Best Travel Sized Beauty For Acne Prone Skin


Being able to go away on holiday is a privilege but, frankly, so is clear skin, and if you’re prone to problems of the facial variety, you’ll know that the solution is usually a meticulous skincare routine with several steps and products involved. What do you do, then, when each stage is integral to keeping your breakouts at bay and you’ve got to cram all of your skinsentials (not to mention makeup and haircare) into that tiny, tiny, hand luggage approved sandwich bag?

Fear not, people, I’ve been at this for a couple of years and through some serious trial-and-error, I’ve finally got it sussed. Here is my foolproof anti-acne travel kit that will see you through that long-weekend summer break.


  1. Cleanse: Oskia Renaissance Gel Cleanser, 35ml - £14

    I’ve already raved about this in a separate post which you can read here. In short, I’ll say this is a great multi-tasker: it is a really nourishing gel that turns to more of an oil consistency but still rinses off pretty easily in the shower; it removes makeup (facecloth advised); and I sometimes leave it on as a bit of a mask. Cleanses deeply without stripping but is not overly rich and greasy. The Goldilocks of cleansers, perhaps.

  2. Tone/Treatment: Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads, 5 Pack - £18

    If you’ve read my “empties” post, you’ll know how I feel about these little packets of magic. I will get around to writing a proper review of them because they most certainly deserve their own post. These individually wrapped toner pads are perfect for travel. Not the most reasonably priced things on the market, but they out perform most acid toning products, hands down. These are my go-to when I have acne flare-ups. Within a few days, things are much calmer and under control. It’s actually bonkers how effective they are - they make up for not having my full skincare arsenal while I’m away and put my mind at rest knowing I’m not going to come home with a face full of painful pimples. Note: given that these pads come individually wrapped, it does actually work out cheaper to buy the pack of 30 and then just take the number you need for your trip. If your budget allows, of course.

  3. Serum: Oskia Super 16 Serum, 5.5ml - £20

    This is a fairly recent addition to my regime. I purchased the Oskia Advanced Nutrition set which is ideal for travel and/or a good intro to the brand and what they have to offer. With the full size version of this being a whopping £88, I was definitely down to try out this smaller size to start with. The jury’s still out where the rest of the skincare products are concerned, but I’m really impressed with this serum so far. It’s a great hydrating and soothing serum which I found really nice, post sun exposure. It is not oil-free so not sure I’ll use it twice a day, every day but I can definitely say it absorbs well and didn’t leave my face feeling greasy at all. It also has rising star ingredient bakuchiol which is claimed to mimic the effects of retinol without the irritation.

  4. Moisturise: Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream, 15ml - £20

    I think my first ever product review was on this little pot of goodness. If you want to read the full rundown you can do so here. The best thing about this moisturiser is that it is super lightweight and a little goes a long way. It is cool to the skin and contains tons of hyaluronic acid which plumps and hydrates the skin without any greasy residue - meaning minimal shine for us oily-skinned babes and great as a base for makeup. What more could you want in a moisturiser?

  5. SPF: Alumier MD Sheer Hydration Tinted SPF40, 60ml - £37.50

    I was a latecomer to SPF (don’t shoot me), because I found it broke me out so terribly. I knew I needed to wear it, and always would, while sunbathing (again, don’t shoot me),but as for daily use, chemical SPFs gave me a face full of spots and mineral SPFs made me look like Casper, the friendly and somewhat ashy ghost. Enter Sheer Hydration by Alumier MD: this little beauty contains a “versatile tint” that adapts to your skin tone - ashiness be gone! I’ve been using this daily for about 2 months with zero reactions or irritation to my skin. It also doubles up as a very light coverage foundation for days when you’re really feeling yourself (go you!) or when you don’t require a full face of makeup but still need a little bit of coverage to blur a blemish. Note: I put inverted commas around “versatile” because, although I am a WOC, I have very light skin for a black woman and have not seen the results of this SPF on darker skin tones. Not saying it won’t adapt because it is an impressively versatile SPF, I just cannot vouch 100%.

Now, while skincare is my one true love and I will always prioritise skin health over a full-face, I am partial to a bit of makeup and what is a holiday without a bit of glam fun? I truly believe that you can do more with less, in a pinch, and with that dinky sandwich bag in mind, here are my go-to’s when keeping it minimal, makeup-wise.


  1. Base: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, 30ml - £33.50 (£36.50 including the pump which is sold separately - grrr, I know)

    No, this is not a travel size but it is under 100ml so it is cabin baggage ready. I was surprised when this worked for my skin because it is not a matte foundation and it is geared more towards normal and dry skin types. However, since turning 30 (or a little before, to be honest), I started to notice that overly matte foundations grabbed at dry patches and settles into lines that I didn’t even know I had around my mouth, eyes and forehead. Not cute. I find this is a great lightweight foundation that is buildable and doesn’t break me out. I do need to set it with powder to avoid looking like a mirror ball, but that is more to do with my skin than the foundation itself. I’ve found this really great for a day-to-day summer glow, light and breezy look, and it also holds it’s own on a night out, with the right setting products. FYI, I my shade is Barcelona, Medium 4.

  2. Eyeshadow: ColourPop Super Shock Shadow, 2.1g - £5

    I’m kind of obsessed with these. They have tons of colour pay off with very little fall out and rarely crease. They come in loads of colours: my go-to’s for a holiday are “Light Up” & “Exo” because they are pretty versatile and go with most outfits. They’re super easy to apply - I tend to use my ring finger. You can use a brush but it does dampen the pigment a little.

  3. Blush/Highlight: Revolution Beauty Ultra Blush Palette Sugar & Spice - £6

    It is with a heavy heart I recommend this because this is not my actual holy grail. My go-to palette is the now discontinued Blush Dream Palette that contained 4 blushes and 4 highlighter shades that were to die for. The one I’m recommending is the closest thing to it that I can find on their site. The best thing about Revolution Beauty is that you can get low cost products that perform well - and they’re cruelty free. Cost is an important aspect to me when it comes to powder-based makeup products where any sort of travel is concerned because, let’s be honest - accidents happen. And while my trusty palette is still very much in tact, I would not want to even think about taking the risk with a blusher or highlighter I had paid £30+ and having it shatter into a million pieces after a stroll down a cobblestoned street (I’m looking at you, Pat McGrath).

  4. Lips: Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb, 9ml - £16

    This is, without a doubt, the best lip gloss I have ever used. I have two out of three available colours and intend to purchase the third just as soon as I can justify it to myself. If you can only afford one lip product, ever, get this one. It is as moisturising as a balm, has high shine without being insanely sticky, and doesn’t give you that icky white buildup around the inside of your mouth after a few hours wear. It is a truly reliable lip product. And it lasts ages. You’re welcome.

  5. Finish: Kat Von D “Lock It” Setting Powder, 5.4g - £11

    I’m not the biggest KVD fan, to be honest. I know she’s had a few controversial moments over the past couple of years and I don’t agree with her views on a number of things. That said, I received this little mini setting powder as a gift-with-purchase, and, in spite of myself, I kind of love it. It’s definitely up there with some of the best ones I’ve used. Shine control, holding makeup in place, actually translucent - check, check, check. I’m for sure considering a full-size purchase and would definitely buy another little one when this runs out. The only downside is that - ironically, it doesn’t travel as well as I’d like. It doesn’t spill out of the container or anything, but there is no inner lid to keep excess powder from travelling up into the top part of the container when shaken about a bit - which is inevitable when travelling.

  6. Secure: Too Faced Peach Mist Mattifying Setting Spray, 30ml - £12

    Like I said, ya girl is oily and one form of oil setting just is not enough for me - especially not out in the hot summer sun. I have a few favourites when it comes to setting sprays but this is a nice one for summer because it has a very subtle peachy scent. My actual holy grail mattifying setting spray is not currently available in a mini - sort it out, Cover FX! Another go-to would be Urban Decay De-Slick at £10 for 30ml.

Ta-dah! Here’s proof that you can actually fit all of this in! And yes, I have intentionally left out a few makeup products because they are powder, not liquid.


Here are a couple of my summer lewks, courtesy of my sandwich bag of hand luggage skinsentials.

None of the content in this post is sponsored - all opinions are my own and I am no way affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in the post, etc., etc.

Thank you for reading! I hope you have found this helpful. What are your summer/travel must haves? Hit me up in the comments.

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