A French Approach To Beauty Packing

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I was literally just having the same conversation with one of my girlfriends last weekend when Emily Ferber emailed me: “Is there a particularly French way of packing a travel dopp kit?” Since it was already the topic of conversation, I began to list my usual travel items aloud to my friend—and she was shocked by how much I bring with me. But then! I was totally shocked by the total lack of things she brings with her. Which begs the question: Do stereotypical French travel dopp kits actually exist? Probably not universally. I might just be an over-packer. But I’m also a constant traveler. So here’s a list of things I won’t leave home without. I think it proves that size doesn’t matter.. Or something:

I keep a small translucent bag with all of my liquids in the right format ready to go (I hate waiting for luggage at the airport so I only travel with a carry-on bag). Some of my favorites are in there, but some things are only for travel. For instance, I don’t usually use Klorane for my hair on a day-to-day basis (except for their amazing dry shampoos), but you can find tiny travel-sized Klorane shampoos and conditioners in every other French pharmacy for like €2 so I always stock up. Some people are just fine with the shampoos that the hotels provide, but I'm never happy with them—they always leave my hair super dry. And what with all the work 'French girls' put into their hair, we've got to represent while abroad.

Oh, and a brush. I can’t emphasize this enough. Do you ever realize you forgot to bring a freakin’ brush after you just washed your hair? And then tried to untangle your super thick hair with that mini plastic comb the hotel gives you? No. Never forget to pack your brush. And yes, French girls brush their bed heads (just once, after it’s been washed—you don’t want to break those waves it took you hours to make look perfect the day after).

For those who thought the rest of my not-that-low-maintenance routine was already pretty low, brace yourselves, because my travel one is even lower. As I said, it’s all in a mini translucent bag, which contains:

  • The basic of all basics, a face moisturizer. Even if you don’t need much, don't travel without one. Especially after taking the plane, skin gets so dry. The Bioderma Hydrabio Légère is light on the skin, and it works well wherever (if it’s hot, or cold). Don’t overthink it.
  • The Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser. It’s actually the mini version of the one I use every day when I shower. Why stop when I’m away?
  • A tiny face mask, which is currently a Kiehl’s Calendula Soothing Hydration Mask sample. This one was left in here by mistake, but I used it when on beach holidays and it proved helpful and nice. Would recommend.
  • A tiny version of the make-up remover Bioderma Micellar Water.
  • A concealer—the Glossier one is perfect because it’s tiny and I can apply it with my finger.
  • A cream blush from MAC.
  • a lipstick—just in case.

That’s it, and here’s why: There are only so many reasons why I travel... If it's for work, I'm probably doing a photoshoot, so there's going to be makeup on set (or Photoshop :P). If I'm on holiday, I canNOT be bothered. And if it’s visiting family, well, I can only assume that they’ll love me anyway.

—Sabina Socol

Photos via Getty.

See Sabina's full Top Shelf here.