Ever get ready for a long trip and wonder whether that travel-sized bottle of shampoo is going to cut it? Should you throw in another bottle?
How the hell do you know how long a travel-sized product will last? To answer that question, we decided to test how long we could go on a full, TSA-approved bottle of shampoo. Turns out most people should gauge around 2 weeks, maybe more, depending on a couple of factors.
That doesn't mean the Internet agrees, though. TripAdvisor poster TABofotd claims a travel-sized shampoo will last 3 weeks, conditioner will last 6 weeks, hair spray and hair gel will last a month.
For a dude, that might work. As a girl, I completely disagree — and so does Aida, Founder at LippieHippie.com.
If I have a particularly long trip coming up, I’ll throw in more one bottle of the same type, i.e. two shampoo bottles, to cover my bases. If I don’t have the space for the extra bottle, I still save more money from not checking in ($25 for a domestic bag) and buying an extra travel-sized bottle (no more than $1-3) on the road.
You still come out ahead in the end.
Consider the size of the shampoo bottle
First, we need to be clear about how big a travel-sized bottle actually is.
The first thing to keep in mind is that note every “travel-sized” product is 3 or 3.4 ounces; all it means when the manufacturer slaps “travel-size” on there is the amount of liquid in there is less than the TSA limit.
(I’ve had plenty of travel-sized products with about only one ounce in there so these days I scrutinize that number on the bottom a little bit more in the store. One ounce will barely get me through three days or four days!)
The actual amount you’re technically allowed to carry on is 100 mL or 3.33 ounces.
Most of the world knows it’s just easier to default to 100 mL but if you’re from the States, most people generally round down to a flat 3 ounces because that’s a heck of a lot easier to remember.
However, if you’re really want to squeeze out every single drop of liquid, it's possible to get away with 3.4 ounces.
Taking into account personal preferences
The second thing to remember is that personal usage will differ from everyone else because everyone’s got their own showering habits.
For instance, I have long, thick Asian hair and sometimes I’ve really got to use more than the average person just to get a good lather going on. On top of that, I go through conditioner much faster than I use shampoo to comb out all the tangles.
Some people also condition only occasionally; I’m forced to condition every day.
If I use about a tablespoon of product each time—a generous amount in my opinion—that should last me about 6 uses in a 3-ounce bottle (6.8 uses in a 3.4-ounce bottle).
On the realistic end, if you’re conserving how much you’re using each time by half, it is possible to get away with 12 uses or more (13.5 uses in a 3.4-ounce bottle). This means a traveler is averaging about 1.5 teaspoons or less each time.
Assuming you shower once a day, at the bare minimum, and depending on the amount of product, a travel-sized bottle should last you anywhere from a week to two weeks.
Guys should have it much easier.
How long travel shampoo actually lasted in real life
Amount you decide to use
|1 Tbsp||1.5 Tsp||1 Tsp|
|3 ounces (89 mL)||
|3.4 ounces (100 mL)||
6. 8 (~7)
To see how this held up in real life, I took a 3-ounce bottle of shampoo with me on the road… and I kept counting until I ran out of product.
Averaging a teaspoon (I needed far less for this particular brand), which is far less than what I usually use, it lasted 22 uses or 22 nights, or roughly three weeks. This means I got four more uses out of it than I thought I would.
(I was trying to squeeze every little bit out at the end, so there's that.)
The above chart is only a guideline but there's room for deviation there. Says my unscientific test. Your mileage may vary depending on how much hair you have.