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The Best Toiletry Bags for Travel, According to Frequent Fliers

Photo: Fox Photos

You’ve got your ten-step K-beauty routine down to a science and your makeup pared down to the essentials, but when it’s time to travel, toting all of your daily must-haves can be a challenge. Between TSA regulations, fears of liquids spilling or bottles breaking, and the pure impracticality of fitting your entire bathroom cabinet in a carry-on, picking a toiletry bag requires just as much scrutiny as choosing the serums and lotions within it. I asked frequent travelers, including some with very elaborate beauty and skin-care routines they wouldn’t dare neglect while on vacation, what bags they use and how they chose them. Their picks below include a variety of Dopp kits, toiletry, and makeup bags that get the job done.

Curran Dandurand, CEO and co-founder of Jack Black, likes how her roomy, four-compartment Tumi kit keeps toiletries organized and accessible. “There is a hanger, so it’s easy to store in the hotel bathroom and see everything in each compartment,” she said. It folds up small enough to effortlessly fit in a carry-on and its antibacterial lining ensures that your toothbrush, and anything else you’d like to keep sanitary, stays clean.

It might be made for dorm rooms, but this hanging kit is sturdy and sophisticated enough for grown-up travel. Mesh zipper pockets make it easy to see where you’ve stashed your products — and it’s under $30.

When Mia Duchnowski, co-founder and CEO of Oars + Alps, travels, she looks for a “bag that can easily be cleaned with a makeup-wipe, as I tend to always put my brushes in my bag so I get blush and bronzer smears on my inside liner.” Made of quick-drying neoprene, Dagne Dover’s bright-red bag, with a removable zippered pouch and interior pockets, fits the bill.

If you consider your skin-care stash an investment — like David Yi, founder of men’s grooming site Very Good Light, does — you’ll want to make sure that your toiletry bag protects them. “I don’t need water breaking down my skin-care products, nor do I want any mold to form, so being water-repellent is a must,” he said. He loves how this Burberry Dopp kit keeps everything dry and has the added feature of little metal feet: “That means your bag — and that Biologique Recherche! — will never touch whatever environment you’re at, whether you’re inside a beautiful hotel room in Paris or a grimy Airbnb in Brooklyn.”

A less-expensive option, this toiletry case from Briggs & Riley, makers of one of our favorite rolling carry-on bags, has rubber feet that’ll also protect your bag from dirty surfaces.

Tracy E. Robey, writer and founder of the Korean-beauty blog Fanserviced-B, is an expert on the multistep routine, and she needs a toiletry bag that can accommodate every step from cleansers to sheet masks. “I wanted the option of being able to pack full-size skin-care bottles and jars (and lots of them) in a case that at least made me look like I tried to pack light.” Her Sephora weekender bag is one of the few she’s found that fits it all.

This generously sized bag, in a very Instagrammable marble print with rose-gold hardware, has three removable pouches for ensuring that your makeup, skin care, and toiletries are at hand when you need them. Dana Aidekman, head of merchandising at Birchbox, loves that Stephanie Johnson cases “come with a tiny mirror that’s great for touch-ups on the go or doing makeup in a hotel bathroom, which really saves me from the awkward lean-over-the-sink move while applying eyeliner.” She uses the smaller Mumbai pouch for tiny, delicate items.

This Dopp-kit-style bag from Tooletries is waterproof enough to bring straight in the shower and back into your luggage. “It’s 100 percent silicone, making it leakproof and essentially stain-resistant, as it’s very easy to clean,” said Kyle Bergman, senior merchant at Birchbox Man and a frequent traveler as part of Israel’s national lacrosse team. “It’s like an old-school Chevy Suburban inside with the amount of room it has for various products.”

Another totally silicone toiletry kit that can handle spills and wet surfaces.

The styling of this L.L. Bean bag is more old-school preppy than the technical, sporty-looking options above, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t equipped for heavy wear and tear. The waxed-cotton exterior is water-resistant, and any spills on the nylon interior can be quickly wiped dry. It’s a favorite of David Alperin, owner of the Brooklyn men’s store Goose Barnacle.

For a similar look at a lower price point, Herschel Supply Co.’s bag also features a waterproof interior as well as a front zipper pocket for quick access to certain items. There are lots of color options to choose from — the speckled gray with mint-green zipper tape is simple yet unique.

Abiding by rigid TSA rules doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a boring ziplock bag. Stephanie Amann, founder of the packable-travel-hat brand Wyldaire, prefers bags that “are see-through so they double as liquid bags at the airport.” Silver polka dots add a playful touch to this clear pouch from Delfonics.

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The Best Toiletry Bags for Travel