10 best duty-free beauty finds

Oh duty-free, you tempt me with your shiny lights and curvy, super-sized bags of treats my waistline doesn’t need. So why do I constantly subject myself to the tortures of gallon sized bags of Toblerones and Chup a Chups? Because you contain some seriously great beauty products, and for that I forgive you.

Dry-eyed and lizard-skinned, duty-free beauty shops appear in the international airport terminals like a mirage in the desert. Testers screaming out to you from their brightly lit backgrounds and discounted prices. Our mind says “hydrate yourself with that $2 bottle of Evian”, but our heart says “spend just $40 more and get it in mist form”. What can I say; the heart wants what it wants?

I love me some great skincare products and I blame jetlag on many of my duty-free beauty sprees, so here’s my list of the 10 Best Duty-Free Beauty Finds for every kind of travel:

  • La Prairie Anti-Aging Day Cream SPF30 – La Prairie’s prices are as high as the Swiss mountains, but it’ll last you a long time, quench even the driest of epidermis and protect you against the sun and aging. Hey, at least you didn’t go totally off the rails and go for their Skin Caviar line. That’s what I call mature restraint.
  • Darphin Hydraskin Intensive Skin-Hydrating Serum – Traveling in hot climates makes just about everything melt on me (except my fat. What a cruel joke, right?!) so instead of heavy Swiss fondue style moisturizers, I opt for dreamy light serums like this one. Similar to Christina Aguilera, this is definitely a genie in a bottle. I’m not sure how it does it but it manages to hydrate my skin without weighing it down or leaving a shine.
 duty-free beauty la prarie
 duty-free beauty darphin
  • Clarins HydraQuench Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm – I collect lip balms like a cat lady collects…well, cats, I guess. If you’re reading this then I have a feeling you’re guilty of it too. Luckily, they no longer need to set up a treatment facility for people like us because I’ve found the cure: Clarins Lip Balm. This stuff stays on my parched pout all day from airplane to touring, is thick without being gooey and is totally reasonable in price. It’s so great even my husband has fallen for its charm!
  • Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF15 – I know I just said I’m a one lip balm lady now, but I can’t turn my back on my forever love, the Sugar Lip Treatments. Now before you shake your head in disappointment, these have totally different uses in my life, I swear! With their range of tints and colors I’m able to moisturize while looking slightly fancy, so it’s basically a win/win. I’m personally partial to the light tint of Rose but have been caught around town with Petal and Passion as well. I’m not a lipstick lady but Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment…me love you long time.
 duty-free beauty clarins
 duty-free beauty sugar
  • Sisley Eye Contour Mask – If my dream of aging like a French woman doesn’t come true then I’ll take the runner up dream of living my life as Sofia Loren (there are worse things). This Italian brand does so many things right but I’ve recently fallen for their ultra hydrating eye mask. I stash this in my carry-on to throw on pre-flight and never take it off. Since I go sans-makeup on flights this keeps my under eyes hydrated, light and less Uncle Festery so I don’t frighten people from country to country.
  • Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex II – When heavy moisturizers and eye masks will melt in a hot climate, I reach for this stuff day and night. It’s light enough to wear in just about any environment and thick enough to make a difference. Since traveling with a baby means I’m running late before I even start to get ready in the morning, I also appreciate how quick absorbing it is.
 duty-free beauty sisley
 duty-free beauty estee lauder
  • Shiseido WetForce Expert Sun Aging Protection Lotion SPF 30 100ml – I love a good tan, but I guess now that I’m a mom I have to be more responsible (and ideally not look like Magda from There’s Something About Mary by Rae’s kindergarten graduation). With 30SPF in a 100ml travel bottle it’s kind of like your feisty pint sized girlfriend – small, protective and can fit just about anywhere.
  • La Mer Cleansing Foam – La Mer claims to be “born from the sea,” but I’m suspicious there’s more than just saltwater and seaweed in their amazing products. I love how just a little bit of this goes such a long way and leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean after grimy travel days. I squeeze a small amount into a travel-sized pot or even just an empty contact lens case and I have enough for a week’s worth of travel. Alternatively they make a 1oz travel size version as well which is super useful.
 duty-free beauty shiseido
 duty-free beauty la mer
  • Clarins Huile Tonic – Like my love of maternity jeans and black leggings, this is another product I became attached to during pregnancy that I have a hard time giving up. It’s an oil moisturizer that’s great for growing bellies (food or human babies, I’m not judging), smells like a fresh dream and is ultra hydrating.
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream – I’m not a big hand cream person, especially on travel days when my palms get as sweaty as a guy asking a girl to senior prom. But I will make an exception for this bad boy. Just the fact that 1 tube is sold every 3 SECONDS is one of the craziest things I’ve ever heard. So either this product is as great as their sales, or this French hand cream is pulling the best beauty scam of all time. Either way, I adore it and seem to find random tubes of it in all my carry-ons and purses.
 duty-free beauty clarins
 duty-free beauty la occitaine

Maybe it’s Maybelline, maybe it’s duty-free beauty finds or maybe it’s that multipack of discounted booze you purchased! Great beauty products can combat even the most hectic of travel, and since it’s discounted with duty-free prices, you’re basically saving money. At least that’s what I tell myself!

P.S. – If you can’t wait for your next duty-free beauty shop, everything above in BOLD are links to the products online!

Why not?!