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Steals and splurges: Share the best of your high and low-end travel beauty secrets

Steals and splurges: Share the best of your high and low-end travel beauty secrets

Old Apr 10, 15, 8:56 am
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Steals and splurges: Share the best of your high and low-end travel beauty secrets

Whether we travel for business, for pleasure, or both, the challenges of the 3-1-1 rule, coupled with the constraints of space in our luggage, make packing beauty products a challenge for many. Add to that the fact that many beauty products promise the world and deliver very little. And then there's the reality that air travel can de drying and trying on skin, changes from one climate to another in a matter of a few days pose even more challenges on a stressed complexion, and travel often means paring down a beauty routine to essentials.

So, what are your splurges and steals, and where do you find them? How do you use them? Share your beauty secrets here!


1. Sisley Black Rose Precious Face Oil. This stuff is expensive, but it keeps my face so much smoother, less "stressed" looking than it otherwise would. I ask the pharmacist for a couple of empty amber bottles with eyedroppers before travel. I transfer just enough into one to get through a short trip. Totally worth it.

2. Sisley Supremya la Nuit -- I use this at night, after the oil, before night serum and cream. I wake up glowing. I get lots of samples before I travel (or just whenever I purchase).

3. Creme de la Mer -- Keeps me moisturized, and I don't have to think about it. Again, I keep lots of samples on hand all the time. This is great stuff for skin that is dried out, stressed, and tired from travel. I have been known to skip the eye cream, and apply all over face.


Nivea -- The "real" formulation, from Germany. This stuff keeps hands moisturized without feeling sticky, is great at healing rashes and other minor skin irritations. In winter, after your shower, apply it to legs, elbows, feet: anywhere you need a moisture boost. I keep travel sizes in my purse and in my carry-on. If you buy a few tubes at the department stores in Germany, the salesladies are very generous with the free travel sizes.

Rosebud Perfume Co.'s Smith's Rosebud Salve -- This is great for travel. Moisturizes, soothes, and adds just a hint of flattering color. Yes, a little gets on my fingers, so I rub it into my cuticles. You can't beat the price. Don't leave it in the car and not the best choice if you are going somewhere extremely hot (it can melt and make a mess in your purse). But that's extremely hot, like leaving it out in the sun all day at the beach in summer hot, not regular sightseeing in Italy in June hot.

Pssst Dry Shampoo -- I admit it. Washing my hair while I travel just doesn't happen as often as it does at home. When it comes to dry shampoos, I find this brand (which has been around forever) works great. Look for the travel size.
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Old Apr 10, 15, 11:39 am
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I can't say my travel beauty routine varies much between home and being on the road. In fact, I own the same hair dryer and flat iron in both 110 volt and 220 volt models precisely so I don't have to vary my routine. (FWIW, this hair dryer is the best I've owned. Powerful and lightweight!)

Kirkland brand pre-moistened face wipes (come in packages of 15 or 45, I think) are fantastic makeup remover/cleansers, great for home and travel. They're the generic version of Neutrogenia's, I think, and well worth it. I've used them for several years. This is a steal!

My go-to facial moisturizers -- all splurges to varying degrees
Clarins Beauty Flash Balm - Mornings
Strivectin-AR Advanced Retinol Night Cream - Bedtime (another great one to buy at Costco because you get nearly twice the product for the same price you'd pay at Ulta)
Guerlain Issima Midnight Secret - Great "recovery" product if you've had a long flight or a late night out

Hand cream:
H2O+ Hand and Nail Cream - best moisturizer, hands down!

Lip balm:
I used a zillion steal and splurge brands, but Chapstick or Burt's Bee are good standbys that are definitely steals.
chgoeditor is offline  
Old Apr 10, 15, 3:00 pm
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Love this topic ...

My splurges:
My steals:
  • Neutrogena body oil is a Holy Grail item for me, as it's the only thing that keeps horribly dry skin at bay. I layer the fantastic German Nivea cream on top for extra moisture.
  • The Milani Brow Fix Kit was a lifesaver when I forgot to pack my eyebrow pencil. As a bonus, the powders make great eyeshadows as well.
  • Clean & Clear Oil-Absorbing Sheets are cheap and cheerful and shockingly effective.
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Old Apr 10, 15, 3:23 pm
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Bandage face masks.
These are individually packaged for one time use and cost anywhere from $1-$20+ I prefer the cheap ones as I use them mainly on red-eyes and longer flights. They are available at Asian chemists, some duty-free beauty shops during transit or even in the beauty section of some Chinatown/K-town/J-town grocery-department stores.

Olay unscented/sensitive skin foaming face cloths
I always carry a few of these in my carry-on/purse. It really helps me freshen up and remove all the sweat and pollution off my face. Moist wipes usually make me feel as though I just moistened the gunk on my face instead of actually washing it off.

OXY/Stridex acne pads to prevent skin bumps and ingrown hairs. These are the same as the Bliss pads but much cheaper and differently scented. These are also much more gentle than Tendskin.

I stock up on their body lotion and cream whenever I can. They do wonders for repairing dry travel skin. Sadly they are almost exclusively available in Australia.

Barielle hand and foot cream
These hand/foot creams really last even through harsh soap found in public bathrooms.

Aveda hydrating mask
Extremely soothing for irritated and inflamed skin. This is what I bring with me to sunny destinations.

Anessa (a Shiseido brand available in Asian countries) sheer sunscreen and sunscreen remover.
I have extremely sensitive skin and am very sensitive to most sunscreens. Anessa offers sheer high spf coverage. The sunscreen remover is essential for removing it from the pores. The remover also removes other brands of waterproof sunscreen.

Borghese's Fango mud for trouble spots. My skin tends to yo-yo during travel and at some point I will get a zit or two. A bit of mud on a spot and it helps prevent it from getting any bigger or more irritated. I put this on before bedtime for obvious reasons.

Clinique spot treatment clear gel, if that spot is particularly stubborn and needs to be worked on during the day. Makeup does sit nicely over this if you let it dry first.
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Old Apr 10, 15, 9:24 pm
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Saje Parisian Garden soap bar:
Used as a facial cleanser with a soft bristled cleansing brush with a travel case to prevent crushing of the bristles. It cuts down on liquid components and not overly perfumy. The French green clay ingredient is soothing for oily skin. It's slightly pricey for a bar of soap but lasts a long time as a facial cleaner.


Coconut oil:
Used as a makeup removal and universal moisturizer. It stays as a solid below 24 C (76 F) so I melt mine with beeswax at home to thicken it up. It's especially good for removing eye makeup without potential of eye irritation and much cheaper than commercial preparations. Buy a jar for home and refill in travel container as needed.

Crystal deodorant:
No perfumes and the one thing I found that doesn't irritate my arm pit skin after a particularly bad episode with regular stick antiperspirants on a hiking trip. Only problem is finding a compact one for travel that doesn't weigh much. The sticks last forever. I ended up rotating my home, gym and travel sticks after several months to get a small one for travel.

Peppermint essential oil:
A small 15ml bottle is easy enough to carry. A few drops to any shampoo to will give you a pleasant tingly scalp and a refreshing feeling after a long travel day. Do not apply undiluted to sensitive areas and be careful not to wipe your shampoo-infused hands over your face while in the shower (it became UNpleasantly tingly on face but was great on scalp).
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Old Apr 11, 15, 6:12 am
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I'm not sure if, at $7, it's a splurge or a steal - but my favorite lip balm in the world is Kiehls #1 (plain, none of the scented versions). I use cheaper balms and I've tried more expensive balms, but Kiehls is the 1 I want in all my bags, pockets & drawers!
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Old Apr 11, 15, 9:22 am
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I don't know if this is a splurge or a steal, more of a tip:

Right before a trip, I get a professional blow-out. I then use the dry shampoo whenever the roots are looking dirty. A few days into the trip, I make an appointment for a professional blow-out, via the hotel concierge (I do the same thing with manicures). I do this wherever I go, and find it a lot less stressful than trying to do my own hair on the road. FTR, I have completely unmanageable, frizzy hair that never looks quite right if I do it myself, but takes beautifully to a professional blow-out (and a professional blow-out lasts 4-5 days on me, looking perfect).
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Old Apr 11, 15, 5:40 pm
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I really like Pacifica products. Their body wash is much less drying than most hotel soaps. I've also been known to use it as a laundry soap for in-sink wash loads! I also have some of their lotions and body butters, which are great for post-sunburn skin or super-dry winter skin.
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Old Apr 12, 15, 12:47 am
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Splurge - Dior make up.
Steal - cheap $2 eyeliners. The dearer ones are all too soft and then smudge.
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Old Apr 13, 15, 2:26 pm
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Estée Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara - it's a splurge in part because there isn't much product in each tube, but it works as promised

Semi Splurge:
Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream - keeps my skin evenly hydrated regardless of season

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion - I tried everything when I moved to Boston and this is the only body lotion that works for me

Palmer's Coco Butter Swivel Stick - my favorite lip balm

Kiss My Face Fragrance Free Moisture Shave - I decant this into a smaller bottle for travel. I got tired of those pressurized mini cans which wouldn't last for my longer trips.
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Old Apr 15, 15, 2:48 pm
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I too love this topic.


Tatcha: cleansing oil & Polished Rice Enzyme Powder classic. They now come in travel sizes. My face appears brighter every time I use Polished.

Foreo Luni Mini: massages, gently cleans and exfoliates. One charge lasts 300 uses.

Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Mask: I use this as an overnight mask. My face glows in the morning. Sephora has a mini kit with 3 masks.

SK-II treatment masks: Hydrating. I love these.

Revitalash Advanced: This version so far is their best one. My lashes are long. And with mascara almost fake lashes like.


Salux cloth: great for exfoliating body. Superior to all the similar ones you can buy at Target, TJ Maxx, etc. ~$5 saluxshop.com. I bought my last one at a local Japanese market, same price.

Honest Body Oil: most Target stores now have in store. I put in a smaller container for travel. Almost no scent, which I love.

Emjoi nano: a must have pedicure gadget. I found it on sale at walgreens.com for $15. I use it just before I travel for smooth feet.

Costco.com has some Sisley products. They had the Black Rose mask, 38% cheaper than retail.
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Old Apr 16, 15, 7:10 pm
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Just ordered the Peter Thomas Roth 3-mask set, so I'll let you know what I think of it. I'm such a product junkie and love to try new things (which is how I got to Sephora Rouge status).

While I wouldn't qualify these as "travel" beauty secrets, I do have some products I love so much that I want to force every woman under the sun to give them a try. A few of them...

Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Foundation: I can't even begin to describe how light and velvety smooth this is while still providing great buildable coverage. I love love love this foundation.

Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer: Satiny smooth primer that helps foundation go on smoothly and cover evenly. It also has SPF and helps minimize shine.

Yves Saint Laurent Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain: It's a stain, it's a gloss, it's a lipstick! I hate heavy lipsticks and I hate sticky glosses. This combines the best qualities of stains, glosses and lipsticks for buildable coverage that goes from translucent to opaque.

Alterna Caviar CC Cream for Hair 10-in-1 Complete Correction: A fantastic leave-in conditioner, smoother, UV protector, heat protector and light styling product in one. You know it's working when you walk into the salon and your hair dresser asks what you've been doing to your hair to make it look so amazing.
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Old Apr 17, 15, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by edcaya View Post
To save space, I fit cotton rounds into mini kittour's 1oz jar and then soak them with Bioderma Sensibilio H20. Et voila, makeup remover in a compact package!
This is genius, thank you! I don't know why I never thought of it before, I use the Bioderma at home and always miss it when travelling, face wipes never quite get mascara off properly.

I always follow with Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish (slight splurge) for a proper double cleanse. In the stores (I'm in the UK) they give you a 30ml tube when you buy the big version.

When I'm backpacking I put moisturiser and primer (both Boots No7 and reasonably steal-y) into a contact lens case. Burts Bees lip balm for me too, at home I prefer the little round tin but when I'm away the stick is more hygenic.

Is the German Nivea the one in the blue pot?
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Old Apr 17, 15, 8:14 am
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I'm pretty sure you can get German Nivea throughout Europe. In the US, the Nivea we get is made in Mexico, and the formulation is not quite the same. Many of us, when we go to Europe, purchase enough Nivea to last until the next trip.
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Old Apr 17, 15, 12:35 pm
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I bought oodles of various Niveas in Germany in December and haven't loved any of the lotions or balms - don't like the scent (texture is nice). I do like the colored lip balm sticks I got. Got some stick lip balms in France a couple years ago -a couple ok, one REALLY terrible taste. Which is sad because it's supposed to be anti-aging so I *really* wanted to like it

Yes, drugstore shopping IS my favorite thing to do when I travel!

(though when I can find a good spf eye cream, I'll splurge - any new recs? I'm using a Clarins product now - a couple I've used in the past aren't manufactured any more)
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