Style Bee - Carry-on Packing - Beauty & Skincare

Carry-On Packing – Skincare + Beauty


It’s time to talk carry-on packing when it comes to skincare and beauty. I get lots of questions about how I handle this department when it comes to using only carry-on luggage so I’m sharing my approach to packing and the products I never leave home (or the country) without.

I’ve been on 6+ trips since I stopped checking luggage a couple of years ago and unless absolutely necessary, I’d never consider going back. It just makes the whole travelling experience much more seamless and stress-free! Now that I’ve got the lean clothes packing down, the tricky part is liquids. As someone with sensitive skin, highly prone to break-outs (especially when traveling), I find that having my trusted wheelhouse of products is crucial to feeling good and maintaining my routine while abroad. But packing them takes a bit of careful consideration and finding options that are travel friendly has been a big part of the process.

Today’s post will cover: 

  1. How I organize liquids and toiletries within my carry-on tote.
  2. My most recent development, my red-eye rescue kit.
  3. The Skincare & Beauty products I always pack.

So let’s dig in! 


I put together this graphic to better demonstrate how I store and organize my liquids and toiletries within my carry-on tote. After a few trips spent digging around and turfing through multiple bags looking for certain products, I’ve learned that convenience is key. So now, all my beauty, skincare and liquids go in one place, my tote. This leaves my suitcase for clothes and shoes and I never need to open it until we’re settling into our room. Once I get where I’m going it’s easy to amalgamate the different sections, meaning that items from my red-eye kit get to join skincare products and beauty liquids hop back over with the rest of the gang. But when I’m going through security and in flight I find it’s best to know exactly where things are and keep only certain essentials handy. So here’s a look at how I organize my products and I’ll go into more detail below!

Style Bee - Carry-on Packing - Beauty & Skincare


GENERAL CARRY-ON GUIDELINES: I always consult the airline carry-on restrictions before packing but so far I’ve never had a problem with my Away Carry-On suitcase and my Canvas Beach Tote (medium size) in Canada, US, Costa Rica, UK, Europe or Mexico. Combined weight limits for both are often about 25 lbs and sizes vary but I’ve never had my bags weighed, only sized. 100 mL is usually the standard maximum for liquids and gels but I try to keep mine around 50 mL each. This way I know I’m safe to bring them and they don’t end up weighing too much.

Of course, you can organize in any way that feels right but this is how I approach it! 

1 | MY ‘PERSONAL ITEM’ THE CANVAS TOTE: This canvas beach tote came into my life through a collab with Joshu + Vela and has been my ‘personal item’ on several trips now which it works perfectly for. It’s a great size to fit everything I need and still slides easily under the seat in front of me. I also love that it’s structured so it doesn’t get all floppy when you’re taking items in and out. The flat bottom keeps it standing and the long handles make it easy to throw over my shoulder. Most of the time I sit it on top of my carry-on and loop the straps over the retractable handle on the suitcase. Then I have one hand free the whole time and everything is in one place. Plus, it’s the perfect beach bag obviously! Yes, it gets scuffed up but I don’t treat it too preciously and it’s machine washable, so all good!

2 | SKINCARE + BEAUTY POUCHES GO IN FIRST: Since I rarely need anything from these while I’m in flight they go into the tote first and sit on the bottom. I could probably eliminate one of these and just use the large pouch but I like to have a specific space for all my beauty products and all my skin care that’s separate once I get to where I’m going. I don’t yet have the beautiful set that I showed above but they are on my travel wish list for sure!

3 | RED-EYE RESCUE KIT GOES ON TOP: This little pouch sits on top of the large skincare and beauty pouches. Then I can easily pull it out when I’m ready for my nighttime routine. I hadn’t used this extra ‘essentials’ pouch for travel until my last red-eye but it was really great on the way home too, even though I wasn’t on a red-eye. Instead of night-time stuff I kept a few daytime essentials like my lip stick, a pack of gum, deodorant, a spare set of contacts, concealer and other items I might need.

4 | ALL OTHER LIQUIDS GO BESIDE THE KIT: I keep all my non-essential liquids, sunscreen, toothpaste, face wash, moisturizer, shampoo & conditioner etc. in a Ziploc bag that’s easy for security to pull out and look at if needed (they rarely do though!). Naturally, I hate how that looks, so I put the Ziploc inside a little muslin drawstring bag. I don’t know why, but I have so many of these it seems. This way you get the functionality of clear plastic with the class of a natural material! This is often around the same size as my red-eye kit and sits beside it on top of the skincare and beauty pouches too.

5 | OTHER ITEMS TUCK IN WHEREVER THERE IS SPACE: I also keep a small cross-body bag to house my wallet, passport, phone, air buds, cash etc. I usually wear this but if I need to I can easily tuck it into the tote. I’ll always pack a large scarf that can be folded fairly small and if I’m going somewhere with a different temperature (ie: a hot climate) then I’ll pack a pair of sandals so I can switch when we land. I’ll slide my sunglasses case into an open space somewhere then I pick up a big bottle of water for the flight plus a magazine or two and I’m set!


I’ve taken red-eye flights before but never planned ahead and always felt like a bag of crap when I landed. So before I left for Mexico I put out an instagram SOS for red-eye travel tips and received so many great suggestions from seasoned flyers. So I tried to follow as many as I could! Overall it worked out great and I landed feeling energized and fresh-faced for what was possibly the longest day of my life in a really good way. I think I might actually prefer a red-eye to a regular flight but that could be in part to the fact I was on vacation and I had a whole row to myself!

Here’s what made my red-eye rescue kit…

Style Bee - 4 Days in Mexico + Packing List

I put everything inside a clear plastic pouch so both airport security and I could easily see what was inside. It was also a great way to make sure I didn’t miss any steps in my nighttime routine. Once we were in the air I pulled out my tray table and got started by cleansing my face and removing make-up, toning with the rose water mist, applying serum and a final step of moisturizing. Then I had a big drink of water, popped in my headphones (I kept them in even when I wasn’t listening to my audio book), wrapped myself up in my scarf, secured my neck pillow and pulled down my sleep mask.

My Red-Eye Rescue kit included:

  • A lightweight blanket scarf for a ready-to-use blanket and easy additional layer wherever you’re headed.
  • Sleep mask to block out light and activity when trying to get in some z’s. The one I got was not good quality, I’ll be looking for something made of a natural fibre with a better fitting band.
  • Moisturizing Sheet Mask to give your skin a boost because flying is drying! This one was sent for me to try and I found it highly effective.
  • Cleansing Wipes so you can conduct your nighttime routine as usual.
  • Rose Water Mist helps to reduce redness, puffiness and offers lots of soothing goodness.
  • Serum to give your skin lots of nutrients and keep it calm.
  • Lip Balm to fend off dry lips.
  • Moisturizer to polish off the routine.
  • Eye brightening and cooling gel masks for the morning.
  • Hair Comb to brush out the sexy sleep mask bumps.

Not shown:

  • Neck pillow
  • Air Buds (wireless headphones)
  • TONS of water

Other suggestions I followed:

  • No caffeine all day before the flight
  • Fasting on the plane (this helps maintain digestive function, prevents bloating and makes sleeping easier)
  • Remove your shoes for a more natural sleep state

The flight was about 6 hours gate to gate and I’d say I was asleep for 5 of them. It wasn’t my best sleep by a long shot but it was definitely better than nothing! I saved my sheet mask for when I was finally settled in my room but I used the eye masks on the second flight to Cabo after connecting through Mexico City (on which I also fell asleep!).

Style Bee - Carry-on Packing - Beauty & Skincare


I’ve been using almost all these products for years now and have found them indispensable for travel. So here’s an update from my last Skincare Favourites post but many are the same:

  • Kukui & Jojoba Bead Exfoliator | PAI | 75 mL | This has been my go-to exfoliator since I tried it years ago. I love that it’s not harsh or drying but really leaves my skin feeling fresh, smooth and bright. You only need a tiny bit and I use this 3+ times a week. It really helps clear pores after a long day of salty air, chlorinated water and sunscreen.
  • Spot Treatment | OSMIA ORGANICS | 0.16 oz | This is my little miracle product. I use this whenever I have a breakout and it’s great for all stages. If I catch a blemish early enough it can send it on its not-so-merry way before surfacing but if I’m too late it also helps to speed up the healing process and reduce scarring. I only wear it at night because it’s an oil and not recommended for under make-up. A little goes a loooong way with this product too and one small bottle lasts me at least 6 months.
  • 50 SPF Sunscreen | AVÈNE | 50 mL | I usually try to find a fully natural sunscreen for my body but they’re hard to find in under 100 mL packages so I grabbed this one on a whim and ended up really liking it. It goes on really silky and absorbs quickly with zero chalkiness, all things that a natural sunscreen cannot boast. It was more than enough for 4 days but I might have bought two for a week-long vacation but I’d gladly buy it again.
  • 30 SPF Reflector (Face) Sunscreen | 60 mL | COCOON APOTHECARY | This is my go-to for face/neck sunscreen. It’s not greasy AT ALL which I love for my combination skin. It goes on smooth and absorbs very well. It has an ever so slight tint to it, which helps reduce any chalkiness. I highly recommend this as a natural SPF for the face and neck. It also has a 3 yr shelf life which is great for a natural product.
  • Resurfacing Mask | TATA HARPER | 30 mL | If I could only buy one face mask for the rest of my life, this would be it. I use this 2-3 times a week as a full morning mask and often as an overnight spot treatment on deeper blemishes that have not broken the surface (they usually retreat afterwards). It actually reduces redness, which so many masks claim but fail to do, it thoroughly clears and refines pores and it both prevents and promotes the healing of breakouts. I can’t rave enough about this one and I’m currently on my 4th jar of it.

  • Geranium & Thistle Day Cream | PAI | 50 mL | This has been in my skincare wheelhouse since I got the exfoliator and it’s my favourite day-time moisturizer to-date. It’s really good for combination skin, the scent is mild and my skin honestly feels like I’ve used a primer after applying it. My make-up always goes on very smoothly. It’s very calming but might be too drying for anyone without a bit of excess oil but if you’re prone to acne I highly recommend it.
  • Kale + Spinach Green Tea Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer | YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE | 15 mL | I bought this and the accompanying cleanser as a tester kit from Sephora and now I’m onto my second travel set and second full-size set too! I love using this moisturizer at night after I’ve applied my Vintner’s Daughter Serum because my skin just drinks it up. Hyaluronic Acid sounded scary to me at first but it’s actually a naturally occurring chemical in the body. Acid sounds stripping and drying but this one does the opposite by actually binding moisture molecules and creating a plumping and hydrating effect. It’s a great natural option for ‘age prevention’ or better yet, ‘youth maintenance’.
  • Kale + Spinach Green Tea CleanserYOUTH TO THE PEOPLE | 30 mL | When I can’t bring my favourite cleanser with me, having this one is no sacrifice. It thoroughly removes make-up and clears my pores without leaving my skin feeling taught or dry. I love the scent and how it lathers up easily with a bit of water. When I’m at home I use this most nights but during travel it’s a great morning option too.
  • Deodorant | AGENT NATEUR | *Not pictured | I’ve been slowly but surely making my way over to a natural deodorant and this is the first one I’ve felt confident wearing for a full day. I still find I’m inclined to re-apply in the afternoon but more out of habit than necessity. I also love the applicator and formula which is a stick but goes on smoothly and doesn’t require you to wait for it to dry!
  • Face Serum | Vintner’s Daughter | *Pictured in red-eye kit | 30 mL | This stuff has been deemed the holy grail of serums and as far as I’m concerned, it lives up to the hype. I’m well into my 3rd bottle and use it every day and night. It evens out my complexion, calms breakouts and just gives my otherwise dull skin a natural, healthy glow.

Style Bee - Carry-on Packing - Beauty & Skincare


Now for the fun stuff! These are the beauty essentials I pretty much always pack wherever I go. I try to keep my routine as simple as I can (surprise, surprise) but have found all of these products perform well in lots of weather and activities.

  • Neutral Shadow Palette | LILY LOLO | All Natural | This is my favourite palette for everyday use and to build up a more dramatic smokey eye. All the best neutral colours you could ask for!
  • Nude Shadow with Shimmer | KJAER WEIS | All Natural + Sustainable Packaging | This is my go-to daily shadow that I swipe on with either a brush or my finger. It adds a touch of lightness and highlighting on my lid and under brows without being glittery or obvious at all. I use Cloud Nine which is hard to find now but Angelic looks similar.
  • Mascara | PURE ANADA | All Natural | This is one of my favourite natural beauty finds because it’s effective, made in Canada and super reasonable. It’s not waterproof (which makes it easy to remove) but it doesn’t flake and builds great length and volume. I use an eyelash curler in addition to this product. 
  • Brow Pencil | ANASTASIA BROW WIZ | This is one of very few products I use daily that is not all natural but I just can’t quit this one. It’s unbeatable for creating full, natural looking brows in a flash. Plus, it stays put all day! I use Soft Brown. 
  • Blush | ALIMA PURE | All Natural | I love this blush for a sun-kissed flush that brings my often pale cheeks to life without any shimmer needed. I have a discontinued shade but Apricot looks similar.
  • Lipstick | BEAUTY COUNTER | 100% Clean | This is an expensive lip stick but I absolutely LOVE it. My lips never feel dry from wearing it and it packs a lot of pigment in a very easy to apply formula. If you’ve wanted to rock a bold lip but feel weary of traditional lip sticks, give this a try! I wear Current.
  • Concealer | KJAER WEIS | All Natural + Sustainable Packaging | This is technically a ‘foundation’ but I use it as concealer. I’m on my second palette of this product and it won’t be my last. It’s very pricey to purchase at first but it lasts for a long time and the refill costs are easier to stomach. I adore this line in general and wear Like Porcelain in this product.
  • Foundation + SPF | 100% PURE | All Natural | 30 mL | I’m onto my second container of this foundation and still quite like it. I add a couple drops of my serum to help it go on smoother and blend better. This helps it melt right into my skin and keep it from sitting on top and looking chalky. I love that it has SPF built-in so I can leave out the sunscreen step when I’m not going to be in significant sun. I switch between Creme and White Peach or blend them.
  • Under Eye Brightener | CLOVE + HALLOW | All Natural | This is technically a concealer but I got a shade too light and have been loving it as an under eye brightener. I love the super silky and lightweight texture of this one. I find it settles into fine lines a bit so I usually apply sparingly and just before I go out.
  • Un-Powder | RMS BEAUTY | All Natural | I swear by this powder in warmer temps because I have combination skin with an oily t-zone. This cuts any unwanted shine without ever making me look powdery and keeps a bit of glow visible.

Brushes are from Bobbi Brown and the make-up bag was a PR gift.

Style Bee - Carry-On Skincare + Beauty

Well, I think that’s it for now as far as packing posts go! I hope this one will be helpful for the next time you’re packing liquids/gels in your carry-on luggage or for those looking for more natural and clean products to travel with! 

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below!

Thanks for reading! I’m looking forward to a couple of fun posts next week and wishing you all a wonderful weekend! 

This post is not sponsored but contains affiliate links. When you shop via the links above I may make a small commission from a sale. Thanks for supporting Style Bee! All opinions are always my own.

Leave me a comment here!

  1. mary says:

    how do you not eat at all on a long flight?!?! that is the true miracle in my opinion 🙂

    • Lee the Bee says:

      I was so worried too but it was totally fine. On the red-eye I didn’t even notice but on the way home I had a substantial lunch before boarding and made sure I had lots of water all flight. Never felt hungry but eating on the flight is something to do and a comfort of sorts. Going to try it again when I fly to Europe this summer! It definitely helped me feel less bloated and gross when I landed and helped to keep my digestive system working normally, which I struggle with every time I fly (IBSC).

  2. Hannah says:

    Headed to Scotland this summer on a red eye from the US, and this post is going to be so helpful to refer back to! There’s so many carry on packing lists out there, but packing liquids in a carry on is less common. Also, how long would you say your bottle of Vitner’s Daughter lasts?

    • Lee the Bee says:

      That’s great Hannah! So cool that you’re heading to Scotland. We LOVED it there. If you’re heading to the highlands and/or Skye definitely check out my travel post on it because there are some hidden gems up there.

      I would say 1 Vintner’s Daughter bottle lasts me about 4-5 months during the cold weather seasons as I use between 5-8 drops a day. In the spring and summer I don’t need as much so it lasts closer to 6 months. I’ve tried a few other serums and nothing compares to the way my skin feels when I wake up after a sleep with Vintner’s on. Hope that helps!

    • Hannah says:

      We ARE headed to Skye!! I remember reading that travel post ages ago, but I’m looking it up again! I’m glad you LOVED it. It seems hard not to love! July can’t come soon enough.
      Thanks for the info. I’m glad it lasts awhile since it’s so pricey. So very helpful, Lee!!

  3. Thank you for this! I am going to Europe in May and I am definitely going to use this post as my holy grail for packing my carry-on!

  4. Diana says:

    I am taking a girl’s trip to Paris with my sister and friends in May and I have committed to only bringing a carry-on (for the first time). This post has been helpful and I’m even more confident that skipping check luggage is the way to go. Thank you so much for this post!

    • Lee the Bee says:

      It’s my pleasure Diana! I know carry-on packing can feel so daunting at first but I swear once you do it you’ll never want to check again! A girls trip to Paris, how fun! I’m sure you’ll have the best time. xo

  5. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for the red-eye kit tips! My flight travel increased significantly when I started my current job three years ago – I took 26 round-trip flights last year. It’s definitely poissible to travel without checking a bag! My last checked bag was lost by the airline nine years ago, so I only own carry on luggage.

    I live in the US and have never had a problem with my liquids. I actually leave my foundation in my makeup case inside my luggage and it’s never been flagged as a liquid.

    One thing that really helped me is sleeping with my hair tied up in a silk scarf. My ringlets are preserved so I can bring smaller amounts of my hair products. That’s every curly girl’s travel Achilles heel!

    I’ve used my Cuyana zipper tote bag as my personal item for the last two years. Still looks new and I don’t have to worry about anything falling out or unwanted hands sneaking in while on the go. I highly recommend it!

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Thanks for the great tips and personal experience Stephanie! Lost luggage really is the worst when travelling so I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that stress anymore. Such a good idea to use a silk scarf to keep your curls under control. I have the opposite issue where I end up with flattened out bed-head haha. So glad to hear you like your zipper tote. I got one for my Mum and she loves it! xo

  6. Amanda says:

    My favourite sleep mask comes from Saje – I highly recommend! You can splurge and get the kit or just purchase the eye shade separately.

  7. Andrea says:

    We just flew the red eye Seattle to Iceland last week, and for the first time I fully took off my makeup the second I got on the plane. I’d heard you should, and knew it, but with my rosacea I’d always been too self conscious to actually do it (despite 30-40 red eye and long distance flights in my lifetime). It made such a difference in the way I felt. I used a Ole Henricksen wipe and the REN omega 3 serum and moisturizer. About 30 minutes before landing I put on tinted moisturizer to get me through the airport to the hotel. I will never skip this step again!

    I’m prone to overpack because I never know what I’ll feel like doing on the plane (I can get motion sick if I read or watch too much tv). My essentials in additional to wallet etc are:
    Refillable water bottle (the airport here has fill stations once you’re through security, then I’ve got it for the rest of the trip to stay hydrated)
    A book
    My Kindle in case I want to read something else
    Sleep mask (I use one at home and love it)
    Peppermint doTerra oil (works wonders when my stomach acts up)
    Face wipe & beauty supplies
    Snacks (dried fruit or Kind bars)

    We are heading to Hawaii next month and I’ve been debating buying the carry on suitcase you mentioned. All I really need are swimsuits and sun screen anyway!

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Thanks for all these awesome tips Andrea!

      I couldn’t agree more about how much better it felt to take off my make up and do a little version of my nighttime routine. I’ve never even considered it before but like you, it’s a must from now on!

      I’ve heard great things about REN and will have to give the line a try sometime.

      Have the best trip to Hawaii! I’m dying to visit sometime soon! Xo

    • Abbey says:

      My husband got me the AWAY suitcase (smallest size) for Christmas last year and I LOVE it. It’s just really well-designed–I can actually fit a week’s worth of clothes into it easily (although I tend to pack pretty light, so that might not be true for everyone).

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Thanks for chiming in Abbey! I agree 100% that it’s deceivingly roomy. I packed for two full weeks in the UK (so lots of layers) in my small Away Carry-On and it was perfect. Have a great weekend! xo

  8. Lia says:

    I’m thrilled you did this dedicated post on beauty, Lee! I’m trying to move to natural skincare products, but have felt a bit stuck. I was wondering what you still used from the Skincare post so this is perfect timing.

    I’ll admit I started giggling when I saw how many products you bring. I fly about 15 times per year and there’s no way this number of products would fly (hah sorry) with TSA security in the US. You get 1 clear quart sized bag that all liquids including foundation etc need to be in. If you don’t take tour liquids out of your carry on, that will trigger a bag check about 50% of the time. At busy airports, that can be a 5-10 minute wait. Just a caution for any Americans who don’t fly often and see this post.

    • Carol says:

      I don’t fly that often, but the liquid thing has had me packing my toiletry bag in my checked baggage for years. Finally, on my last trip, I was able to get all my liquids into small enough bottles that they all fit in my clear bag and I could actually take my toiletry bag on the plane.

    • Lee the Bee says:

      I used to do the same thing! I sometimes save small empty bottles just for carry-on purposes haha. Hope you had a good trip!

    • Denise says:

      I was thinking along the same lines. I’m in Ireland for carry on you are allowed one small (1 litre) bag, which every liquid/gel based products must fit in, and it has to be able to close, so no over-packing. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing? 🙂

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Interesting! I was totally fine with my usual items in a medium sized ziploc (close to the 1 Litre size) going through airports in England (Heathrow) and Scotland (Inverness) just last September. Same with Iceland, France and Amsterdam the year prior. Go to know though! Thanks for reading Denise! Xo

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Hi Lia, Thanks for the insight on the 1 clear quart bag. I’ve flown to the US a couple of times with much of what I included here and had no issues.

      It definitely seems like a lot of product but they all fit into a relatively small bag/space. I don’t fly nearly as often as you so my process is not as lean, plus finally having found a skincare routine that works has me very nervous to skip certain steps.

      Going through any airport security I always take the plastic ziploc out of my bag and put it onto the tray which is good to note so I’ll update that section. Normally I don’t have the additional red-eye kit but I take that out too.

      Thanks for reading and enjoy the weekend! Xo