You might have come across them on your Internet travels before. Contact lens cases for your foundation, squeezing toothpaste from one tube to another, putting your smaller suitcase into a larger one (or maybe that’s just Mr. Bean). This week, I (the trained professional armed with a pair of safety goggles, some rubber gloves, and the gaze of a disapproving parent) decided to find out which hacks actually work, and which hacks are just a waste of time.
#1 Cushion powder makeup with cotton pads: PASS
A ride in your luggage is tough on everything within, but especially tough on your powder products, that run the risk of crumbling with every bump. I didn’t think this hack would work but a few cotton pads and a rough tumbling in my suitcase later, I was convinced. My makeup didn’t look any worse for wear. My advice: Stuff tightly, but not too tightly.
#2 Fill straws with skincare products: FAIL
Most skincare products come in packages that contain less than 100 mL (the TSA limit) anyways. Filling straws with skincare products is messy and not very environmentally friendly at best, and potentially hazardous to your health, given that you’re melting plastic containing tons of harmful chemicals, at worst. Instead of filling straws with products when you want to downsize, try our next hack!
#3 Use contact lens cases to store liquid makeup: PASS
I’ve personally used this hack for many years. They’re great for storing moisturizer, foundation, lip balm, sunscreen, and any other kind of cream product you need to bring with you. In fact, they’re so great that you can even bring your toothpaste with you instead of using the next debunked hack.
#4 Refill travel sized toothpaste tubes: FAIL
Is there any good way to do this at all? Because all I managed to do was shoot toothpaste all over my bathroom counter. And now I have to apologize to future me, because future me’s in charge of cleaning it up. I give it a solid zero out of zero.
#5 Use an old shower cap to cover the bottoms of your shoes: PASS
My favourite type of old shower cap? The kind you get free at hotels. It’s a pretty great way not to get dirt all over your personal belongings, and for you couch potatoes out there, it’s very marginally easier than putting your shoes in a plastic bag.
#6 Hide valuables in your lip balm tube: FAIL
As if all that work you just put in to scoop the last little bit of product out of the tube and clean it completely wasn’t enough, now you run the major risk of dropping, or even accidentally throwing away that tiny little insignificant tube. Do yourself a favour: put your money in a wallet, or a pocket, or your phone case, or anywhere but in a tube of lip balm.
#7 Use a binder clip to protect your razor: PASS
Though most of the time I don’t bring a razor with me because I try to travel with only carry-on luggage, and the TSA has recognized the distinct possibility that someone could shave someone else to death, this hack is pretty useful, especially when I fear that my razor might slice through my clumsy fingers.
#8 Coat Q-tips with eyeshadow: FAIL
I had trouble packing on enough eyeshadow on a Q-tip to even cover one eye. Then, the product began falling off everywhere before I could even seal them in a bag. Talk about some serious fallout issues! When I took them back out, I couldn’t, for the life of me, get enough pigment to transfer from the Q-tip to my face. Maybe Q-tips just aren’t meant to be used to transfer powder makeup.
#9 Roll, don’t fold: PASS
With the help of my extensive scientific measurement (really just a pen and paper), I tested out both methods of packing, and did find that I fit a few more articles of clothing into my suitcase when rolling. The downside? It took longer to roll the clothes, and they probably do turn out more wrinkly in the end.
#10 Seal your jewellery between plastic wrap: PASS, BUT SO WASTEFUL
The principle behind this is that the plastic wrap will prevent the jewellery from tangling up. And, needless to say, it works! And it totally fits with my life philosophy: waste as much stuff as possible! Just kidding, please don’t actually believe that. I’m trying to live a minimalist, sustainable, ethical, money-savvy, and eco-friendly life. I’m trying to cut down to a zero-waste lifestyle, which this totally does not help. As well, I travel light, to prevent theft, exhaustion, and overweight fees, so bringing jewellery is not something I want to do often. My advice? If jewellery sparks joy in your life (#mariekondo2k16), pack it on yourself. A necklace, a pair of studs, and maybe a ring or two is plenty.
I will be using some of those hacks on my future travels, but definitely not the others! Did you enjoy this post? If so, leave us a comment below telling us what hacks work for you! Are there any we missed?