Beauty Products And Travelling Light


Packing Light Beauty Products French Pharmacy Finds

When it comes to packing, there’s one area that challenges even those most committed to travelling light.

I can almost hear some of you yelling out the word ‘shoes’. But I promise that packing shoes isn’t that much of a problem. Not when you compare shoes to beauty products!

Beauty products and travelling light. These two elements form the basis of the most common packing dilemma readers reach out to me about.

Despite the vast range of beauty products on offer the world over (and especially in France), I don’t know of any female travellers who leave home without their favourite skin care, hair products and make-up.

And while there’s no problem with that, all of these items can be a bother to pack. Full sized products take up a lot of space and get heavy very quickly. Travel sized products don’t last, especially if you are travelling for an extended period of time. And, regardless of their size, they can all be prone to breaking and leaking.

It’s a very long time since I shared Claire’s tips on packing toiletries. And given I’m currently considering which beauty products will be in my case during our nine weeks away, I thought I’d post five of my favourite ideas for packing all things beauty.

Beauty Products And Travelling Light – My Top Five Tips

  1. Get your skin as healthy as possible so you can simplify your make-up routine. This is a tip I’ve picked up from French beauty writers over the years. Rather than relying on make-up to correct issues, having glowing skin to start with means you can travel with less make-up. Top tips for great skin include eating well, getting enough sleep and using products that are right for your skin type. After following this advice for a while now, I’ve got myself to a place where I can travel with La Roche-Posay tinted moisturising sunscreen, powder, blush and just a few eye products. I’ve been practicing my holiday look for a while now (see my ‘Final Thought’ below) and I’m getting so many compliments on my skin and makeup. 
  2. When you do think about make-up, think light. Depending on the length of time you are travelling, you might decide to pack larger sizes of skin and hair care products. But make-up is one area where you can save on both space and weight. Many top brands sell smaller versions of their full size palettes. These products often come in lighter weight packages. Sephora has the best range, and they also stock some super cute mini mascaras. Oh, and where possible, go with pencils. They take up so little space and can give you lots of options while you are on the road.
  3. Opt for multi-function products. One of my favourites is my It Cosmetics four-in-one eyeshadow brush. It magically transforms from smudge brush to blending brush, and can help you create lots of looks with just one brush. Hair products that do double-duty are also great for travel.
  4. Decant where necessary, but do so with care. There are many travel sized containers on the market that allow you to decant your product. However, not all of these containers are created equally. Well, at least that was my experience when I had two clear plastic containers and a perfume diffuser all decide to leak on a single trip. Although it’s more expensive per gram, it can be cheaper in the long run to buy the travel sized versions of full sized products direct from creator. This is because their bottles tend to protect your creams and liquids better. 
  5. Invest in compartmentalised beauty bags. And don’t be afraid to use zip lock bags. Both of these innovations can protect the inside of your bag if an accident does occur.

One Final Thought

If you decide to try a ‘new to you’ product or make-up routine, make sure you play with it before you leave home. There’s nothing worse than discovering that a product doesn’t work for you – or worse, a new allergy -once you reach your destination.

Over to you now. I’d love to know your best tips for travelling light when it comes to lotions and potions. Please feel free to share in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

Please note: This is an unsolicited post. No compensation of any kind has been received from the brands or companies named in this post.


About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

6 thoughts on “Beauty Products And Travelling Light

  • Alisa Bearov Landrum

    Great post!
    Begin with great skin – absolutely! and then you can adopt the French approach to makeup: mascara, lipstick, done. No blush, no eye shadow. I take one mascara, two lipsticks (one more natural, one more red) and an eyeliner pencil for dress-up times. (Dark brown mascara and eyeliner – rather than black – avoids a harsh contrast with more natural skin.) Tinted moisturizer with SPF is a given, since you have to wear SPF anyway, you might as well get double-duty.
    A final product I can’t live without is a mattifier/primer: i dab it on my nose and the shiny places on my forehead and chin and just a tiny bit dabbed under my eyes and suddenly my face looks polished. Better than powder that can be age-ing.
    No need for brushes or applicators.
    This entire makeup regimen fits into a sandwich bag with room to spare.
    I am absurdly proud of this; it is the ONLY element of packing that I have mastered!

    • Janelle Post author

      You should feel proud Alisa. You’ve nailed a part of packing that a great many of us struggle with!! And think of the time you save with such a pared back routine. You can use that time to soak up all the goodness that Paris offers. I’m off to check out the mattifier/primer options – I don’t like using powder later in the day, and blotting papers don’t always work. A cream could be perfect.

  • Taste of France

    Another option: solids. Solid soap, shampoo, body lotion and antiperspirant don’t have to go in the tiny liquids bag and don’t pose a leakage threat in your luggage. Body Shop and Lush have a range; the gigantic Pharmacie de la Gare in Carcassonne has a big display with an organic line that emphasizes the zero waste angle (it’s in recycled/recyclable paper or cardboard instead of plastic containers). You can always give the products a try in advance so you know whether they work for you.

    • Janelle Post author

      This is such a good tip Catherine, thank you. Solids are perfect for travellers. They even extend to perfumes!! And, as you so rightly say, have a potential environmental benefit. It’s not long now until we visit Carcassonne. I’ll definitely be visiting Pharmacie de la Gare.

  • Joanne Long

    I spent 6 months in France a few years back. When I travel, I take only tinted moisturizer with SPF, brown mascara, eyeliner pencil and lipstick. I usually take a travel size shampoo, moisturizer and cleanser. These small sizes last until I make it to the pharmacy, Monoprix or Sephora where the choices are endless. Even in Mexico, there are specialty shampoos available although skin care products are more difficult to find. Oaxaca has an Institut Yves Rocher across from the library where I volunteer.