Monday 31 August 2015

How To Pack Toiletries for Carry on Luggage

Those of you who have been following me for some time have seen my transition from notorious over packer to carry on only convert (see previous posts here and here.)  Using carry on luggage only for travel is a great way to save time and money. One question that I've been asked numerous times is how to properly pack your toiletries for carry on travel.  Liquid restrictions make stuffing all of your necessary potions and products into 100 ml/grams containers and then into a 1 litre clear bag pretty tricky - but totally manageable.  Here is my tried and true method to packing all of my necessary toiletries into my carry-on luggage, and 3 tips on what to bring and what to leave behind.

1. Utilize Makeup and Product Samples

My number one tip for packing my makeup and toiletries for carry-on travel is to always be on the look out for sample sizes of your favourite products. Anytime I receive a generous sample sized product I stash it away only to be used for my next trip.  I've had success finding pretty decent samples in my Sephora orders - or by redeeming my points for larger samples, beauty subscription boxes, or oftentimes I will go to the product line's counter and ask if there are any samples available (you'll be surprised by how many times the answer is yes!) In a worst case scenario where a sample is simply not available for a must-have product, I'll bite the bullet and shop the travel section of my local Sephora or drug store.

2. Use Disposable Travel-Friendly Containers

In those rare cases where a sample size of my product is not available, I purchase disposable containers and fill them myself.  You can find disposable, travel-friendly containers at most major drug stores or even the dollar store (that's where I generally pick mine up.) Typically I fill my disposable containers with my skin care items, and any hair products that I absolutely need (in this case, it's leave-in conditioner.)

3. Be Strategic and Selective On What Products You Pack

Nothing like trying to cram all of your toiletries and liquid makeup into a one-litre plastic bag to make you really evaluate what you really need or not.  I find it easiest to stick to the basics and only bring products that I use consistently in an everyday situation.  For example, the cleanser that you use twice a day is definitely something to bring but skip the face mask that you like to use once a week to pamper yourself. Some other rules that I follow to lesson my toiletry load are:

  • Skip the shampoo and conditioner.  Odds are that your hotel will provide you with the essential hair products and lately hotels seem to be stocking some pretty reputable brands.  I actually enjoy trying the different shampoos and conditioners that are provided by the hotels, and have purchased full-sized versions of the products based on my previous trips.
  • Same goes for body lotion - unless you're absolutely married to the lotion that you use daily, opt for the one that the hotel provides and skip packing it all together.
  • Substitute any liquid products for their powder alternative whenever possible.  The big one here is a powder mineral foundation - making this switch for a trip will help free up valuable toiletry real estate in your carry on.
  • Limit your lip products.  Lip glosses and lip balms are still considered liquids when it comes to carry on travel restrictions, so while us ladies may travel around with dozens of lip products in our purse on any given day chose your one favourite when it comes to traveling. 
Now that you've squeezed all of your necessary products in your standard-issued bag, you're ready for takeoff! Do you have your own tips on how to pack toiletries for carry on only travel?  What do you take, and what do you skip?  Let me know!

xo Joëlle



  1. Those are good tips, thank you! Another trick I learnt from a friend on our latest trip, is to switch a bottle of make-up remover for remover wipes :)

    1. That's such a great tip! I've been using my moisturizer as a makeup remover, but am definitely interested to try the wipes for my next trip :)

  2. Solid bar shampoo and conditioner are available at Lush stores, and on their website. I really like their shampoo, and the conditioner, though not a favorite, does the job. They have several choices in shampoos.

    1. Great tip Linda! I used to use Lush solid shampoo and remember really enjoying it!

  3. This is really helpful for every female traveler. I always keep a small makeup bag in my purse and I never mix them with other items.

    1. I'm so glad that you find this helpful Suzan! Keeping a small makeup bag in your purse is a great idea! xo

  4. These are some good tricks. I think before packing anything in luggage one must be completely aware of his/her skin type.


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