The Comprehensive In-flight Beauty Routine

There was a time when the thought of flying would fill me with dread. Not just because I would be couped up in a cramped space for hours, but also because my already dry skin, gets even drier. In a bid to combat this dryness, I have tried various combinations of skincare products, read up on in-flight beauty routines and checked how celebrities and dermatologists do it. Now, numerous flights, moisturisers, masks and oils later, I have finally narrowed down the ideal airplane beauty essentials for travel.

When putting together my travel beauty essentials, I made sure all of the products were travel-friendly and would actually be allowed on board the flight.

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My in-flight beauty routine starts as soon as the seatbelt signs are off and I can open my tray table. None of the skincare actually goes on the tray table – only the pouch it is in – because who knows when it was last cleaned. First I wipe my hands thoroughly with an anti-bacterial wipe. I feel these work  better than hand sanitisers that can cause products to pill – especially if you don’t let it dry completely on your hands first. With my hands free of germs I use a makeup remover wipe to cleanse my face. I usually don’t wear makeup when I’m going to the airport but the thought of putting skincare over a layer of dust gives me the heebie jeebies. So I cleanse my face. The Biore wipes are small and convenient to carry around, and they’re super effective for cleansing everything from full coverage foundation to stubborn mascara.

The airplane air is so dry (it has less humidity than the Sahara, and that’s a desert!)

Next I slap on a sheet mask. After hearing rave reviews about the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask I finally decided to try it. And it was life changing. Because the airplane air is so dry (it has less humidity than the Sahara, and that’s a desert!) the mask dried up pretty quickly, but not before nourishing my skin with Pitera, the brand’s signature ingredient that moisturises and brightens your skin. (Note: You want to remove the mask before it’s completely dried or you risk it drawing moisture from your skin.) My skin felt soft and happy after I took off the mask. Pricey, but totally worth it. With four hours to go in the dry air, I couldn’t stop there.

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It’s important to pay attention to your eyes and lips. The skin on both these areas is extremely thin and delicate and without any lubrication of its own, so you have to give it a whole lot of TLC. Choose a rich eye cream – leave your retinol/anti-ageing ones in your checked in luggage – you need something heavier while on flight. I like the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream or the Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Intense Eye Cream Similarly use a rich lip balm like the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Lip Balm to prevent cracked, chapped lips and to keep your pout soft and kissable. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm and Lucas Paw Paw work just as well.

By now it’s time to take off the face mask and lock in the moisture. As I mentioned before my skin gets completely parched in an airplane. And not just your regular it-feels-a-bit dry, more like it’s-stretched-and-will-crack-and-fall-off dry. It actually starts to feel uncomfortable. So I use the Origins Calm To Your Senses mask. I slather on a generous layer that is rich in lavender essential oil to soothe and hydrate the skin.

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If you have normal or combination skin, you can use a rich moisturiser at this step. But all skin types, even the oily kind will benefit from the next step in my travel skincare routine.

[Note: If you are flying during the day, it’s essential to use a sunscreen. You’re prone to even more sun damage at higher altitudes. Apply your sunscreen after you’ve put on your moisturiser and then proceed to the next step.]

This final step is what will save your skin on this flight. Because a moisturiser or a mask is no contest for the dry air, what you need is an oil. I used the SK-II Facial Treatment Oil – a mix of six nourishing oils (olive, avocado, jojoba, rice bran, ricesterol and squalene) as well as Pitera – so you get the benefits of both. The key is to apply it AFTER your skincare. A few drops, every hour, work like magic. If you’re flying during the day, use it over your sunscreen.

My skin has never felt so happy or relaxed on a flight. You will also notice that there is no mention of mists anywhere in this routine. This is because of osmosis, where the air is so dry it sucks the moisture out of everything (remember the face mask?) including your skin. When you mist your face, it absorbs that as well as the moisture within your skin.

“Avoid undoing all your efforts to keep your skin hydrated by drinking any alcohol. Tank up instead on water or green tea.”

As you near your destination, all you have to do is tissue off the excess product, dab on some concealer where you need it most, swipe on some mascara and a bright lipstick that can also double up as a cheek stain and you’re ready to step of the flight.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I would love to know about your travel skincare routine so please leave a comment below and share what works for you. Don’t forget to look out for my post on the post flight skincare routine too.

6 Replies to “The Comprehensive In-flight Beauty Routine”

  1. Loved the simplicity of your in flight skincare routine. Those Biore wipes are a complete life saver. Wish they were more easily available outside Asia. My in flight bag is packed like I’m heading in a war zone. I keep a gel hand sanitizer because in my experience the wipes dry quickly and I’m not diligent enough to replace when needed. With the sanitizing gel, I know it wont dry on me and still be functional. Some of my long haul flights range anywhere between 10-15 hours so I do the whole skincare routine twice, because as you know in flight air is filthy!


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