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Leaky bottles? No, thank you!

The following is a post from the September Featured Guest Blogger, Dani Olds!

Dani Olds
September Featured Guest Blogger
Everyone knows the feeling. After a long day of travel, you’ve finally arrived to your destination and are eager to shower. You open your bag only to find that your shampoo bottle has leaked. It may have happened in a plastic bag, but the mess is hardly the problem. Oh, precious product!

It seems the bane of every traveler’s existence is a leaky bottle and as women, we generally have a few more bottles than our male counterparts. Due to carry-on regulations and space restraints, I’ve often had exactly as much of something as I’ve needed, and a leak or explosion has left me without some essential product. To add an extra layer of difficulty, I am a mixed race woman with kinky, dry hair that, unfortunately, has very particular needs.

I’ve tried several types of bottles and almost all of them have leaked at some point. There are some sturdier vessels, but they are generally hard sided and it’s tough to squeeze out every last drop (which we all want to do). I’ve recently come across some products that have made my life on the road largely leak- and liquid-free!

Shampoo/soap/dish soap/laundry soap

dudu-osun black soapIn my quest to minimize liquid products, I stumbled upon an ancient West African wonder product that I’m surprised I hadn’t yet encountered. African Black Soap. Specifically, Dudu Osun Black Soap. How did I live and travel so long without this?

100% derived from Nigerian-grown organic ingredients, Dudu Osun is a bit of a cult-favorite in the natural toiletries world. Widely lauded for its skin smoothing and clearing properties, Dudu Osun is growing in popularity across the western world among folks of all races and genders!

The best part? It works well on hair, too! My hair, as I mentioned above, is very hard to please. Dry and sponge-like, most shampoos (especially those containing sulfates, which really is most shampoos), wreak havoc on my hair. Dudu Osun provides the perfect balance of deep cleaning and softening, preparing my hair for conditioner, the one product that I will always need to carry in liquid form.

Unlike typical shampoos, Dudu Osun doesn’t strip your hair with chemicals and then mask the damage with other chemicals like silicone. This means that your hair might not feel quite as healthy right after using it (especially if it is porous or damaged), but it will be healthier in the long run.

Here’s a quick list of pros and cons:


  • Exfoliating
  • Provides a deep clean
  • Leaves hair shiny and (surprisingly) supple
  • Leaves skin extremely soft (it’s even widely lauded for curing eczema!)
  • Clears acne and controls oily skin
  • Great for washing dark clothes


  • Not great for washing light clothes due to the dark color
  • Leaves skin and hair clean and soft, but you will need lotion/conditioner
  • Sometimes a little tough on super sensitive skin

Still don’t believe me? Check out the hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon and you’ll be asking yourself how you haven’t heard about this amazing product. If you want to try it out, you can generally get a single bar for $3 to $4 – not a huge investment for a potentially life-changing product! And let me assure you, this product is not ethnicity-specific. Everyone can benefit from its natural, time-tested efficacy.

Lotion/lip moisturizer/hair moisturizer

In trying to eliminate liquids, I immediately thought of replacing lotions with body butters. This has worked out wonderfully for me. However, being a person who gets a thrill from finding something that serves multiple purposes, I decided to step it up a notch.

I searched around and found this wonderful recipe (Editor’s note: the video is no longer available, sorry) for a Shea butter/coconut oil blend that has the consistency of a body butter, but can be used on my lips and the dry ends of my hair as well. For my lips, this blend moisturizes and soothes chapped lips instantly. For hair, the blend helps to seal in moisture and keep hair healthy.

I keep this mixture in a 2oz. Nalgene tub and bring it on every trip. Three-in-one!

Still need liquids?

nalgene bottlesThere will always be a need for a liquid product or two. I’ve found that the small Nalgene bottles are the most leak-proof, but they are difficult to empty completely.

What I typically do to clear out the dregs is put a couple drops of water in the bottle, shake it up, and use the diluted version. Of course, in a perfect world, Nalgene would develop a 3oz. version for air travel. They currently sell 1, 2, and 4oz. bottles, which are fine, but not ideal.

No matter what, make sure to carry all liquid products in a plastic zipper bag to minimize the impact of a potential leak. Most importantly, try the black soap! If you can get past its strange appearance, this soap might just be your new best friend.

Check out Dani’s other posts:

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Gear We Use


Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.

Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.

Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking! – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions


  1. Amy says

    I learned from a dental hygienist that the travel-size bottles of Listerine are leak-proof. I’ve been using them for years for shampoo and conditioner without fail, and I travel a lot between high and low altitudes (many other bottles suffer leaks, but not these). I get the bottles free from my denist’s office, but they’re only about $2 USD in the shops. They are 3.2 ounces each and squeezable.

    • Josianne says

      What a great idea Amy, thank you for sharing!

      Thanks also to Amy, I will give the black soap a try – I am trilled at the idea that it can both a soap bar and a shampoo 🙂


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