Traveling light: The beauty essentials I bring when I travel with a carry-on


When I worked as a Flight Attendant I quickly learned what things to prioritize to squeeze into my little plastic zip bag for the short trips. I researched the market for quality 3-in-1 products to remove my make-up, and always asked for perfume testers whenever I could, to avoid bringing a whole bottle of perfume.
Now, six years later I hold on to many of my principles and have adjusted some over time. Here are my beauty essentials for a short trip with carry on luggage only:

(1) Body brush

I use this body brush from Karmameju to awaken my body every single morning before I shower. It refreshes my skin and I feel much more firm after I started using it. Even when traveling I like to start my day with brushing my body (only takes 3 – 5 minutes, so don’t think I use all morning brushing!). I simply put it in a plastic bag and in the trolley.

(2) Body oil

The body oil I swear to at the moment is also from Karmameju. Their body oils are easy and quick to use, smell divine and hydrates. I use it right after the shower when I’m still wet. I just “brush” of the water with my hands and then apply it all over (not face though). I use it everyday at home, so I obviously also like to use it when I travel. It comes with three different (natural) scents and I prefer number 1 & number 3.

(3) 3-in-1 Make-up remover

This is by far the best 3-in-1 product I have ever tried. It removes all make-up, has a refreshing scent, hydrates and works as a skin tonic, so you don’t have to wash it off. Simply wet a cotton pad with the product and cleanse your skin. And the best? It’s all natural so really a treat for your skin. And yes, it’s also from Karmameju (and no, I’m not sponsored by them, I simply happen to really like their products and philosophy of beauty and self care 🙂 ).

(4) Cotton pads

I always bring cotton pads from home (there’s nothing worse than trying to remove make-up with tissues or worse; toilet paper). As I always use the 3-in-1 product when I travel, I like to bring the large cotton pads, so I can add lots of product and really cleanse my face and neck.

(5) Moisturizer

No further introduction to this one. Of course I bring my moisturizer everywhere. The one I use don’t come in a travel size (Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream), so either I ask for testers whenever I buy a new one (in a tester there is enough for day and night, so one tester serves for one day) or I dose it in a little container. I always buy the little containers in the MUJI store in Barcelona.

(6) Hydrating mist

Hydrating mist… The beauty word the last couple of years. Every person with respect for them selves brings a hydrating mist on a plane, on the beach, at work… simply everywhere. There are many mists on the market and I have a whole collection of them. What do they do? Well, they hydrate your skin, which is essential when flying or working in an air conditioned environment. I feel like it wakes me up. Especially the one from Avéne is very refreshing and I like using it in the afternoons for a little wake-up feel. This one from Caudalie is the prettiest on the market and has a bit of scent too. I use it during the day and before I apply my moisturizer.

(7) Sunscreen

Sunscreen. I use it every day during summer together with my moisturizer. I prefer the one from Coola, which is pure natural and comes in a 50 ML tube perfect for traveling.

(8) Shampoo & conditioner

First of all I always try not to wash my hair on short trips. As I prefer only washing my hair twice a week. I always do my best to wash it and style it on the morning of traveling. When leaving home, it’s often with natural wavy hair, then I curl it with my flat iron on the second and third day and on the fourth day when it starts to scream for a hair wash, I put it up.
However, if I for some reason have to wash it abroad, I use testers. My hairdresser is very keen on giving me testers of wonderful products that fits my hair type.
On the picture is Davines Love shampoo & conditioner for frizzy hair.

(9) Hairbrush

I have a little wooden hairbrush I always bring when I travel. I have had it for eight years and it still works brilliantly. It is gentle to my hair and fits in every travel bag.

(10) Perfume

I don’t use perfume during the day as I feel the body oils gives me a discrete and natural scent. However, I like to use perfume when going out in the evening and once again, I bring testers when I travel on short trips. It is a brilliant way to test if those perfumes you dream of are really the right ones. When buying beauty products I simply ask for a tester of a certain perfume and until now, no one has ever said no.

(11) Nail polish remover pads

These pads might be my best discovery when it comes to travel items. I used to bring a little bottle of nail polish remover, but even though I tighten it, I still felt like my bag smelled of this acid product. And worse; the danger of fire it tremendous (and it is actually prohibited to bring on board a plane!). These small tissues are packed in individual bags. I always have one in my bag at work, as there is nothing less flattering than broken nail polish. So if one nail is damaged and I don’t have the polish to repair it, off it all goes.

(12) Nail polish

I usually paint my nails from home, but always bring a nail polish in the same color, to fix small damages. If the nails are too damaged to repair, I of course make a whole new manicure.

(13) Toothpaste

Very important! In the airport they often sell these small sizes, so once in a while I stock up on them, so that I always have a small one on hand when traveling.

And just like that, everything will fit right into a little plastic zip bag ready to bring on board!

Besides of this little bag I bring my regular make-up, which is non-fluid (I mostly use mineral powder instead of foundation when traveling, but if I for some reason want to bring foundation, I’ll try to find a tester (again) of my color or simply add a little amount into a plastic container)

And where to buy all of these travel sizes? Well, if you’re heading to Paris, then City Pharma is the place to go. They have everything in travel size. And if not, then try your local pharmacy and see what they offer.


What I bring on longer trips (with checked-in luggage)

+ My regular Shampoo & Conditioner

+ Body Scrub

+ Peeling for the face

+ Heat protection for the hair

+ Hair Spray


What do you bring on short trips? Please share any tips or good advice in the comment box below!

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  1. Good guide! I agree mini products are super useful, though of course when you are away for a long time it is easier to just bring bigger bottles, unless you don’t mind purchasing more when you are away which can always be a fun experiment

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