How to pack liquid toiletries (Packing 101)

Bringing liquid toiletries can be a hassle when you prefer to travel with carry-on luggage only. In this packing 101 you’ll find tips on traveling as light as possible, as well as a look into my own liquids bag. 


When I decided to travel with carry on only, the first thing I did was worry about my liquid toiletries. I don’t mind doing a little research for alternative products, as well as buying travel size versions of my favorite products, but I just couldn’t see fitting all of them into that tiny, little bag.

Years later I have a steady routine for packing liquids, I even keep them inside the plastic bag I use to get them through airport security.


Rules on liquid toiletries

Liquids, gels and pastes, whenever carried in hand luggage, have to be 100ml or less while being securely packed into a transparent 1L liquids bag. Only one bag per person is allowed onto the airplane. Check your airline to make sure if this is the case for you as well.


How to pack liquid toiletries

Gather the liquid products you use on a day to day basis and divide them into the following categories: skin, hair, makeup, other. Make a selection of products you really need to look the slightest bit polished. Try to keep the number of products as low as you can.

Now set aside the products that are too large to fit into the bag. Can you easily purchase them at your destination? Then stop worrying about them and keep on packing.

The secret of a perfect liquids bag lies in being creative. By using a product for several purposes, you can now narrow it down to one of two products per category.

For instance, you can use coconut oil for getting rid of eye makeup, as a hair mask and even as lip balm. The same basically goes for any makeup you might take with you. A lipstick can be a blush and a bronzer works great for applying a simple eyeshadow.



There are 2 important things when it comes to protecting your skin when you travel.

  1. Protect your skin from sun damage or other weather conditions with an SPF.
  2. Give your skin what it needs to recover from anything your put it through.


For me that means to use a product containing SPF during the daytime, plus a moisturizer of some sort. Lots of times I carry the Weleda Skinfood, a great, rich cream that takes care of my dry skin after flying and moisturizes my face when I sleep. Another favorite is the Biodermal face oil, which I mostly use at night as well. Ziaja face masks keep my skin radient wherever I am. They’re easy to carry too!

As a cleanser I prefer micellar water or a mild cleanser, which I carry in a toiletry bottle with a spray on cap. Sometimes, when I travel for a longer period, I bring face wipes as well. Not great for the skin but better than sleeping with the dirt of the day on your face.


liquid toiletriesBatiste dry shampoo – Lord & Berry Cleanser – 7th Heaven Argan Oil Resque Mask – Ooh! Face Oil – Weleda Skin Food


Aside from shampoo, which you can use in hotels, I prefer to bring a hair mask over conditioner. I pack two, which will last me a week, as well as a serum or oil of some kind. Lately I’ve been addicted to Moroccan oil as it is one of the few products to tame my frizzy hair.



First of all, let me tell you, you don’t need a bag full of makeup to survive your travels. As a matter of fact, many travelers don’t wear makeup at all!

However, when you do want to look cute on your night out (or on that tour with that cute guide, I’m not judging!), here are some of my tricks:

  • Lip balm, primer, eyebrow gel, eyeshadow base… There’s nothing Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream can’t do!
  • Instead of sunblock for the face, pack a great BB cream.
  • Wear just one product a day. I love going out with just bright lips or a dramatic liner.


What’s in my makeup bag:

  • Mascara (mini)
  • Eyeliner
  • BB Cream
  • Lipbalm or Eight Hour Cream
  • One bright lip color

liquid toiletries


Toothpaste, contact lens fluid, medicines, perfume… They can fill up your liquids bag fast! Try to get mini versions of all of them. For example:

  • Use sample perfumes, this way you have a special fragrance for every trip you took.
  • Get travel sizes and buy a full-sized product at your destination.



What do you carry in your liquids bag? Let me know by leaving a comment!



Read more on packing:

How to pack carry on for a winter trip

13 city trip travel essentials


This article was updated in September 2017.

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a commission every time you buy a product referred by me with no extra cost for you. If you want to support this website, this is a great way of doing so. As always, all of my opinions are of my own.

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  • Reply
    March 31, 2015 at 22:11

    Definitely going to buy the vitamin e moisturiser – thanks for the tip!

  • Reply
    Jessica (Barcelona Blonde)
    April 1, 2015 at 13:16

    That goat’s milk night cream sounds awesome, I will definitely have to see if I can get that where I am!

  • Reply
    April 1, 2015 at 13:34

    There are two products I use and am complete with – water mister and a face oil (but much much cheaper then this one!). I use the face oil to clean my face, then mist my face and remove the makeup/dirt with a clean towel. After I just put on more oil rub it in and finished! I use it day and night.

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      April 1, 2015 at 13:54

      That sounds great, Madaline! Be sure to let me know which one 😉

  • Reply
    April 1, 2015 at 14:34

    I used the Bodyshop cream too and have to say it´s a nice cream especially while traveling.

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      April 3, 2015 at 14:15

      I agree, Christina. It’s a very light cream, great for traveling.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2015 at 11:20

    I also use the Goat’s milk night cream! And the day cream. Love them both! But I paid €6,99 and not €12 for it…

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      April 12, 2015 at 11:45

      Thanks for letting me know, Luana. I checked different webshops, and prices vary a bit. Here in the Netherlands I also pay 6,99…

  • Reply
    April 17, 2015 at 19:25

    Glad that you mentioned the Bodyshop Vitamin E Moisture cream. It is a great product and I’ve been using it for years. Sadly, there are no Bodyshop stores along my recent route through South America (and buying online is not feasible because of shipping costs).

  • Reply
    May 25, 2015 at 18:14

    I just discovered your blog and I love it! 😉
    I just wanted to let you know that Ziaja’s cream are much much cheaper here in Poland – actually i guess i bough my cream for about 1-2 EURO. NO JOKE.
    We have cheap buses AND creams 😉
    You deffinately have to come back here 🙂

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      May 25, 2015 at 19:11

      Thank you so much Klaudia! I know! Isn’t it great? I bought a lot of Ziaja products while in Poland and everybody I met kept telling me how amazing this stuff works. Doing a small review on some of them soon! I’ll come back for sure 🙂

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