The Best Travel Skincare Routine: What Products Do You Need?

Choosing a good skincare routine can be downright confusing, but even more so when you’re trying to come up with a good skincare routine for when you’re traveling.

In this article, I will explain why you need a dependable travel skincare routine as well as the best travel skincare routine you could possibly have with several important products.

I’ll keep the introductions to the minimum since I know you’ve got a flight to catch. Let’s jump right in. Here are…

7 Skincare Products You Need To Pack For Your Travel Skincare Routine:

  • Cleanser.
  • Thermal water mist.
  • Serum.
  • Moisturizer.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Pimple patches.
  • Lip balm.

best travel skincare routine

NB: I can show you how to never have acne again. If you have acne and want it gone, read this message.

Those are the seven skincare products I suggest you bring with you while traveling, and not all are a must.

You need nothing more than the above and these will easily fit in one small bag, so you don’t have to worry about moving things around and making room for a lot of things.

Let’s now go through each one in more detail and see why you need it!


Cleansers are an absolute must whenever you’re off for some much-needed holiday.

While you can get away with simply splashing some water on your face in the mornings, you always need to rely on a cleanser to remove that daily dirt, pollution, and grime off your skin before going to bed (even on your holiday). 

Luckily, many cleansers come in a travel-size package and if they don’t, you can always go on Amazon and get those insanely cheap little travel-sized plastic bottles for your skincare products.

Thermal water mist.

Thermal water mists are a great idea while traveling. They are simple, contain nothing but water, and you can use them as many times as you want to give that much needed hydration.

I personally love the Avene Thermal Spring Water simply because it comes in three different sizes and I always have a spare one of 50ml (1.6 fl. oz.) in my bag while traveling.

Additionally, you want to keep your skin moist before applying your following skincare products and allow the ingredients to penetrate into the skin better.

However, if you are staying in a hotel, the tap water might just be too hard, while thermal water will definitely help with adding that moisture without irritating your skin.


I was actually thinking between a toner and a serum and after remembering how lost I would be without that god-given Hyaluronic Acid by The Ordinary, I realized I’ve had to ditch the toner if I wanted to keep it simple.

Serums are skincare products that are chock-full of moisturizing and replenishing ingredients that help your skin retain moisture and repair itself.

They are suited with the task of delivering powerful ingredients directly into the skin due to the smaller molecules and liquid consistency that can be easily absorbed.

Additionally, due to the amount of active ingredients in serums, they almost always come in small bottles which also makes them very suitable for traveling.


Moisturizers are products with a thicker consistency intended to seal the skin barrier after applying your liquid products and help keep all that moisture into the skin rather than evaporating in the air.

Because of the dry environment on a plane or airports with a sh*t ton of ACs, this is exactly what tends to happen to your skin, therefore don’t even try to convince yourself you do not need a moisturizer with you while traveling.


Although plane windows can block UVB rays (which are the burning rays), UVAs can still pass through, and given the elevated level, the UV rays can be much more intense at higher altitudes.

Even though pilots and cabin crew are at a higher risk than the average traveler due to prolonged stints in the air, all passengers – especially those in seats next to the windows should take the strength of the sun up there seriously.

It is always important to protect your skin from UV rays, but it is especially a must when you are on a plane.

Pimple patches.

Traveling to your desired destination is a big excitement, however, getting there is almost always the least pleasant part of the journey and this can take a huge toll on the well being of our skin too.

You cannot prevent the dirt all around you while traveling, therefore, it is not an uncommon thing to get annoying pimples here and there.

These acne spot treatments are one of the best ways to get rid of pimples fast and are the last-minute saviors that are applied directly to the blemish.

They work with a multi-pronged approach and absorb the fluid from the pimple while creating a moist environment to allow for faster healing.

Additionally, this protects your skin from sunlight and therefore minimizes exposure to UV radiation that can cause hyperpigmentation whenever a pimple starts to heal.

Lip balm.

In addition to parched skin, the low humidity levels in airplane cabins can also cause ultra-dry, chapped lips that can crack and even bleed in severe instances.

To avoid any discomfort, be sure to pack a nourishing lip balm in your carry-on bag. It takes little to no room and can really come in handy in relieving that uncomfortable dry feeling on your lips.

3 Skincare DO’s While Traveling

skincare routine while travelling

Between the unnaturally dry and dirty cabin air, change in humidity level, lack of sleep, and a spike in travel-induced stress, your skin has the potential to become compromised.

This may lead to dryness, dehydration, as well as breakouts (which often happens to me too). 

Even though breakouts while traveling may ultimately be impossible to ignore. it is still worth the effort to avoid as many of them as possible.

Because who wants a pimple in the middle of their forehead while taking those holiday selfies? 

So here’s what you should do:

Wash your hands frequently.

Yup, the first tip is the most important one.

Washing your hands as much as possible is a key travel skincare tip simply because we tend to touch our faces much more while we are just sitting there exhausted at the airport, waiting for a flight.

We are tired, sleepy, and can’t wait for all of that to be over. We are practically dreaming about a bed while traveling, therefore we tend to touch our face much more when we are stressed as a psychological attempt to soothe and comfort ourselves.

Additionally, planes and trains are basically breeding grounds for bacteria, and you definitely want to avoid transferring them to your skin.

Skincare bloggers and YouTubers love to do whole skincare routines during travel, but the truth is that most of us do not have the luxury of flying in business or first class, so doing a full 10-step skincare routine is nearly impossible.

Therefore, you want to minimize the dirt from touching your skin as much as you can, and washing your hands frequently will help with that.

Stay hydrated.

Traveling can take a lot out of you, especially when it comes to hydration.

The cabin air is dryer than the Sahara desert and the only match for that is to hydrate as much as you can. Additionally, airports are almost always blasting the massive ACs being summer or winter to keep passengers as comfortable as they can.

However, while you cannot imagine being there without them, ACs are known to dry out the air to the point where even your skin might start rebelling.

Therefore, don’t forget to bring an empty, refillable water bottle that you can fill up with water once you’re through security and keep yourself hydrated throughout your journey.

Bring a sleeping mask with you.

While this may sound funny and completely unhelpful, let me explain the logic behind it.

We all need our sleep in order to allow our skin cells to regenerate and give us that healthy glow when we wake up in the mornings.

However, it is difficult to sleep on airports or planes when you know there are probably thousands of people around you doing their own thing and being noisy.

If you are a light sleeper and have difficulty falling asleep, a sleeping mask might be able to help you.

It won’t block the sound, however, keeping your eyes closed for a while without being able to open them at every little sound you hear might surprisingly have an effect on being to fall asleep easier and get your “beauty sleep” even at loud and noisy places such as airports and even planes.

3 Skincare DONT’s While Traveling

travel skincare

And here are a few things you should not be doing to your skin while traveling:

Don’t even think of touching those makeup wipes.

If you are someone who likes practicality, you are probably displeased at the idea of trying to fit your three cleansers in your small toiletries bag, therefore, makeup wipes might be a simple solution to a space-related problem.

But as much as it pains you to make more room in your carry-on bag, think that makeup wipes aren’t nearly enough good to help your skin in any way.

Makeup wipes are known to be full of drying alcohol that is going to make an even bigger mess on your skin when combined with that dry cabin air.

Additionally, makeup wipes are (ironically) the worst means of removing your makeup as they will just smudge everything around until you find yourself in a position to really having to get “in there” and scrub all that excess grime away, which will undoubtedly result in redness and inflammation on your skin.

Just bring your standard cleanser and don’t rely on makeup wipes in any case. Your skin will definitely be grateful.

Ditch the full face of makeup.

You absolutely do not need to have a full face of makeup while traveling, regardless if it’s only an hour flight or something much much longer.

This comes back to that dry, artificial air we are faced with whenever at the airport or on the plane, and this will absolutely dehydrate your skin to a point where it might feel uncomfortable and it won’t look pretty at all.

When our skin is dry and dehydrated, our pores tend to show even more underneath all that heavy foundation. I once pulled out a pocket mirror to check if my makeup was still on point before landing and was horrified by what I saw.

My foundation was cracked pretty much everywhere and my pores looked unnaturally huge, and it was only an hour and a half flight.

While you might be uncomfortable at the idea of going out of the house without your signature makeup look, a little sacrifice will definitely provide you with a decreased chance of getting those pesky breakouts, cracked foundation, and overall worn-out look while on the plane.

Don’t use a lot of different, super heavy products.

Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean your skincare routine has to be much more intense and over the top than usual.

No, you do not need a heavier cream while traveling, you simply need to prep your skin a bit better in order to maintain it hydrated the whole time.

Keep it simple and don’t fall into the trap of bringing too many products that you do not normally use when traveling, just because someone else is doing it.

You don’t want your skin to suddenly react to this change and you never know how your skin will behave with a heavier oil or a thick moisturizer suffocating it.

Long Flight?

If you’d like to learn more about the skin while you are traveling, you may want to check out my 2 newest books here:

The Acne Solution: Your Ultimate Guide To Flawless Complexion

An extensive, no-nonsense course showing you how to never have acne again, from a licensed Esthetician specializing in oily/acne-prone skin.

2 thoughts on “The Best Travel Skincare Routine: What Products Do You Need?”

  1. Great post! I just got a new job as a brand ambassador where I have to be on the road and travelling pretty often. Anything I can do to simplify and minimize my beauty routine while out of town is super helpful. 🙂


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