March 19, 2019

Sally’s: My Source for Backpack Sized Beauty Items


That’s right. I said it. Even when I go on adventure travel destinations, there are still a few basic items I need from the beauty supply store. Not only does the Sally’s chain come in handy for regular savings on overall health and beauty items, but it has a few goodies that fit my needs for reduced sized items while on the road. All of them are in the seventy-five cent to five dollar range. Curious to know what my top picks are? Read on.

Stainless steel, universal makeup pencil sharpener.

The diameter of these circular wonders is slightly less than a United States quarter. The depth is somewhere in the half-inch neighborhood. Not only do the plastic ones tend to crack and break after getting tossed around from one third world farm truck to another, the maximum number of eye and lip liner pencil sizes they can address is usually two. These little beauties (normally available near the cash register) have openings to fit all four sizes these types of cosmetics tend to come in.

Miniature travel tin of hair pins.

You’d be surprised what bobby pins can come in handy for on the road. Emergency zipper pull, impromptu paper clip, holding together curtain edges in an otherwise privacy barren hostel room, chip bag clip, page marker in a book, clothespin for thinner hand washed items, securing a head scarf when viewing certain religious sites, and of course creating hairstyles on the fly without a ton of bulk accessories. Think super model style poofy bang twists, French twist with a local flower tucked in for a night on the town or a partial braid down the top half of your head.

Miniature emery boards and four-way buffers.

These are the ones of the 3 to 4 inch variety, and help keep ridges smoothed, bare nails buffed and ragged edges filed. They come with no packaging and are well under a buck each.

Neutral tone lip liner pencils.

If Walgreens isn’t having one of their three for a buck cosmetic pencil sales, you can pick these up affordably at Sallies as well. They can be used not just to line your lips, but to color them in and use with your finger to smooth on as cheek blusher.

High grade tweezers.

Eyebrows, chin hairs or the occasional splinter all need to be dealt with on the road. Get the strongest pair you can find and tuck them in your backpack.

Cuticle pusher.

I like the stainless steel variety with one flat edge and one pointed edge. They are great for getting debris from under your nails.

Miniature nail brushes.

These are great for getting your finger and toe nails clean in the shower, and also for doing some hand washing of socks and such while waiting for your hair to condition.

Baby sized nail clippers.

They still get the job done for grownups and take up minimal space in your toiletry kit. Hang nails happen. Be able to nip them in the bud when you are far away from a pharmacy.

For quicker trips, this list will get you a long way. If you are going longer, you’ll want to snag cuticle trimmers as well. This is my list of faves to pick up cheap for the road. What are your top picks for personal care necessities? Do you have a favorite place to get them affordably?

Photo Credit: Kate


  1. Ms. Ferret says:

    Not necessarily cheap, but my favorite girly travel things are mostly bought online or from the local Asian grocery. My main goal when traveling is to keep things as compact as possible:
    Folding eyelash curler – Japonesque makes them, I think it’s called a “Go curler”. Folds into a tiny flat square.
    Eyeliner pencil cap sharpener – These are a dollar-something at Sephora. I don’t wear much makeup and only use one pencil product, so I like this because I don’t need to carry an additional sharpener – it replaces the cap on the pencil itself.
    Skinvac cloths – I’ve been using these little microfiber washcloths at home and away for years. They’re nice because they’re used instead of face wash, scrub and makeup remover – two or three fewer bottles to keep track of on the counter or on the road.
    Salux nylon washcloths – I, like most of the Asians I know, have used them since early childhood (as a result, I don’t feel clean if I use a normal towel as a washcloth). If I don’t have a shower handy, scrubbing down with just one of these and a bit of diluted peppermint soap works basically just as well. They dry super fast, too.
    Merkur travel safety razor – intimidating-looking, but very easy to use in reality. In fact, it’s replaced my normal 4-bladed plastic monstrosity at home too. The handle unscrews and folds into itself. The whole thing fits into a little leather square.
    Eco-dent cinnamon-mint tooth powder – I’ve got a tiny plastic bottle for this that I’ve had since 1994 or so and still refill from the larger bottles.
    Sea-to-Summit microfiber towel – Also folds into its own little neoprene pouch. Dries very quickly. This is really only a necessity for me because I have very long, very thick hair.

  2. Great tips!

    Thanks for stopping by. I love the thought of the folding razor and eyelash curler. And here I thought I’d found all the tricks. Very, very cool information. Glad you took the time to share.