Business Travel 101: Toiletries

Business Travel 101 is a weekly series about making that first business trip as easy and successful as possible. Packing, security, comfort, and etiquette are all factors that, with a little planning, can contribute to a smooth and efficient trip. If you think of a topic I should include, email me at

Toiletries can be a tricky part of traveling, especially for women. You need all of the things that make you feel confident, but they have to fit in an itty-bitty space. The 3 oz. rule has made this even more difficult. Carrying-on is the best way to save time while traveling, and you don’t want to have to check your suitcase just because of your toiletries. So how can you get all of your makeup, shower things, hair products, and face stuff into your bag?

The first step is to separate out all of your liquids from your non-liquids. Some are easy: contact solution, toothpaste, shampoo. Some are trickier: mascara, lipstick, and cream-based eye-shadows are all considered liquid. I typically have three bags:

  1. Makeup bag, which has all of my powder makeup in it
  2. Non liquids bag, which has my hairbrush, toothbrush, razor, and other similar items in it
  3. Liquids bag, which contains all of my liquids

This works really well because it allows these small bags to fit wherever there is room.  Here is a specific list about what products go in which bag. (For a detailed list of all of the toiletries I take with me, with brands, see this post.)


  • Toothbrush
  • Contacts case
  • Glasses
  • Razor
  • Comb
  • Bobby pins and rubber bands

Liquids–travel sizes (3 oz or less) of all

  • Face wash
  • Contact solution
  • Body wash
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hydrating mist
  • Tinted moisturizer
  • Hair smoother

A few additional tips:

  • If you are going on a trip for a few days, don’t pack your whole bottle of eye makeup remover. Instead, dip one end of several q-tips into the liquid and then put them in a Ziplock bag.
  • Put small amounts of liquids into clean contact lens cases. Try  makeup remover, moisturizer, facial cleanser, and hair products. This will save you a ton of room.
  • Bring a few extra Ziplock bags. Just in case.



  1. Liquid contact lens solution/cleaner are medical items and, while they do need to be in a resealable bag, they can be separate from the other liquids/creams which go in the 3-1-1 bag.

  2. I use mineral makeup (which is a powder) when I travel- more room in that little ziploc! Aveda and Lush make many travel sized or dry products great for the road too.

  3. Though some of the TSA literature says that liquids need to be 3 oz or less (the easy-to-read chart), the actual requirement is 3.4 oz (the fine print).

    Also, I travel frequently and have never been called out for including lipstick, masacra or deodorant with my non-liquids. I have been pulled aside for a candle, which apparently scans like a liquid. So now I pack small candles in my liquid bag. I’ve also been pulled aside for bath salts.

    Great tips, especially on the eye makeup remover. When travelling I often grab a packet of sugar when out at lunch or dinner and mix it in with my cleanser to make a scrub. My skin gets really dry on airplanes and this helps.

  4. Can someone persuade the perfume industry to sell small sizes. Nothing worse than leaving a favorite fragrance behind….
    Philosophy’s spray perfume bottles have screw off caps and this does enable me to decant smaller amounts into a small spray bottle (which I buy at Sally)

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