For beauty addicts and enthusiasts, trimming down our makeup and skincare arsenal can be quite the challenge. After all, it's evolved from things we use daily to a collection that we love to sift through from time to time. However, with the rise of awareness towards sustainable beauty, the need to support this advocacy while feeding our continuous quest to finding holy grails seem to be contradictory. In fact, it's like the antithesis of each other. And even when you cut back on purchasing and promise never to buy a new product before hitting pan on powders or finishing a tube of lipstick, expiration dates are the next enemy. So it really is a dilemma.
But, of course, as people who share the same sentiments, we're here to propose a solution: travel-sized products. Yup, you read that right. We're here to see if minis are the answer to our question. People often prefer full-sized bottles over travel sizes for various reasons, with two prominent factors being volume and value for money. But are we really getting more from full-sized variants? Let's investigate.
On quality and potency
One of the biggest misconceptions about travel-sized beauty products is that they're not as potent as full-sized picks. However, this is not necessarily the case. Brands know that consumers tend to sample products — especially when the prices of full sizes are quite indulgent — that on the first buy, getting the smaller versions is the practical option. Given this, travel-sized products need to have a very convincing quality that would make buyers want to get a fuller-sized version. We're not saying that brands tend to cheat or downplay on full-sizes, but rather illustrating why minis tend to have the same, if not better, quality.
On saving some bucks
Next up is practicality on a financial level. One of the biggest reasons why people tend to buy full-sized products off the bat is the idea that smaller versions tend to cost more in the long run. However, there are many circumstances that can prove this notion wrong. As mentioned in our previous point, when trying out a product that's new, travel-sized products are more practical as they give allowance whether or not the product is the right match for you. Less waste, too, if you didn't like it as much.
Next, when you feel like the product really works and find that you're reaching for it often, then it's time to really go for a bigger bottle. Still, this is taking into account how big the next available size actually is and whether or not your usual consumption can meet its expiry date. Lastly, your product rotation matters. If you have a minimal routine and only have one product per step in your regimen, then you can definitely save up more in getting fuller sizes as you'll tend to really use them to the last drop. But if you find yourself switching between one or two products (or more) at various steps of your routine, minis tend to be a better option because not only do they save space, but they also allow you to get around all your products without being wasteful (or forgotten at the back of your vanity).
On saving the planet
The beauty industry is one of the biggest plastic waste contributors with billion tons accumulated through packaging alone every year. Not only are these from product empties, but they also include those still half-filled with your already expired vanity favourites. And if you're thinking that you can always recycle canisters, the truth is it's not that easy.
Plastic and even paper waste from beauty products (similar to the food industry), which tend to be wet or contaminated containers, must be separated manually from a 'clean' bunch before they can be processed. This is to ensure that they won't mess with the recycling process and its finished product. We won't get to the chemistry of it all, but sometimes, depending on the level of product retained or has seeped through the material, these containers cannot even be recycled at all. Given this, using up all your favourite products before tossing the containers to be reprocessed and reused is a simple yet important contribution you can do as a consumer.
Besides this, many brands have come out with eco-friendlier packaging for their travel-sized products. They're also easier to use up, and therefore, clean before disposing of. Brands like Lush with their naked packaging, Bybi Beauty with their plastic-free containers, Herbivore with their solid eco-friendly beauty bars, and Dr. Bronner's with their mandate on social responsibility, are just some of the ones to check out.
Should you make the switch?
We can't recommend an absolute conclusion as to whether or not you should really swap your full-sizes for smaller variants. However, with the reasons we have shared earlier, we hope that it gives a clearer picture of what size you should reach for depending on your needs, your routine, and of course, your perspective on saving the planet. Travel-sized beauty products show a lot of positives not just when it comes to money and space-saving, but also proves that size, in certain cases, certainly do not matter.
Since we're on a travel-related topic, why not check out our top picks for year-round outerwear, too?