Must-have beauty items for a weekend getaway

Woman walking at an airport with a roller bag suitcase

This article may feature affiliate links, and purchases made may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.

Nobody has to shortchange their skin just because they’re going away for a few days.

Here, grab a few tips and tricks for scaling down a beauty routine to a manageable amount for weekend getaways.

For many, the ultimate packing challenge of a planned or spontaneous weekend trip isn’t cramming clothes into a suitcase — it’s paring down their beauty routines. If air travel is required, there’s the bonus hassle of figuring out how to get everything you need (want) through airport security in a carry-on bag.

Fortunately, whether traveling by plane, car, or boat, there’s a satisfying solution to downsizing even the most complicated beauty regimens. With the help of some clever packing ideas, no one has to shortchange their skin just because they’re on vacation.

Paula Begoun and the Paula’s Choice Research team, along with the Lilyvolt editors, offer these expert tips for scaling down a beauty routine to a manageable size for weekend getaways.

Travel makeup bag with cosmetics
Photo by Nadianb/Envato
The cardinal carry-on rule to remember

All liquids brought onto the plane must fit in a 1-quart, zip-top bag, and none of the individual containers can be larger than 3.4 ounces. (Sometimes 4-ounce bottles will make it through airport security, but don’t take a chance unless the item can be thrown out without regret.)

When you need to downsize products, you can use smaller travel-size containers or bring smaller travel-size packets. It’s easy to transfer facial cleansers, shampoos, and conditioners into small travel-size containers, you can get on Amazon or at most drugstores. These small sizes can store more than enough product for weekend getaways.

Another option is to use some of the newer bar shampoos and bar conditioners. Because they’re solid, they won’t count against your liquid allowance, and they offer all the fragrance and lather of their bottled counterparts. Even more travel-friendly are the mini sample sizes of these bars.

Special makeup-packing decisions to consider for air travel

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules say that you’re allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag. But what exactly qualifies as liquid or gel?

The TSA clarified: “Makeup in a solid or powder form is allowed in carry-on and checked bags with no quantity or size limitations. However, when packed in carry-on bags, makeup in a liquid, lotion, gel, paste or creamy form, must be in containers that are 3.4 ounces or less. You can take as many travel-sized liquids as you can comfortably fit into one quart-sized, zip-top bag.”

Don’t downsize sunscreen

If the trip involves going to a place where spending long days outside in the sun is going to be on the daily agenda, then large-sized containers of sunscreen are necessary, since sunscreen should be applied liberally to assure skin is adequately protected.

Consider packing a just-in-case supply in a travel-size container (or two) or travel packets, and then buy more sunscreen at your destination.

Almost anywhere there is sun, there will be sunscreen available somewhere, and there are usually several good sunscreens available at supermarkets and drugstores.

One tip: Check the sunscreen’s sell-by date before handing over your cash — particularly if you’re shopping at a smaller store or one that’s out of the way and might not move as much product.

ALSO SEE: Skip the sunburn: How sunscreen works, and how to choose the best SPF for you

Use multi-tasking products

Using multi-purpose products is a great way to lighten your load. For example, pack a dual-shade bronzing powder like e.l.f. Bronzer instead of blush and contour powder. You can also pack one shade of matte eyeshadow that works to fill in eyebrows and can double (used wet) as eyeliner — we like the Milani Brow Fix Kit.

For your face, you can also combine moisturizer with sun protection with Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Facial Moisturizer with SPF 50, or Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with SPF 30.

Makeup bag essentials

Even if it’s just a weekend getaway, it’s still vacation, so it’s okay to take it easy on the makeup. A medium-to-full coverage concealer can hide a multitude of travel woes, including dullness from lack of sleep, stress pimples, and dark circles.

A few to try: Bare Escentuals SPF 20 Correcting Concealer or Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation Makeup.

A foundation or tinted moisturizer with sunscreen will even the complexion and add a healthy glow while providing additional sun protection (weekend trips don’t have to mean more wrinkles and dark spots). Try Paula’s Choice RESIST Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 Matte Tinted Face Moisturizer, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer SPF 20, or Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 20.

Simple is good. Really.

Even though it’s tempting to grab every shade of shadow, lipstick, gloss, and liner — keep it simple. (And hey — if you feel self-conscious about posting a pic online of you without eye makeup, slap on a pair of sunglasses before you take the photo. Problem solved.)

For what you do bring, choose the most versatile colors that go on with minimal effort, so more time can be spent relaxing and enjoying the company of another. After all, that’s the best part of quick weekend trips!

Nancy J Price & Betsy Bailey

Nancy J Price & Betsy Bailey

We're Nancy and Betsy, and we've been adventuring in the digital world since the mid-90s -- truly making us that type of entrepreneurial internet pioneer Gen X is known for! We started back in 1998 and later launched -- among various other online and print projects. Our partnership has spanned decades and crossed state lines (multiple times!). Nancy currently resides Arizona, and Betsy's newest home base is Minnesota. It's been an incredible journey of collaboration and innovation. You can read more about our story here!

don't miss