The Best Moisturizing Skin Care Products for Travel

Our top pick, Lano Face Base, is an absolute must for your next trip.

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 Best Moisturizing Skin care

Ulta / Sephora / Amazon

Sunburnt and peeling shoulders. Tired and puffy under eyes. Dry and scaly hands. The skin goes through a lot while traveling from red-eye flights to balmy beaches. Thankfully, there are plenty of moisturizing products that make it easy to take care of your skin while on the go — all without committing to a multi-step skin care routine that eats into your mornings and evenings abroad.

We spoke to a dermatologist and used our own travel experiences to help pull together a list of the best moisturizing skin care options. Our favorite hydrating product is Lano Face Base because it’s packed with nutrients and feels ultra-luxurious on the skin. But our list includes more than just simple face moisturizers.

Here’s what you’ll want to pack in order to keep your skin happy and healthy while traveling:

Best Overall: Lano Face Base

Lano Face Base

Ulta

Why We Love It: This Australian-made moisturizer is thick and luxurious without leaving skin feeling greasy or weighed down.

What to Consider: The formula uses animal byproducts so it might not be suitable for vegans.

We first came across the Lano Face Base at an airport shop in Sydney — and have been hooked ever since. The Australian-made moisturizer is designed to support the skin while flying by locking in moisture. It also protects against environmental free radicals thanks to the addition of Vitamin E and Lanolin, a naturally-occurring oil found in sheep’s wool. The cream also boasts soothing oatmeal to treat inflamed or irritated skin while on the go.

We especially love that the Lano Face Base comes in a convenient 2-ounce container that makes it easy to quickly swipe it on while in the air or throughout the day as needed. The tube is small enough to pass through TSA and can easily be popped into a backpack or handbag without weighing you down the way a typical glass or plastic moisturizer pot would.

Price at time of publish: $24

Best Moisturizer: Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer

Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer

Walmart

Why We Love It: This multi-purpose moisturizer goes on ultra-smooth without feeling sticky or heavy, even in the summer months.

What to Consider: The non-fragrance-free version has a rather strong smell that might not be suitable for those with allergies or sensitivities.

The Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer is considered one of the best drugstore moisturizers on the market thanks to its laundry list of skin-supporting ingredients, budget-friendly price point, and ease of use. We also love that this option is light enough to use in warmer climates. “This cream features a cream-to-liquid technology that goes on smoothly to oily skin surfaces and supplies skin with anti-aging benefits of skin firming peptides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid,” explains Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD. “And it does double duty with an SPF 25.”

Price at time of publish: $30

Best Serum: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

4.2
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Amazon

Why We Love It: This budget-friendly serum works as well as higher-end options for a fraction of the price.

What to Consider: The glass dropper can become a bit leaky if it’s not screwed on perfectly.

The Ordinary has done an exceptional job of making high-end skin care and science-backed treatments accessible to everybody, thanks to their no-frills packaging and affordable price point. The Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Hydrating Serum is an excellent example of what this brand does best: focuses on the formula and ingredients above all else. The moisturizing serum is ideal for all skin types while the 1-ounce bottle can easily be thrown in a carry-on without taking up too much space. We particularly love leaving this one on our nightstand for additional moisturizing first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

Price at time of publish: $10

Best Eye Cream: First Aid Beauty Hydrating Eye Cream With Hyaluronic Acid

First Aid Beauty Hydrating Eye Cream With Hyaluronic Acid

Sephora

Why We Love It: This vegan-friendly eye cream works double duty to reduce visible puffiness and to provide up to 24 hours of hydration.

What to Consider: The formula is a bit watery and might not be strong enough for extremely dry skin.

This firming and hydrating formula — with hyaluronic acid, oatmeal, and just a touch of caffeine — is designed to combat under-eye puffiness as well as dryness, fine lines, and wrinkles. The brand recommends using this long-lasting eye cream both in the morning and at night to keep skin feeling smooth and moisturized for up to twelve hours. Although the formula itself is a bit watery compared to traditional creams, it’s important to remember that the under-eye area is much more sensitive than the rest of the face and should be treated with caution.

Price at time of publish: $30

Best Lip Balm: Sun Bum Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 30

4.9
sun-bum-lip-balm-spf-30

Target

Why We Love It: This ultra-moisturizing lip balm contains sunscreen for additional protection from the elements.

What to Consider: The formula is pretty creamy compared to standard lip balm and some might find it too thick.

Have you ever gotten a sunburn on your lips? Take it from us — it sucks. That’s why we’ve come to swear by the Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen Lip Balm any time we’re traveling or spending a significant amount of time outside in the sun. The creamy aloe and Vitamin E are hydrating and healing while SPF protects you from the sun’s rays. It’s worth noting that Sun Bum products are paraben- and cruelty-free so you can feel good about what you’re putting on your body, too.

Price at time of publish: $4

Best Hand Lotion: L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

4.7
loccitane-shea-butter-hand-cream

Amazon

Why We Love It: This all-season hand cream is luxurious and velvety feeling — and extremely hydrating.

What to Consider: It’s quite a bit more expensive than the average hand cream.

We’re quick to default to face care when we think of moisturizing products but overlooking hands, especially in the fall and winter, can quickly result in dry or cracked knuckles. L'Occitane Hand Cream is our go-to when it comes to all-season hydration: the super velvety formula feels rich while applying but we also love that it’s long-lasting enough to provide protection from the elements (or dry airplane air) throughout the day. L’Occitane offers a handful of different fragrances that range from lavender to cherry blossom but the classic, lightly scented shea butter is a great option for using in public places.

Price at time of publish: $30

Best Face Wash: Fresh Soy pH-Balanced Hydrating Face Wash

4.8
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Fresh

Why We Love It: This pH-balanced face wash helps to cleanse the skin as well as hydrate it.

What to Consider: The moisturizing formula might be too thick or creamy for those with oily skin.

You might not immediately think of face wash when planning out your skin’s hydration toolkit, but cleansers are one of the worst culprits when it comes to stripping away natural moisture. The Fresh Soy pH-Balanced Hydrating Face Wash is designed with soy proteins and cucumber extract to not just gently cleanse and refresh skin, but also tighten at the same time. There's also a dose of aloe vera inside for an extra moisturizing boost.

Price at time of publish: $38 for 5 oz.

Best Body Wash: L'Occitane Cleansing and Softening Shower Oil

L'Occitane Cleansing and Softening Shower Oil

Sephora

Why We Love It: This velvety shower oil leaves the skin feeling clean as well as super moisturized and smooth.

What to Consider: The oil is surprisingly weighted and might feel too thick for those with already-oily skin.

The L'Occitane Cleansing and Softening Shower Oil has been one of our favorites since we flew through a sample size in a hotel room years ago. It feels incredibly thick and velvety while in the shower but the almond oil formula leaves the skin smooth and moisturized even after getting out, too. This is a huge bonus for those who immediately feel dry or flaky when toweling off as it helps to protect the body’s natural moisture barrier against hard water or air-conditioned hotel rooms. The formula also offers a subtly sweet scent that adds to the overall luxe shower experience.

Price at time of publish: $29

Best Moisturizing Sunscreen: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

4.7
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Sephora

Why We Love It: This moisturizing sunscreen doesn’t feel sticky or smell like summer camp.

What to Consider: The price point is quite high compared to other sunscreen brands on the market.

Sunscreen shouldn’t feel chalky or drying, but it also shouldn’t feel like you’re dripping in paste. The Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 has become a cult classic in the beauty industry for its moisturizing (yet-not-sticky) formula and clear application. The compact tube is small enough to pass through TSA while the SPF level is much better than the average face sunscreen, which often caps out at around SPF 15. We also love that this formula includes red algae, which helps protect the skin against blue light emitted from electronics.

Price at time of publish: $36

Best Face Mist: L'Occitane Shea Comforting Face Mist

L'Occitane Shea Comforting Face Mist

L'Occitane

Why We Love It: This hydrating face mist is the perfect size to throw in your handbag and use throughout the day when in need of a refresh.

What to Consider: The formula smells a bit like baby powder and might irritate those with sensitivities to scent.

We keep the L'Occitane Alcohol-free Comforting Face Mist on our nightstand for easy access before bed and after getting out of the shower. The hydrating spray is extremely refreshing for those with dry skin and is a great pick to throw into your handbag to use whenever you need a little boost. Admittedly, the compact mist kind of feels like spraying yourself in the face with a stream of cool water, which can come off as extremely refreshing but might be a little much if you’re wearing a full face of makeup or don’t like the dewy look.

Tips for Buying Moisturizing Skin Care for Travel

Shop for your skin type

Not all skin care products will work for all skin types, so you’ll want to be mindful and carefully read the packaging on each and every product you come across. Many brands will offer guidance as to whether the product is designed for sensitive, dry, combination, or oily skin which is a good place to start once you know your individual concerns.

Try a sample or travel size first

Skin care can be very expensive and there’s nothing worse than shelling out a ton of money on products that don’t agree with your unique skin type. Most retailers offer sample sizes for you to try out before buying, but travel-sized items are an equally good opportunity to test out a smaller amount of a new product. As a bonus, they can already pass TSA carry-on inspection for your next vacation.

Consider the time of year

“[When] colder weather [is] on the way, it is a good idea to exfoliate dead cell buildup that can be more obvious with colder weather,” explains Dr. Loretta Ciraldo. “But in doing this it is very important to hydrate skin as well. When we exfoliate, we not only remove dead cell buildup and dull, rough texture, we lose the moisture-trapping lipids that sit between our dead cells.”

So, two important rules: consider going slow as you start to exfoliate by doing it just a couple of times a week for the first week, and be sure to compensate for any possible drying effect of exfoliation, either by moisturizing more afterward or by using an exfoliant that has hydrating ingredients in the formula.

“Please don't stop using your cleanser twice a day,” adds Dr. Ciraldo. “Don't stop drinking eight glasses of water a day since this is very important for hydration. Sometimes when we're not outdoors with summertime activities and sweating we stop drinking as much water in winter, but this is very important year-round for healthy, well-hydrated skin.”

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the difference between moisturizing and hydrating products?

    “A moisturizer increases skin hydration and is traditionally the last regular skin care step before SPF application,” explains Dr. Ciraldo. “It serves as a ‘top coat’ to add and trap moisture to the skin surface.” Hydrating products, on the other hand, add water content on a cellular level, helping to infuse the cells with water and to absorb moisture from the air.


    The most effective moisturizers, according to Dr. Ciraldo, will feature major moisture-trapping active ingredients, including glycerin, jojoba, shea, and even Vitamin C (because it increases the skin's own lipid production).

  • Is moisturizing still important if I have oily skin?

    “Many people with oily skin are also dehydrated. Oily skin reflects an excess of unhealthy oils that are not particularly effective at hydrating skin,” says Dr. Ciraldo. “In my 40 years of dermatology practice, I find that almost all of my oily-skinned patients over the age of 25 do need hydration. For oily skin, look for lactic acid and retinoids since both of these will also help to lessen skin oiliness as they hydrate.”

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, Kaitlyn McInnis interviewed dermatologists and used her experience as a travel writer and former lifestyle editor to curate the best options to suit most needs.

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