If you travel often and love skin care, you know the struggle of fitting enough beauty items in a TSA-approved bag at the airport. That’s where solid products come in.
Not only will they make traveling a breeze, but they are also more eco-friendly. The average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water daily, so if you’re attempting to lower your carbon footprint, your beauty routine can be a place to start.
Most beauty products list aqua (water) as the first ingredient, and it can be up to 80% of a product’s formula. As an ingredient, water is a solvent, yet many consider it an unnecessary filler. Cosmetic chemist and formulator Esther Olu explains that formulating products without water can be tricky. “In formulation, water is deemed the universal solvent and a lot of ingredients (especially actives) dissolve quite easily into water. When that is taken away, it can potentially limit the ingredients that one wants to incorporate into a formula. Thanks to continuous innovations, scientists have worked with alternative solvents, incorporated plant concentrates (e.g., aloe juice) and more,” Olu explained.
Reducing the water content and making a product solid makes it better for the environment. A big plus is that these items are easier to travel with, considering they won’t count toward your liquid allowance at security.
Below, we’ve gathered 14 amazing TSA-safe products for your next adventure!
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Carbon Theory charcoal and tea tree oil breakout control facial cleansing bar
This solid cleanser is perfect for acne-prone, oily skin types as it contains charcoal and tea tree oil. It can also be used as a body bar, especially if you suffer from bacne, though the brand does have a dedicated product for the body too. This also contains moisturizing shea butter, and it’s vegan and cruelty-free. Plus the outer pack is resealable, so you can take the bar everywhere.
Frances Prescott tri-balm
A three-in-one product, this stick not only cleanses the skin while removing makeup but also gently exfoliates and moisturizes. It can be used as a face mask when you need to remove dirt and pollution post-flying. This waterless product contains botanical oils to cleanse the skin, pumpkin seeds to exfoliate and hyaluronic acid to hydrate. It’s also spill-proof! To use as a cleanser, simply massage on your face, add some water and see it transform into a milky lotion. To use as a moisturizer, apply some on your face and pat in. The packaging is made using recycled materials and the company's products are cruelty-free.
Keys Soulcare Be Luminous exfoliator
You need to gently exfoliate your skin, even when on a summer holiday. Gone are the days of bulky liquid exfoliants, which aren’t always travel-friendly. Enter the powder exfoliator from Alicia Keys’ skin care brand. The product is activated with a small amount of water, but the H2O hasn’t traveled through the whole production chain to reach you. It combines antioxidant-rich hojicha powder and lactic acid to remove dead skin cells and leave your complexion glowing.
Jones Road Hippie Stick
A stick balm that moisturizes and soothes the skin is a smart idea when traveling. Not only that, this formula from Bobbi Brown's brand Jones Road is multipurpose. Use it on your hair, face and body, including dry patches on your cuticles, elbows and knees. The ingredients combine nourishing oils — sunflower seed, shea, castor and more — that work to strengthen the skin barrier, while keeping moisture in the skin.
Peace Out retinol face stick
Retinol is a superstar ingredient that not only supports the skin while it ages but is also fantastic for breakouts. This waterless stick product is easy to use, as you can’t overdo it like with other retinol products. A quick swipe across the face is enough! It combines an encapsulated retinol blend, fruit enzymes and antioxidant bakuchiol. The tube is 50% recycled plastic, and the product is vegan and cruelty-free.
Supergoop Sunnyscreen 100% mineral stick SPF 50
Sunscreen is vital daily and even more so when you use exfoliants and retinols and spend time outside. This Supergoop stick is for babies and kids but because of its gentle formula and broad-spectrum SPF 50, it’s the ideal sun stick for traveling and for topping up during the day for anyone. It’s also fragrance-free, cruelty-free, water-resistant and suitable for sensitive skin. Bonus: It can also be used on the body.
Plus Waves body wash
Imagine a sheet of soap that cleans your body and is fully zero waste. Sounds impossible, right? Yet, Plus has done just that. Not only does the sheet itself dissolve in water but the sachet does, too. The sheet is created through a process the company likens to baking; the body wash formula is made and baked to remove excess water and that dehydrated version is cut up in pieces. The sheets have soothing and antimicrobial ingredients — and great scents — to clean and exfoliate, like eucalyptus leaf oil, shea butter and ferulic acid. Each sachet is good for one use: Add some water in your hands and use the gentle foam. Plus, the outer packaging for the multipacks is compostable.
Soft Services buffing bar (pack of two)
Buffing Bar is a physical exfoliant, most suitable for bumpy skin on the body as well as ingrown hair, keratosis pilaris and discoloration. The vegan bar comes in a 100% recyclable paper and carton. Shea butter and aloe vera calm the skin, while the fine crystals exfoliate. It shouldn’t be used on broken or irritated skin. The company offers full instructions
on how to recycle and dispose of all its packaging, which is helpful.
Kate McLeod daily stone body moisturizer
Kate McLeod started creating her solid zero-waste body bars in her kitchen in 2018. They all contain cocoa butter and nourishing base oils like sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado and fractionated coconut, as well as pure essential oils. When in touch with the warmth of the skin, the bar slowly melts away and turns into a nourishing oil. The starter kit includes one bar and a recycled bamboo storage case, which can then be refilled. McLeod’s products are waterless, vegan, cruelty-free and plastic-free.
Aveda Shampure bar
This brand is one of the first to collaborate with eco-conscious nongovernmental organizations and support local communities while caring for the environment. Recently it launched a line of solid hair products, including this vegan shampoo bar created for hair in need of nourishment. This limited collection supports the NGO charity: water, which provides clean drinking water to people in need in India, Madagascar and Nepal.
Peach Not Plastic shampoo and conditioner bar set
A bar of solid soap is one simple way to reduce water and plastic in your daily routine. Did you know you could also use a solid conditioner? Peach Not Plastic, a certified B Corp
, offers shampoo and conditioner in waterless, solid form. Each bar saves up to two conventional plastic bottles from the landfill. Since its launch in October 2020, the company has helped more than 320,000 consumers kick a total of 1.2 million plastic bottles from landfills. Its products are made in the U.S. and are vegan, cruelty-free and plastic-free.
Axiology Lip to Lid 3-in-1 balmies
It’s very annoying seeing a TSA agent throwing out your brand-new lipsticks and cream blushes, but that’s where Axiology comes in. Since April 2022, the company has gone fully plastic-free. It no longer sells its lipsticks (housed in plastic cases) and is focused on its multi-use balm products. The color payoff is great and you don’t even need brushes. Plus, they are housed in a recyclable carrying case, made from recycled waste. The ingredients are nourishing plant-based oils and the sticks can be used on the eyes, cheeks and lips.
Hello anti-plaque and teeth whitening toothpaste tabs
Solid toothpaste is an easy way to reduce water consumption in your bathroom. It’s also particularly handy when traveling. The vegan Hello toothpaste tabs are simple to use: You chew one tab until it turns into a soft, minty foam, and then you simply brush with a toothbrush, as you normally would. The tin is made from metal and it’s reusable, refillable, plastic-free and recyclable.
Dew Mighty Dynamic Duo starter kit
Dew Mighty launched with just one product and it’s the world’s first solid serum. The Bloom Jelly Serum Bar is packed with nourishing plant oils (like jojoba, olive and jasmine) and actives (vitamin C). It slowly melts away when in contact with the warmth of your skin, so you only use as much as you need. It’s zero waste and plastic free, and the brand sells a refillable metallic case for storage. One bar offers about 120 uses.