#TuesdaysWithLarry: How To Pack Skincare Products For Travel

Things to note before your next holiday


Sorry for missing last week’s #TuesdaysWithLarry. I was in Nepal for work and a wedding, and spent most of the remaining time with my brain switched off, trying to find myself. #HipsterTalk #NamasteB*tches

Obviously I didn’t find myself – I ended up exploring the different nooks and crannies of beautiful (and dusty) Nepal, sprained my ankle because I’m a doofus and winded up with an asthma attack because I thought my lungs could take the dust. I also pigged out on delicious Nepalese food every four hours, clocking up a grand total of 31 proper meals - not counting snacks.

ELLE.sg senior writer Chih Lin asked me what I brought with me for the trip. Did I cut down on the skincare products I use when I travel, or go for multi-purpose ones? Of course not!

What I brought to Nepal

Here are my tips on how and what to pack for an overseas trip.

The Mini Kit

Pack a travel-friendly mini kit with sample-sized containers for your carry-on. Sample-sized products are quite easy to obtain, especially if you’ve been buying your skincare from beauty stores.

No, buying from duty-free isn’t counted because you aren’t able to build a rapport with a regular sales person. Don’t be a budget princess - sometimes the price difference gives you other advantages, like scoring samples for travel!

Or if you have lovely, travel-sized products, recycle them. Clean the containers by rinsing them with detergent and water, and leave them out to dry. Store in clean Ziploc bags.

The mini kit should include the following:

- Facial wash

- Serum

- Facial oil / moisturiser

- Sunscreen

- Vaseline lip balm aka Vaseline Lip Therapy

Vaseline Lip Therapy is a must-pack for me. You can use it as a thicker emollient over your moisturiser when you need a denser product, or apply as a generic hand cream or even as an aftershave.

The mini kit should last for about two days (or four uses), as you may get other skincare products while you’re travelling.

All of the above should fit into a sandwich Ziploc bag, to avoid any trouble with the customs. Or if you want pretty, see-though packaging for your essentials, check out MAC’s Clearly M.A.C / Trio.


The Full-Sized Kit

For original-sized products, you may also choose to transfer them to smaller packages before storing them in your check-in luggage.

How do we decide what to bring? Pack accordingly for the weather of the destination you’re heading to.

If it’s cold and dry, you may not really need a toner. Drier skin won’t benefit from a watery product in such a climate, as the quick evaporation may work against the skin. It’s better to just dab the face dry after washing, then apply serum while you have some moisture on the face.

Should we bring regular-sized products with us when we travel? If you’re a Business Class traveller with an abundance of baggage allowance, why not? Just remember to wrap your bottles carefully and put them in Ziploc bags to secure them or risk breakage and leakage.

Otherwise, save the luggage space for your shopping loot and transfer full-sized products into smaller bottles.

Remember this vital tip: If your skincare product is in a glass bottle, it’s designed to be stored in a glass container. Putting it into a plastic container may dissolve the plastic or cause leakage. However, if your toner or lotion comes in a glass bottle, it’s possible to transfer it into a spray bottle for easier dispensing.

Don’t just go for the cheaper containers - I find that they break too easily. Muji ones (from Muji stores) or Gotoob ones (available at The Planet Traveller) are much better in quality, last longer and are very reusable.


Muji travel containers 

The full-sized pack should include your regular skincare (sans the toner if you’re heading to a wintery climate) and a moisturiser that suits the weather of your destination.

If you’re lazy to think of what moisturisers to bring, just pack a small tub of Vaseline or an extra facial oil (my current favourite is YSL Forever Youth Liberator Water-In-Oil) along, in case you need to amp up the moisture level during your travel.

Or if you’re heading to a beach holiday and you know you might get slightly sunburnt, please bring along NuReflections’ Medical Aesthetics Organic Facial Mask to hydrate and calm your irritated skin while taking some heat away from your chaota face.


Another method is to apply double the usual amount of Bottega Verde Ialuronplus Hyaluronic Acid Serum before you sleep – the intense hydration will aid in cooling your skin. Don’t moisturise with any cream when you’re sunburnt, as that will result in the heat being retained in your skin and worsen the burn.

Optional extras 

Here’s a list of extras that I suggest bringing along, if you can afford the luggage space.

Baking soda

After no less than 48 hours upon arriving at your destination, use baking soda as a face scrub to remove any dead skin buildup from the journey or change in climate. It’s gentle enough and dissolves in water in less than 15 seconds, which prevents your face from being over-scrubbed.

Raw brown sugar

Mix this 1:1 with your body wash and use as a body scrub to remove dead skin buildup, especially around the legs and arms.

ForBelovedOne Mandelic Acid Renewal Serum

If you use acids on your body and face (very beneficial for acne-prone skin), start using this serum three to four days after your scrub. This ensures skin cells are constantly sloughed off and renewed, so your fresh holiday glow lasts a little longer.

Makeup remover

This one should be self-explanatory. How else are you going to remove all your makeup after that 3am beach party?

What? Did you really expect me to slack off on skincare? You may be on a holiday, but your skin isn't.

For more from Larry Yeo, check out #TuesdaysWithLarry: WTF Instagram Beauty Trends and #TuesdaysWithLarry: Bid Farewell To Your Cosmetics Graveyard.

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