Beat the Liquid Limit: Solid Toiletries for Your Carry On
You know that airport game we love to play? The one where we try to stuff all our liquid toiletries into a tiny plastic bag like some kind of fragrant Tetris board. That game then the TSA love to win…
Well, that game just got a heck of a lot easier!
Thanks to the wide variety of solid toiletries and cosmetic bars available, we no longer need to choose between shampoo and sunscreen. Neither do we need to sacrifice our environmental ethics for miniature versions of our favorite plastic-packed toiletries. Instead, we can bypass our liquid limit with a few practical alternatives.
Take a look at the most solid toiletries that you can take on your next trip. (Especially if you are traveling with just your carry on!)
For your hair & body
Let’s start with the most obvious. Solid soap is nothing new, it’s what everyone used to use before shower gel became the ‘in’ thing. Now, you can completely ditch the plastic and look out for a paper-wrapped or ‘naked’ soap bar and store it in a reusable soap container.
Many recommend Dove soap for its moisturizing effect or you might go for an exfoliating soap bar. I personally prefer a natural olive oil soap, the kind that you can find everywhere when traveling in Mediterranean regions. For a multi-purpose soap bar, my top pick is Kirk’s Castile Soap (in the pic below) which is all natural and fragrance-free.
Travel hack: For those who still prefer liquid soaps, take a mini-container and you can easily turn castile soap into a shower gel. Just shave a few pieces off and add boiling water. I also add a few drops of tea tree oil – it’s not solid but typically available in glass rather than plastic bottles and a 30ml bottle will last a few months or more. The end product makes a great cleansing facial wash.
Solid Shampoo & Conditioner
Solid shampoo and conditioner bars are rapidly overtaking their liquid cousin in popularity. They’re just are cleansing and fragrant but last longer and are far more practical to pack. Plus, just like the liquid version, they can be purchased separately or as a combined shampoo and conditioner bar.
Some solid shampoo bars lather more than others so you might need a couple of washes to get used to using a solid soap bar. My favorite is Jumping Juniper from Lush. It lathers up like liquid shampoo and leaves my hair feeling great. Plus, their most products in their solids range are vegan-friendly and free from plastic-packaging.
Solid conditioners usually contain a nourishing ingredient such as honey, cocoa butter, or coconut oil which hydrates your hair and helps to keep it super soft. Many people find that conditioner bars also work well to replace body soap or shaving cream due to the moisturizing properties. You can experiment to find your favorite.
Dry Shampoo Powder
If you need to keep your hair fresh whilst on the go then you’re probably already familiar with dry shampoo. It usually comes in a non-recyclable aerosol can which counts as a liquid according to TSA standards. Dry shampoo powder is grease free and just as easy to use. Just shake it on like talcum powder and work it through with a brush or your fingers.
Instead of an oversized bowel or a ridiculously small tin of moisturizer, you can opt for a solid stick version. These contain all the same nourishing oils and ingredients that your liquid moisturisers do but their more compact and don’t count as liquids.
Solid Deodorant or Perfume Stick
We all want to smell good while we travel so there’s nothing worse than having your deodorant confiscated. Solid deodorant is a great alternative and a solid perfume stick is far more practical than a heavy glass bottle. Salt of the Earth is a natural and fragrant free option which is Vegan-friendly but many widely sold brands like Nivea and Dove also sell a solid stick deodorant.
For your dental needs
Solid Toothpaste & Mouthwash
Here’s something to partner your bamboo toothbrush. Solid toothpaste comes in a couple of different forms but the most common is powder. Just wet your brush and dip it into the powder. It will foam like regular paste in your mouth and leave your teeth feeling sparklingly clean.
Solid toothpaste and mouthwash also come in tablet forms which are chewable or dissolve in the mouth with water. With these, you know exactly how many days’ supply you have left. Lush also has its own range of toothy tabs using sodium bicarbonate which is fluoride-free.
Did you know that sunscreen comes in solid form too? No more losing your factor 30 to airport security again. Sunscreen sticks have equally high SPF protection with the added bonus that they don’t melt in the sun. Neutrogena Solid Sunscreen (You can click on the image above) is one of the most popular versions. You can also find solid sunscreen sticks specifically for facial application.
Solid Bug Repellent
Leading brands such as Repel and Bug Off! already have a solid stick version of their repellents. The best bug repellent that I found whilst traveling in South America is called Nopikex. This works by wetting the bar and coating your skin. The smell is minimal compared to other repellents I’ve used and once dry it becomes transparent.
All of the above are effective but they are also certain to contain a lot of chemicals. There are plenty of natural repellent soaps on the market too. Some of these are used instead of a regular soap bar, however, most have mixed reviews on their effectiveness.
Laundry Soap Sheets
When traveling light you’ll need to wash clothes frequently and that often means hand washing. You can either decant some washing powder into a smaller container or pick up a packet of laundry detergent sheets. You’ll need to use a few for large amounts on laundry so the sheets are more useful for handwashing socks and underwear. I find a solid soap bar is just as effective.