Travel News

Traveling with Allergies: How to Buy Clean, Think Green and Pack Light

Locations in this article:  Brussels, Belgium

DandelionsAllergic to everything … and you can carry only three-ounce containers of liquid on airplanes?

Carry on, sensitive traveler—you are not alone.

Having allergic reactions to many travel-sized products on the market is a common problem. Along with fragrances, preservatives and foaming agents like sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), the sensitive consumer needs to keep an eye out for many other chemical irritants found in skin products.

If you can’t pronounce it, chances are your skin might not like it.

So how do you manage on a trip? Plan ahead and find the right travel-sized products to avoid breaking out into hives on your next vacation.

Many skin care companies now cater to even the most sensitive of skins by providing travel-sized products that not only fit well in your carry-on, quart-sized, clear plastic bag, but are practical for travel and often eco-friendly. So whether you go organic, natural or entirely vegan, you can be fully equipped and leave your fear of allergies at home where they belong.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

Baby Bar Bronner’sFor head-to-toe cleansing, Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-one Magic Soap (in 2-ounce travel size) is a great option for sensitive skin. Try the Unscented Baby-Mild, an SLS-free, chemical-free, vegan, and fragrance-free pure castile soap made with all USDA-certified organic oils. Dr. Bronner’s Soap can be used for the face, body, hair and baby, as well a variety of other options including dishwashing, tooth brushing and laundry detergent.

This soap is also biodegradable and won’t pollute the environment, making it an excellent option whether you’re luxuriating in castles or conscientiously camping. Made out of post-consumer recycled plastic, these tiny bottles are well-designed, easily refillable and virtually indestructible. With scents of peppermint, lavender, tea tree, almond and eucalyptus, this label preaches “Moral ABC’s” that might keep you entertained (and possibly enlightened) for a few hours on your flight.

Dr. Bronner’s travel-sized soap, $2.49
Company: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps


Weleda AlmondA German pioneer in healthcare since 1921, Weleda is naturally certified (BDIH) in Europe and packaged with environmental care. The Almond Moisture Cream (one ounce) and Almond Cleansing Lotion (2.6 ounce) are both fragrance free and nourishing for sensitive skin—a balance of sweet almond and plum oil. The lightweight lotion is long lasting and keeps skin supple in any condition—an excellent travel companion for men and women alike. Almond Moisture Cream $20, Almond Cleansing Lotion, $20

Also try the Calendula Baby Starter Kit, with sweet almond oil, calendula and chamomile, to soothe and protect both babies and adults with sensitive skin. The travel kit includes a shampoo and body wash (.72 ounce), baby cream (.34 ounce), diaper care cream (.4 ounce), calendula oil, and lotion (both .34 ounce). With a light fragrance, they promise to relax even the most stressed traveler.

Weleda Baby Starter Kit, $12
Company: Weleda


Mint body washYour skin is the largest organ in your body. That would make your body products “skin food.” Some suggest we shouldn’t put anything on our bodies that we wouldn’t be willing to put in our mouths—not a problem with USDA-certified organic products by Terressentials.

These products are so clean you could almost cook with them.

Try the Organic Cool Mint body wash (2 ounce, at right), and the Passionate Lavender Anointing Body Oil. The body wash is invigorating and great for shaving, and the oil (made of lavender, sunflower oil and cocoa butter) will make your skin sing.

For ultra-sensitive adult and baby skin the Fragrance-Free Gentle Bath Gel (2 ounce) is another great option—it creates less foam that still gets you clean. Also try the outrageously refreshing White Chocolate Mint Lip Protector (.15 ounce) and the Flower Therapy Silken Velvet Body Lotion (2 ounce). Cool Mint Body Wash, $4.25, Passionate Lavender Body Oil, $5.50, Gentle Bath Gel, $3.75, Silken Velvet Body Lotion, $6.50

Terressentials TravelThe travel face kit is perfect for all sensitive skins on the road, with practical recyclable travel bottles filled with fragrance-free facial cleanser, toner (1 ounce), lightweight lotion (.17 ounce) and a 100 percent shea butter moisture cream that heals everything under the sun (.15 ounce).

The shea butter sample is something you shouldn’t travel without; it fits in your pocket and is the perfect solution for any dry moment. Apply and be thankful.

Facial Care Sampler, $10.75
Company: Terressentials Organic and 100% Natural Body Care

Rare2B Natural Skin Care

This organic and vegan skin care line is “as natural as nature intended,” with 100 percent botanical, vegetal and marine ingredients from non-genetically modified sources. Rare2B, a family-owned holistic and eco-conscious company, is created with vegetarian ingredients certified by Eco-Sert, FSC, and USDA organic standards.

GreatRare 2 B for sensitive skin, these products are loaded with algae and seaweed, delivering essential moisture right where you need it—with a very light and earthy scent that may appeal to both men and women. The travel kit contains samples of the Natural Detox Facial Mask (1 ounce), Hydrating Day Cream (1 ounce), Restorative Night Cream (1 ounce), and Natural Body Lotion (1 ounce)—all packed in recycled paper, printed with soy ink, and in recyclable plastic.

Rare2B Travel Kit, $30
Company: Rare2B Vegan Skin Care

Kathleen Lewis

Kathleen Lewis reminds the world to enjoy the simplicity of life—one jar at a time. Her luxurious soaps and lotions are all hand made, combining simple and natural ingredients like almond oil, aloe and cocoa butter to create a divinely decadent experience. Try the travel sizes of Good Plain Soap, (1.5 ounce) and Good Plain Cream (1 ounce), a basic yet rich fragrance-free moisturizer—both tailor-made for sensitive skin. The Vitamin Cream (1 ounce) is like nectar for thirsty skin—a heavy and vitamin rich wonder cream that seems to melt the years away. Products are packed in durable, recyclable and re-usable containers. Good Plain Soap, $3.50, Good Plain Cream, $9, Vitamin Cream, $11

Company: Kathleen Lewis Beauty Worldwide

Earth Mama Angel Baby

Earth Mama Angel BabyEarth Mama Angel Baby nourishes the traveling mother and baby with salves and oils that transport precious cargo with loving care—in earth-friendly containers. A Little Heavenly “Salve-ation” is a travel set of three (1 ounce) vegan and non-toxic healing salves for dry skin, nursing, diaper rash, and first aid for mama’s bottoms too—all great comforts to have on that ten-hour flight.

The travel size Stretch Oil (1 ounce) aids growing bellies or any tired skin needing special care with jojoba and neroli oils. Don’t forget the Mint Herbal Lip Balm- a spearmint shea butter delicacy. Coming soon is A Little Something for Baby’s Suitcase travel kit, with Bottom Balm, Baby Shampoo and Baby Lotion with orange oil and vanilla extract. Natural Stretch Oil, $8.95, Mint Herbal Lip Balm, $3.95, A Little Heavenly “Salve-ation” Kit, $19.95

Company: Earth Mama Angel Baby

Kiss My Face

Kiss My FaceWith the “Obsessively Organic” line, Kiss My Face is now making 100 percent biodegradable hair-care travel samples that boast no SLS or preservatives, but will still make your hair feel clean and bouncy. The Whenever Frequent Shampoo with Green Tea & Lime (1 ounce) smells light and zesty, and makes one heck of a lather. The conditioner is light, but not great for a deep treatment.

The best addition is the Upper Management medium-hold Styling Gel in Grapefruit (1 ounce). It stands alone. All bottles are recyclable and re-usable. Whenever Shampoo, $1.99, Whenever Conditioner, $1.99, Upper Management Styling Gel, $1.99

Company: Kiss My Face

Please note: Although these products are made for sensitive and allergic skin, individual reactions may vary. We recommend looking at the ingredient list check for specific ingredient allergies, as well as doing a small skin patch test before full application. is not responsible consumer reactions.

By Margaret Emery for

Want more information on allergies, and how to deal with them when you travel? Check out Lodging Au Natural: Allergy-Free Rooms With a Green Touch.

Need more advice on health topics? Try our Travel Health and Fitness section.

And if you’re looking for other products that can help on the road, don’t miss our Travel Gadgets category.

Previously by Margaret Emery:

Off the Brochure: Brussels

Off the Brochure: Tallinn, Estonia