It’s something I came to accept a long time ago: MY SKIN HATES TRAVELING.

It’s generally fine once I touch down at a destination and settle in. It doesn’t get too troubled by sudden changes in temperature, hours wandering the streets of new cities, and doesn’t even rebel too much when I’m overindulging in the local food (and drink). But the actual traveling part it hates. When I’m on a train, plane, boat, bus or spaceship for an extended period of time (3+ hours seems to do it) my skin transforms into a dehydrated-but-shiny mess and I’m almost guaranteed to collect a few spots and red patches as travel souvenirs.

Over the years I’ve managed to slightly control the situation, and to be honest it’s because I’ve got a bit more clued up on skincare. These days I guess things are a little bit more ‘high maintenance’, but it’s not like I’m carrying around a huge stash of products – I’ve just learned how to protect my skin against all the nasty stuff like air conditioning, traffic fumes and recycled air that usually contribute to skin going haywire. It doesn’t take much either, so no paying for a second or third carry-on…


I used to be a ‘keeps her makeup on while she’s traveling’ kinda girl or at most, if it was a longer journey or I was going makeup free, I’d do a quick once-over with a face wipe. Sometimes not even the skincare kind, but the ones for baby’s bums… yeah, I know. Now don’t get me wrong, I know wipes can be awesome and I couldn’t live without them but these days I purely use them as a backup. I prefer to use a water based cleanser-and-toner-in-one that gets deeper into the pores and really goes to work detoxifying. I got this travel sized Clarins cleanser in one of those ‘Gift with Purchase’ offers a while back, and it’s the perfect size for travel. I admit, the full size price isn’t exactly budget friendly (around £20), but it’s probably one that I would buy again or if not, I’d go for something very similar. The fact that you don’t need water means you can just chuck it on a cotton pad, wipe over the face a few times, and be done.

(I use – Clarins Water Purify One-Step Cleanser)


This is where things get fancy. My skin gets really tight and dehydrated while I’m traveling, especially on flights because of pressurized environment of the airplane, which sucks moisture out of the skin. I like to use a really light, water based serum after I cleanse to make sure that my skin is getting moisture throughout the travel time, and again, my favourite is one from Clarins (can you tell I used to work for them?!). This is another little travel size I got as a freebie when buying other stuff, and the full size is pricey (around £40), but there are loads of similar (and cheaper) products out there. Hydraluron is one, which is around £15 and seems to last forever, but there are loads of drug store alternatives… look for anything that uses the words ‘quenching’ or ‘hydrating’!

(I use – Clarins Hydraquench Bi-Phase Serum)


So, thanks to the weird atmosphere of your chosen transport, and the fact that you’re probably not drinking enough water (no one wants to be making repeat trips to that little toilet at the back of the bus…) dry skin can end up feeling dryer and oilier skin feels oilier. And normal skin can just go either way. Even though a serum is a great first step to making sure your skin is hydrated, a moisturizer should always follow to help lock the serum in and make sure the surface of the skin is moisturized. With combination/oily skin like mine, a mattifying one is your best bet, to not only keep things from drying out but also prevent you from like an oil tanker crashed on you face. When the oil is regulated too, it’s less likely that spots will start to form too. Always good.

(I use – La Rochay-Posay Effeclar Matt)


Eye cream, always eye cream. I like to use one that wakes the skin up a bit and prevents and sorts out puffiness and dark circles. At the moment I’m using a Caudalie SOS one that was about £14, and it does the job well, but again there are cheaper ones around – just look for ingredients like caffeine, green tea or any ‘antioxidant’ properties.

(I use – Caudalie Vinosource SOS Morning Eye Rescue)


Stops chapped lips. Smells good. You can buy great ones for about £1. That’s enough for me!

(I use – The Body Shop Coconut Lip Butter)


This is probably more of a post-flight/bus/train one to be honest, but it’s still an important step. If I’m traveling from the UK it’s 99% likely than I’m going to be arriving somewhere warmer and sunnier, so I make I’ve always got a medium-to-high SPF lotion to whack on before I step outside.

(I use – Clarins UV Plus SPF40)

So there we go, not too high maintenance right?

All the travel sized items above that I use are 100ml or under too, so they’re good for most transport types and carry-on. As I’ve mentioned, I usually try and stock up on tester sizes (I used to work on a beauty counter, so I know that the good ones will not mind you asking for a sample size of a moisturiser/serum/eye cream etc, just don’t expect to walk away with handfuls of the stuff!) and I love the travel section of places like Boots, Superdrug etc which tend to have minis that are suitable for packing in your carry on. Also, you know those little free sachets that are glued to the inside of most women’s magazines? Stock up on them, don’t just flick past! They’re great for taking on flights and they hardly take up space, do they? Plus… free!

I hope this has helped you guys. Now you can get right down to starting your mini Plane/Bus/Train Facial as soon as you’re aboard. I admit, it does get the occasional side eye from other passengers, but you can smile sweetly back at them knowing that you’ll be the one looking radiant in the long run! Or at least, not as travel-ravaged….

What are your favourite travel skincare hacks?


About girlwithacompass

Life, travel, adventure