in vitamins B12, C, E.
Juicy Bamboo Box of 20 Juicy Bamboo Natural Cleaning Cloths, $20. Available at The Bay.
One for that small bottle of sunscreen that might leak, one for that pair of socks your son wore in the pool (yes, we know), one for your husband’s bathing suit because he forgot to hang it on the balcony after that last-minute swim with the kidlets. Pack a few extra in each size just in case. They take up no room at all.
Ziploc Bags in various sizes and various prices. Available at Walmart.
You can pack lip balm, moisturizer, deep hair conditioner, sunburn relief cream, shaving cream, eye makeup remover, cheek highlighter, under eye cream, body scrub (mix a little with a pack of sugar), frizz tamer and cuticle oil—or you can pack one small container of coconut oil.
Bali’Sun Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, 20ml, $2. Available at Well.ca.
Without fail while traveling, your manicure always chips. Nothing makes you feel less fancy than gross, chipped polish, so make sure to bring an individually wrapped nail polish remover wipe. Don’t bring a bottle. Trust us. No matter what you do to keep that sucker closed, it will spill. We love the Scrubbers from Butter London individually-wrapped wipes (one wipe will do all 10 fingers!).
Scrubbers 2-in-1 Remover and Nail Prep Pads (10 pack), $14. Available at Butter London.
Advice from our editor: make sure to pack products that your hair is used to. “Hotel shampoos and conditioners are a last resort for me (unless I’m staying in a 5-star hotel because my hair can be very difficult to get a comb through with salt water, chlorine and some brands of conditioner”. We recommend taking a sample size of something you use at home or buying fillable (properly sized) bottles and filling it with your own brands. This goes for spray-in conditioner and any special skin creams or face washes you can’t live without.
Axel Kraft Cosmetic Travel Bottles, set of 2 bottles, $3. Available at Well.ca.
If you are really low-maintenance or you just need a few essentials for your everyday bag or your car perhaps, this kit is the one for you. With 17 beauty and personal care essentials, all packed into a stylish, travel-sized pouch. Set includes: pair of earring backs, a deodorant towelette, double-sided tape, stain remover, an emery board, clear nail polish, clear elastics, breath freshener, lip balm, dental floss, bobby pins, nail polish pad remover, hair spray, a safety pin, an adhesive bandage, a mending kit, and a tampon. And it’s only 3.5” x 2” x 2”.
Minimergency Kit, $22. Available at Indigo.ca.