I fly several times a month, and if there's one thing I constantly battle, it's having enough space in that pesky quart-sized bag for liquids and gels, and in my makeup bag for the rest. Over the past couple of years, I've found some ways to make packing my beauty products easier.
1. Switch to "non-liquid" products. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I continued to use (and try to squeeze into my quart-sized bag) liquid products with easy substitutes, such as switching to an eye liner pencil and leaving my liquid at home, or using a lipstick when I travel instead of lip gloss. Just keep an eye out and you'll find several substitutions you can make.
2. Stash those travel sizes and samples. I do not visit Sephora or Ulta without asking my salesperson if they have any samples available. I am usually rewarded with a few things, and while they may not be my favorite brand, they will do when I'm traveling. I frequently get samples of things you would rarely find in travel-size, such as makeup primers and concealers. And you would be surprised how many days of use you can get out of those little foil packets. I can often squeeze (literally!) 3 to 4 uses out of them.
3. Re-use cosmetic sample containers. One of my favorite samples to ask for at Sephora is a moisturizer sample. They will often make one up for you out of their testers. And they will put it in a tiny, round plastic container with a tightly-sealing lid. I save these and re-use them for packing my own moisturizers, makeup primers, and the like. They look small, but they easily hold at least a week's worth of product, and they take up way less room in your bag than a trial size.
4. Try double-duty products. One of my favorite beauty products for travel is the Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer palette. It contains strips of several colors that, when swirled together, can be worn as a blush or bronzer. I then use the individual colors in the palette as eyeshadow, too. Think about what products you might pack that could serve more than one purpose for you.
5. Buy wipes. There are many "wet wipe" type products you can buy to substitute for liquids or gels you might use at home. You can find sunscreen wipes, antibacterial wipes, make-up remover wipes, laundry spot-remover wipes, nail polish remover wipes, and many more. These do not have to be packed with liquids.
6. Pick up a travel palette. Many cosmetics makers have palettes with several different cosmetic products in one package. I especially love the Glamour to Go line from Too Faced. They have eight eye shadows, bronzer, blush and lip color in one compact palette about the size of a small stack of business cards.
(Image by Flickr user reverses)