This story wouldn’t have existed a decade ago, but today we are living in an era that regulates the amount of liquids, gels, and other non-solids that can be taken onto the plane. But you can speed up the airport screening process by ditching the baggie and all its teeny bottles.
We exposed several test subjects to scorching sun, skeeters, and stinky breath in order to bring you this listing of non-liquid toiletries.
Risking itchy swells, our testers took to blueberry picking after first applying La Fresh’s insect repellent. An all-natural ingredient and biodegradable towelette, the repellant is DEET-free and infused with natural oils and vitamins such as peppermint, sesame, olive, castor, wheat germ oils; plus vitamin E.
Our brave test subjects reported extremely mixed results with this product. One watched as a mosquito planted itself on her forearm and simply stood there without a nibble. This tester exited the bushes bug-bite free. On the other hand, the second tester was ravaged by mosquitoes immediately after product application. Regardless of the insect repellent’s effectiveness with bugs, both testers applauded the fresh-feeling compared to more traditional goopy creams. In the end, however, everyone agreed that they’d feel more comfortable lathering themselves with something more fail-proof.
One tester kept damaging rays at bay with San Diego Hat Company’s sunhat. The tester claimed the wide-brim headwear cast a shadow on her face, providing much protection from the sun. She also noted that the hat is “great for travel since it looks classic and it’s made to crumple and fold for traveling,” but easily smoothes out once you’re ready to step outside. We gave this hat two thumbs up.
Sun protection would not be complete without lotion application. We asked our testers to try out La Fresh’s SPF30 sun block towelettes. While all testers appreciated the luxurious feel, there were several issues noted. First, one cloth would not be sufficient for the entire body; and two, all testers claimed to not know where the lotion had been applied since it is so thin. After-sun results made for “blotchy tans with a tiny amount of burn” where the lotion had been missed. So, it seems that La Fresh’s sunblock is successful with several sheets, and with proper application, which is true for any sun-protecting product, lotion or towelette.
For on-the-go mouth freshness, we tested two products. The first, La Fresh’s Dental Finger Mitt, produced consistent results with all our testers. Testers applauded the handy packaging (easily slips into pocket) and ease-of-use (one tester even “brushed” as she strolled down the street); but overall, all found the product provided lackluster results–no one felt completely clean after use.
More conventional, yet conveniently small enough to slip in anywhere, Colgate’s Wisp mini-brushes come embedded with a “freshening” microbead which, when popped, expels what one tester a likened to a spritz of mouthwash. Our other tester painted a scenario: She could see herself using the mini-brushes to freshen up while at the airport between flights. Testers that tried both teeth-cleaning products chose the Wisps because of its more thorough cleanings, and because of the bristles, could brush their tongues as well.
Skin and Hair Care
To hydrate our skin, we again chose to test the popular La Fresh cloth lotion products. The company’s aloe- and vitamin-bathed biodegradable cloths worked well at keeping the skin supple all day long. One tester, however, claimed that in spite of its effectiveness, she wouldn’t choose to use the towelette again. She said that getting a handle on the cloth was tedious due to tendency to want to roll during the application process, and also noted that the cloth felt as if she were towel-cleaning herself as opposed to applying a latherer.
Travelon’s shampoo, hair conditioner, and body wash travel sheets were employed for the not-so-scientific test of hair cleanliness. Everyone found the recyclable-plastic packaging to be ingenious and smart, yet no one praised about the method of application. Although each tester towel-dried their hands before reaching for the sheets, fingers were never moisture-free enough to simply grab a single sheet. Attempts at grabbing a sheet produced frustrating goopy messes with several sheets adhering to each other. Not wanting to give up on the product, however, one tester employed a different tactic for test number two: she thoroughly dried an area near the shower and laid out several soap sheets. When it was time to wash, she found the sheets had become tacky and had “melted onto the surface.” No go. One needs completely dry fingers in order to grab an individual sheet from the case, alas, good in theory, but not so in practice.
It goes without saying that you should pack a comfortable pair of shoes for all those active pursuits this summer. Depending on what you’re wearing on your footsies, walking tours can either be an enjoyable way to discover a destination, or a death march. Keep active pursuits going by also slipping in shoe inserts for added support. You’ll have energy for more museums and hikes.
Aetrex’s Lynco orthotics were inserted into our test subject’s shoes. They were then stepped, stomped, and pounced on—our tester gave these shoe inserts a real beating. And how did they respond? With kind cushioning, (arch) support, and overall comfort. Familiar with shoe inserts, our tester reported she’d previously experimented with other varieties but that this pair “worked best because of its built-in arch support.” The tester went on to say that the insert wasn’t too thick thereby keeping the foot within the shoe.
When shopping for orthotics, stay away from the jelly inserts in order to avoid 3-1-1 compliance issues.
Pack light, yet have everything you need. Remember to limit what you pack because of added weight restrictions, which can add to already-inflated airline fees.
If your preference is to employ the teeny bottle tactic, arrive at the airport security line prepared. Make sure all toiletries are 3.4 ounces or less and stuffed into a sealable quart-size bag.
Readers: What non-liquid toiletries do you never travel without?
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.