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When it comes to packing for a trip, it can be really easy to get carried away and overpack your suitcase. This is especially true for your beauty products.

Your cosmetics and skincare actually take up a lot of unnecessary space because of bulky packaging (beauty products take up 20% of your bag space to be exact) and that is space that could be used for shoes, and additional outfits. 

We are no strangers to frequent traveling and because of that, we have learned some of the best packing tips for traveling with a carry-on, especially when it comes to packing cosmetics for travel.

Only Pack One Brush

Yes, you read that correctly. Brushes take up SO MUCH space and it's not necessary to pack a different brush for each application, you just need to find a good compact brush that can be used for multiple uses.

We recommend the Subtl Beauty Makeup Brush which is specially designed for traveling; it has an adjustable slider so it can be used for different kinds of applications: bronzer, contour, translucent powder, etc. You can even use the Subtl Beauty makeup brush for eyeshadow application.

Bonus: It has a lid so it doesn't pick up bacteria on your travels.

Multi-Use Makeup Products

Did you know the average woman uses 16 beauty products in her morning routine alone? Cut that down for your travels by looking for products that you can repurpose for different things.

For example, leave your blush and lipsticks at home and pack a Lip Cheek duo product instead. This 2-in-1 Lip Cheek is a great space-saver and creates good makeup symmetry when you match your lip color to your cheek color.

Lip Cheek formulas can sometimes be drying so look for Lip Cheek products that contain hydrating ingredients like jojoba oil and shea butter. 

Here are 2 other multi-purpose cosmetic products that you should pack for travel:

  1. Tinted Moisturizer with SPF
    That's 3 products in 1: you get the coverage of a foundation, hydration from the moisturizer and SPF for sun protection. We think the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer is the best tinted moisturizer for travel.
  2. Bronzer and Highlighter as an Eyeshadow
    Instead of packing a giant eyeshadow palette, just repurpose your bronzer and highlighter as an eyeshadow. Not sure how that works? We have a video tutorial on how to use bronzer as an eyeshadow.


There are so many reasons to love travel-size products. In addition to the cheaper price tag, buying a mini of something gives you a chance to test new products without committing to the full-size, it's also a great space-saver for travel. 

We recommend swapping your full-size mascara and foundation for their mini counterparts.

Bonus Tip: Fill a trial size foundation bottle and take that will you instead.

Opt for Makeup Kits

Half the battle of packing your cosmetics for travel is trying to stuff large palettes and bottles into a makeup bag. Save carry-on space by swapping your makeup bag for a makeup kit. Look for kits you can customize so you aren't buying products and shades you don't like.

how to pack makeup for travel in your carry on bag
Featured: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, Too Faced Mascara, Subtl Beauty Brush, Subtl Beauty Stack

The Subtl Beauty Makeup stack is the perfect makeup kit for your carry-on. It contains full-size makeup basics yet it's small enough to fit in your hand, your purse and your carry-on bag. It's completely customizable so you can build your stack based on what products you wear every day and which shades complement your skin tone.