I ummed and aahed over whether it was too late in the year to share this post. But a lot of people are lucky enough to travel regularly, even if it’s just a quick weekend getaway, and it helps if you can turn packing into an art form.
I’m not there yet, but this year I’ve tried to put more thought into the process and not fall into the trap of buying unnecessary mini products (It’s a holiday, I’ll treat myself is my favourite excuse). This was especially important when I spent a week in Tuscany in June, because I was only able to take hand luggage with me.
I started by hunting for travel products I’d stashed away. I found a mini Clean On Me and The Righteous Butter from Soap & Glory, both old favourites I was given as presents, and a Sukin shampoo and conditioner duo that came in a Love Lula beauty box*. The conditioner is especially good—it’s light, moisturising, and doesn’t make fine hair look lanky.
Next, I decanted my skincare products into travel-size pots and bottles I had leftover from my trip to Portugal in 2016. They’re made of plastic, which isn’t ideal, but I’d rather find a use for them than throw them away.
- Lush Ultrabland for removing sunscreen and make-up
- Sukin Oil Balancing Gel Cleanser (v), for washing my face morning and night
- PHB Ethical Beauty Brightening Eye Gel* (v)
- The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA (v)
Some of the products I already own were plane-friendly to begin with —Soap & Glory’s Sunshield Superfluid is 30ml and Yarok Feed Your Ends (v), the best leave-in conditioner and heat protector on the planet, is available in a 59ml bottle. (This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it lasts for months and months.) Elsa’s Organic Skin Food Deodorant in Ocean* (v) is 45g and packed with peppermint and tea tree to keep your underarms nice and fresh, even when you’re sweating from walking around a city all day, and Pacifica’s solid perfumes(v) come in handy 10g tins. I love the Tuscan Blood Orange scent in summer and French Lilac in winter.
I packed a bit of make-up, but I should have known better because I don’t really wear it when it’s really hot (it was a sweaty 34 degrees most days). I filled in my eyebrows and applied Pacifica’s Stellar Gaze Mascara* (v) when we went out for dinner—I think that was it.
In the end, the only things I had to buy were mini toothpaste and sun screen for my body, both of which can be bought cheaply in Superdrug. They make a cute, travel-size version of their amazing charcoal toothpaste (v), and some of their sun care range, Solait, comes in 100ml tubes. They’d run out of adult SPF 50 (v), so I had to get the version for babies, which didn’t seem any different aside from the packaging.
How to create less waste and save money when you pack your wash bag:
- Make use of any mini products or samples you’ve got hidden away at home.
- Check to see if any of your everyday favourites are small enough for the 100ml liquids restriction.
- Decant the products you use daily into smaller containers. Reuse them and keep them in a safe place so you don’t have to buy new ones every year.
- Only buy what’s missing.
How do you pack your toiletries when you’re only taking hand luggage? Let me know.
(v) = vegan
* = Products were sent to me for consideration of review. All words and opinions are my own.
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travel, gin, and the Oxford comma.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!