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The 8 Best Toiletry Bottles

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Many cosmetic companies make travel-size versions of their products, but that’s not always the smartest buy for frequent fliers. Buying mini versions of stuff you already own can be an unnecessary expense, and rebuying the travel-size versions when they run out is wasteful, which is where reusable toiletry bottles come in handy. You’ve likely purchased a set of flimsy plastic bottles from your local drugstore in a pinch, but those often leave a lot to be desired. They’re either so thin that they wear over time or come with lids that don’t close properly and leave your toiletry bag covered in lotion. You’ve probably had at least one nightmare experience already, so to avoid another one, we talked to frequent fliers about the bottles that never fail them. The best versions of these are not only under 3.5 ounces, but they’re leakproof with secure lids you can use over and over again. Ahead, eight options from our experts that won’t disappoint.

Starting off with a more modern take on toiletry bottles are these capsules from Cadence. The brand is known for its stylish multiuse magnetic containers made from ocean-bound plastic. Each container clings to the other, creating what the company calls a “honeycomb.” The lids, each of which gets its own custom label, are also magnetic, which “makes them hard to drop or misplace,” says Briona Lamback, founder of Buoyant Travel. She has been using the capsules since last May and hasn’t had any spills. They were designed to be leakproof, watertight, and airtight, which she has grown to love about them. Initially, she was drawn to the vibrant colors, the brand’s sustainability efforts, and the magnetic function. “My toiletry bag can become a mess after a few days on the road, so connecting all my essentials has been a game changer,” she says. Each of these little plastic containers — and I do mean little — holds just over a half-ounce of product, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but the brand claims it’s sufficient enough for two weeks’ worth of face moisturizer, 20 brushes’ worth of toothpaste, or up to four days of bodywash, which sounds ambitious for 0.56 ounces, but Lamback concurs. She says, “I usually get enough cleanser and moisturizer for a sixish-day trip in each capsule.”

The only downside to Cadence may be the cost. Each capsule is $14, and when even the most basic morning routine of brushing your teeth, washing your face, moisturizing, and putting on sunscreen would require a minimum of four capsules, this is far from cheap. You can save a little with the Cadence bundles. Its set of six for $74 saves you $10.

When I asked travel blogger Jessica Ufuoma about good gifts for frequent fliers she told me about these toiletry bottles from Matador. They’re nylon leakproof packs that can be filled up with all the liquids you’ll need for your trip. Each one holds three ounces, so they’re compliant with TSA requirements. The flat-pack design also makes them more compact than traditional bottles, allowing you to stuff even more into your toiletry bag. In addition to the functionality, Ufuoma likes the look of these pouches. “Their sleek and minimalist designs make for the perfect gift for stylish and savvy travelers,” she says.

This Sea to Summit set is comparable to the reusable toiletry bottles you’re used to seeing: plastic mini-bottles in a clear zippered pouch. And while they might look like what you’d find at the drugstore, Andres Zuleta, founder of Boutique Japan, says they’re far superior. “I used to use the ones you can get anywhere, at Duane Reade or Target, like the ones that are colorful and kind of squishy and have a flip-top lid,” he says. “Honestly, I had problems with those every time. One of them would always leak.” He hasn’t experienced any of that with Sea to Summit bottles. Zuleta describes them as mini Nalgene water bottles because of their tough exterior. “They are airtight,” he adds. “I’ve been using them for two years now and never had an issue.” The pack comes with three three-ounce bottles and three 1.3-ounce bottles, which Zuleta says is plenty. He fills his with hand sanitizer, lotion, jojoba oil, and shower gel and says he always comes home with his bottles at least partially full. He’s a fan of the actual bag it comes with, too. Instead of plastic, it’s made from TPU, a durable and abrasion-resistant material that is a reusable alternative to single-use plastic bags, according to the brand. It’s roomy enough that in addition to the bottles, Zuleta can fit in some extras, such as his Malin+Goetz deodorant and a travel toothbrush.

Brittany Allyn, the blogger behind Thirty Waves who documents her travels on TikTok, recently purchased this 11-piece toiletry kit from Kitsch, and it’s the most complete set on this list. It comes with a mix of Matador-like pouches, traditional bottles, and capsule-esque mini-jars as well as a funnel, spatula, and pipette to help you fill them up. She was initially drawn to this set because the items were stylish and lightweight, but “they’re also versatile for all my products: shampoo, conditioner, favorite hair product, serum, spray, and three small containers for my other skin-care products,” says Allyn. She also likes the price point and that the bottles are dishwasher safe.

Over the years, Gina Anderson has collected a hodgepodge of toiletry bottles. She’s a senior manager of communications for the Leading Hotels of the World, so she travels a lot for work and gets to stay at some of the best hotels. “Our hotels always have luxe products, so I enjoy trying their offerings and new brands,” she says, but for parts of her routine that she can’t leave up to chance, she packs products using a mix of the above reusable bottles. “I use the flip-cap containers for conditioners and shampoos and the pump-top container for hair oil or leave-in conditioner,” she says. “I like to use the silicone jars for small amounts of pills — throw in a few Advil instead of taking a whole bottle — and the twist-top jars I use for a small amount of specialty face creams.” Anderson hasn’t had any spills, and she likes that this system provides options for various beauty products. And despite having to make multiple purchases to get all of this, it’s still one of the more affordable options on this list.

Even if you’re not flying, reusable toiletry bottles can come in handy. Emily Mandagie, one-half of the couple behind outdoors-focused website The Mandagies, says she takes these Humangear squeeze bottles on nearly every overnight adventure and recommends them for backpacking and road trips. These silicone bottles come in 3.4-ounce, 2.5-ounce, and 1.7-ounce sizes, and Mandagie loves how versatile they are. “For example, on road trips, we will fill them with things like face wash and dish soap, but on backpacking trips, we’ll fill them with sunscreen or even condiments for a meal,” she says. They are FDA food safe, she says, so there’s no worries there, and they are also dishwasher safe, making them easy to clean. One trip’s sriracha container can be another’s shampoo bottle.

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The 8 Best Toiletry Bottles