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When it comes to my job and personal life, I’m always on the go. These days it seems like there isn’t a moment when my apartment doesn’t contain a large suitcase, carry-on or overnight bag waiting to be unpacked. And let’s not even get into the packing process. One of the most stressful parts of prepping for a trip has always been pulling together my toiletries—until recently.
My boyfriend who also is always heading out of town on business and keeps a pre-packed suitcase with a suit, casual outfit and a few other necessities ready to roll at all times (sigh, it’s so easy being a guy) suggested I focus on creating a toiletry bag that’s ready to grab and go so at least one stress factor is removed prior to leaving town.
Finally the day came when I took a deep breath, decided I was ready to take the financial hit, and went shopping. Here’s what I ended up with.
1. Tartan + Twine Basics Black Weekender Bag, $36, from Ulta
The bag itself is just as important as what goes in it. You need to be able to easily house and find all your things. This bag is available in a few cute prints, but the basic black version includes a bonus clear pocket on the outside that’s perfect for filling with shower products. And, if you’re the kind of person who actually pours your favorite full-size products into small-size bottles, those are included, too. I am NOT that kind of person, so I ditched the bottles and the bath pouf and used the outside pockets to house travel-size bottles. Inside, two roomy zipper pockets feature a mesh lining that’s easy to clean if, say, a powder explodes all over the inside. There’s a lot of storage space so you can see what’s where at any given time.
2. Salon Grafix Travel Size Shaping Hair Mist Spray Extra Super Hold Styling Mist, $2.49 from Ulta
A classic hold spray is key for wind, humidity, long nights, etc. This one is basic and it works, plus it’s not too pricey.
3. Philosophy Travel Size Renewed Hope in a Jar, $10, from Amazon
I generally view travel as an opportunity to sample new products through miniatures. Philosophy’s Travel Size Renewed Hope in a Jar includes enough product to get me through several trips and is mild and calming enough to use in hot or cold weather.
4. Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs, $4.85, from Amazon
Winter, tan, no tan, etc., this is a quick fix to make legs look long and lean when wearing short skirts.
5. Yes To Cucumbers Soothing Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes, $4.81, from Amazon
These are always my favorite makeup remover pads—they are thorough enough to remove all traces of that dramatic smokey eye, yet gentle enough to not cause breakouts or dry out my skin. The convenient travel pack fits perfectly into the bag.
6. Caswell-Massey Revitalizing Cool Cucumber Eye Pads, $12.11, from Amazon
I also like to throw in a few special items in case I actually find a few minutes to relax. It’s always nice to turn a hotel stay into a mini spa experience. Eye treatments are one of my favorite options since, along with providing a little luxury, they also help me look rested after a long day or night.
7. Bobby Pins
A necessity for bad hair days, up ‘dos, and taming crazy bangs, I chose the Hot Tools Professional Bobby Pins ($5.95, from Amazon) version for the travel-friendly packaging and these are a solid choice for dark hair, but if you have blonde hair I strongly suggest investing in Goody Colour Collection Wavy Bobby Slides ($5.87) in Blonde for two different gold-toned options that blend in elegantly. Sally Beauty Supply also carries both large and miniature gold and brown pins in travel-friendly boxes in the store. I snagged some of these for my most recent trip, figuring the mini pins would be good for keeping unruly bangs in place.
8. Miss Spa Oxygenating Bubble Mask, $6.99, from Miss Spa
Another pampering product, I almost always throw a one-time-use mask in. When I put this mask on and hopped in the tub in the middle of a late-night, early-morning trip, I immediately felt refreshed. The formula bubbles and foams as it sits on your face, leaving your skin feeling clean and fresh. In addition, white tea extract, pineapple fruit extract, and vitamin B3 hydrate without making skin feel greasy and exfoliate for a fresh, radiant sensation and appearance.
9. Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, $14, from Nordstrom
Spray this on after your makeup to keep it in place all day. A must-have for long days and hot weather.
10. Hollywood Fashion Secrets Double Stick Fashion Tape Strips, $11.99 for a 2-pack, from Amazon
Quick fix for wardrobe malfunctions in a perfect package for traveling.
11. Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray, $2.99, from Ulta
This isn’t part of my everyday regimen, but if you are running late for a plane and don’t have time to blow dry, a spritz of this will help your hair air dry in style. It’s also great for aiding the sea air in achieving that relaxed, wavy look at the beach.
12. Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Mascara Deluxe Mini, $11.99, from Amazon
I love this mascara for all around lengthening, curling and thickening. The mini size takes up less precious space.
13. Travel Brushes
Real Techniques brand brushes give you high quality without too high of a price tag so investing in a travel set is affordable. I scooped up the Real Techniques Travel Essentials Set (on sale for $11.99 on Amazon) and the Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush (on sale for $6.99 on Amazon) and am good for face. For eyes, if you haven’t tried the Sephora Smoke Machine Smokey Eye Brush Set ($39, from Sephora) go buy one right now. This is my current go-to not only for travel, but for every day. Not to mention the included step-by-step instructions make the basic smokey eye a cinch to create.
14. Batiste Dry Styling Plumping Powder, $8.49, from Amazon
This does double duty as a dry shampoo and volumizer.
15. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo and Tea Tree Special Conditioner, $6 each, from Ulta
It doesn’t matter how busy, sweaty, long your day was, this shampoo and conditioner combo makes you quickly feel tingly fresh and clean.
16. Tan Towels, starting at $14, from Amazon
Always a favorite, I throw an extra set in my travel bag to keep up my tan while I’m away.