Guide: How to pack your travel skincare routine in a carry-on

Let’s get real. As much as we all love travelling, we hate packing. It’s a love/hate relationship, especially when it comes to the airport regulations. I like to pack my travel skincare, along with makeup, in my carry-on for a few obvious reasons:

  • The ability to freshen up whenever you can. Whether that’s on the airplane or airport after landing

  • Maintaining your skincare regimen – it can only take a week to lose a lot of the momentum you gained in protecting your skin

  • Issues can happen at the airport… like the airline losing your checked-in luggage!

I travelled many times and learned to pick and choose my battles when it comes to selecting my ideal skincare setup. With COVID restrictions easing up, now is the perfect time to brush up on our packing skills for all those trips we have waiting in the queue. Continue reading to find out what to pack in your carry-on for your next getaway!

Airport liquid regulations

Any liquids, gels and aerosols in containers larger than 3.0-3.4 oz or 90-100 ml should be placed in checked baggage. Of course, they can’t be prohibited items. Additionally, you’ll have to put them in a resealable zip-lock to ensure they are protected.

This means most cleansers and toners can’t be in your carry-on. I know, it’s frustrating.

Must have travel skincare essentials

As much as you want to, you can’t bring your entire skincare routine with you – sort of like your closet. Here, I choose products that have a combination of those “must-have” ingredients. We want to keep it as simple as possible, however, I ensure to bring a morning routine and an evening routine!

Vitamin C serum

If you’re flying to a sunshine destination (which, obviously, the sun is everywhere), you want to bring your favourite vitamin C serum since it boosts UV protection when worn under sunscreen. Of course, it’s also great for hyperpigmentation and brown spots. It’s even better if your vitamin c serum also contains ingredients such as niacinamide and hyaluronic acid!

I’m packing the Purito Pure Vitamin C serum (see review about that here) that has a combination of 5% ascorbic acid, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. This is my AM go-to for the duration of my trip.

A soothing serum

There’s no doubt that flare ups or skin irritation are a foregone conclusion when travelling (even as soon as the airplane ride). That being said, you must add your preferred soothing serum to your travel skincare essentials list to save you in those times of distress.

For example, centella asiatica contributes to suitable healing of the skin and hinders scar formation due to its anti-inflammatory and healing properties. When you’re wearing a COVID-safe mask for multiple hours at the airport and on the airplane, I’m certain you’ll want to calm your skin to prevent future blemishes and potential scarring.Purito-centella-asiatica.jpg

I’m packing the Purito Centella Unscented Serum (see a review about that here) that’s packed with 49% centella asiatica extract, green tea, niacinamide and ceramides.

Additionally, I’m packing the NIOD Modulating Glucosides that’s packed with 13 soothing ingredients and 10 different types of antioxidants. This product effectively targets signs of sensitivity, redness, discomfort and irritation. It leaves your skin feeling hydrated, while offering a bit of luminescence.

Your favourite moisturizer

Bring the moisturizer you know works best for your skin! Of course, keep in mind the type of climate you’re visiting. For example, if you’re visiting a humid climate, perhaps avoid bringing a heavier moisturizer and, instead, swap it for a lightweight one. Again, you know your skin best!


I’m packing my all-time favourite, The Inkey List Peptide Moisturizer. It’s highly effective for oil control, especially in combination with the right sunscreen.

Your favourite sunscreen

NEVER. FORGET. SUNSCREEN. I know I can be a broken record when it comes to this, but I can’t stress it enough – especially if you’re planning on being out in the sun for the majority of your time abroad. Alongside your facial pick, I would suggest pairing it with a sunscreen for your body in your checked-in baggage.

I’ll pack my all-time favourite MISSHA All-Around Safe Sun Block Soft Finish SPF 50 PA+++. This is a physical sunscreen that contains soothing ingredients such as aloe vera extract. It leaves a matte-like finish, which allows me to pack and wear a proper hydrating moisturizer in tandem.


We are still currently dealing with both unprecedented and uncertain times and there are, of course, stricter regulations in place. Whether it’s an imminent getaway or a postponed voyage in the more distant future, keep this top of mind when packing your skincare essentials in your carry-on.

Another pro-tip, all the other important skincare items such as your cleanser and toner, neatly pack them in a secure zip-lock and toss them along in your checked-in luggage.

Do you have other must-have skincare essentials that you can’t live without on vacation? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time!



  • Natalie Richardson says:

    Great post Fleur – thank you for sharing this information!

  • Dutchie says:

    Thanks for publishing such informative article, Fleur. In Europe we adore the sun and using SPF is not a very common thing. Also, I remember that in the early days, SPF didn’t go higher than 30 and we only used it while on the beach. And when someone got a sun burn, we just laughed and put slices of cucumber on it to cool it down. You are absolutely right, we need to include SPF in our daily skin routine. Now one more challenge to go: introduce this to my husband.

    • Fleur Boomsma says:

      Thank you for sharing this little story! If we can normalize the use of sunscreen a lot of skin cancer could be prevented! Luckily the skincare companies are getting more innovative with their formulas to make sunscreen attractive for everyone of all skin colors/conditions/types!

  • Eva B says:

    So informative! Thank you for the sunscreen recommendations xx

  • Jennifer says:

    Sunscreen can save your life!!

  • Sue says:

    Your hair looks lovely. I want to try this now.

  • Celine says:

    Hello! I want to ask, after using the innisfree super volcanic mask, you rinse it off and then do you apply your skincare after that? or do you just leave your bare face after rinsing the clay mask off?

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