Which Skin Care Products Go with You When You Travel?

Published in: Beauty Tips, Just For Fun, Skin Care

Travel skincare

We made it to Friday, WOOT!


I wish we could ditch everything and take a trip together. I’ve got an itch for adventure, and I think it has something to do with this note from Lizz:

Hi Karen!

Since I’m going to Vietnam and Cambodia for three weeks, I would like a few tips to keep my skin in perfect shape.

I normally use Clinique’s 3-step action plan along with an eye cream, a moisturizer and night cream, but since we’ll be traveling every day (we’re going on an adventurous tour), I don’t want to take a lot of stuff in my backpack.

Any tips? I do want to take a good cleanser and a moisturizer with me…

Thanks a lot!

Hi Lizz,

How exciting! Have yourself a great trip. I’m totally jealous!

For me, traveling light means paring down my usual skin care routine from six products (cleanser, toner, eye cream, moisturizer, acne treatment and sunscreen) to three.

  1. Cleanser: On trips I like gentle cleansers that can also double as makeup removers, like Philosophy Purity Made Simple ($10 for a 3-oz travel bottle). It removes everything and doesn’t sting my eyes.
  2. Moisturizer: I’ll ditch my eye cream and moisturize both my face and eye area with a basic face moisturizer (right now I like both the $6 Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin and $42 Kiehl’s Abyssine Cream+) to conserve space and lighten my load. Side note: I’ve read some beauty experts who recommend *always* using a separate eye cream, but I don’t see a problem with using a regular face moisturizer around the eyes while traveling. I’ve used ’em and have always been fine. I figure it’s only for a few days, right?
  3. Sunscreen: Gotta protect that skin from the sun! Two of my favorite products are Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion 55 ($38) and Clinique Sun SPF 30 Face Cream ($18).

Since you’re a Clinique girl, here’s a cool tip I learned from reader Megan (thanks, girl!). If you have any of those lil’ samples of Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion that they give away in their gift with purchase sets, bring one along on your trip because it doubles as eye makeup remover. Apply a small amount to a Q-Tip or cotton pad, and gently wipe away any eye makeup that didn’t come off with your regular cleanser. 🙂

Have fun and be safe!

Chicas, when you want to pare down and pack light, which skin care products do you bring?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Susan says:

    I also like the Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser (in the pink tube), which also comes in a travel size in the gifts with purchase (or sometimes they just keep some at the Clinique counter). It’s not drying, and is pretty good with taking off my makeup while cleansing, too.

  2. Katie says:

    I really like the small bottle of Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash that comes in their Sinkside Six-Pack. It’s not what I use everyday, but it’s my travel go-to.
    .-= Katie’s last blog post… tarte double-ended lip gloss =-.

  3. Christina says:

    I pack cleansing wipes, moisturizer, and oodles of sunscreen (and bugspray, depending on where I’m doing). I think for Lizz, since you’re going on an “adventurous” tour, to pack both a waterless cleanser (like facial makeupremoving wipes) to freshen up and to take the day off when you’re tired, and to pack something that needs water like Philosphy. I prefer using something with water to physically wash my face off, but I also love the ease of using a cleansing wipe, especially on those days when you’re tired and dirty and don’t want to go the whole shebang.

  4. Jasmin says:

    Hey Karen,

    I was wondering, do you put on your sunscreen before or after your moisturizer on your face? Thanks!

  5. i collect deluxe samples from counters like crazy.

    but… i personally can’t live without:

    1. cetaphil gentle cleanser
    2. biore spf30 dual moisturizer
    3. lush ultrabland (cleanser/makeup remover/moisturizer all in one).
    .-= ines + cha cha’s last blog post… Introducing the Ballroom Beauty Mascot – Cha Cha the Kitty =-.

  6. Tavia says:

    I always have small bottles specially to take them with me when I travel. These are some essential things that I always take with me. Usually I take lots of Clinique products, my skin likes them.
    1. Purete Thermal from Vichy calming cleansing solution for face and eyes or Bioderma Sensibio H2O
    2. Clarifying lotion from Clinique
    3. Continuous rescue antioxidant moisturizer from Clinique
    4. La Prairie – Anti -Aging eye cream SPF 15 a cellular intervention complex
    If it’s summer of course I take sun lotion.
    .-= Tavia’s last blog post… Trend: discreet shine with Lancome Juicy Tubes =-.

  7. Luinae says:

    I pack cleansing wipes because they’re easy to take with you and easy to use.
    I also bring a moisturizer that has sunscreen- for both day and night. And voila, you’re done!
    .-= Luinae’s last blog post… Walking around the World =-.

  8. Glosslizard says:

    I pretty much take my entire arsenal, I hate being without my skincare! In a pinch, though, my must-haves are:

    1. Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser – Takes everything off and leaves skin comfortably hydrated. I’m extremely obsessive about washing my face every night!
    2. Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Cleanser – If I’ve been out in the hot sun or sweating, this gentle exfoliator makes my pores feel tidy!
    3. Chanel Sublimage Eye in teeny sample tubes – I’m lucky enough to have scored many of these, and the hydration factor is unbeatable, especially when I can’t predict how well I’ll sleep or how dry the air might be!
    4. Moisturizer – I’m currently loving Kinerase, but I’ll take almost any well-hydrating moisturizer along with me. Strangely, it’s my least picky point when I’m traveling!
    5. Sunscreen (full-size) – For my face I like Coppertone Nutrishield spf 70 or Shiseido spf 55. For body I love Kiehl’s Vital Sun Protection spf 30 or (if I know I’m going to be in the sun all day) Neutrogena dry-touch sunscreen in spf stupidly-high-number! 🙂

  9. gio says:

    I only pack the essentials when I travel. I fill some small jars/bottles with cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen and I’m good to go.
    .-= gio’s last blog post… DIY Beauty: 3 Homemade Dry Shampoo Recipes =-.

  10. Ellie says:

    I hear you on the Cetaphil- you can use it with water or just rub on and wipe off. If I’m just packing essentials, I tend to leave behind make-up, so I can also leave behind make-up removers, leaving more space for souvenirs!

  11. Stef says:

    I pack way too much! But I also bought a set of empty travel bottles and jars, so I just squeeze product into them and I have small travel version of my daily routine.

    I second (or is it third?) the advice of Cetaphil. If you’re backpacking, it’s perfect because it doesn’t matter if you get to rinse all of it off.

    I can’t live without my Kiehl’s Calendula toner so I would have to bring that too. Keeps anything nasty at bay, and you can even use it on bug bites or cuts.

    And if you are truly worried about space, now would be the time that a moisturizer with spf would be perfect.

    I’d have a hard time not packing my Clarisonic! But that’s just me…
    .-= Stef’s last blog post… The perfect red lipstick, courtesy of Julie Hewett =-.

  12. E.D. says:

    I take Olay daily facial cloths (normal to dry), a tube of SPF 35 Vanicream (the only sunscreen that doesn’t make me break out) and a travel bottle with Nutraderm 30 that I normally use as my facial moisturizer.

    For body sunscreen, I take SPF 30 Coppertone Sport cream.

  13. Kristen says:

    Buying empty plastic travel bottles are a great way to tote your favorite products along and meet airline restrictions.

    My fave skincare items are:
    facewash: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
    moisturizer: Aveda Dual Nature Face Protectant SPF15
    eye cream: Clinique All About Eyes Rich
    sunscreen: any Neutrogena formula
    eye makeup remover: Maybelline Oil-Free eye makeup remover
    .-= Kristen’s last blog post… Cult Classic: Clinique All About Eyes Rich =-.

  14. redhead says:

    Cleanser: Depending on the weather, always bring a non-drying cleanser (I like Cetaphil cleanser for cold weather) for colder weather and an light yet exfoliating cleanser (Neutrogena Pore Refining OR Deep Clean Scrub) in warmer weather.
    Moisturizer: Just like the cleanser, bring a richer moisturizer for cold weather (Garnier Skin Renew cream in the JAR, NOT the bottle!!!) and a lighter one in more summery weather (Clean and Clear SOFT).
    Eye cream: I only like separate eye creams for anti-aging or depuffing properties, so if you could use solutions, go to Clinique – they have they best eye area products. If not, use your face moisturizer as an eye cream just like Karen said. 🙂
    Sunscreen: Neutrogena Dry Touch sunblock spf 30 or more – they now have spf as high as 95!! 😀
    Makeup remover: Vitamin E oil can be found at Walgreens, and it melts makeup off like a mo’fo’ AND provides the anti-aging, nourishing properties of Vitamin E.

    Have fun on your trip! 🙂

  15. angie says:

    i use clarins its really good and not oily at all.
    .-= angie’s last blog post… The Best and Worst of the Real Housewives =-.

  16. Marce says:

    Jealous! I’d love to go travelling abroad! I’d take a cleanser and moisturizer with SPF, so you round everything down to 2 objects. If you ever feel the need to exfoliate, you can do so with sugar -an oldie but a goodie- which I think you’ll probably find. Have fun!
    .-= Marce’s last blog post… Korres Monoi Oil Bronzing Powder – Review =-.

  17. Wendy says:

    Hey here’s what I take Im relatively low maintenance Instead of a cleanser and body wash and soap I use Suave kids Dye and Fragrance free Shampoo and just take my normal conditioner by the way this shampoo works great for taking off make up and I take a moisturizer for body with SPF and put it in a travel friendly bottle for on the go. By the way everyone whos been to Cambodia says its amazing, happy travels Karen.

  18. I bring those 3 you mentioned. I never travel without my moisturizer.

    .-= All Women Stalker’s last blog post… 5 Yummy Posts to BlogStalk… =-.

  19. Lizz says:

    Thanks for the tips ladies! I also saw that Dermalogica has these Skin Kits, very conveniently put in a little bag that is allowed in hand luggage.
    I am looking forward to my trip, have been in Myanmar before, but I’m told that Vietnam is the most beautiful country in the world, so I’m curious to go and find out if that’s true!

  20. Christina says:

    Whoa if you’re going to Vietnam I suggest taking LOTS of bugspray. Heavy duty. And bring sunscreen and reapply often. <3 Neutrogena Dry-Touch. Even better, RochePosay’s Anthelios. LOVEEE

  21. Rachel says:

    I use a prescription face wash, Prascion. That comes in a huge bottle, so one of those empty bottles, Kristen, mentioned are a necessity for me. I also use Differin gel I could feasibly squeeze some of that into a plastic pill case. Other than that, I use Neutrogena Healthy Defense in SPF 30. That tube is pretty flat, so I don’t know if I would put it in a smaller container. I’m having fun imagining that I’m going on a trip lol! Hmm.. I’m picturing that I’m off to hang in Italy for the weekend and all next week. Ta! Oh and Lizz, have fun on your adventure!

  22. Jasmine says:

    Hi Karen,

    I bring a cleanser and a BB cream (Korean cosmetic that combines moisturizer, foundation and sunscreen in one. Something like a tinted moisturizer with benefits.)

    Since I’m in Singapore — it really depends on which part of Vietnam she’s going to. Northern Vietnam is way cooler and more temperate than the South. But I’m assuming it’s the South since that part is closer to Cambodia. Please bring a light but effective moisturizer! The place is hot and dry, but depending on when she’s leaving, the place could be really wet and humid from the monsoons inundating the place, like about right now.

    Bring plenty of sunscreen, the sun is a killer! And insect repellent too. 🙂

  23. Megan says:

    I use the same stuff I do everyday but I transfer it to small, portable containers for easier travelling. I’ll also pre-soak some cotton swabs or cotton balls with makeup remover and store those in zip-loc bags so I don’t have to carry around remover bottles. Good for touch ups too, or when I need to freshen up after a plane ride.
    .-= Megan’s last blog post… Booking Through Thursday-Worst Book? =-.

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