As the daughter of a pilot, I’ve regularly been told that flying is terrible for your skin. Lack of sleep, cabin-pressure and stress are sure-fire ways to feel dehydrated and grotty when you land. My Dad used to be pretty vain about his face, and swore by various in-flight remedies and tricks to keep the wrinkles incurred on numerous long-haul flights at bay.
It’s not just the A-listers who swan through arrivals looking fresh-faced and groomed, the cabin-crew regularly look in-check too; but how do they do it? They prepare in-air. With a few fuss-free mid-flight tips you can alight too looking dewy, youthful and hydrated.
5 days before your flight:
Cleansed, hydrated skin is key before you embark, so up your moisturising game up to a week before your flight. Apply a serum day and night and invest in slightly heavier moisturiser. I’d select a natural brand such as Origins or Philosophy as they use fewer chemicals and melt into skin in seconds.
If you fly regularly, you have every excuse to book in for a hydrating facial before your trip. I recommend a spa that uses Crème de la Mer, Guerlian or ESPA products; they work miracles and make for supermodel skin post-treatment. Wherever you go the key to a pre-flight facial is exfoliation and hydration; and always ask your facialist to give you some tester pots of moisturiser to use mid-flight.
Before you fly
Unless you absolutely must look your best at the airport, start your journey makeup-free, with clean hair and skin. All too often the tiredness and dehydration associated with long distance travel makes us cranky and reaching for the sugary drinks and carbs, avoid this at all costs. Drink a litre of water before you fly and another litre for every two hours you’re in the air.
On the plane
Keep everything you need in a small toiletry bag for easy access and begin your in-flight spa treatment as soon as you can.
1. Begin by running some more hair oil through the ends of your hair, you can repeat this as many times as you like during the flight.
2. Begin your in-flight facial by thoroughly cleansing your face, leaving only your mascara on. Try Origins A Perfect World cleanser, its fresh scent and detoxifying properties are a real treat for the skin and clear away grime and dirt.
From left: Redken: Diamond Oil Shatterproof Shine, Aveda: dry remedy, Moroccan Oil, Origins: A Perfect World Cleanser
3. Toners on flights are tricky product to gage, too astringent and they’ll dry your face out more. Facials sprays with essential oils are better as they come in smaller sizes, freshen your skin and smell amazing. Caudalie Beauty Elixir is a real miracle; a couple of spritzes will calm nerves and headaches as well as tightening and brightening your skin.
4. Next apply a fairly heavy facemask. For vanity’s sake it’s best to find one that’s clear. Favourites include Sisley Hydrating Flower Mask and Kiehls ‘Ultra Facial’ hydrating mask.
Apply two thin layers to your face and neck leaving them on for as long as possible. The first layer acts as moisturiser to hydrate your skin, the second locks out the drying effect of the air conditioning on flights.
5. Whilst your mask is sinking-in, apply a rich eye cream or serum. This you can do regularly throughout the flight, every couple of hours, to keep the delicate skin around your eyes hydrated.
From left: Eau Thermale Avène: Spring Water Spray Toner, La Mer: The Mist, Caudalie: Beauty Elixir (all available in 100ml), Sisley: Flower Gel Mask, Kiehls Ultra Facial gel Masque, L'Occitane Angelica Mask,Tata Haper Eye Crème, La Mer Illuminiating Eye Gel, Clinique All About Eyes Roll-On
6. The same goes for lips, apply a lip balm regularly as lips are a prime candidate for drying out mid-flight. You can invest in expensive ones, but Vaseline really is a fail-safe bet and can be used on hands, elbows and knees too - anywhere you can dry skin.
7. Apply a few drops of essential oils to your neck and chest. An essential oil isn't just to clear your mind; it also acts to clear the ingested recycled air too. Delicate oils like Aromatherapy Associates ‘Breathe Essence’ and Annee de Mamiel's ‘Altitude Oil’ are soft on your nose and head and help to keep your head clear and ease jet lag. These are great for relaxing children on long flights too, dap a little on a tissue and have them in inhale regularly.
8. Next apply some hand-cream or oil to the backs of your hand – leave it on quite thick.
from left: Dermalogica multivitam hand treatment, Estée Lauder 'Revelation' Age Resisting hand cream, Caudalie Anti-Oxidant Cream, de Mamiel 'Altitude Oil', Aromatherapy Associates 'Breathe Essence' and Holistic Silk Lavender eye mask
9. Get some sleep. Bringing an eye-mask on a flight can make a huge difference to how well rested you look after. Especially if it’s a night flight. Once you’re done pampering your face, drink some more water and pop on the lavender eye mask by Holistic Silk, this mask is great as it’s filled with lavender and essential oils which help elevate pressure headaches associated with flying. You’re now ready for bed.
15 minutes before landing
Brush your teeth, cleanse your face and use a little water on a cotton pad to remove the last of the mask. Apply your moisturiser and allow to sink-in for couple of minutes before preparing your face for landing.
The dry cabin air can drain colour from your face, and heavy make-up after a flight can upset it if it’s a bit sensitive or dry. Apply a coat of mascara to wake up your eyes, and apply then a pinky toned moisture-rich lipstick top lips and cheeks.
from left: and Yves Saint Laurent ‘Baby Doll Kiss & Blush Lips & Cheeks’ in Rose Libre, NARS ‘The Multiple’ beauty stick in Portofino, Chanel Coco Shine Lipstick in 497 Intrépide
To finish up your look, shake your hair out and change into fresh clothes – one of the main reasons people look dishevelled on disembarking due to creased worn-in clothes. For extra style marks, keep a pair of heels on your bag to change into on arrival.