My travel-size beauty product all-stars

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To close out the week, here’s my last travel post: I love a mini-sized beauty product, and not just because they’re space-savers when you travel; they’re also a really cost-efficient way to see if you might like a product you’ve never tried before and are curious about. Let’s start out with this Portrait of a Lady perfume mini, which I travel with instead of their hair and body oil, which I use at home because it isn’t as strong or fume-y, but which would be too potentially messy to pack in the cosmetic bag. As it turns out, I kind of like the whole spritzing-then-walking-through-a-cloud-of-perfume trick, and it has the added bonus of making whatever hotel room or Airbnb we’re staying smell really nice.

I love any product that lets me skip washing my face, and Bioderma does just that, cleansing thoroughly (I go over it twice, with two separate cotton pads to get everything off) and never making my skin feel dry afterward. In fact, Micellar water actually hydrates.

I apply a mixture of this Drunk Elephant duo to my face every morning, then wait for it to absorb before putting on makeup, and it leaves such a smooth base coat. And I feel like the Vitamin C really does brighten my skin, and for sure helps with undereye circles.

I spray Davines Oi All in One Milk on my poor tangled towel-dried hair after shampoos, and it detangles, protects during heat-styling, and brings my hair’s frizzbo impulses to curb.

A couple of pumps of Davines Oi Oil go on post-blow-dry: I like that it adds shine and controls flyaways.

Biologique Recherche’s famous P-50 potion came with a lot of hype—people like to call it a “facial in a bottle,”— and in the past couple of months that I have been using it, I’ve really bought in to the mania. This stuff exfoliates and corrects your skin’s ph balance, and contains just enough acids to give your skin a gorgeous rosy glow after you’ve been using it for a while. Two caveats: it smells like hell, and it isn’t cheap.

I have stayed true to Nars Climax  longer than I do most mascaras, because it makes me look like I have a full set of fat, fluttery lashes, and I find mascara easier to apply well in mini form, for some reason. What travel minis do you swear by? Please share in the comments.

 

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26 Thoughts on My travel-size beauty product all-stars
    Elise
    8 May 2019
    10:58am

    Love this post! I’m not sure if they are samples or minis but several Tata Harper products in the mini size have been awesome. I’m a devotee of Maybelline Great Lash but always buy it in travel size because it’s best when it’s new and I can’t use a big bottle fast enough. Travel size deodorant is also a win; I think I lose them before they run out? As a Mom I imagine I’m not the only one that lives a double life–only one of which really calls for makeup. I recently reconciled a back log of beauty products that pre-kid I bought several times a year in duplicate (a set for work in the city and a set for home) and in full size and just realized I now use them at about 10% of the pace. Other than night cream and sunscreen, switching to travel size in general would make the most sense for me–most of my makeup is NARS and I didn’t realize they made minis. Good to know. Tks!

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    Lynn in Tucson
    8 May 2019
    2:35pm

    Are you using the original P50 or the one without the phenol? I’ve had the P50 PIGM 400 (for hyperpigmentation) for a couple months and I don’t think it’s all that. (It also doesn’t seem as smelly as others report.) I may splurge on a bottle of the regular stuff when this one is gone.

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    moi
    6 May 2019
    7:44pm

    Portrait of a Lady fan! One of my all-time favorite perfumes, and I travel with a mini of it, as well as of Carnal Flower. I like the Drunk Elephant minis, too. I don’t usually carry shampoo, since most hotels have it, but I’m wedded to my facial cleanser and toner, so I decant those into small dishwashable plastic containers.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    4 May 2019
    2:41am

    I don’t really have specific minis, but I collect skincare samples from brands I use every time I make a Sephora purchase, which I do quite often. I keep my travel bag stocked and ready to go. That way, all I have to do is pull together my makeup bag, which is always one simple look: Eyes or lips.

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    Abby
    3 May 2019
    1:32pm

    I love the trend of mascaras named after sexy things: “Climax”, “Better than Sex” etc.

    On a non snorting-fifth-grade-humor topic – I carry a lot of similar products (sans micellar water which predisposes my eyes to blepharitis) in little pots. My addition to the list is a sheet of CosRx blemish patches because when traveling from the arid Rockies to humid Miami, my peri-menopausal skin usually loses its composure. They’re great for dealing with blemishes overnight and they have very thin ones that you can even apply makeup over in a pinch. Illuminating concealer for tired undereyes is also a must: I’ve found that YSL or Clinique’s little brush concealer pen are tolerated by TSA and won’t take up valuable real estate in a quart bag.

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    Liz
    3 May 2019
    3:32pm

    I just discovered the first face oil that doesn’t make me break out, and I’m obsessed with it, especially because it’s only $13 and really evened our my skin tone. It’s Timeless Squalane Oil, derived entirely from olive (not shark, as apparently some are). I’d been dealing with hormonal cystic acne during my period for the last two years, and since using this, I haven’t broken out once. It is my new favorite.

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    Anne
    3 May 2019
    8:12pm

    Big fan of GoToobs for transferring from big bottles to travel size since I can’t seem to give up my preferred shampoo and conditioner when on the road. They have wide mouths and are easy to clean. Otherwise I have deluxe sample size pots that I’ve cleaned and saved to use for lotions and potions.

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      D.Morgendorffer
      4 May 2019
      12:52pm

      Thank you for mentioning this. I am terrible with spatial relationships. So, between your and C.W’s suggestions, I now have concrete details and visual sense of the kind of travel containers I’d prefer.

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    Em
    3 May 2019
    8:36pm

    I always use mini mascaras; my current fave is Urban Decay Perversion. I think they coat my lashes better, and the full-size ones always seem to get weird before I think I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

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    Kathy
    5 May 2019
    8:36pm

    I’m going to a wedding in Pensacola in the beginning of June and I WILL NOT pay $30 to check a bag—plus I hate to wait for luggage. So along with saving space in the liquids bag, I’m trying to save space in my actual carry-on. I cleaned out an old twist-up stick sunscreen container (Neutrogena, in a sort of flat shape, rather than a cylinder?). I just used a toothbrush and dish liquid to clean it after scraping out the leftovers. I took my favorite solid antiperspirant (Degree MotionSense Ultra-Clear Black & White) to the kitchen and cut off a slice with a sharp knife. I dropped the slice in a small glass and nuked it in the microwave for a minute or so—20 second intervals—and poured it into the sunscreen tube. Now I have a very tiny deodorant that actually contains more product than a clunky sample size has. It takes up about 1/4 the space of a sample size, plus I can never find my brand in sample form, anyway.

    I consider myself a travel genius now. 😹

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      Heather
      6 May 2019
      7:50am

      THIS IS GENIUS.

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    Rachel S
    7 May 2019
    12:33pm

    I’d just like to throw in a comment about the P50 lotion. The hype seems entirely unwarranted, especially given the price. I love using Beautypedia as a reference for any and all skincare/cosmetics purchasing decisions and the P50 is only rated 2 of 5 stars. Largely due to the fact that it contains several ingredients clinically proven to be irritating (and thus potentially damaging to skin.(https://www.beautypedia.com/products/lotion-p50/?archive_search=%2Fbrand%2Fbiologique-recherche%2F)
    There are many well formulated exfoliants on the market that are not sensitizing to skin, and cost less than a fortune to boot. I hate to see people splurging on products that don’t work or worse, could be hurting them. Kim haven’t you said you have sensitive skin? I do too… you should reconsider this one.

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    EW
    3 May 2019
    1:05pm

    Holy moly, except for the P50 and PoaL mini(I use another frag) I have the Same travel minis!

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    Hope
    3 May 2019
    12:30pm

    I’m going to Europe for a few weeks in June, so this was great timing! I can’t wait to stock up on products in Paris and London.

    I don’t know if you’re taking requests right now but I have to attend a black-tie wedding in October. I don’t even know where to shop! Barney’s? Net a porter? Do I need a formal coat? Please help me! I remember a few years ago you posted some formal dresses (and fab Loubiton booties) for a wedding, I was hoping you could revisit this list? xo

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      Candy
      3 May 2019
      8:10pm

      Don’t forget to check out Rent the Runway for a long or fancy dress. My DIL did that for black tie weddings and said it was great and much less expensive.

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    Heather
    3 May 2019
    12:44pm

    Not a mini, but i always travel with a Lush solid shampoo bar. Saves space in my liquids bag, and in addition to hair and body, i’ve used it to wash out clothes in the sink.

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    Dawn
    3 May 2019
    12:45pm

    I’m a big fan of DHC Cleasing Oil (removes makeup without drying my skin) and follow with their Mild Soap (enriched with honey and virgin olive oil). They give 3 free samples with each order and I use them for travel (although they sell travel sizes too). Been using these cleansing products for years…love them!

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      Jeanne
      3 May 2019
      1:02pm

      I do this too with DHC the oil and mild soap! I can’t say enough about their cleansing oil and the sample size soap is the perfect travel size.

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    MaryAlice
    3 May 2019
    11:14am

    Not exactly minis, but I never travel without Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic Dry Sheet Mask – you can use each mask 3 times and it’s dry, not messy – and I swear it makes me look like I slept 9 hours.

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    Sharon
    3 May 2019
    11:16am

    I use many of these but buy full size and fill reusable bottles to cut down on plastic consumption.

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      D.Morgendorffer
      3 May 2019
      2:06pm

      Do you or any other commenters have any recommendations about any types or brands of reusable bottles that are easy to clean afterwards? I really like the idea of cutting down on plastic consumption for trips, but am not totally satisfied that I’m getting the containers fully cleaned for use again. I have a dandy German bottle brush, but it seems like the design of some bottles allows moisturizer/oil/serum to collect in spots awkward for even a bottle brush to reach. (I’m not a clean freak. I have mild rosacea and have to baby my skin.)

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        Mamavalveeta03
        4 May 2019
        2:46am

        Top rack of the dishwasher – that’ll get anything clean.

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          D.Morgendorffer
          4 May 2019
          12:37pm

          My dishwasher is currently playing a multi-player game on his computer. (We live in a hundred year old house–not worth the headache to install a non-husband dishwasher; otherwise, I would totally follow your suggestion.)

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        Viajera
        3 May 2019
        2:54pm

        Ditto. I would love to find something made out of material that doesn’t mess with the endocrine system, or any others I guess, and which I can put in the dishwasher. I haven’t researched it myself though, but maybe someone here already has the answer.

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        c.w.
        3 May 2019
        3:16pm

        I’ve had really good luck with these. They are wide-mouthed which makes them easier to clean and you can squeeze the air out as products get used: 3 oz. Soft-Touch Travel Dispenser from The Container Store.

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          D.Morgendorffer
          3 May 2019
          7:17pm

          Thank you!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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