Beauty + Skincare Favorites in my Travel Bag

white eyelet lace swing mini dress extra petite

Today’s post is on some skin + hair products that I almost always have with me when traveling, and use regularly while at home! Some of these are very old favorites, but worth mentioning again given their nifty travel-friendly packaging options (shared some thoughts on the value of these sizes, too).

favorite travel sized skincare beauty products

1. Biossance hydrating 100% squalene oil and rose with squalane oil (their squalane is sugarcane-derived) – I rarely travel without at least one bottle. I love how pure and straightforward their products are. My bottle here is from last year, but their new packaging is gorgeous!

I use the regular squalane oil daily on my face, arms and legs (especially good for dry, ashy legs that are seeing daylight for the first time in months!), or occasionally treat my face to the version with rose oil. I’ve used this for over a year now and do feel like I’ve seen improvements to my skin tone and texture. It’s also guys-friendly and works well as an aftershave! If you’re unfamiliar with squalane, it can vary based on several factors (including where it’s derived from), but here’s an article about its general skincare benefits. I let it absorb for about 10 minutes before putting anything else on my face – you can use it either by itself, or under your morning or nighttime face cream. You only need a few drops each time, so one bottle lasts a long time and it comes out to be a good value.

biossance rose squalane moisturizer oil review

2. Tula Day + Night cream – now also available at Nordstrom (mine pictured is a smaller 1 oz travel size) – After Nick nonchalantly used up all of my La Mer cream, I set out to try some alternatives. One that we both loved enough to purchase again is this Tula cream. It uses probiotic (I’m no scientist, but I’m thinking yogurt) technology and is supposed to be hydrating and anti-aging. I can’t really tell about the latter, but I do know it applies really light and smoothly on my face and neck, and keeps my skin feeling soft and moisturized. The texture has a whipped and airy feel to it. For those with sensitive skin, note this does have fragrance which I usually try to avoid. However it’s a fresh, light scent versus a perfume-y one, and doesn’t bother me nor irritate my skin. The full size container lasts me approximately 2-3 months (with morning use only – I use a thicker cream at night in the winter), so it can add up, but is still a fair value compared to many other face creams.

white lace swing nightgown dress extra petite blog

3. First Aid Beauty ultimate repair cream – I have dry, oftentimes itchy and rash-prone skin, so I really like this thicker cream from FAB with colloidal oatmeal. I remember having rash breakouts as a kid and being treated to the occasional oatmeal bath : ) I bring this with me on longer flights (which are super drying) to use on my hands and face. It is a little pricey, though, considering how much of it I use each time.

4. Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder, travel sized with mini puff – This ever-popular translucent powder doesn’t need much explanation, but I wanted to point out the mini travel-sized option, which has lasted me for ages! Granted, I don’t use it liberally for makeup “baking”, but this little amount is plenty for setting my foundation daily and for keeping my face looking matte in humid conditions. It also comes with a mini puff for application (the regular-sized puff is usually $15 by itself).

corn tapioca starch hair powder dry shampoo DIY

5. Hair starch (DIY dry shampoo, which is never actually shampoo) – This is something I’ve been using since my teens and can’t live without. Basically like the loose setting powder for my hair. I try to avoid washing my hair too often, but sometimes it becomes too greasy even on day two. After trying a number of “dry shampoos,” I started just using grocery store starch (which is like $2) on my roots, and it works nicely to stretch the time between washes out by at least a day or two!

I’m using tapioca starch since it’s what is lying around my Asian household, but I imagine corn would be similar. I store it in an empty mineral powder container with the sifters, and use a fluffy brush to pat it on my roots (shake it out with your hands, then flip your hair upside down and repeat) before going to bed. Do this the night before you expect your hair to become greasy, and touch up in the morning as needed. Make sure you’re targeting the few inches of roots, and not patting starch into your scalp. Some of my friends mix starch with cocoa powder to make it darker, but I tried this and didn’t love the smell of cocoa on my head. I’ve been thinking of getting a Mason Pearson brush to help distribute my natural hair oils – since they cost a pretty penny, please let me know if you have one and would recommend it!

moroccanoil for long coarse asian hair review

6. Moroccanoil Hair Treatment (also sold at Nordstrom) – This is another old favorite that I started using years ago. I know there’s been debate about the ingredients and how it contains synthetic silicone, but the product works for me and keeps my thicker, coarse hair feeling manageable, less frizzy, and soft(er than usual) despite the damage I do to it via regular highlighting aka bleaching. I might be reading this wrong, but it seems like the travel container is cheaper per ounce than the bigger size? Like the Biossance oil, this also lasts a long time since you only need to use a few drops each time.

7. Arcona cranberry toner pads – I may have mentioned these last year, but these are my go-to toner pads and are one of the only cleansing wipes that don’t give my face a burning sensation. Even the extra gentle, sensitive-skin, or baby wipes at the drugstore (I’ve tried more than I can count) cause some irritation on my face. Since these are small textured rounds wipes and not full sheets, I use them to tone my skin and clean off residual makeup (after washing my face). It works on my residual waterproof eye makeup, too. For those with very sensitive skin, note these do contain some alcohol and scent from the cranberry extract. These come in a 10 or 35 pack jar, or I wait until the Nordstrom Anniversary sale to get the 70 count value pack.

cuyana monogrammed makeup toiletry travel bag

What are some of your must-have skin + haircare products while traveling?


36 thoughts on “Beauty + Skincare Favorites in my Travel Bag

  • Reply La Bijoux Bella | by mia April 5, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Beautiful essential things to have in the travel bags! 🙂

    ��LA BIJOUX BELLA�� | BY MIA | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

  • Reply pork & cookies April 5, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Wow I'm interested in trying the starch on my hair! I never find dry shampoo to work well!

    -Kirsten //

  • Reply pumpkinmommy April 5, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    For short trips, I'll always toss a couple of sample packets of DHC Mild Touch Cleansing Oil. They let you choose samples when you make a purchase over a certain amount. For longer trips, I take a travel sized bottle of Biore Oil Cleanser. I'll take my usual skin care stuff in 100 yen shop containers, but I'm wary of doing that for oil cleansers (which I can't live without) and I don't know which ones to trust for oil.

  • Reply Unknown April 5, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I highly recommend Mason Pearson brushes! I've had mine for over 10 years now, totally worth the price. And it massages your head nicely… you'll want to keep brushing your hair! 🙂

  • Reply Keri H April 5, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Tapioca starch since that's what is lying around your Asian house – haha!! Definitely need to try that out!

    Enclothed Cognition

  • Reply Mizeats April 5, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks for featuring these products. I may need to try a few!

  • Reply Jessica | Petite Style Script April 5, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Jean, great travel favorites! I also use the Laura Mercier powder and own the travel size just in case – I rarely use it and it's lasted a long time! Great tip with the starch; I use Aveda hair care & end up washing my hair more often because of fitness workouts (unfortunately for my hair). I've never heard of this Mason brush and use the Harry Josh Pro tool system – highly recommend all of his products – bonus they are a mint green color that is so refreshing! Have you tried Dermalogica for skincare? I love their products 🙂


  • Reply Starr Chen April 5, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    There are other boar bristle brushes that aren't Mason-Pearson but I don't know how they compare to the cult-favorite brand! I like to use baby powder before I sleep, as it absorbs oil really well and doesn't really leave any white cast by the morning, especially after I work it in a bit and brush it out.

    Thanks for the tip about the little Laura Mercier powder! I also have never heard of squalane, despite lurking about on the Reddit skincare subreddit occasionally, so I'll check that out!

  • Reply Georgina EL April 5, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Great post! i am dying to know what you use to fill in and shape your brows! please share!

  • Reply Anonymous April 6, 2017 at 12:00 am

    I use corn starch as a de-greaser for my hair, but would never tell my friends because they would think that's weird. I'm so glad you do something similar and people don't think you're crazy for it. I don't use a brush though; I literally put some in my hands, rub them together (over a sink) so that it's lightly coated on the front and back of my hands and fingers, and then (over a bath tub) run my hands through the roots of my hair, usually starting with my head flipped over. Repeat as necessary, and flip hair/head in any direction you need. The whiteness of the powder disappears if you clap and shake the hair enough so that it the extra falls away. (I'm also Asian but I don't dye my hair.)

    I don't recommend it, but I used that trick without washing my hair for over a month. (I was trying to reach the point of never needing shampoo, but it takes ~6 months, or so I'm told, and I did not get there.) I managed to hide the fact that I did not wash my hair for so long because I was also curling my hair on days when it looked worse than usual. For any weird residual hair smells, I spritzed perfume in the air and walked through it and people would comment on how amazing my hair looked and smelled. (If only they knew!) I did eventually wash my hair and now use the corn starch trick when I'm really pressed for time in the mornings. But no harm done to the hair and even after that month, my hair did not suffer any damage despite regular curling iron use (with heat protecting balm) and my hair actually felt thicker than usual (probably because I wasn't washing it all down the drain every couple of days!).

  • Reply Charmaine Ng | Architecture and Lifestyle Blog April 6, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Even your skincare faves are color-coordinated! My must-have always includes a lip balm. Can't forget that because my lips are constantly so dry!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Reply Winny April 6, 2017 at 12:23 am

    Wow, thanks so much for sharing! Those Arcona cranberry pads smell so great and work really well! I love the Arcona, Skinceuticals, and Tata Harper lines, and I tend to save samples wherever possible so that I don't bring any full size products. Especially love the mini gommage scrubs that Arcona has. Plus once I'm done I can toss them and lighten the load! Also your line about Nick nonchalantly using up your La Mer cracked me up! ����

  • Reply Anonymous April 6, 2017 at 12:29 am

    I have a mason pearson comb that I've been using for years! It's really durable and treats my hair well without yanking out strands as some brushes tend to do. I also love the dress on you!

  • Reply Anonymous April 6, 2017 at 12:49 am

    I use arrowroot powder and carob powder mixed together. I have issues with chemicals and fragrances so I can't use dry shampoo. The carob is because cocoa irritates my skin. My husband says I smell like a chocolate cake LOL. I was happy to read this, I thought I was the only one!

  • Reply Monika Bon April 6, 2017 at 3:49 am
  • Reply Michael @ Mile in My Glasses April 6, 2017 at 5:23 am

    I love your travel collection, Jean! Slowly over time I'm getting more and more variety in my travel case myself! I love discovering new products that help my skin!

    Thanks for the wonderful post!
    I hope you have a lovely Thursday,

  • Reply Tess Felber_Sequins are the New Black April 6, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I can't live without my Moroccan oil and I've so many great things about Tula- need to give it a try soon! Happy Thursday 🙂
    xx Tess | Sequins are the New Black

  • Reply Anonymous April 6, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Hi Jean… loving your Cuyana makeup bag here. You really should do a partnership post with them. They are the bag version of M.Gemi! 🙂 Their soft pink, blushes and taupes in their spring line-up of colors remind me of your color palette too.

    Two items I really can't live without: 1) Innisfree The Green Tea Seed Serum. It can be a little lengthy wait to order state-side but it's light weight and perfect for flying and a.m/p.m post toner and pre-moisturizer, especially in the summer. (I've had reactions to some of their other products but really love this.) 2) The Heritage Store Rosewater and Glycerin Atomizer mist – great out of the shower after toner, to set makeup or as a refresher. This gets tossed into my work bag almost daily. Love it! – Gwen K.

  • Reply Talia April 6, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I LOVE DHC products and their cleansing oil is a favorite. The samples (and they are so generous with them) are perfect with which to travel!

  • Reply Sharmeen Khan April 6, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Interesting fact about the corn/tapioca starch!! I might try that if I find it in my local supermarket. Also is that the wallpaper in your own bedroom? It's gorgeous.

  • Reply Ewa Macherowska April 6, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Beautiful dress! 😉

  • Reply Anonymous April 6, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Jen,
    Regarding the Mason Pearson brush. I recently bought two MP brushes; one in Junior size and the other in pocket size. I wanted MP for so many years and finally took the step to buy.
    however, I do not recommend MP because of the price, it is huge expensive for a brush! But I do not regret because the MP makes different, it's make your hair shining and glow.
    Good Luck!

  • Reply Kaitlin Schubert April 6, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Some of these I know and love, but others are new and I'm excited to look into them! <3

    Katie | Willow and White

  • Reply Khanh Nguyen April 6, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    You're beautiful as always! Can't wait to try out some products you suggested <3

  • Reply Mommy Puppy Noses April 6, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    I was coveting the Mason Pearson brushes and then my stylist told me about Denman brushes which are at a much more wallet-friendly price point. I have long hair and a sensitive scalp and I love my Denman, however I haven't tried the MP.

  • Reply Sincerely Ophelia April 6, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    The dress is so cute! Glad you linked to it!

    with love @sincerelyophelia

  • Reply Anonymous April 6, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    I love your white dress! Also, have fun in Hawaii 🙂

  • Reply Margaret Hong April 6, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    I figure dresses like this don't work very well on narrow shoulders like most petite Asian girls but you look great in it! Thanks for the telling us your home-made dry shampoo! I will try it for sure!

    xx Margaret

  • Reply Emily April 7, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I like to mix my corn starch with Cinnamon for colour. I also loooove the smell.

  • Reply Anonymous April 7, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Yes! I buy Moroccan oil too and noticed it's cheaper to buy the smaller bottles– weird!

  • Reply Julia Mazzucato April 7, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Gorgeous as always! I love the dress you're wearing.
    Julia・Little Miss Haute Couture

  • Reply Anonymous April 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I too had been eyeing the Mason Pearson brushes but was reluctant to spend that much.
    Luckily, my hair stylist recommended the Sonia Kashuk hair brush which is a mix of boar bristle and nylon fibers. I remember the first time I used it, I was amazed by how well it tamed my flyaways and how easily it smoothed out my hair to give it a polished finish! (the final finish comes very close to when I go to my stylist and he does a blowout followed by flat ironing the top layer of hair). For reference, I have coarse Asian hair, and compared to my mom's and sister's, it is considered slightly wavy rather than straight. I've had the Sonia Kashuk for about a year and it has held up amazingly well with low maintenance cleaning.

  • Reply Anonymous April 14, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Meant to comment on your creamy tomato tortellini soup post but never got around to doing it. I usually use starch to thicken soup or sauce. Just mix the starch with a little water and slowly pour the mixture into your soup or sauce until you reach the desired thickness.

  • Reply Anonymous April 16, 2017 at 6:29 am usually has good prices on TULA and First Aid Beauty. They also offer those Brands on kits (where you really get some products free compared to the "separate purchase price"). Valerie

  • Reply Anonymous April 20, 2017 at 10:53 am

    loved reading your helpful comement, thanks! I use a large powder puff and summer's eve feminine powder (no scent, and because I didn't like the smell of baby powder). Something I wouldn't tell my friends either because they would think i'm weird lol. I will need to try the corn starch when I finally run out of summer's eve powder and also the hand application trick you use. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Guest June 12, 2017 at 1:14 am

    OMG Jean, did you end up keeping the bardot lace dress? I just got a white one and I can't decide if I want to keep or not. The lining length is right above my knees, but the lace outer part seems/feels too long. Thoughts?

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