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10 Toiletry Item Swaps – Eliminating Liquids in Your Carry On

I talked about how to slim down on your packing, and touched briefly on the space liquids take up. Eliminating liquids so you have more room in your carry on is easier than you think. I personally can’t get as crazy as NO liquids, because things like shampoo bars don’t work for me… but here are 10 of my favorite alternatives or combination products!


Michael Kors fragrance / Yes to Grapefruit exfoliating face wash / Deodorant / Deborah Lippmann nail care, $17 / Dr Brandt tinted moisturizer / Benefit makeup, $42 / NYX translucent face powder / Small item storage / Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby-Mild Pure Castile Soap – 32 oz.

Lip/Cheek Stain – Combination
This is such a great option for travel, because lip & cheek stain lasts for HOURS and a tiny bottle goes a long way. You can add a light layer on lips for day and darken it for night.

Rollerball Perfume – Alternative/Space Saving
I’m a big perfume fan. My favorites are all of the Michael Kors scents – the tuberose is beautiful! Something I never sacrifice in travel is my signature scents, but I wouldn’t dream of packing the ornate, glass bottles (even though they are all under 3.4oz!). I received a rollerball perfume as a gift several years ago and have kept one in my purse ever since. Most designer perfumes are available in rollerball at Sephora for less than $30 and they last forever. If you’re looking for a budget alternative, Target has a few under $15 (more in stores than available online).

Dr Bronner’s Liquid Castille Soap – Combination
Although I buy this in a 1L bottle, I can decant it into a 1oz bottle and it would still last me a month. Castille soap is basically broken down vegetables and it can be used for almost anything. I normally use it as a body wash, for shaving my legs, bubble baths, laundry & back up shampoo, but it can also be used as a stain remover, hand soap, home cleaner, mouthwash and even TOOTHPASTE. I’m not going to lie to you and say it tastes good, but it will clean your teeth and is safe to swallow. I love the peppermint because of the cooling effect is has. It can also be used to relieve sore muscles & achy feet. Because it’s highly concentrated, you only need a few drops. Its broad spectrum of uses make it one of my favorite products, especially because you need so little. Here’s how I make my own laundry detergent using Dr Bronners!

BB Creme – Combination
I’ve worn tinted moisturizer since I began wearing make up (liquid foundation is no good for girls with freckles!), so BB Creme is a no-brainer for me. I really love dr.Brandt’s because of how well it color adjusts to my skin! It’s also very smooth & moisturizing and has SPF 30, so I’m good I’ll be concealed, moisturized, and protected from UV rays! Almay also makes a budget friendly version.

Face Cleansing Cloths – Alternative
These are sold by just about every company who makes face wash, so chances are you can find a brand you like. If you can only find a large pack and are going on a shorter trip, take the number you’ll need (and add a few for freshening up on the go) and place in a Ziplock bag. If you’re unable to find your brand & are weary of chemicals used in face washes, try Norwex cloths. They are naturally antibacterial and require no soap or facewash – just add water to cleanse your skin. They can be used up to 4-5 days and can be laundered normally.

Translucent Powder – Alternative/Combination
Not only is it great for setting your make up, you can use it to absorb excess moisture (hello, walking in flats all day) & as an alternative to dry shampoo. Travel size bottles (1oz) of drug store brands cost the same as full size bottles (5-7oz!). Not only are they a rip off, but they take up loads of space for minimal use. Using translucent powder (try a cheap brand like NYC or Elf, don’t waste HD Make Up Forever getting rid of a little oil) eliminates this from your bag.

Lush Deodorant
I always thought people who used natural deodorant were crazy…. until I tried it! Lush makes several deodorant bars; gel type bars, baking soda based bars, and powders! The gel/baking soda can be cut down and stored in a snack size Ziplock bag. The powders can be decanted into smaller 1oz containers or into snack size baggie for flat packing. Not only are you saving packing space and cash, but you’re eliminating aluminum from your body 🙂 Check them out here

Contact Lens Case
This might seem silly…. but there are some products you only need a LITTLe of (like cold cream to remove make up or hair serum), and a contact lens container is a great way to carry these! I had a friend carrying a bottle of hair serum in her bag (2oz is $15), and it exploded EVERYWHERE. Not only were her clothes covered in oil, it was $15 down the drain when she only needed a few drops for the weekend. Small 1-1.5oz cosmetic jars like these or these are a great alternative, too!

Nail Polish Remover Pads
These are a life saver in so many ways. I’ve always lived on the go, even when I’m at home! I keep these in my car to remove a chipped mani, and I do the same in my travel bag. Even if I’m not repainting my nails, they typically are chipping within 3 days, so it’s time to remove & reapply. Carrying a 3oz bottle of nail polish remover isn’t really worth the space, but it’s not worth putting in a smaller bottle. These polish remover pads are pre soaked with remover & are the best for removing nail polish! I always have a few in my toiletries bag, and they always come in handy for me (& my girlfriends!)

Those are my favorite swaps! Some of these swaps are better than the real thing when you’re traveling (nail polish remover & rollerball perfume, i’m looking at you!) – so give them a try! What swaps will you make to eliminate liquids in your carry on?