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Day 28: The Best Health and Beauty Tips for Travelers

Packing Hacks is a 31-part series devoted to helping you become an expert packer! Each installment offers advice on how to get organized, pack smarter, save on bag fees, and eliminate packing stress. New to Packing Hacks? Start at the beginning.

Yesterday, we talked about how to downsize your dopp kit. Today, we’re going over health and beauty tips for travelers.

You’ll learn:

How to beat “airplane face”

How to correct oily hair on the road

What to pack to de-puff eyes

It’s nearly impossible to keep up with your regular beauty routine when on the road, especially during days-long continent-crossing trips to the far side of the planet. But with the right assemblage of packable beauty products, you can maintain a fresh and bright appearance no matter where your travels might take you. These multiuse packable products are your best bets for keeping beauty pitfalls at bay while traveling.

Challenge: “Airplane Face” After a Long Flight

What to Pack: Put together a small carry-on kit comprised of a few key cosmetic items in a quart-sized zip-top bag. This kit should have everything you’ll need to freshen up before you land. The exact items to pack depend on your skin type and the kind of makeup you like to wear, but, generally, you’ll want to pack a cleanser, a moisturizer, and whatever basic cosmetic essentials you think you might need. For example, here’s what’s in my carry-on makeup kit:

Challenge: Puffy Jet-Lag Eyes

What to Pack: Maybe you have a favorite eye cream that you swear by. If you’ve found a product that works for your skin, invest in a travel-sized version, ask for a sample from Sephora or your department store’s makeup counter, or pour some into a tiny, packable pot.

To de-puff your eyes while on the plane, scoop some ice out of a cup of water, wrap the ice in a napkin, and hold it on your eyes. Anything chilled, whether it’s a refrigerated face cream, ice, or a cold cucumber slice, will shrink swollen tissue and aid in reducing inflammation of the eyes.

Challenge: Oily Hair After a Long Time in Transit

What to Pack: Whenever you find yourself in full travel mode with limited access to a shower and blow-dryer, dry shampoo is a lifesaver. I swear by Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo, which comes in a non-aerosol one-ounce travel-sized container. Freshen up your hair by applying the product to your roots and combing through.

Challenge: Dehydrating Plane Air and Dry Winter Air

What to Pack: First and foremost, pack a water bottle. After all, the best way to keep your skin soft and healthy is by staying hydrated from the inside out. Sure, flight attendants hand out water on the plane. But usually it comes in those little plastic cups or mini bottles, and it’s not as if the economy-class beverage service arrives at your beck and call. The easy solution is to pack a squishy, foldable, reusable Vapur Anti-Bottle and to fill it with water after you’ve passed through security. The BPA-free container holds 18 ounces of liquid. It’s great to use when you’re not traveling, too—I throw mine in my purse on the way to yoga class.

A travel-sized bottle of good-quality moisturizer is a second line of defense against dry air. I swear by Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil. The .5-ounce mini bottle is perfectly packable. Plus, the multitasking oil is ideal for travel: Use it in hair, to moisturize cuticles, on skin, and on lips.

To protect your hair from a dry environment, rub some argan oil on your ends, or use a leave-in conditioner on your hair. A leave-in conditioner and styling product that will keep your follicles well conditioned, Living Proof 5-in-1 Perfect Hair Day Styling Treatment is a versatile, moisturizing serum that smooths and polishes hair. It’s also a great choice for combatting frizz in humid, tropical destinations.

Challenge: Chipped Nails on the Road

What to Pack: It’s smart to travel with clean, polish-free, natural nails—no maintenance needed. But when hitting the road with polished fingers, pack a polish remover. Chipped nail polish is going to happen during your travels; it’s inevitable. And of course, you don’t want to put liquid remover in your luggage, lest it leak on your things. So grab some packable polish wipes. I love grapefruit-scented Josie Maran Bear Naked Nail Wipes, which include cuticle-strengthening ingredients.


You could even go so far as to put together a little flight-friendly travel nail kit. Include a tiny file, small clippers (they’re allowed in carry-on luggage on planes), polish-remover wipes, a travel-sized hand cream, and nail polish strips.

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Up next: Day 29: Effective Strategies for Flying with Medications.

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