I used to travel for work a lot. At one point I travelled to five countries, across three continents in two weeks. It was tiring and hard work, and fun and exciting in equal measure. It was also hell on my skin. Moving between hot and cold climates, spending hours on flights and in air-conditioned hotel and meeting rooms left my skin confused. It might not be quite as glamorous, but my skin is definitely much happier when I stay in one place for a while. That being said, I am heading off to New York next week, so I thought it would be a good time to share some of my in-flight skincare essentials!
So, I know the golden rule for any long-haul flight is to stay hydrated. But if the drinks are included in the price, I’m having a Bloody Mary and a couple of G&Ts. I do try to make up for the alcohol consumption with a hydrating skincare routine and always carrying a couple of large bottles of water in my hand luggage. What I will say is that an eight-hour flight probably isn’t the best time and place to test out a whole new skincare routine. You’re in a dry, confined space in close proximity to complete strangers. You don’t want to be breaking out in a rash or offending 37B with an overwhelming face mist.
To be honest, this type of routine is not exclusively reserved for plane travel. A long train journey or car ride may equally call for a bit of skin pampering. But this is what I tend to take in my carry-on. I want my products to be super effective whilst fitting into airport security issued sandwich bags and if possible, be the products I use on my trip too. Minis, travel sets, samples…Here’s where you can make the most of those little gift-with-purchases that fill up your drawers. Or is that just me?
I am not a glamorous traveller. I want to be comfy whilst getting to the airport as well as on the plane, which means I don’t tend to wear makeup unless I already have it on from the day. I don’t need to perform a deep clean on the plane, but I do like my skin to feel fresh for any oils, masks and moisturisers I apply. I used to bring a mini pack of face wipes with me, and sometimes still do for a quick hand or body wipe, but now I tend to pack a small micellar water and a few cotton rounds that I can also use on the trip. I’ve packed the Nivea MicellAIR Micellar Water for Sensitive Skin this time. It’s not my usual choice, but the travel version of the Garnier Micellar Water always seems to leak, whereas the Nivea version has a very sturdy top. Now, this next step is completely optional, but I love my La Roche-Posay Serozinc so much that I can’t resist bringing a teeny tiny version with me for a calming and cleansing swipe before hydrating!
The next steps are similar to my home routine except that I skip an exfoliating toner as I don’t want to risk irritation or drying my skin out. This routine is all about hydration! At this point, and probably at another ten points throughout the flight, I spritz with a hydrating facial spray. I’m a huge fan of the Hada Labo Premium Hyaluronic Solution so a mist version seemed like a no brainer. It also comes in a handy 45ml plastic bottle. Other favourites include the Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist and Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist. All of these provide a quick and effective boost of hydration without containing a strong fragrance, so you don’t have to worry about annoying your cabin buddies!
This leaves my skin primed and ready for a trusted oil or serum that will nourish my skin and add yet another layer of hydration. I’m probably on G&T number two by now, so I need it! Obviously, choose an oil or serum suited to your skin type, but I love the Kat Burki Power Trio Radiance Oil. As the name suggests this product is a triple threat; it reduces irritation, brightens with a natural salicylic acid and plumps the skin with its mix of effective oils. It is expensive, but the only high-end product in this routine! I then use a heavy-duty moisturiser that will last the majority of the flight without me having to reapply. My new love is Weleda Skin Food. It is truly made for dry environments and is perfect for in-flight use. For long-haul flights, I am all about the sheet mask, even though none of them fit my tiny face and they can be a little tricky to apply without a mirror. If you’ve got the time and patience, I highly recommend ignoring any quizzical looks to indulge in 20 minutes of intense hydration.
That just leaves eyes and lips. Whereas some people complain of puffy eyes after a long flight, mine often look sad, deflated and crepey, so a good eye cream or mask is essential. Most products are often cooling too, so will work for puffy eyes as well! The Clarins Hydra Essentiel Eye Mask gives long-lasting hydration and has a thick consistency that will last for the duration of your flight. Under-eye patches are a great alternative and can really help de-puff! My go to in-flight lip treatments are usually thick balms or oils such as Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (I need this back in my life!), Dr. Paw Paw Original Multipurpose Balm or the Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil. I look for something that creates a barrier on the lips whist keeping them nourished.
As I said earlier, spraying a strong scent on a plane is a big no-no. It can result in extreme side-eye, agitated coughing or a stern “do you mind?!”, so keeping the powerful scents to a minimum is advised. That being said, flights can be long, and people can get smelly, so I believe a small amount of fragrance is a good thing! During the flight when the plane-food smell (or anything else!) gets too much, I love an essential oil rollerball. It means you can inhale the calming scent without affecting anyone else. I’m currently using the beautiful Clear Mind rollerball from Aromatherapy Associates and their collaboration with Liberty. Spacemasks are another great way to bring a little calm to your flight. This clever eye mask gently warms up releasing a light hint of jasmine which practically dares you not to nap!
Just before the final “fasten seat-belts” announcement I like to take a trip to the bathroom to freshen up. Brush my teeth, give myself a quick wet wipe bath, reapply deodorant and a layer of SPF. In the bathroom only, I also spray a little perfume so I land feeling as fresh as I possibly can. Free perfume samples or trial sets are perfect for when you’re flying. I also love my Travalo; a clever little perfume atomiser that means you can bring your favourite fragrance along without splurging on a miniature version.
For the duration of the flight when the plane-food smell (or anything else!) gets too much, I love an essential oil rollerball. It means you can inhale the calming scent without affecting anyone else. I’m currently using the beautiful Clear Mind rollerball from Aromatherapy Associates and their collaboration with Liberty. Spacemasks are another great way to bring a little calm to your flight. This clever eye mask gently warms up releasing a light hint of jasmine which practically dares you not to nap!
If minimalism was my thing and I had to narrow my routine down to three products, my very roomy liquids bag would hold a lip balm, facial oil and hydrating mist. Throw in a bottle of water and everything else can wait. But where’s the fun in that?!