Travel Makeup: The Best Travel Size Kits, Palettes, and Minis 2021

Best TSA Friendly Travel Makeup

Looking for easy to pack makeup for travel? Packing light is a breeze with these 10 awesome TSA compliant travel makeup sets and kits. Whether you’re headed to a summer festival nearby or taking that vacation to Europe, you want to look look great without lugging a ton of makeup around. Here’s how:

Quick Comparison Chart

If you’re not budging on your devotion to particular brand, you don’t necessarily have to pack full size makeup– be sure to check if Sephora has your favorites among their huge travel size makeup collection.

Travel Makeup SetCustomizableComes with Travel Cosmetic Bag

Stowaway Cosmetics

Smashbox Travel Makeup Palettes
No, but they offer a good variety of palette colors. No

BareMinerals Travel Makeup Kits

Sephora Favorites Travel Kits

Benefit Travel Size Makeup Sets

Becca Travel Makeup Sets

Birchbox Discovery Kits

Clinique Travel Sets

Shany Bamboo Travel Brush Set

Sephora Mini Deluxe Travel Brush Set

Best Makeup for Travel: Our Picks

Stowaway Cosmetics – Editor’s Pick

Stowayway Cosmetics Travel Size Makeup

Stowaway Cosmetics is one of our go-to brands for travel. They only make purse and travel sizes, so they know their stuff! Stowaway’s palm sized makeup covers all the basics, from beauty balm to mini lipsticks, and is TSA compliant. Looking at photos of their makeup sets really drives home just how much luggage space you can save by packing exclusively travel sizes!

You can purchase travel kits, or buy items individually for maximum flexibility. Stowaway’s makeup is reasonably priced too, at about half of what you’d pay for full size versions of similar products at Sephora.

What we love:

Just about everything! Their colors are on trend, with a nice variety to flatter most skin tones. They make quality products that exceed US standards, as they’re strict about excluding potentially dangerous chemicals that are banned in the EU.

What we don’t:

With just four shades available, their concealer and beauty balm may not be a match for everyone (they do however, offer returns and exchanges if an item doesn’t work out).

bareMinerals Travel Kits – Widest Range of Foundation Colors

bareMinerals Travel Makeup Kit

Bareminerals always has at least a couple travel size makeup sets available, and one of the our favorites right now is the Original Complexion Kit. It covers your bases with a primer, foundation, finishing powder and brush, all in handy travel sizes.

There’s also the Power of Good 6 Piece Kit, which offers eye, lip and cheek color as well.

What we love:

You can choose from a wide range of foundation colors, so most gals won’t have a problem matching their skin tone.

What we don’t:

Many of the sets are limited edition, so when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Smashbox Try It Kits and Minis

Smashbox Makeup for Travel

Smashbox consistently offers great travel size options; between their Try It Kits, Travel Palettes, and Mini Size Lipsticks, you’ve got a wealth of choices. As with Stowaway, you don’t necessarily have to purchase an entire set, you can pick and choose depending on what you need.

What we love:

Mini palettes! The variety is great — unlike so many other travel sets, you’re not stuck with just one color that doesn’t flatter you. The prices are also reasonable for the small sizes.

What we don’t:

Some of the sets are limited edition, so availability varies quite a bit (snag those mini lipsticks while you can!).

Looking for travel size toiletry bottles that won’t leak? Check out our travel bottle picks HERE!

Sephora Favorites Travel Kits

Sephora Favorites French Travel Makeup Kit

Sephora frequently puts together sets of customer favorites with mini sizes of popular products, which make perfect travel sets!

The recent Chic it Easy set seen above includes so many awesome elevated basics like a Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, Nars lipstick, Makeup For Ever eyeliner, Yves Saint Laurent concealer, Klorane dry shampoo, Formula X nail polish, Caudalie toner, and Atelier Cologne fragrance– all in travel-perfect sizes.

What we love:

These are all awesome, proven products that are beloved by Sephora’s customers–and we can personally vouch for at least half of them!

What we don’t:

You’re stuck with middle of the road makeup colors in these sets, so the foundations in particular won’t work for everyone.


 Benefit Travel Size Makeup Sets

Benefit Cosmetics Travel Size Makeup Set

Benefit always offers travel makeup kits, which usually include travel sizes of some of their most popular makeup. You’ll get usually find items like blush, lip gloss, mascara, highlighter and bronzer in their sets.

What we love:

The sizes are perfect for travel, and Benefit products generally flatter many skin tones.

What we don’t:

We like when companies go the extra mile and include a cosmetics bag– but have to admit we’d buy their sets even without.

Becca Travel Makeup Sets

Becca Cosmetic’s always offers a nice variety of travel sets featuring their signature laid-back, glowy looks that are perfect for vacation. The Summer Radiance Kit includes their signature primer and bronzer.

What we love:

These are perfect for that low maintenance glow you’re looking for on vacation.

What we don’t:

You can’t choose makeup colors.

Birchbox Discovery Kits

The Best Travel Makeup Kits and Sets

So you might have given Birchbox’s subscription box a try in the past, but did you know that you can buy individual kits and products from the Birchbox store without a subscription? We’re loving their Discovery Kits as a way to snag all the travel sizes products we need.

A current fave, the Exclusively Birchbox Makeup Kit includes everything you need for a natural, glowy look, all in a handy little zipper top pouch that will keep the TSA happy.

What we love:

They’re perfect travel sizes of some of the best cult favorite makeup and skincare.

What we don’t:

Birchbox offers so many different kits, there’s not much to complain about here!

Clinique Travel Sets

You can sometimes pick up Clinique travel sets as gifts with purchase, but if you missed out, or just want a little set for vacation, they’re a great option. The set above is no longer available, but there’s many more to choose from, including the Best Sellers Kit, which is a steal at $10!

What we love:

There’s great variety of sets, and they generally include some skin care as well as makeup.

What we don’t:

Some are a bit overpriced, and if you’re not purchasing directly from Clinique or items sold by Amazon, always check the merchant’s reviews to be sure they’re not selling expired makeup.

Shany Bamboo Travel Makeup Brush Set

Bamboo Travel Makeup Brush Set

Don’t forget to travel-size your makeup brushes! These soft bamboo brushes by Shany include a handy travel case to keep your brushes clean and organized. They’re a compact size, but not so small they’re difficult to handle. The wide variety of brushes has you covered for nearly everything.

What we love:

These are great quality, attractive (and soft!) makeup brushes at a really awesome price.

What we don’t:

While I appreciate having an included carry case, I’m not a fan of faux leather, so I tossed the case. I tend not to bring the whole set, I only bring those brushes I know I’ll use–which helps me to pack extra light, so no big deal.

Sephora Mini Deluxe Travel Makeup Brush Set

If you’re looking for a truly compact, travel makeup brush set, this is it! Sephora’s Mini Deluxe Charcoal Antibacterial Travel Brush Set includes six versatile brushes, and a handy carrying case.

What we love:

They’re perfect compact sizes, so you can easily fit the brushes in your cosmetic bag (or an already stuffed-full carry on!).

What we don’t:

If you’ve become a pro at handling longer handled brushes, these mini travel makeup brushes may take a little getting used to. But it’s a minor trade-off for a smaller, more compact makeup bag.

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Travel Makeup: The Best Travel Size Kits, Palettes, and Minis



What travel size cosmetics and skincare do I need? Can’t I just pack full size toiletries? 

If you’re checking a bag, there’s nothing keeping you from simply packing your full size toiletries. If, however, you’re sticking with a carry on, everything in it is subject to TSA’s rules on liquids. This means 3.4 oz bottles, and only what will fit in a quart size bag.

This may not be a problem with most cosmetics, as they’re often small enough to comply and not always liquid to begin with. (But full or travel size, you will still need to be able to fit all liquids in a quart size bag). Overall, I just find that choosing travel sizes helps me to save space, whether or not I’m traveling with a carry-on.

What is the definition of “travel size” anyways? 

While travel sizes may not have had much standardization in the past, nowadays travel sizes almost always comply with TSA’s 3.4 oz liquid rule.

So basically travel sizes are smaller size of your cosmetics and toiletries. Usually that means 3.4 oz or less.

What are TSA’s Liquid Requirements? 

The TSA says: “You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.”

Medications and food for infants and children are excluded from these limitations.

They’re sticklers about these rules (I’ve had them harass me about lip balm that I didn’t think to remove from my purse and put in the quart size bag!).

It’s important to understand that the 3.4 oz rule means that you cannot carry on a 6oz container that’s half full. Any container with a capacity larger than 3.4 oz must be in your checked bag, regardless of how much liquid is in it. (The exception here is obviously that a completely empty bottle is fine. Many people bring empty water bottles to fill after they get through security.)

Many items that you wouldn’t think of as liquids still fall under this rule. This can include items like lip gloss and toothpaste.

And if you have more 3.4 oz containers than will fit in ONE quart size bag, you’re similarly out of luck. Take a look at your liquid cosmetics and toiletries, and you’ll see how easy it is to fill up a quart size bag, even with travel sizes. Every bit of space counts!

The full TSA rules are available here.

What will TSA do if I bring large sizes of liquids or too many liquids with me? 

There’s no limit to liquids if you’re checking a bag, so you only need to be concerned about what’s in your carry-on.

If you get to the TSA line, and are told that you have too many liquids, or your bottles are too large, you’ll be given a couple options:

The first is for TSA to take the offending items and throw them away. As long as your liquids weren’t something dangerous, you should be free to continue on your way– minus your favorite shampoo or sunscreen.

The second option is to leave the line, go back to the airline counter, and check your bag. At $25+ to check a bag, this isn’t always worth it, but you may want to consider checking your carry-on if your large liquids are expensive or can’t be found at your destination.

Finally, some airports have post offices or UPS branches. You may be able to leave the security line to mail your liquids back home, or to your final destination. You can then return to security with your carry-on, minus the offending liquids.

Yeah, I know, the whole situation is kind of crazy when you think about it, but it’s good to know your options!

How should I pack liquids in my luggage? 

The last thing you want is your liquids leaking all over your suitcase!

If you’re traveling with a carry-on, be sure to place all liquids in a quart size bag. This can be a quality ziploc bag, or clear toiletry bag designed specially for TSA rules. If you’re worried about leakage, go ahead and double bag– just be prepared to remove your quart size bag from the larger protective bag so TSA can examine it.

Those traveling with checked luggage have a little more leeway. We recommend using a good cosmetics bag with a separate compartment for liquids, or a separate liquids pouch altogether. Good travel bottles will also prevent leakage; see our travel bottle recommendations here.

How can I get around TSA’s liquid rules? 

While we don’t recommend trying to sneak through liquids that exceed the rules, there are some things you can do to maximize your packing while still following the rules:

One option is to take advantage of your travel companion’s liquid allowance. If your husband or boyfriend doesn’t need to travel with many liquids, you can transfer some of your items to his quart size baggie.

Alternately, you can arrange to share certain items with your traveling companion, cutting down on the liquids you need to bring.

You should also think about avoiding liquids when there’s a solid version available. Sub a powder foundation for liquid, lipstick for lip gloss, and even think about trying out a solid shampoo bar!

Finally, consider how much of each liquid you’ll really need. Could you get away with a handful of sample packets instead of a bottle? Some brands sell sample size packets, but Sephora always offers free samples with each order. It can be worth saving up those samples for vacation.

How long will travel size makeup and skincare last? 

Some people don’t pack travel size toiletries because they’re not sure the small sizes will last for an entire trip. This is of particular concern if you’ll be gone longer than a week.

I generally find that travel size makeup will last for weeks, if not months. Stowaway’s travel sizes show in the list above usually last me for at least a couple months.

When it comes to things like shampoo, I often struggle to stretch a 3.4 oz bottle for a two week trip– though I’m told this means I use too much! The solid shampoo bar mentioned above is a good solution here, as it will last much longer than liquid shampoo.

Longer trips often call for a checked bag, and in that case, there’s nothing wrong with packing larger sizes of items you know you’ll use more of. Just leave room for souvenirs!

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Freelance writer, full-time traveler.