The ability to reside safely in your carry-on without attracting the attention of the TSA isn’t the only thing travel-size beauty products have going for them—miniature mascaras are the ultimate lash-saver for anyone who never manages to use an entire tube in the designated three-month period before they need to be discarded (a rule you obviously follow); sized-down skin care is perfect for ensuring that $250 moisturizer doesn’t break you out before you buy.
Travel sizes are convenient for several reasons, yes, but are they cost-effective? Well … not always. $13 for an airplane-friendly bottle of that $40 texturizing spray you love may seem like a smart deal at first glance, but when you break it down, there’s a good chance you’re paying more than you should for less product. Here’s an example: If the travel-size version of a $20 product costs $12, and has half the amount of product the full-size version does, you’re paying $2 more than you should. See what I mean?
Calculating how much money you save or throw away by choosing travel sizes over the big guys is a guaranteed way to get a headache real fast, because math. But, just like every other question one can possibly have in life, you can find the answer on Reddit, where a master list of the best and worst travel-size beauty product deals exist. (For what it’s worth, transferring your favorite products into little plastic bottles from the drugstore is still just about free.)