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You’ve packed your carryon and everything fits perfectly. That is, until you need to fit in your toiletry bag. We’ve all been there, but now you can learn how to downsize toiletries in a carryon bag following these tips from our readers.
How to Downsize Toiletries
Travel Fashion Girl help! A reader asks:
I’ve been packing carry-on only for 10+ years with my quart-size bag of liquids, but I can’t seem to get my other toiletries any smaller. Maybe I’m too attached to my cute toiletry cases? I would love to know what you pack to help me rethink my essentials.
It certainly can be daunting to plan ahead which toiletries you will need and which to leave behind.
What are the best methods for making sure you have the essentials and can follow TSA guidelines while saving space?
Here’s what our readers shared about downsizing toiletries:
Download Our Free Toiletry Checklist
Start by downloading our Ultimate Packing Guide for Toiletries. It’s FREE! You can click here or click the image above to open the editable file.
The list features unique categories to help you pack for your trip efficiently. It includes all the items listed in various categories and has spaces where you can fill in your own information.
With this guide, you can:
- Write in an item’s weight (lighter items means less overall baggage weight)
- Note if you need to purchase something or if you already own it
- Organize where you’ll pack each item including suggested packing organizers like these
Read this post for a printable packing list that includes clothes, shoes, and more!
Switch to Mini Sizes
For many travelers, accessories like a hair brush, hair dryer, or straightener can be their bulkiest item. However, most brands offer travel-sized versions of your favorite products that can help save on space. As a bonus, you can slip it into your purse while out and about, either abroad or at home!
Several of our readers recommended mini hairdryers and straighteners, as they can save the most room. You may also want to check your accommodation, as many hotels provide hair dryers for free in every room.
Read these tips on maintaining hair while traveling!
Take Advantage of Gifts and Samples
Many makeup and skincare retail stores give miniature products or deluxe samples as a gift when you purchase items. Save them up and use them for your next trip to save space in your luggage.
These gifts and gift sets are favorites of TFG travelers! One reader says, “I save the gift with purchase items from Sephora and Ulta and use them when I travel.” Another reader adds, “Clinique also has great gift sets a couple of times per year with travel-sized items.”
You’ll want to look your best when you travel! Read my travel tips to Pack Light Stylishly!
Replace Liquids with Non-Liquid Alternatives
The beauty of living in the 21st century is that now many products come in a variety of states—liquid, powder, solid, etc. Many readers recommended the Lush brand for its variety of non-liquid alternatives, including shampoo, conditioner, and even toothpaste.
One reader says, “My last three-week trip I used two Lush bars for my hair, body, and shaving products. I really love them.”
Instead of packing liquid face wash, some travelers recommend dry face wipes, which are activated with water. “I discovered these last year. They save quite a noticeable amount of weight.”
These 4-in-1 wipes combine the power of a scrub, toner, mask, and cleanser, and are available for combination/oily, normal, and even sensitive skin types.
Check out these six handy travel wipes!
Invest in Quality Containers
Many readers suggest investing in your own travel-sized containers, rather than continuously buying travel-sized products. This helps customize your toiletry kits with your personal essentials, while also ensuring you don’t waste products that may come in too big of a container.
Several readers recommended GoTubbs. “You can fit enough face cream or foundation in one to last for three weeks. GoTubbs don’t leak, ever, been using them for years. They are expensive but so worth it!” says one reader. Another adds, “I’ve never had them leak!”
Since GoTubbs are only water-resistant, not waterproof, they are not designed for use with fluids—but that’s what GoToobs are for. GoToobs are carry-on approved, squeezable tubes made from soft yet rugged silicone, with a no-drip valve and large opening that makes them easy to fill—perfect for makeup remover, toner, contact solution, and more.
Follow our ultimate guide to creating the perfect travel toiletries list and master the art of packing!
Many travel-sized containers are the standard 3.4 ounces, which can actually be too big for some products, and therefore take up unnecessary space that can be utilized for other toiletries. Downsize to 1 or 2 ounce containers, which save space and help you waste less product.
“Most travel-sized products are actually too much for me, even for a 2-week (or longer) trip. Plus, I’m very particular about which ones I use, so I can get away with decanting into smaller tubes or bottles that fit better in my liquids bag,” recommends one reader.
These are the best travel containers!
Re-Think Your Makeup
Many readers use powdered makeup when traveling, as they can pack it separately from their liquids bag. In order to save space, look for palettes that have different types of makeup in one, so that you don’t have to bring multiple containers.
One reader shares, “I have a palette from Bare Minerals with eyeshadows and blush. This helps keep everything in one place.”
Another option to cut down on space taken up by makeup is to find products that do double duty, such as tinted moisturizers or BB creams.
“Pare down makeup routine if yours is complicated. I use tinted BB cream, face powder, lip balm, and mascara and that’s all my makeup,” says one reader.
Combining multiple products into one (such as moisturizer and foundation) allows for more room in your carry-on for other necessities!
Find out how to make your makeup last all day with these five items!
Find a “Carry-All” Toiletry Bag
Along with downsizing, a carry-all hanging toiletry bag can help you keep your toiletries organized while traveling. So, instead of a makeup bag, skincare bag, and liquids bag, you can store everything together while still keeping them in separate compartments.
One traveler loves using a hanging toiletries bag for keeping everything in one place.
“I got sick of dealing with a bag for TSA, a bag for make-up, a bag for shower stuff and non-liquids,” she explains. “I like that all the pockets zip shut in plastic. I use a large sandwich-sized Ziplock for liquids (all decanted) that I can then put in my hanging bag once I’m at my destination.”
Read our review on the ultra-popular eBags Toiletry Kit – it’s our readers’ favorite!
Buy Products at Your Destination
Many readers suggest saving space altogether by buying products at your destination, especially when it comes to bulky items like shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, and sunscreen. However, just make sure to do some research beforehand.
As one reader shared, “Sometimes in Europe finding the products is a challenge because the ‘pharmacia’ stores specialize. In Madrid, I had a hard time finding deodorant when my travel-size deodorant broke (the “hard cake” roll on). But overall, buy what you can at your destination and share with your travel companion(s).”
Another traveler agrees, saying she splits soap, shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste with her boyfriend when they travel. These toiletries are essentials for everybody and easily accessible in many destinations.
Here’s our round up of eighteen useful solid toiletries for travel!
What are your tips on how to downsize toiletries in a carry on bag? Share in the comments!
For more tips on travel toiletries, please read:
- 10 Best Travel Toiletry Bags
- The Ultimate Guide to Hair While Traveling
- Ways to Fit All Your Toiletries into Your Carry-on
- The Simple Guide to Essential Travel Beauty Products
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