What to Pack in Your Makeup Bag During a Flight

Imagine this: you decide to backpack all through Europe. You pack your large (and a bit heavy) carry-on full of clothes and small size beauty essentials. And in your hand, you’re carrying your small purse where only the most important things have space – passport, boarding pass, wallet, and chapstick.

No, no, no!

From a girl that’s traveling for almost the past year, let me give you the short answer – buy a bigger purse where a makeup bag will fit.

Why would you do that? Because you’ll put your big carry-on backpack in the overhead compartment. Isn’t it a bit of a hassle if you need to get up, open the compartment, get your bag down, open it, get the one thing you were looking for, put the bag back, close the compartment, take your seat. Additional hassle if you’re sitting by the window since people need to get up for you to get out.

OK, But Why Should I Even Need a Makeup Bag in My Purse?

If you’ve flown before you very much know that the air in an airplane is very dry and dehydrated. If you haven’t, then trust us, even a pilot confirmed this.

I don’t know about you, but my skin gets imperfect during flights. Without exception, I’ve always gotten on the plane somewhat zit-less, but I always get off the plane with a new pimple. Plus, parched lips and nose.

It took me a minute for my brain to catch on to the brilliant idea of A MAKEUP BAG IN MY PURSE.

So, here’s my list of things that are an absolute must to bring with you on the plane (not in the carry-on).

I like to pack things in my makeup bag in a way that allows me never to leave my seat.

Face Wash or Facial exfoliating Wipes

If I’m flying even for 2 hours, I still like to clean my face on an airplane. I prefer the facial exfoliating wipes as you don’t need water to wash anything off (plus, I don’t like using the water in the bathroom on my face). Also, you’ll be able to use them easily while exploring the city in your new destination!

Micellar water + cotton pads

If I see that my liquids are adding up quickly, I skip the first step and just go with a small Garnier bottle of micellar water with cotton pads. You can clean your face every hour! Plus, I love the feel of moisture (water) on my face in an arid atmosphere.

Your Face Moisturizer

After steps 2 and 3, you’ll want to moisturize your face that is stuck in the dry air that airplanes are famous for. My go-to moisturizer is this Neutrogena; it comes in a 100ml package, which is perfect since that’s the amount you’re still able to bring in your carry-on.


This one is self-explanatory and obvious – you’re going to want to check if that facial moisturizer is fully smeared with no white marks on your face.

Face mist (optional)

I said it before, I’ll say it again, something moisturizing on your face during a flight (like a face mist) makes the flight more bearable, as well as makes your face, and you feel better. The Body Shop offers a nice Rose Dewy Glowing face mist.

Hand cream

It’s said that your face, your neck, and your hands are equally fragile and need attentive love and moisturizing. Hence, why you should pack a small hand cream. My go-to is Neutrogena again! Specifically, their Norwegian formula hand cream. Gotta love that Norwegian quality!


Super moisturizing, even a bit on the oily side. And, yes, you guessed it, vaseline is for no other than those beautiful lips of yours. (Tip: exfoliate your lips with the exfoliating wipes as well, for an additional soft feel)


Regular dry tissues, for sneezing, wiping things, etc. You get the idea.

Pads (or something reusable, like a menstrual cup)

Once again, am I the only one that gets her period wacked up while flying? If it’s supposed to come in 3 days, then it definitely will happen during the flight. Therefore, before the flight, I insert a menstrual cup, as they’re the only option that you can put inside without drying yourself out (a tampon is not healthy if you don’t have your period but are expecting it) AND you can leave them in for up to 12 hours, AND they don’t irritate the skin like pads.

One extra zip-lock bag, small

Why would you want to pack an extra zip-lock bag? Remember the point about micellar water and cotton pads, as well as tissues? Well, you’re not going to want to hold on to them. An easy solution to this is the zip-lock bag, put all your used tissues and cotton pads there, then near the end of the flight, you can give them to the flight attendants when they come to collect all the rubbish.

Bonus step: Your actual makeup. But that’s optional. I only bring a mascara and an eyebrow pencil. My skin isn’t perfect, I’d need to use a foundation, but I feel that I always travel to places where it’s warm and humid. A runny foundation is going to make me check my mirror now and then, which isn’t the definition of my dream vacation. 🙂

Some Final Tips Before Packing and Boarding

Easy on the Makeup

Perhaps you like a full face while traveling, for that perfect Insta look. And that’s completely fine! Actually, I admire you for knowing how to put your makeup on and have it stay there the whole day. But either way, don’t go overboard with the makeup as you don’t need that full set of 10 makeup brushes and every shade of blush and eyeshadow. That metallic lipstick will probably also not be needed. Disregard this tip if you’re a makeup artist traveling. Then, by all means, bring that metallic shade of lipstick and that bright pink eyeshadow!

Don’t touch your face during the flight

To avoid unnecessary breakouts, please try to avoid touching your face. Just pamper it with the products listed above from your makeup bag, and it should be smooth sailing…. I mean flying!

Try to get everything in one makeup bag

Do you feel a bit stressed when standing in the line waiting to put your stuff on the conveyor? Because I do! I must remember that I have a computer, an iPad, a phone, liquids, and possibly other stuff that I need to show, so it doesn’t appear I’m hiding it (like my women’s safety razor). I guess it’s unusual if a woman has a safety razor, as it’s thought that only men shave with them? They always pay additional attention to that thing, but always let me bring it through.

To avoid additional stress, just have all your liquids and all your makeup that you will need later on the flight (safely in your handbag under the seat in front of you). This way you just put the makeup bag in its own separate tray on the conveyor and the airport personnel will see everything they need to see. It’s a faster way of going through a security check. Trust me! I’ve learned the hard (longer) way.

Bon Voyage!

I hope you’ve found something new that you may not have thought to bring in your makeup bag during a flight. Perhaps you have some other suggestions or things you bring with you on a plane, if so, please leave them down in the comment section for us all.

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1 thought on “What to Pack in Your Makeup Bag During a Flight”

  1. perfect list of essentials to carry when you are travelling.. i need to include more skincare stuff from this list 🙂

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