Skincare travel essentials: How to pack for a trip

Figuring out the right skincare to pack for a trip can be tricky business. If you pack like I do (i.e. 24 outfits for a 4 day trip) then you might think that you’ll need to bring everything but the kitchen sink. But in reality there are just need a handful of musts. So if travel is back on your agenda here’s what you need to know and the skincare travel essentials you need to pack.

Travel is rough on skin

On a normal day skin care can be tough to navigate. That’s because how your skin looks and feels is not just the result of your skin plus your skincare products. Everything from the food you eat, to your hormones, to climate and stress can play a role. And when you travel you add a whole new range of variables to the equation.

For example, the climate at your destination may ramp up oil production or dry out your skin. Or, if you’re suddenly ordering a dessert every night that extra sugar can throw things out of whack. Don’t forget the stress of travel or lower quality sleep. All these factors can mean a hit to your skin. 

What to bring


Great skin care always means three core elements at minimum: a cleanser, moisturizer and a daily SPF. These are the must-have products that you should be reaching for on a daily basis and they’re the same skincare travel essentials that should join you on your travels.

But there are times when you should change things up. For example, if you’re heading to the desert you might pack a richer moisturizer and facial oil. Or, if your destination has high heat and humidity then reach for a lightweight hydrator. These little swaps can be really important to helping your skin stay in balance. 

But regardless of the destination we recommend packing a gentle, hydrating serum and facial oil. If you choose the right products, this combination will help calm stressed skin while allowing for more layering options and flexibility while on the go.

Finally, we always recommend brining a cleansing oil on trips. Oftentimes, travel often means extra sweat, and a great oil cleanser really helps de-gunk at the end of a long day.

What you can skip

Especially if you’re flying only with a carry on, you may have to make a few trade-offs. In these cases consider how well a product accomplishes a specific job and how often you intend to use it while you’re gone.

If you find that using your exfoliant 3x weekly predictably helps keep your skin clear then it should go in the bag. We’ll typically recommend leaving behind things like sheet masks and clay masks, which fall into the nice-to-have category.

Pre-flight routine

What Skincare Products You Should Bring When Traveling

The humidity level on planes hovers around 20%. That’s really dry, and it’s why your skin can use some extra love pre-flight.

If you’re not rushing to catch your flight, this is one of the very best times to apply a sheet mask. It will flood your skin with moisture, which is exactly what you need.

But if you don’t have that time to spare, a solid pre-flight routine should still include the three essentials (cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF—if you’re flying during the day). Give your skin a boost by adding in a hydrating serum and locking it in with a rich facial oil.

When it comes to flights, you may have also heard about in-flight misting. There are a lot of mists on the market that are mostly water, alcohol, fragrance, dye, and maybe Aloe. Having water in skincare doesn’t at all mean that it’s bad by any means, but if you’re using something that’s water based mixed with irritants like alcohol or synthetic fragrance then it’s going to end up drying out your skin. So if you’re using a mist, make sure to take a good look at the ingredients.

What not to do

Travel is all about exploration. But this is just about the worst time to introduce products that you’ve never used before.

In an ideal world you wouldn’t make too many adjustments to your normal routine while traveling. So let’s say you use a cleanser, hydrating serum, day cream with SPF, and a moisturizer—keeping those core daily elements consistent as you travel is a good idea.

The cardinal rule for travel skincare: Do not swap your whole routine for a new set of products. If you need TSA approved sizes, dispense tried and true products into travel containers. This is not the time to start using those miscellaneous little sample packets you’ve been squirreling away. 

Top skincare travel essentials

Even if you’re taking a laid-back holiday, travel can be hard—especially on your skin. So help it out with gentle, soothing and replenishing ingredients. Here are a few of our travel favorites:

Indie Lee, CoQ-10 Toner
Kari Gran, Essential Cleansing Oil
Kari Gran, Essential Cleansing Oil
Graydon, Superfood Serum

Whether you’re packing for a vacation or just hanging out closer to home, we can help you find your. Head to, create your Skin Profile, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Katrina Moreno Lewis

Katrina is the Founder and CEO of Kura Skin