If I had to choose just 3 safer skincare products for travel and/or for a minimal-product routine, these are the ones!

I have a success story to share with you! As with all the things I share with you, I like to make sure that they REALLY work before I sound the alarm. I test recipes several times, bounce podcast ideas off friends and family before I record, dive into nutrition science research before I make any claims, and of course TEST beauty products (for a long time) before I make a public “it works/doesn’t work” verdict. Today’s post is also in this vein!

While preparing for my 3-week book signing tour across the country with my friend Diane Sanfilippo (me signing my new ‘Fed & Fit’ book and Diane signing her new ‘Practical Paleo 2nd Edition‘), I faced a serious “what do I pack?” brain-buster. You see, I’m a Tom Boy-turned-beauty product-loving diva. I LOVE my safer-skincare beauty products! I especially love them because my skin has NEVER. LOOKED. BETTER. I suffered from severe acne as a teen and have struggled with highly sensitive, irritable skin for my entire adult life. When I FINALLY found a beauty routine that worked (for me), I clung to it for dear life.

Flash forward to my packing for a 3-week long book tour, and I had to think critically about my (now sprawling) collection of beauty products. Which ones do I bring? How do I choose? I love them all! I have a couple of masks I use a few times a week, I like to alternate my face wash, and I love all the different healthy moisturizing oils and lotions! Needing to fill my large suitcase with enough dresses to get me through 12 different events and a few media opportunities, I didn’t have much room to spare for beauty products.

SO, I put on my ‘let’s think like a minimalist’ hat on and got to work.

After lining up my favorite weekly-routine products, I got busy eliminating. Knowing what I now know about skincare (and what helps my skin look its best), I knew I needed a cleanser, toner, and a moisturizer.

As with my favorite Kate Spade pumps that I’d planned to accompany several outfits, I needed these weight-bearing beauty products to serve multiple purposes. I wanted a cleanser that could also serve as a body wash; I wanted a toner that would help reduce any dryness or redness caused by wearing a full face of makeup day-after-day-after-day; and I wanted a moisturizer that was light enough to wear during the day, but restorative enough to wear at night. After MUCH deliberation (and a couple test-runs) I settled on a simple trio of products.

The best news? It worked and it worked WELL. While I AM happy to now be home with my masks, soothing morning face wash, and hydrating oils, these lovely little products got me through three of the most intense working weeks of my career.


Here’s what I packed and how I made it work:

  1. Cleanser: Beautycounter’s Charcoal Bar. I ADORE this charcoal bar. Though before the trip it lived in the shower as my shower-time body/face wash, it really helped my tired skin detox and recover after long days of makeup. I’ve used this product as a daily body wash for months and was blown away by how it helped significantly reduce my upper-back breakouts. Unlike other bar soaps, this charcoal bar doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry or tight. It has a nice lather, helps to pull impurities from the skin, and kept me from relying on harsh hotel bar soap for body wash. I kept my bar in a sealed bag for the trip and can say that with heavy use, I still have well over half of the bar left.
  2. Toner: Primally Pure’s Rose + Mint Complexion Mist. (UPDATE: I now use the Everything Spray!) I love all of Primally Pure’s products, but this complexion mist may be my favorite. It really helps to soothe my redness-prone skin. To use, I’d simply spritz my face with 3-4 sprays after washing and before moisturizing. My skin feels noticeably more moisturized when I use this spray pre-lotion!
  3. Moisturizer: Beautycounter’s Rejuvenating Day Cream. This day cream is in my regular extended rotation for (you guessed it) daytime! A couple pumps in the morning before my makeup helps my skin feel refreshed and supple all day long. While Beautycounter does offer a lighter “nourishing” day cream (at a slightly lower price point) I love the richness in this product. I chose this lucky moisturizer to be the solo-star of my traveling show (leaving my eye and night creams at home) because it is truly that versatile. With 1-2 pumps in the morning, my face was ready for a day of travel or event makeup and then at night, 3-4 pumps provided a more intense form of recovery from the long day. I was afraid that my skin would feel dry in the morning, but the combination of the toner and extra pumps from this bottle resulted in a refreshed face every day!

BONUS: the makeup-remover I can’t leave home without:

  • Makeup-remover: Beautycounter’s Soothing Baby Oil. I love this product so much. At a nice low price point and in a wonderfully convenient lightweight pump bottle, this baby oil is the BEST makeup remover I’ve ever used. At the end of a full-face makeup day, I’ll pump 3 squirts of the oil into my fingertips, massage the oil into my eye makeup and over my lip stains, and then proceed to wash my face with the charcoal bar. Note that the better you massage the oil into the makeup, the better it comes off with the soap. I also like to keep the oil on hand to help clean up my eye makeup as I’m applying it! Works wonders.

I hope you enjoyed this article! I’m often asked, “if you had to choose only a couple safer-skincare products for a beauty routine, which would they be?” …and I now have my answer. I really believe that these three products are a fabulous combination for anyone looking to keep their beauty routine as simple as possible.


Cassy Joy

About the Author

Cassy Joy Garcia, NC

Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times best-selling author, of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit.

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  1. I’m wondering what you used for your daily face sunscreen with the minimalist travel routine?


  2. Hey Cassy, I’m a new fan of yours, thanks to Diane! I love your podcast, Snapchat, and Instagram, (okay enough fangirling) but it was really cool to see that you’re involved in the Beautycounter movement also. I am a new consultant and loved seeing the pictures from Bacara. I also just listened to your episode on safe cooking wear, such a great one. I am a fan of stainless and LeCreuset myself. I really want to check out the ceramic enameled frying pans you use for eggs and pancakes!! I need to make Diane’s fluffy banana pancakes without burning them! As a special needs mom under a lot of stressors, I am so thankful I found the paleo lifestyle/diet to help me weather the storms. Thanks for all you do!

    Thanks again,
    Stephanie (IG: cleanerstephanie)

  3. Cassy!
    I just wanted to say hey! and thank you for your enthusiasm and expertise with the healthy living lifestyle! I so appreciate your snapchats and IG posts. Perfect guidance and inspiration for me. Look forward to my day dose of Cassy Jo every day! Wishing you continued success!

  4. Thank you for the post, I have been wanting to make the switch to Beauty Counter, for now I have been using Cetaphil, but I want to make the switch!