The Ultimate Guide to Travel-Sized Hair Care

by Stephanie Sanchez
[ Veteran Hair Coach and Stylists ]

Have you ever been at the airport and heard the TSA 3-1-1 announcement about liquids, gels, and aerosols? 

Did you panic thinking as you were going through security, “did I separate everything and put them in my ziplock bag”?

I travel internationally 2-3 times a year as I still get panicky about that.  The rules change all the time, it’s normal to want to be prepared.

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 oz (100 ml) or less per item. These items should be separated from your carry-on baggage during the screening process. Any items larger than 3.4 oz. or 100 ml, pack in your checked bag. If any item sounds an alarm during screening, it will require additional screening.  -TSA

New precautions are in place for powdered substances as well (updated 6/2018

How can you find just the perfect travel hair care products you want?

My goal is for this article to serve as your resource for finding any hair care brand of products in travel-sized.

Why Travel-Sized Products Are so Important

Travel-sized products help you save space and weight, always a good thing if you want to bring home some souvenirs home from your trip. 

Even if you decide to bring full-size hair care products on your trip, it’s never a bad idea to pack some travel sizes in your carry-on.

 Case in point, on a trip to Argentina. Flying out of San Francisco to Dulles we got delayed by the weather.  When we reached the connection we would have made it on the plane, but they had already given our seats away to standby passengers,  and the next flight wasn’t for another 24hrs (yep only 1 flight per day to Argentina from Dulles airport).

So I should have have been footloose and fancy-free if I could have left my checked bag in holding. But of course, I had everything I needed in my checked luggage. So instead of spending an incredible day in Washington DC, I was stuck at the airport with my bag that I wasn’t able to recheck until 6 hours before my new flight. 

Lesson learned to always be prepared for the unexpected!

Travel Sized products let you “try before you buy”. Before investing money in a full-sized product that you’re just not sure about, try a sample and see if it works for you.  

My biggest disappointment is that not more of our favorite hair care come in small sizes, especially Natural ones.  Some brands start out with these promotional products, then when we are hooked they stop making them. 

Another way to find travel sizes is that some gift sets are actually traveling size (check the details before you purchase to see)

Travel Sized Sets

We all have our favorite go-to hair products that we use at home. If you’ve had great results with your hair care routine, by all means, try to find them in travel sizes. 

If on the other hand you are not happy with your current regime or you are not opposed to trying something new, here’s your opportunity!

We all have our favorite go-to hair products that we use at home. If you’ve had great results with your hair care routine, by all means, try to find them in travel sizes. 

If on the other hand you are not happy with your current regime or you are not opposed to trying something new, here’s your opportunity!

The great thing about buying a travel set is that they usually come by hair type or hair condition:

Dry Hair

Ogx Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner Travel Size​

No products found.
No products found.

Color-Treated ​

Redken Color Extend Magnetics TRAVEL SET: Shampoo and Conditioner​

No products found.
No products found.

ColorProof JetSet: SuperPlump​

No products found.
No products found.

Curly Enhancing ​

DevaCurl Curls-on-the-Go Kit, Curly​

No products found.
No products found.

As I Am Piece of 6 Coils & Curls Care, 3 Ounce​

No products found.
No products found.

ColorProof JetSet: SuperPlump​

No products found.
No products found.

Thickening (For Fine Limp Hair) ​

OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo and Conditioner Set​

No products found.
No products found.

Swimmers ​

Triswim Shot Set​

No products found.
No products found.


Redken Extreme TRAVEL DUO: Extreme Shampoo and Conditioner ​

No products found.
No products found.

Fekkai Prx Starter Kit, 1.000-Kit​

No products found.
No products found.


COLOR WOW Dream Smooth Minis​

No products found.
No products found.

Agave Healing Oil - Smoothing Trio​

No products found.
No products found.

Scalp Disorders ​

Neem Queen's Travel Trio - Neem Oil & Neem Bark Herbal Shampoo & Conditioner & Gentle Touch Body Lotion​

No products found.
No products found.

Choose a travel-sized set based on the results you want. That takes the work out of trying to figure out what products to buy.

For me, the smell is also a  big factor in trying to decide what products I want to spend money on.  I have tried some awesome products that worked great but because of how they smelled I stopped using them.

Biosilk is an example: I love the Silk therapy drops but can't stand the way the gel smells. I know this because I was able to try the smaller sample sizes instead of breaking the bank on a full-sized product that I would have just given away in the end.

Besides shampoo and conditioner  What other hair care products are available in travel sizes?

  • Travel size Dry Shampoo​
  • Environmentally friendly travel-sized Shampoo and Conditioner​
  • Travel size thermal protectant, Leave-In Conditioner a nd Hair Primers​
  • Travel size Hairspray​
  • Travel Size Shine Spray​
  • Best Travel-Size Texturizing Hair Products​


What’s the difference between hairspray and spritz, salt spray, texture spray?  (read "Best Travel-sized Hairspray")

        What do they do and how can you pick the right one for you

  •  Travel Spray Wax for Hair
  • Travel size salt spray
  • Travel size Mousse​

How to decide when to use mousse or gel (best travel-sized mousse)

  • Travel-friendly Gel​

Gels come in so many varieties we will look at which will do the job & Natural alternatives ("Best Travel-sized Hair Gel")

  • Texture paste, pomade, wax in travel sizes​
  • No poo in travel size​
  • Hair drops, Serum and oil​

No Poo or Co-Wash  (Conditioning Wash)

Although these are best for 4c texture, others can benefit from using them.  Usually, co-wash is best for thick, dry or curly hair. If you are thinking about skipping the shampoo or if you want to go natural and enhance your curls. Try it!

I just love As I am, and Hair One  I had been using them for the past 5 years or so. Even though I have fine, thin hair, it really helped me get the most out of my curls. I almost never shampoo (only occasionally if I needed to deep clean my scalp). 

It takes me back to beauty school days. I remember reading an article from Modern Salon Magazine about an Up and coming hairdresser that had this crazy idea about never washing your hair. (a new idea at the time)  He said all you needed was to rinse with warm water to get the residue out then condition your hair and rinse again. 

It sounds a little bit strange at first I know. 


Pro Tips for transitioning away from shampoo:

  1. Make sure you brush/comb out your hair before you wet it 
  2. Pre-rinse your hair well to get as much residue off as you can
  3. Wash with a generous amount of co-wash 
  4. Best results use a shampoo brush and give your head a needed massage 
  5. Rinse out well 
  6. Wash again if needed or as a conditioner
  7. Rising thoroughly, but leaving  just a touch of product in your hair 
  8. Gently finger-comb your wet hair 
  9. Use a leave-in conditioner and oil or drops
  10. Add Styling products
  11. Towel dry with a microfiber towel (squeeze or scrunch to get excess water out)


Hair Drops, Serum and Oil 

There are a wide variety of products to help smooth and add shine to your hair.

  • Some have silk peptide or protein 

Within hair care formulations, Silk Peptide Powder offers exceptional permeability. It imparts a silky, smooth feel to formulations. The silk protein helps balance moisture. It supports elasticity and shiny, healthy, strong hair.-FromNatrueWithLove

  • Others use Dimethicone (water-soluble silicone)

Dimethicone gives the hair a silky, smooth feel and slippery when wet feel. It can be found in both leave-on and rinse-off products. Dimethicone Copolyol is a water-soluble, lightweight silicone that provides very little buildup. Dimethicone coats hair, providing shine and conditioning to the hair.  How does it work?

  • Reduces the porosity of the hair, which makes it less likely to absorb humidity, eliminate frizz (Which is why it's great for smoothing and straightening!)
  • Reduces moisture loss, and  improve moisture retention (Great for anti-humidity
  • Lubricates the surface of the hair so it feels smoother and combs easier (Makes your hair feel slippery and less tangled.) -self

My favorite is Kerotin  Argan Oil but is mixed also with grape seed oil and jojoba, This is Not technically travel-sized but lasts a long time and smells awesome like lavender oil and other essential oils.

Tips for using hair oil or serum:

  1. Use on wet/damp use to help prevent damage from any heat from blow drying or styling tools
  2. use on dry hair (use sparingly so as not to weigh your hair down ) to add shine and gloss
  3. Use as pre-shampoo intense treatment ( leave on for up to 30min  before washing )

Note: Warming the product  in your hands helps to evenly spread out over the head and also helps to absorb more  quickly

Even if they don't have travel-sized hair products, most beauty brands have some kind of. Drops, oil or serum that fits qualifies as a carry-on product. 
That's great since I may need to refresh and add some moisture before we land. 

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