In your head, you may be the kind of traveler who throws some European sunblock, mascara, lip balm, and sunglasses in a tote bag with a jaunty scarf tied around the handle. Then you begin the pack in real life and quickly realize you are a high-maintenance monster unable to leave home without three hair brushes, two Vitamin C serums, and a folio of sheet masks.
Don’t worry. We’re here to help.
As a travel editor and lover of using my free time to see new places, I’ve also had to reconcile my routine with the need to make it through the TSA security line in one-piece or simplify a road adventure with multiple lodging stops. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for a product that multitasks, and I’m not talking about the bottled lies also known as 2-in-1 shampoo conditioner. These toiletries taut multiple uses without skimping on efficacy. Pack them and watch space open up in your dopp bag and your mind.
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Urban Decay Urban Defense Complexion Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
A sunscreen that also holds your entire look in place for the entire day while keeping your face in the sweet spot between dewy and matte? It sounds like the kind of role even Meryl Streep would struggle to play, but Urban Decay’s sunscreen-primer hybrid does just that. As I type this, it is sitting in my gingham Baggu pouch (on sale right now!) ready to go with me on a trip to New Orleans this weekend where the temperatures and dew point will reach peak jungle. I know it will not only protect my face from the sun, but also keep my skin looking less like its covered in salad dressing.
Clary Collection All-Purpose Balm
This Nashville-based apothecary brand has become a staple of hip boutiques around the South like Lemon Laine and Emerson Rose. Now, their core products are available on Amazon.com, which means you can even have them dropped at an Amazon Locker wherever you might be traveling to—a pro tip I employ when I realize I’ve run out of my favorite Japanese mascara right before a trip. Clary’s All-Purpose Balm, which comes in a vanity display-worthy tin, is a Swiss Army Knife of moisturizing wonder. Put it on bug bites to instantly relieve redness and swelling; apply as a night cream; spread over damp decolletage after the shower for a glowy sheen; rub it over razor burn; lightly dab on under your eyes to soften fine lines; smooth over matte lipstick for a more natural, less defined look; smear on the inside of your nostrils to prevent sensitive nasal passage drying out before they can protect you from airborne illness. Who knows what problems it could solve if it was invited to the United Nations Council.
rms beauty Signature Set Pop Collection
It is the rule of palettes that they will always feature one or two shades of something you just won’t use whether it’s that emerald green eyeshadow or dark purple blush. This sleek, chic compact from rms beauty defies understanding by only containing universally flattering and useful formulas including my favorite bronzer, a vanilla-scented balm for skin and lips, two lip-and-cheek colors in peppy poppy and rose, and a highlighter that will make any of your vacation photos look like you also visited a celebrity spa while you were there (for a fraction of the cost).