When it comes to air travel, there are lots of things that help ensure a smooth experience, like planning ahead, being on time (or early!), researching TSA or international guidelines, or being flexible when things don’t quite unfold as you expected. And perhaps most importantly? Packing really well. And this is especially important when it comes to all things breakable and spillable, as is the case with cosmetics. From using the right leak-free pouch (while avoiding single-use plastic baggies 🚫) to getting mini-sized makeup products to save space, we’re unpacking all our best tips for ensuring your cosmetics make it safe and sound to your final destination.
Prepare Carry-On Essentials
These days, it’s common for travelers to forgo a checked bag altogether and pack all their travel belongings in a carry-on. If you’re in this camp, then you’ll want to take stock of all the liquid products you plan to bring along, like toothpaste, lip gloss, face primer, or foundation. Because of security restrictions and airline requirements, carry-on liquids need to be in 100ml (3.4 oz)containers (or smaller), so opt for buying travel size makeup products, or decant them into reusable travel containers or silicone squeeze bottles. These small liquids must all fit in a single quart-sized clear bag, which is to be removed from your carry-on bag at the security checkpoint and screened separately.
But those single-use plastic bags can be leaky (speaking from experience here!) and rip easily, especially when you try to reuse them. Our solution? The clear Quart Bag from Stasher, which is TSA compliant, super durable, endlessly reusable, easy to close, and totally leak-free. Bound to be your favorite travel companion, the clear quart bag keeps all your liquids snug — and the rest of your carry-on belongings clean and dry.
And remember that when traveling, preparedness is key. So if you have questions about what you’re allowed to bring in your carry-on, or just need a general refresher, be sure to check the TSA’s website or call the airport or airline customer service for guidance.
Plan Your Makeup Looks
But let’s back up: what if you don’t know what you want to pack in the first place? When packing, you probably already plan out your outfits for each day of the trip rather than just throwing random clothes in a suitcase and hoping for the best. (But if you’re the latter, we don’t judge.) Try approaching makeup in the same way: instead of packing your entire makeup bag by default, plan your makeup looks for each day alongside your outfits to get clear on exactly which makeup products you’ll need to bring. Makeup planning can help cut down on the number of products you bring, freeing up space for other essentials or for fun souvenir purchases at your destination.
Streamline & Decant Your Makeup
Now that you know exactly which products you’d like to bring, do a quick scan of your collection to see if any of your products can do double duty, allowing you to bring even less. For instance, can you bring one small eyeshadow palette instead of those five separate shadows? Can your cheek tint work as lipstick? Can you use your bronzer as your crease eyeshadow? Get creative! And if you travel a lot, start considering versatility when you buy makeup, opting for products with multiple uses.
For larger cosmetics like makeup setting spray or foundation, decant big containers into travel-sized bottles with just the amount you’ll need (plus a little extra, just in case. Besides meeting those aforementioned TSA requirements, decanting helps to save on space in a small carry-on bag (where space is almost always limited). And because checked baggage is subject to weight restrictions and liquids are heavy, decanting can be helpful even if you’re checking a bag rather than packing makeup in your carry-on.
How to Pack Makeup in Checked Luggage
If you’re bringing a carry-on bag and also checking a suitcase, consider packing most of your makeup in your checked bag and the essentials you might want to use during the flight (like a face toner or lip treatment) in your carry-on bag.
Just like when you’re packing makeup in a carry-on, you’ll want to be super mindful of possible spills in your checked luggage. To avoid mishaps – like foundation-stained sweaters or pajamas doused in eyeshadow dust – choose a makeup bag or container with a sturdy, airtight seal. Of course, no matter how spill-proof your makeup bag is, products can sometimes break or leak inside the bag if they’re handled roughly in transit or react to the changing air pressure. So choosing a bag that’s not just leak-free but washable or made of wipeable material is a smart idea. Our pick: a Stasher Stand-Up Bag or 4-Cup Bowl, both of which are leak-free (have we mentioned that before?), dishwasher safe, and ready for anything. If you tend to travel with a lot of products and need extra help with your makeup organization on the go, you can also look for a travel-friendly makeup bag that has lots of compartments.
How you pack your makeup within your checked luggage also matters. If you have delicate makeup palettes or breakable bottles, try placing your makeup bag in the middle of your suitcase and cushioning it with soft items like socks, t-shirts, and pajama pants to provide padding. Be mindful of filling any gaps in your luggage, too – packing your things more tightly helps your makeup not move around so much when it inevitably gets jostled during the loading and unloading process.
When packing makeup, think of the following S’s:
- Are the products the right size for TSA regulations?
- Is the makeup bag secure and leak-proof?
- Is it surrounded by soft items in the suitcase as insulation?
- Can it be scrubbed with soap and water in case a product spills inside the bag?
- And is it a Stasher?