Frequent flyers will know that travelling by plane can play a particular havoc with your skin, hair, and overall wellbeing; from recycled air drying out your complexion to disturbed sleep causing tell-tale dark circles. Luckily the right beauty flight essentials can make all the difference.
Step off your flight looking relaxed and rejuvenated. This is our expert guide to the best beauty flight essentials, with recommendations across skincare, haircare, bodycare and wellness – for before, during, and after you fly.
BEFORE YOU FLY
SKINCARE: The number one piece of pre-flight skincare advice is simple (although often overlooked): hydrate! That means “drinking lots of water before, during, and after your flight – while avoiding bubbly or caffeinated beverages,” explains the board-certified dermatologist and medical consultant, Dr Ejikeme.
MAKEUP: If you’re comfortable, removing all your make-up before boarding is the best approach as dried-out concealer can creep into tell-tale dehydration lines, and will actually make you look more tired. Instead, apply your favourite nourishing moisturiser to lock-in hydration and don’t forget a lip balm to avoid dry lips.
HAIRCARE: Flying has the rather remarkable ability to make your hair feel limp and dry. That’s why giving your hair a little additional TLC pre-flight can make all the difference. Nourish dry ends with a creamy hair mask a day or so before. Then, as you prepare to leave the house, spritz around your hairline with a volumising dry shampoo to keep oiliness at bay.
WELLBEING: Whether you are a nervous flyer or not, flying can be a hectic experience. To avoid a stress-filled pre-departure, look to calming blends of oils and mists, such as camomile, lavender and geranium. Most come in pocket-sized containers that can be carried with you on the flight for a more peaceful slumber there too.
THE PACKING EDIT
DURING THE FLIGHT
SKINCARE: “Low cabin humidity and artificial air pressure can be extremely drying for your skin,” explains the dermatologist and skincare expert for Faace, Dr Sonia. That’s why skin hydration should be your main in-flight focus. “Look for hydrators that pull in moisture, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and aloe,” says Dr Ejikeme. “Plus, ingredients that support the skin’s barrier function, like ceramides.” For the best results, use on slightly damp skin.
HAIRCARE: A hydrating spray is a must-have when flying. “I am constantly travelling, and I always carry my face mist with me to prevent trans-epidermal water loss and to lock in hydration,” says the skin expert Dr Barbara Sturm. The skin and wellness expert Marie Reynolds agrees, and added: “I always bring a mini mist to hydrate my skin but I also spritz it in my hair, which can become drier due to the air con on planes.”
SUNCARE: “Your skin is at risk from UV light damage on the plane, as you are much closer to the sun at 20,000 feet and UVA light can penetrate right through window glass,” reveals Dr Sonia. For that reason, sunscreen with an SPF30+ is non-negotiable, especially if you are sat by the window. If you are, travel with the shade down for as much of the flight as possible. And, if you are worried about a greasy feel, use light moisturising SPF sprays instead of creams to avoid congestion.
EYECARE: Disturbed sleep and recirculated air are a toxic combination for dry, sore eyes, which only makes you look and feel more tired. Under-eye sheet masks offer a burst of hydration without the messiness of a full skincare routine. They can also provide a depuffing effect, with almost instant results. Or, if a sheet mask in public isn’t for you, try a silk version instead to aid your beauty sleep.
THE PACKING EDIT
AFTER THE FLIGHT
BODYCARE: “Your post-flight skincare regimen should be focus on two things: warding off any breakouts and reintroducing lost moisture,” says Dr Sonia. That includes your body as well as your face. Make sure to gently remove any dirt or oil from the plane, using a gentle cleanser and shower as soon as you arrive at your destination. (Yes, even before flopping on the bed or running to the beach). Choose a body moisturiser you love the scent of, as this will turn the process into a wellbeing ritual, rather than a chore.
EYECARE: Ultimately, your eyes tend to be the big post-flight giveaway. Give them some relief from the dryness caused by air con with a few eye drops after you step out of the plane. Or, try a beauty editor’s secret eyecare tip and use a cooling massage tool to soothe any tension and encourage lymphatic drainage. It’s relaxing for the whole body too.
SKINCARE: “Travelling, especially flying, presents unique skin inflammation triggers such as sleep deprivation, stress, and bacteria,” says Dr Sturm. That’s why you should focus on soothing your skin post-flight. Using lightweight toners and serums will moisturise as they alleviate irritation, without being rich enough to worsen any post-flight congestion. A skin-brightening face mask can also give tired skin its glow back, without resorting to harsher exfoliants.
WELLBEING: If you struggle with bad jet lag after a flight, or tend to pick up coughs and colds on the plane, give yourself a boost with the right supplement as the final flourish to your beauty flight essentials. There are options to support your immune system and give you an energy boost, as well as those that soothe you to a better sleep, whatever time zone your body thinks you are in.