7 TSA Pre-Approved Beauty Hacks for the Constant Traveler

When it comes to doing sheet masks on planes, I have NO SHAME.
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Kathleen Braine
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When it comes to doing sheet masks on planes, I have NO SHAME.

In the last couple of months, I have spent an inordinate amount of time on planes. I'M  talking 14 different plane flights, 8 different airports, and countless hours spent watching “The Affair” on my phone while waiting for delayed flights. The one-two punch of the holidays plus my hectic work travel meant that finally getting TSA Pre Check was actually the highlight of my December (I know, it’s pretty sad).

That being said, now that I’m finally grounded for more than two weeks (fingers crossed), I want to bequeath to you my (officially TSA Pre-Approved) beauty hacks for the constant traveler. You’re welcome. And if you’re currently in an airport, I’m so sorry (I highly recommend “The Affair”…)

Create a Travel Makeup Bag

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I know it seems wasteful to have additional products specifically for traveling, but once you’ve saved yourself the hassle of unpacking and repacking your toiletries once, you will thank me. I purposely make sure that my travel dop kit is in a TSA approved clear makeup bag (I got mine for 4 bucks at Duane Reade).

Save Your Samples

The separate travel bag leads to the obvious question: what do you fill it with? Many lists of purported “travel hacks” include such awesomely impractical options as “fill empty contact cases with small amounts of your favorite products” and “fill a battery case with hand sanitizer.” I promise you, I tried the contact case move, and I was left with a bag full of toiletries covered in Stila liquid foundation and Urban Decay liquid eyeliner. 

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For a more practical way to fill my travel makeup bag, I hoard Sephora samples, department store testers, and hotel lotion and shampoo to stock my bag with so that everything is under the 3.4 oz limit. A great way to also find smaller products is to buy kits or sets at places like Ulta or Sally’s Beauty. Often times a skincare or haircare kit will have smaller bottles of shampoo, hairspray, or cleanser that you can utilize for your bag. 

SHU UEMURA Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil, $69

SHU UEMURA Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil, $69

Additionally, I purposely buy multi-use products for my makeup bag. Shu Uemura Art of Hair Oil can function as a hair, body, and face product, all in one bottle.

Create a Smaller, Separate Bag for When You're Actually on the Plane

Clarity MD Clarifying Gel $29, Boscia Charcoal Cleansing Wipes, $15 & MED e TATE Antipersperant Wipes, $48

Clarity MD Clarifying Gel $29, Boscia Charcoal Cleansing Wipes, $15 & MED e TATE Antipersperant Wipes, $48

Another hack I picked up specifically for my recent 15-hour flight to Delhi (OMG I know) was creating a smaller makeup bag within my larger toiletry kit that is for the seatback pocket while I'm actually on the plane. I store my carry on in the overhead bin, but make sure that this smaller bag includes the inflight essentials, including face wipes, deodorant wipes, hair ties, face lotion, Aquaphor, eye drops, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, hair oil, acne gel, advil, and any other medication you may need on the plane while in flight.

Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil $52 & Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream, $42

Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil $52 & Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream, $42

Some of my favorite products for my seatback pocket bag include:

Sheet Masks

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Masks, 4-pack $54

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Masks, 4-pack $54

When it comes to doing sheet masks on planes, I have NO SHAME. The air in the plane is recycled and pressurized, so it leaches moisture right out of your skin. To combat this, I always bring sheet masks and eye masks on flights (and I keep them in my seat-back pocket bag!). I wear them without a care in the world, no matter what weird looks I get from my seatmates. My favorite are Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Masks

Take Care of Your Feet

Once again, the lack of moisture on the plane is not a good thing. In order to subtly pamper myself when I fly, I slather my feet in a super rich moisturizer (or just straight Aquaphor) and put on soft comfy socks before I leave for the airport. When I’m finally at my destination, my feet have gotten a secret, TSA-Approved, in-flight pedi.

Braid Your Hair on the Plane

Photo Credit: Nick Wiesner

Photo Credit: Nick Wiesner

The most annoying part of flying all the time for work is having to go straight from the plane to meetings, conferences, or any manner of professional engagement. Because I have long, dyed blonde hair, whenever I fly, I’m constantly trying to avoid greasy plane hair. I’ve often joked that even if I were to get a blowout while my plane was sitting on the tarmac, I would still have noticeably plane-messy hair when I landed. 

My solution? Braid my damp hair into two french braids (with plenty of leave-in conditioner) and leave it in for the duration of the flight. Once we land, I take the braids out and am left with soft beach waves (and no greasy mess).

Learn to Curl your Hair with a Straightener

A very frustrating part of packing for work trips is needing the beauty and hair supplies necessary to feel good, but never wanting to check a bag. I solve that problem with the small bottles I mentioned above, but also with avoiding lugging extra tools. I learned to curl my hair with a straightener, and I never looked back. This is the specific tutorial that I used (way back in 2013!), but there are plenty of vloggers chomping at the bit to teach you their ways.

How do you stay glamorous — and not insane — while traveling? Tell me in the comments!