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Forget about the TSA and its draconian rules about carry-on beauty products. Airplane cabin pressure and poor packing choices have caused more disasters in my bags than any TSA agent. (Although an agent did once make me throw away a tube of La Mer face scrub, despite my arguments that it was not, in fact, liquid. And yes, I travel with a scrub because exfoliation is important.)
But in this golden age of beauty innovation, there's no longer any reason to be stopped by the TSA because of your face cleanser or to ruin a dress because sunscreen leaked all over it. Here are 11 tested beauty travel essentials to get you through any trip without a beauty product malfunction:
Powder Cleanser Packets
Honest Beauty Powder Cleanser ($22/30 packets): When she introduced this cleanser at the launch of the Honest beauty line last year, Jessica Alba said she was inspired by products she saw in South Korea. This product is genius. The cleansing powder comes in single use paper packets so you can allocate how much you might need. It can double as an exfoliator if you start with just a little bit of water and rub the coarse powder around on your face. Once you add more water it foams a bit, rinses cleanly, and leaves skin feeling clean but not tight. I preach about these to anyone who will listen.
Julep Love Your Bare Face Cleansing Stick ($28): I always do a double cleanse (oil before cleanser), and this oil-based stick is great for that and also removes tough makeup really well. Plus I support any beauty product that comes in stick form because it's just so easy.
Shampoo and Conditioner Packets
Oribe Travel Collection ($26): Those tiny travel size shampoos are fine, but I've had conditioner somehow escape more times than I can count. These pouches of product are generous enough that I can usually get two to three shampoos out of each one.
Stick Face Sunscreen
Fresh Sugar Sport SPF 30 Treatment Sunscreen ($25): Do you see a trend here? I love a stick. This new formulation from Fresh is water resistant, feels silky and not goopy on, and is great for the face.
Laneige Cushion Compact ($34 with refill): I've already raved about this concept, but a cushion compact is a great way to get a bit of coverage, some skin care benefits, and SPF all in one portable package.
Foundation In a Brush
Surratt Beauty Surreal Real Skin Foundation Wand ($65): It's a bit pricey, but if you love a full coverage foundation even on vacation, it's worth the price. This gadget is like a giant pen. You pump the button on the bottom and foundation is released directly onto the brush. A little bit goes a long way, so one pump is more than enough. The brush does a nice job with blending, and it comes in 15 shades.
Lip Gloss Disguised as SPF
Supergoop Shine On Lip Screen SPF 50 ($22): Traditional shiny lip gloss can actually make sun exposure to your lips even more damaging. But just as people are re-embracing a shiny lip, this product gives you lip protection in an easily portable and not disgusting-tasting (some lip SPF products are gross) formulation — as well as a sheen without any glitter.
Leaders Masks ($6): If you indulge in a multi-step skin care routine, this suggestion may horrify you, but masks are a really easy way to do some quick skin care without a thousand vials and bottles. Leaders makes formulas for everything from brightening to solving hangover face.
Inexpensive Everything Palette
BH Cosmetics Ashley Tisdale Illuminate Beach Goddess 12 Color Palette ($18): Feed your early aughts nostalgia as well as your miserly nature with this super affordable palette developed by, yes, Ashley Tisdale. It has every single product you need for your face and eyes including blush, bronzer, and shadows. And it's cheap enough that if it explodes in a bag at some point it's not tragic.
Travel Brush Kit
Eco-Tools 5-Piece Travel Brush Set ($8.29): You need small cheap brushes to go with your Ashley Tisdale palette, and these are surprisingly good quality.
Simple Micellar Water Wipes ($7.99): Anyone who leaves on any trip, whether it's for a month or just one night, without wipes is a damn fool. Toss these in your carry on. They can be makeup wipes, cooling wipes, and cleaning-that-gross-unidentifiable-blob-off-the-armrest wipes. I love this formula because it's not complicated and smells fresh.