Cult carry-ons: 7 best travel minis loved by beauty experts

Best travel minis
Gilly Ferguson,-Contributing Editor

Don’t forgo your beauty favourites for flights

Totting up how many 100ml travel minis you need in your holiday makeup bag can feel more like Tetris than packing. Anyone who’s had the misfortune to miscalculate their mls (or had to handover a beloved beauty product to airport security) will appreciate the value of a well-packed carry-on. 

So, what does a Beauty Editor pack when travelling light? And what are the best beauty buys for summer holidays?

While the UK awaits an end to the 100ml rule on liquids in hand luggage (due in 2024), here are the best travel-size beauty products, loved by experts – and all under 100ml.

3-in-1 suncare

Say hello to Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF 30 – your new on-the-go skincare sidekick. No one takes this on holiday and regrets it. Infused with bio-active mushroom complex to help soothe skin and reduce UV-induced redness plus antioxidant green tea to help defend skin against free radical damage, this all-in-one SPF protects and perfects.

One for ageing, dry, combination and oily skin types (all of us then), this is skinimalism at its smartest. A final step in your skincare routine, apply AM, alone or pre-makeup.

2-in-1 concealer

The secret to looking flawless when you’re 100% knackered? Urban Decay Stay Naked Quickie Multi-Use Concealer. Like Spanx for your undereyes, this multi-tasking wonder wand covers acne, dark circles and hyperpigmentation – for up to 24 hours. No mean feat at 38,000 feet. 

Think coverage plus convenience, simply tap in to target then buff it in with the (washable, vegan) brush. Available in 20 shades, to erase ‘exhausted face’, fast.

3-in-1 makeup

If multi-use makeup products are your bag then you’ll love Estée Lauder Brow Multi-Tasker Eyebrow Makeup. The perfect in-flight plus one (or 3-in-1 for that matter) this pencil–powder–brush powerhouse has brows, lids and lashes covered. How? 

  • Use the cream pencil to shade, lift and shape arches, or as a good old-fashioned eyeliner.
  • Apply the sponge-tipped powder to highlight the inner corner of the eye (to make your eyes appear bigger), across cheekbones and beneath brow bones (to lift) or use as a pop of light in the centre of your lids to open up the eyes.
  • Blend and set with the brush.

Benefit babies

If in doubt, make friends with Benefit – the masters of the travel mini. Benefit has shrunk EVERYTHING, from their UK No.1 The POREfessional to their bestselling Hoola Powder.

Our top tip? Mascara. With an average shelf-life of 3-6 months, mascara is the sensible choice when it comes to downsizing – and falls under the 2023 restricted liquids category. Shocker. Can’t pick your favourite? Try the Benefit Major Mascara Minis Makeup Gift Set, exclusive to John Lewis.

The setting spray

For makeup that stays put from department lounge to sunlounger, there’s Urban Decay’s (Beauty Editor adored) All Nighter Setting Spray. Designed to perk-up your (packing-friendly) powder products and multi-use colour sticks, it’ll fix your face come rain, shine or sightseeing – for skin that looks luminous in holiday snaps, minus any caking. 

Scent solutions

When it comes to fragrance, there really is no need to pack full-size. Switch your best perfume for a sample scent, perfume paintbrush or rollerball,

Packing light? Slip a Diptique solid perfume in your carry-on bag – while you’re at it, why not stock up on a solid shampoo and a cleansing bar too? Then laugh in the face of hand-luggage restrictions!

The travel bag

While the UK is awaiting an end to the 100ml rule on liquids in hand luggage, clear, travel pouches will likely remain en vogue for the foreseeable. 

House your hand-luggage liquids, aerosols and gels in a Stackers Hanging Wash Bag which includes a clear removal bag – hello, airport security – plus multiple storage parts to stash your dry cosmetics, brushes, etc once you arrive.

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