Your 2021 Travel Skincare Essentials

2021 Travel Skincare Essentials

Now that travel is (finally) back on the cards, it’s time to go through your packing list and get ready to go. When it comes to traveling with your skincare, different people take different approaches. Some choose to go all out and keep up with their regular schedule, while others go for a minimalist vacation routine instead. Whatever your style, you’ll be wanting to keep your skin clear and healthy and making sure you limit sun damage. Depending on where you’re jetting off to, you might have luggage restrictions to contend with too. So we’re covering how to pack your skincare for travel, how to adapt your skincare routine for your vacation, and breaking down some of our favorite travel-size skincare products too.

Can I bring my skincare on a plane?

Which skincare products you can bring onboard depends on a couple of factors: the format and volume of the products and where you’re traveling. For domestic travel within the US, the TSA advises that “each passenger may carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels, and aerosols.” When it comes to international travel, Air France lists the following restrictions on their website: “liquids, gels, creams and pastes in small quantities are allowed in the cabin in containers of 100 ml / 3.4 oz max each. They must be placed in one clear plastic bag with a maximum 1 l / 33.8 oz volume. One single bag per person is permitted.” You can put more cosmetics in your checked luggage, though, so don’t panic if your favorite products don’t fit within the restrictions! When it comes to figuring out how to pack skincare for travel, we recommend packing your in-flight essentials in your carry-on (more on that below) and keeping the rest of your routine in your checked luggage. That way, you will be able to pamper your skin on board, have enough product just in case your luggage goes missing, but also keep up with your routine once you land.

How can I keep my skin clear while traveling?

Keeping your skin clear while on vacation will essentially depend on your skin type and how sensitive your skin is to changes in your routine. For most people, the biggest stressor your skin will face while traveling will come from the flight itself - even more so now that you need to wear a facemask throughout the flight. Dermatologist Patricia Wexler explained to Allure, “the average humidity on a plane drops to 20 percent of normal [levels]. If your skin is normally dry, this can lead to oil buildup under the dehydrated skin cells. If your skin is naturally oily, this will only increase oil production.” Staying hydrated is vital when you’re traveling, so be sure to take a large water bottle and refill it once you’re through security. Bringing your favorite sheet mask onboard can be a great idea too, giving your skin some familiar TLC while flying can be just what it needs.

What skincare should I bring on vacation?

You’re going to want to think about what you’ll be doing on vacation before deciding what to take with you. If you’re going for a relaxing break, consider taking your usual routine, and add in some extra steps, including face masks, butt masks, and body oils.

bawdy beauty butt mask kit

If you’re planning a busy adventure-filled vacation, then stripping your skincare back could be helpful. Cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen are the three most important steps for a minimalist skincare routine. As long as you pack those, you’ll be golden. Generally, it’s a good idea to stick to your usual products while on vacation, particularly if you’re prone to breakouts or if your skin is super reactive, you don’t want to react to a new product when you’re abroad or out of town.

This year’s best travel-size skincare

We’re rounding up our current favorite travel essentials in each category. As well as taking them on vacation with you, they’re the perfect way to try out something new in your skincare routine before taking the plunge of buying a full size.


One of our favorite travel-size face washes is this Green Clean cleanser. It melts away your makeup without leaving your skin feeling dried out. It comes in a super handy 1.7oz jar and is packed full of oils, including sunflower oil and ginger root oil, perfect for cleansing while keeping skin nice and hydrated.

If you’re looking for a cleanser with a more traditional texture and still packs a punch when it comes to hydration, Drunk Elephant’s jelly cleanser is a firm favorite. It also contains antioxidant-rich cantaloupe to soothe and hydrate tired skin.  


Cult classic Glow Recipe’s Watermelon has gained its reputation for good reason. Available in the cutest little travel-size format, the toner relies on cactus water and watermelon extract to keep skin hydrated while gently exfoliating with PHA.  

If you’re planning on indulging in a travel-size Korean skincare routine, then Laneige’s cream toner and moisturizer would be a great addition to your in-flight and vacation skincare routine. It’s rich in amino acids, which it gets from white leaf tea water, and can help protect your skin’s natural moisture barrier.


Whether you’re headed somewhere warm or cold for your vacation, keeping your skin hydrated is key to preventing breakouts and dullness at bay. The Fresh Hyaluronic acid Rose moisturizer is perfect for keeping your skin happy while traveling.

Another travel-size face moisturizer that we particularly love for in-flight moisture top-ups is Clinique’s Moisture Surge. It contains both hyaluronic acid and cactus water, which work together to help skin absorb and store moisture. It’s the perfect long-haul flight companion.

Sun care

Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is vital year-round. But getting sunburn is more common when you’re on vacation. We love Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen, which comes in a handy travel size. Its formula both protects your skin and keeps it looking dewy without leaving any residue. 

If you’re taking a minimal approach and want a sunscreen that can act as a color corrector, Dr. Jart’s Cicapair should be your go-to. It incorporates SPF 30 sun protection and helps even out your skin tone without using foundation. 

Body care

Wherever you’re heading on vacation, your body will need some TLC too. Regardless of if it’s a romantic getaway or a solo adventure, Bawdy’s Super Tightening Duo has all the ingredients you need in a travel buddy. You can use the body oil to relax muscles, while the serum helps to firm up your skin.

super tight body serum bawdy beauty

If you’re looking for something more detoxing, the Butt Stick Duo from Bawdy will be your favorite travel sidekick. The Clay Butt Mask uses Kaolin, among other ingredients, to exfoliate your skin, while the CBD Butt Balm uses cannabidiol to soothe and hydrate skin.   


butt stick duo bawdy beauty


The bottom line

No matter where you’re traveling this year, be sure to remember to plan out your skincare ahead of time. Check what you can take on board if you’re flying, and be sure to keep your hydration levels up during your flight. Once you’re there, whether you’re opting for a minimalist or all-out approach to skincare, be sure to take time to treat yourself to some you time. And don’t forget your SPF!