TikTok's Genius Shampoo Packing Hack Won't Waste A Drop

Let's be honest: Hotel shampoo often just doesn't cut it. The formula can be watery, weak, or even too strong — and what you'll find in those free toiletry kits rarely suits all hair types. Then there's the issue of hygiene. In hotels that use refillable shampoo bottles, there's no way to guarantee the products haven't been tampered with, as one former hotel manager warned on TikTok.

Especially if you rely on a specific brand or formula, it's a good idea to bring your own shampoo when traveling. However, a lot of precious products can get wasted when packing shampoo and other hair care goods. Shampoo can get stuck at the bottom of those tiny travel-sized bottles, making them a less-than-ideal option (and an unrealistic choice if you'll be traveling for more than a few days). Packing your regular-sized bottles can be a better move, though you might still run into waste if the liquid spills out or if shampoo inadvertently squirts out when trying to secure the caps.

Thankfully, a TikToker who goes by @oxomichelle has a solution that solves both issues, and it's so simple (yet genius) that you'll wonder why you didn't think of it sooner. All you'll need is your original shampoo bottle, including its pump-type top, and an extra two seconds when packing your toiletry bag.

Pause before packing your shampoo bottles

In a clip on TikTok, content creator @oxomichelle shares that she chose to travel with her regular-sized shampoo and conditioner bottles, which come with a lockable pump top. However, she points out that when you press down on the pump to activate the lock mechanism, liquid comes squirting out, which then gets rinsed down the drain and wasted. "Instead of pushing [the pump] down and losing all your shampoo and conditioner, take it out," she suggests. The TikToker then demonstrates the hack, pulling the pump top out of the bottle and simply squirting the liquid trapped in the tube back into the bottle. The hack is a quick way to save a few squirts of your favorite hair care products, which can add up over time. "I don't know if that's common sense or not, but it wasn't until about 10 minutes ago. ... I've just been wasting so much my entire life," she added.

Commenters on the video agreed the hack is a super simple method for saving shampoo and other products, though some explained that another option is to push and lock the pump while showering to catch any liquid and use it there on the spot. A few users on the social media platform also admitted that they didn't even realize that pump bottles could be relocked, so if you can relate, try pushing all the way down on your shampoo bottle pump until it locks into place.

What if your bottles don't come with a locking pump top?

TikTok's shampoo packing hack is great for preventing waste, but it may not work for pump bottles that don't have a relocking mechanism. In that case, other just-as-simple hacks can come in handy. If you find that your shampoo bottle can't close and lock, one Reddit user has a tip: Wrap a thick rubber band around the neck of the pump. That way, it's locked into place, and you won't have to worry about your bottles oozing shampoo in your luggage.

Another trick to keep liquids from spilling into your suitcase is the balloon hack. Wrap a balloon over the top of the bottle's lid to catch any unexpected leaks. The technique can work on both pump and non-pump tops, though you might have to accept a small amount of shampoo waste if the liquid gets stuck in the balloon.

No matter which packing hack you try, keep in mind that large shampoo bottles typically aren't suitable for carry-on bags. According to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, carry-on liquids must fit in a one-quart bag and shouldn't exceed 3.4 ounces (or 100 milliliters) per bottle. If your shampoo bottle is on the larger side, make sure to place it in your checked luggage to avoid any airport security snafus.