Summer Travel Essentials


One large Ziploc. If I can fit all my toiletries for a trip into one large Ziploc bag: Mission Accomplished. I’ve been traveling like crazy these past few weeks and have successfully narrowed down my summer essentials (for mostly any kind of expedition—beach, wedding, beach wedding) to the following items, as seen here, strewn about my bathroom at a hotel-that-cannot-be-named-because-photos-are-verboten.


Bioderma Créaline, mini size: makeup remover, toner, and general refresher. I usually also pack a handful of cotton pads (Koh Gen Do’s are oh-so-luxurious) in a plastic sandwich bag in case the hotel bathroom doesn’t have them.

Tracie Martyn Amla Purifying Cleanser: Carting around your Clarisonic is a commitment, and one that I often make, but when I want to lighten up, this clarifying (but not drying), foaming salicylic-acid cleanser is the way to go.

Skinceuticals Phloretin CF Gel: I’m on an antioxidant kick, and this gel formula with Vitamin C and ferulic acid is meant to repel a bevy of environmental toxins. I apply it after cleansing but before anything else. It’s “preventative,” which is great, but also means that I’ll probably forget about it soon since I can’t “see it working.” But so far, I’m gonna ride that wave…

Joëlle Ciocco Médiateur Oxygénation & Cerat aux Fleurs Composées: Every time I visit facialist (and Ciocco protégée) Isabelle Bellis, she swears I need to go home with this one cream, or that one mask that will change my face. And she is always right. The viscous oxygenating complex is the first serum to go on, and then I massage the fleur oil on top—“loving my skin,” as Tom Pecheux would say. It really does feel like a million bucks afterwards.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer: Riley’s MO is “green science”—an admirable pursuit in the beauty industry—and I love that her makeup contains skin-care ingredients. I’ve been hooked on this mousse-like primer for months. It has the consistency of a silky tinted moisturizer and makes skin glow-y without any shimmer or sparkle.

Lucas’ Papaw Ointment: My friend brought this back from Australia a while back and it’s my permanent bathroom lip stuff (or Nuxe Rêve de Miele, but that’s a little clunky to travel with). It’s like a fragrance-free Eight Hour Cream, with a homespun, hippie vibe.


Armani Face Fabric: Tabitha Simmons turned me onto this. She is the most minimal beauty I know, the “anti foundation” type gal, so if it’s good enough for Tab, it’s good enough for me. This stuff is seriously light as air. It feels like a "cream to powder" formula—perfect for rubbing around the T-Zone, nostrils, and under eyes. I don’t do concealer under my eyes…I like a little natural shadow. This could very well change one day, or, next week. Don’t quote me.

Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder in Brunettes: This palette’s still going strong since last summer (am I supposed to get a fresh one?). I use my decapitated Beauty Is Life fan brush to shade cheekbones and dust across all those hot spots.

Dior SkinFlash Primer: My new favorite highlighter. It’s like Touche Éclat, but bigger, and a bit more watery. Perfect for blending onto the tops of cheekbones with…

Blush. I’m alternating between Benefit Benetint and Tom Ford’s Frantic Pink (applied with a brush from Tarte). The most important thing about blush, more so than the shade, I feel, is application technique. A makeup artist recently told me to stay away from the apples of my cheeks (too close to the ruddy nose area) and diffuse it across the cheekbones instead. It makes a huge difference.

Now, for lashes. I’m really letting them do the talking lately, with an emphasis on bulking up the lower little guys. I’ve been going for a more open, round eye shape, with a “smoke” of shadow around the lid and under the eye…but don’t be fooled. By “smoke” I just mean no hard, distinct lines—just a wash of color. My current favorite product for this is a rusty, purple-y red (Clé de Peau’s fall launch—trust me, I’ll tell you when it’s out) applied with a finger. For night, I’ll pair it with thicker fringe—Estée Lauder’s Sumptuous Extreme mascara, layering the blue and black. For day, I go for a super “natural” feathery flutter with the “Haute” end of MAC’s Haute & Naughty Lash.

My trusty Tweezerman and Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel keep brows in line. And, where are the lipsticks, glosses, glazes, liners, etc? Why, they’re all in my purse, of course! I would NOT get away with one Ziploc otherwise.


I put my trust in the hotel’s offerings (with the exception of my beloved 3 oz Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray)—on this particular trip, Cowshed did not let me down. There were no fewer than four body washes and as many shampoo and conditioner options, in a shower built for ten people. In fact, I pilfered a bottle of impressive body oil, transported via a lone sandwich bag in my carry-on luggage back to NYC. The three shower necessities I will not leave home without are my trusty Schick razor, shaving cream, and a bottle of all-purpose Dr Bronner’s baby soap, just to be safe. Oh, and a toothbrush. Which I always forget. Don’t we all?

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Topsy

    That tiny bottle of crealine looks adorable.

  • Sam

    Emily, lovin this but do you not use a high PPD suncreen? It's really important!

  • SF City Editor

    Love the piece and pictures! Thank you for giving me something pretty to look at.
    I wish I used less skincare, I need more than one ziploc baggie : (

  • Alexandra

    Hi Emily - Where do you apply the Dior skinflash primer? All over or just cheekbones & brow bones?

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely LOVE Skinceuticals!

  • erin

    perfect picks - i spy quite a few of my fave products! x

  • Love Letters

    Please tell me that was an intentional decaption of a $70 brush...

  • Becca @ The Beauty Sample

    You have the BEST travel-essentials ever!!! My favorites are Phoretin CF (I've been on an antioxidant kick for quite a while now, and this serum has been at the top of my wish-list the whole time. But I can't seem to justify spending that much on a small, 1 oz. bottle of product I'd have to replenish every month [I like to use a LOT of serum on my face]), Tom Ford's Frantic Pink (picking this one up this weekend, hopefully!), and the Guerlain Terracotta Light in Brunettes (just got this one and I'm in love!)

  • Lindsay

    That papaw ointment looks intriguing! I've heard about quite a bit this year...might have a search online online for it since Australia is a bit far for me ;)

  • Anonymous

    i really want to try the armani face fabric foundation! maybe i will (:

  • Tammi

    Emily, Lucas' Papaw Ointment is full of petrochemicals! Choose a natural one where possible. There are a lot of natural ones available in Aus now, get your friend to bring/send you one of those instead.

    • Bell

      I agree. There's one from suvana that's natural and you can get it at spiritbeauty in the states and content beauty in the uk. X

  • Heather

    I am not a fan of that new Skinceuticals gel formulation. I prefer the liquid one. I have found that the gel one causes beading by the time I get to my makeup. (Is that what it's called, beading, when you rub on your makeup and you get those little bits of residue that roll off?) I have used the phloretin and the ferulic liquid versions, and didn't have this issue.

  • Mummy is a blogueuse

    Your post is very good, that's THE question I ask myself every time I'm packing....thanks!!!

  • Mili

    i'd love to go to hotels that have nice branded shampoos/conditioners, but usually i'm in b&bs or the like when i'm travelling, so i just go to the travel section of my Sephora and get little Bliss and Soap and Glory minis or shampoo, conditioner and body wash :)

  • Rola

    What a great list of products, I always look forward to trying something new every now and then.

  • Miss K

    I used to forget my toothbrush. Nowadays I just have all the products I use daily duplicated in a washbag. So when I hit the road, all I need to remember is to pack it.

  • Catherine

    Everyone in Aus uses Lucas' paw paw ointment, it's great! I always carry a tube around with me I probably have 3+ lying around just so I'm always able to easily grab one if I need to.

  • Lauren

    Hi Emily, I was wondering how do you apply your benetint? I find it dries so quickly it is hard to blend...what am I doing wrong?

  • ilaktionova

    Great pics and post!

  • Olive Yew

    I'm going to try the Dior SkinFlash Primer. I've used Touche Éclat for years, but this sounds way better for summer.
    Thanks for the tip!

  • anne

    I would love to know what are you carrying for lipsticks and glosses right now Thanks and great post!!

  • Holly

    Absolutely LOVED this post. It's great to see old favorites plus the exciting new things you've been trying out! Thanks for being so thorough and providing links. :) It's a shame both of your Joelle Ciocco products aren't available on Colette's website, but hopefully soon they'll be in stock. You're an inspiration for trying new things and product rotation! And, I'm extremely curious about the hotel you were inhabiting!

  • josieowen

    It's kind of refreshing to see someone who doesn't cart an entire suitcase for their beauty products! Need to get my hands on the baby crealine and the mascara x

  • Kate

    Great post! And I am so happy to know that I am not the only one who always forgets her toothbrush;)
    xx Kate

  • Kitchen afternoon

    i find an all natural toner and derma e hyleraunic acid essential. and enzyme peels.

  • Marla

    How about a blush and highlighter tutorial?

  • Caroline Warin

    Is Créaline available everywhere in the US ? Because I am French and going to study in California for a year and I can't live without it (I have been using it for more than 10 years) !!!
    I would like to figure out if I need to pack 5 bottles of Créaline or not...

    • sashi

      Pack them, I can't find it except for online and live in a city. Pack 6 actually (one for me!)

      • Caroline

        Ok...I'll come with a whole luggage of Créaline haha. What is the website by the way ? I'd be interested to compare the prices. (I never pay more than 17 euros for TWO big bottles in Monoprix).

        • DY


          You can order it on After I moved back from London I couldn't give it up either!

    • Nina R.

      Crealine is only available in very few European- style drugstores (New London Pharmacy and The Cure Pharmacy in NYC) and on some websites. It is much much more expensive in the U.S. than in Europe. ($48 for the large bottle, compared to about $15 in Europe). If you have room in your luggage - pack it!

      • steph

        I know this is besides the point of the original post but its also readily available in Canada (thank god)

  • Théa Unknown

    Your bathroom appears to be lovely!

    Théa Unknown

  • Navy

    Any recommendations for a great eyebrow expert (tweezing preferably) in Paris?

  • guest

    LOVED this post- Im craving more..

  • Jennifer Monforton

    Packing beauty products for travel can certainly be a challenge- if only my traincase would fit in my suit case :)- but this review is helpful in outlining the smaller-sized goodies that can make the cut. And the brief, embedded reviews and pics are great too!

  • Little Red Book

    Love it, the trick, rather the rule of the large ziplock bag. It's the last and most important detail of my packing.

  • Fore-trend

    Love the Skinceuticals the best!

  • Jessica du Plessis

    absolutely love my armani face fabric! Definitely agree with the blush application tip, cheekbones rather than the apples is definitely the right move.

  • therealblonde

    Is the tiny bottle of Créaline refillable? So practical to travel with, but the travel size is almost as expensive as a large bottle! So I wouldn't want to buy it more than once, and then keep refilling from my big supply!

    • Nina R.

      The travel Crealine bottle is totally refillable. It's the same as the large bottle, with a screw-on cap, but smaller. You can easily re-fill it. I purchased mine in France where the prices ranged from about 2.5 to 5 euros for the tiny bottle, depending upon the pharmacy.

      • Nina R.

        Aack!! I am completely in error! I cannot get the top off to re-fill! So sorry for the mis-information - it looks like you can un-screw it, but you can't!!

  • Michelle Lee
  • Emergency Bucks

    I love PawPaw ointment.

  • ROWE

    Love Frantic Pink! Definitely an essential!

  • Lulu Liu

    Traveling light is not so hard when you have plenty of Muji travel bottles.

  • lexierose


Skinceuticals Phloretin CF Gel
Bioderma Créaline
Koh Gen Do
Koh Gen Do Organic Cotton Pads
Tracie Martyn
Tracie Martyn Amla Purifying Cleanser
Clarisonic Aria
Sunday Riley
Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer
Nuxe Reve De Miel Face Cream
Armani Face Fabric Second Skin Nude Makeup
Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder
Beauty Is Life
Beauty Is Life Fan Brush
Dior Skinflash Primer
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat
Benefit Benetint
Estee Lauder
Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara
MAC Haute & Naughty Lash Mascara
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel in Brunette
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray
Dr. Bronner's
Dr Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Pure-Castile Soap