If you think long trips with minimalist travel toiletries are only an option for men, maybe it’s time to challenge that assumption. You and I and our women’s toiletry bags can do the same!
Minimalist toiletries don’t just have to consist of a toothbrush and a comb. It can actually include everything you need daily.
Minimalist packing has many benefits. In my opinion, it’s much easier to travel with just carry-on luggage. And often much cheaper too. But toiletries, in particular, can be a challenge due to airline liquid limits.
So today, I’d like to share my experiences from the past few years and give you three tips on how to create your own minimalist travel toiletry kit for women.
For obvious reasons, this article is geared towards female travelers and their toiletries. But I hope men can get an idea or two for their travel Dopp kits as well.
So, are you ready to downsize your toiletries?
My minimalist travel toiletries
Before we get started…would you like to know what I personally take with me?
When I travel, it’s normally for an extended period of time, usually a few months. I often get the question which toiletries I take with me.
On my YouTube channel, I posted a video where I talk about my travel toiletries. As you’ll see, I’m not an ultra-minimalist when it comes to my toiletries. But my travel toiletries kit is small, lightweight, and meets all airline requirements.
The contents of this bag usually last for more than 3 months.
Now if you’re inspired to create your own minimalist travel toiletry bag, check out my three tips.
Tip 1: Set yourself a limit
Your first step should be to buy a small and preferably lightweight travel toiletry bag. This can make a big difference, especially if you are only traveling with hand luggage and your total weight allowance is only seven kilograms.
The bag I use is the “Hanging Toiletry Bag” from Sea to Summit. For me, it is the best bag I have found so far.
When empty, it weighs only 80 grams and holds about 3 liters. It’s not the prettiest, but it’s extremely functional. I can hang it up, and it offers great organization options.
When it comes to filling this bag with products, I have two rules:
- All toiletries must fit in this bag. Without this rule, I would go overboard and start adding things here and there.
- All liquids must fit in a 1 liter Ziploc bag when I travel by plane. But when I arrive at my destination, they have to fit back into the toiletry bag. (If you have liquids anywhere else in your bag, such as medications, don’t forget to add them).
At first glance, it may seem impossible for EVERYTHING to fit into this small bag. But at this point, you need to start making some decisions and looking for smaller alternatives:
- Only pack things that will fit inside your bag! Take your toiletries out of bulky or large packages and transfer them to smaller, reusable containers. By the way, if you have a Lush store near you, try to get some of their sample containers. They never leak, and they are for free.
- Try to get travel-size toiletries.
- Try to find smaller or reusable alternatives, like a foldable hairbrush or reusable makeup remover pads.
- If you’re traveling with others, consider sharing some toiletries. For example, take only one shampoo or toothpaste.
- Make sure your toiletries are appropriate for the type of trip. If you’re going on a long-distance hike, you may not need your makeup.
Be rigorous. Take only what you really need. You can certainly survive a week without three different kinds of face cream. One may be enough. And if you discover during your trip that you left something essential at home, you can always buy it at your destination.
If you already managed to pack everything in your toiletry bag, congratulations.
However, don’t forget to check if the liquids will fit in a 1 liter ziploc bag. In most cases, this is where you will run into a problem. But don’t worry, there is something you can do about it.
Tip 2: Find solid travel toiletries
It is easy to save space and weight by using solid toiletries. And the best part is that they don’t count against your liquid allowance.
Over the years, I’ve got obsessed with replacing liquids with solid alternatives. In the beginning, there weren’t too many options. But these days, the stores are full of them if you keep your eyes open.
The easiest to replace is shampoo. Solid shampoos work like a charm. You swipe it over your wet hair a few times and then lather it up as usual.
Just make sure you buy a solid shampoo and not a hair soap. These are two different things. While you can use a solid shampoo like a regular shampoo, a hair soap requires a little more effort and doesn’t work on every hair. For example, there will be some buildup, and you will need to rinse your hair with vinegar. In the beginning, hair soap was all I could find. Can you imagine how happy I was when I found the first solid shampoo?
Another well-known option is to use a lip balm instead of a cream to keep your lips moisturized. Balms don’t count as liquids either, and they are available for many purposes, not just lips.
But there are many more ways to substitute liquids for solids to create your minimalist travel toiletry kit.
Use a bar of soap or solid body wash instead of shower gel. These days, they also come in powder form. I personally use Dr. Bronner’s baby soap to wash my face and body. It works very well for my sensitive skin.
Oh, and did I mention that there is also solid toothpaste? It comes in little tablets. And every time you want to brush your teeth, you chew it, mix it with your saliva, and brush as usual.
If you can’t find a solid alternative, try to find the product as a wipe or in sheet form. Those don’t count as liquids either. I’ve found sheet versions with nail polish remover, disinfectant, deodorant, or for cleaning my face.
And if possible, try to get reusable items. Instead of bringing makeup remover or makeup remover wipes, buy a reusable makeup remover pad.
Don’t forget the little luxuries. If you have some space in your toiletry bag, take a sheet mask or some powder masks. You can mix them with some water and use them like any other face mask.
Tip 3: Add multipurpose items to your minimalist travel toiletries
And my last tip is to find items that you can use for as many things as possible.
In the last part, I mentioned that I use Dr. Bronner’s baby soap bars. Well, you can use them for more than just washing your face and body. According to their website, it has 18 different uses. I use them to wash my laundry and to wash dishes.
My favorite travel toiletry is a dry oil, which can be used for the face, body, and hair. I use it as my main moisturizer for my face and body.
When I’m done showering, I apply a small amount to my wet skin. And then I let it air dry. And for hair, I can either use it as a mask before washing my hair or applying a small amount to my hair when it’s having a rebellious day. Just be careful because it gets greasy if you use too much of it, which can happen quite fast. And the dry oil literally lasts forever on me. A 100 ml bottle usually lasts me about a year.
So as you can see, it’s not that hard to make your own minimalist travel toiletry kit. Just give it a try.
Because what’s the worst that can happen? No matter where you are in the world, chances are you can buy what you need somewhere.
And don’t forget to optimize your minimalist travel toiletries. If you return from your trip and find that you didn’t use a product at all, leave it at home next time. If you are missing something, add it for your next trip.
Once you find products that work for you, create a packing list so you remember what to pack for your next trip.