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Minis are really cute; whether it’s a toy car, a baby animal, or a doll-sized kitchen set, miniature items have a way of melting my heart every time. My favorite category of all within the “mini” genre is probably a dead-giveaway: makeup. I’ve spent hours in those dangerous check-out lanes of Sephora where exclusively-made miniature skincare, makeup, brushes, and sponges have been placed (brilliantly) for customers awaiting check-out. On several occasions, I’ve gone in for literally only one item, and ended up leaving with dozens of others because of a long check-out line; I just kept finding more of my favorite products in travel sizes.
Because I travel a lot, I dedicate a good amount of time to strategically packing. I usually bring an entire pharmacy with me because I never know what to expect from a foreign country’s drugstores or local shopping, lest I forget something. There’s also nothing worse for me than re-purchasing something I know that I already have at home. If you’re like me and you belong to the COO club (carry-on only), you’ve had your fair share of experiences with an overstuffed bag. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had to sit on my Rimowa luggage, praying it doesn’t crack, just so that I could zip it into something shaped like an Oreo cookie (the fabric space-expanders spilling out everywhere).
After finding out that many brands make miniature versions of their beloved products, I started researching to see what else was out there. Since switching exclusively to minis for travel, my bags have gotten a lot lighter.
With travel season upon us, I decided to round up all of the best mini products. So, whether you’re packing for your trip to Mallorca, you want to try something new with less cost commitment, or you just love how cute miniature makeup looks on your vanity, I’ve rounded up all the fan-favorites here.
Best Overall: Augustinus Bader The Cream
Whether you’ve heard the wonders of this product and you want to give it a try, or you’re addicted to it and won’t let it leave your size, this is the cult cream size for you.
What Our Testers Say
"Despite trying out many moisturizers, this was the first time I was actually noticeably shocked at the immediate difference in my skin." — Joline Buscemi, Product Tester
Best Foundation: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation Mini
A favorite foundation of Meghan Markle, Kylie Jenner, and pretty much every beauty editor, this mini makes traveling so much easier, especially because the full-size version is a pretty hefty glass jar.
Best Setting Spray: Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray
Not only is this setting spray perfect for traveling, but you can also stick it in your purse on a date night. Your makeup look will last so much longer with this staple from Urban Decay.
Best Primer: Milk Hydro Grip Primer Mini
A new creation from Milk, this primer is silicone-free and perfectly tacky. I love how makeup sticks to this primer and gives a poreless look, free of dimethicone and guilt.
Best Powder: Laura Mercier Translucent Powder Mini
This powder is so perfect for touch-ups on-the-go. Pro tip: use this translucent powder as an alternative to cornstarch before putting on a piece of latex clothing.
Best Shimmer: Fenty Beauty Fairy Bomb Mini
This little puff packs a glittery punch. The full-size Fairy Bomb is a fan favorite among Fenty Beauty lovers for its stickiness-free face and body shimmer, so the mini version is a dream come true.
Best Concealer: Nars Mini Radiant Creamy Concealer
The only concealer you’ll ever need comes in tiny form too. Fun fact: Pete Davidson strutted down the Alexander Wang runway this month wearing this ride-or-die concealer. Welcome to the fan club, Pete.
Best Lash Serum: Grande Cosmetics GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum
Get used to saying, “They’re real”." This lash enhancer is the best one out there by far. Simply put: This really works.
Best Moisturizer: Embryolisse Lait Crème
Gwyneth Paltrow has long professed her love of this O.G. cult primer/moisturizer/makeup remover. Luckily, it’s no longer exclusive to just France.
Best Brow Gel: Anastasia DIPBROW Gel Mini
Highly pigmented and super long-lasting, this brow gel cuts my routine down by a lot. The cone-shaped brush wisps through the hairs so well; a light hand is all you need for a full day of wear.
Best Mascara: Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara Mini
“Are those your lashes?” is usually the thing I hear most when I’m wearing this mascara. Pro tip: Google how to use an S-shaped mascara wand for the best results with this cult product.
Best Lip Gloss: Pat McGrath Labs Mini LUST Gloss Trios
Like all of Pat McGrath’s products, these glosses are divine. It’s a comfortable, thick formula that smooths and makes lips feel hydrated. It doesn’t get sticky or tight, and the shine really lasts…not to mention, these glosses smell amazing.
Best Toner: Biologique Recherche P50 1970 1.7oz
The heavily lauded “Jesus in a bottle” comes in a travel size, too. Now, you can chemically exfoliate on-the-go (also known as my version of an extreme sport).
We're giving top honors to the Augustinus Bader The Cream. Its innovative formula is packed with natural amino acids, vitamins, and molecules to help regenerate your body's own stem cells. It's also packed with great hydrating ingredients like aloe leaf, avocado, shea butter, and more, so it certainly lives up to its claim of replacing every skin product you need after cleansing.
Looking to cover up while you're on the go? Try the Nars Mini Radiant Creamy Concealer. It's great for adding highlight, contour, or medium to full coverage concealing without dryness or creasing.
What to Look for in Travel Size Beauty Products
Whether you're just tossing it in your bag for touchups or traveling on a plane, you'll want to make sure the product you're buying is made of up durable materials. It shouldn't pop open or break and spill all over your bag.
While minis are compact and easy to pack when you need to travel light, always consider the product's application. If you have to pack extra tools for it, then it takes up more space than its cute small size. If you aren't positive what more will be needed for products, reference all-in-one makeup kits to review what you need to accompany assorted products.
You might find yourself distracted by the shiniest and most exciting products, but don't forget to purchase and pack the everyday items you need, too. Whether your staples include brow gel, sunscreen, or lip gloss, you'll want to have a mini-version of the things you rely on the most, not just the fun extras.
What is the travel size for cosmetics?
Are travel-size products worth it?
Provided you will use up whatever is contained in your travel-size toiletries, they are worth it. That's because you were able to carry them on rather than pay extra for a checked bag, which costs more. You'll want to recycle them instead of putting them in the trash to reduce your carbon footprint.
How long does travel-size mascara last?
Travel-size toiletries last about the same amount of time as their full-size counterparts; it's dependent on how long that specific product lasts. Mascara can get dried out and exposed to bacteria, and should be replaced every few months.
What counts as liquid on a plane?
The TSA is pretty strict about traveling with liquids, and because of that, its rules about what counts as a liquid err on the, well, solid side. Aerosols, pastes, creams, and gels are all liquids, so makeup products like mascara, foundation, eyeliner, moisturizer, and perfume are all considered liquid.