So excited to share my travel beauty essentials with you guys today! Last year when I flew to India, I noticed that after two 19 hour flights around the world, my skin was not looking great. I remember looking at my reflection in the airplane’s bathroom mirror on my flight home, and under the terrible lighting thinking, “Oh my god, I can practically see the breakout getting worse every time I come in here!” I had so many bumps, especially on my forehead where I hardly ever breakout. I immediately booked a facial for some serious extraction when I got back to the States, but I also started doing some research because I wanted to know why my skin reacted so horribly to these very long flights. I found out a few key things that have all contributed to a new skincare routine and airplane beauty essentials that I now use every time I fly, whether it’s a one hour trip down to LA or a day of flying to Australia.
On a recent trip to Taiwan, I posted a picture on my Insta Story of all the products I’ve started using when flying and asked if you guys would be interested in a post about it, and 90% of you said yes! So, here are all the deets on my beauty travel essentials and why it’s so important to take care of your skin while flying.
Travel Beauty Essentials
A lot of what I learned has to do with the change in the air that happens in an airplane’s cabin. There is far less humidity in a plane’s cabin air than what we’re used to down on earth, which means it’s easy to become dehydrated. When your skin is in need of moisture, it tries to absorb water from the air. Since there is no moisture (or very little) to be had from a cabin’s air, your skin begins absorbing whatever oils it can from your makeup. Which brings me to travel skin care tip #1:
Tip #1: Remove any makeup before your flight. I used to wear a full face of makeup when I flew, but now I wear nada. Even if I’m flying home after a long day where I’ve been wearing makeup, I carry these Neutrogena makeup remover face wipes with me, and before I board the plane (or even once I’m sitting down) I can easily take my makeup off. Even if I’m not wearing makeup, I make sure to use these makeup removers to get rid of any grit, grime, and oils that may be on my skin.
Tip #2: Wear an SPF moisturizer with zinc. Even with the windows down, because you’re so high in the air when you’re flying, you’re being exposed to UV rays. After I’ve removed any makeup from my face, I apply a light moisturizer with SPF. I’ve recently been using this Cicapair SPF moisturizer from Dr. Jart and I’m a big fan because of 1. It uses zinc as SPF, which doesn’t clog your pores and 2. It has a slight tint to it, so it adds a little bit of light coverage. I always use hand sanitizer on my hands before applying my moisturizer, so I’m not adding bacteria/germs on my skin.
Tip #3: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Since it’s easy to get dehydrated while flying, keep your body and skin happy by drinking lots of water. I always bring a reusable water bottle to the airport with me, and fill it up somewhere after TSA before I board. Especially for long flights, it sucks to keep asking the busy flight attendant for more water, so make sure you have plenty to gulp down.
Travel Beauty Essentials: Hydrate
Ok, on to the actual products and my airplane beauty essentials!
Sheet mask. I’ll be honest, I feel more comfortable doing this when I’m in first class and everyone around me is being extra too. Like if the lady sitting next to me is feeding her lap dog some of her dinner, I can put my sheet mask on my face and look like a serial killer for 30 minutes and feel pretty ok about that. If you’re able to take on a don’t care attitude, sheet masks, especially during long flights, are a great way to make sure your skin gets the water and moisture it’s so in need of while 40,000 feet in the air. I like the Moisturizing My Beauty Diary sheet masks that I bought in Asia (see my Taipei beauty products post here), but any hydrating sheet mask will do.
Burt’s Bees chapstick. Burt’s Bees is my absolute favorite chapstick and these days you’ll never find my bag without it, especially on flights. My lips seem to be the first thing to dry out, so I’m constantly reapplying. I remember one time I forgot my lip balm on a 14-hour flight to Brazil, and it literally took me weeks to get my chapped lips back to normal after that flight!
Dr. Jart Hydro Sleep Mask. This mask (it’s really more like a gel/cream) prevents your skin from losing water during sleep, which is perfect for when you’re sleeping on the plane.
Elf Prep and Hydrate Balm. I especially love this product because it’s very travel-friendly and easy to apply. It’s like a giant chapstick for your face. I’m a germaphobe, so not having to actually touch my face with my hands while flying is a huge plus and I can just whip this one out and apply. It glides on really smoothly and helps my skin get the water it’s so thirsty for on long flights.
Elemis Superfood Night Cream. I’ll bring this night cream on overnight flights. I love its richness and how hydrating it is for my skin.
Elf Hydrating Mist. Occasionally I’ll give myself a little spritz with this Hydrating Mist if I feel like I’m getting a tad dry.
Travel Beauty Essentials: Oils
Elemis Super Food Facial Oil. I like to take a layered approach with my beauty products, so I’ll apply some of the above hydrating creams first, and then use this facial oil from Elemis. This has turned out to be one of my absolute favorite airplane beauty essentials and really helps to keep my skin hydrated. My theory is that the oil sort of creates a barrier between my skin and the harsh, dry cabin air, locking the moisture on my skin.
Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Re-Pair Serum. Another serum I’ve been using on long flights is Dr. Jart’s Tiger Grass Re-Pair serum.
Travel Beauty Essentials: Eyes
Under Eye Mask. Aside from drying out the delicate skin around your eyes, long flights can make your eyes a bit puffy, so to de-puff, I’ll use an under-eye mask about 30 minutes before we land. These rejuvenating eye masks from Acure come in a thin pouch that’s easy to pack.
Eva Naturals Eye Gel & Vitamin C Serum. Swollen eyes are not my favorite look, so after my mask, I apply Eva Naturals Eye Gel. Their eye gel has Frankincense and Gotu Kola, which have anti-inflammatory properties that help to quickly reduce puffiness and under-eye bags, helping me look awake after a long flight. I also love their Vitamin C Serum and it’s great for applying all over your face especially while flying, as it offers UV protection and helps repair sun-damaged skin. Since this serum also has hyaluronic acid, it provides incredible hydration. If you’re looking for more Eva Naturals products to check out, I also love their Peptide Complex.
Now obviously, using all of these products probably only makes sense for longer flights (if I tried to do this whole routine on a flight from SFO to LAX it would probably take me the whole flight ?). But if I’m going on a shorter flight, the main tenants and airplane beauty essentials remain the same: 1. Clean skin 2. Hydrate and moisturize. If I’m going bare-bones for a short flight, the main airplane beauty essentials I’ll bring are my face wipes, a facial oil, a hydrating cream and an SPF cream. And hand sanitizer and a bottle of water.
Another one of my favorite travel tips in keeping yourself feeling fresh is spraying your hair with dry shampoo to make it smell clean and fresh. Packing hand cream is also a must since the plane can dry out your skin especially your hands since you’ll be cleaning them regularly. All you need are travel size products and your good to go!
Are there certain airplane beauty essentials you can’t live without when you’re flying? Let me know, I’d love to try them out!
Any makeup product that meets the requirements of being in a 3.4-ounce container and fit in a clear 1-quart bag.
Any liquids must be in a resealable container that is 3.4 ounces or less. It must fit in one clear, plastic, resealable 1-quart sized bag.
If it’s a short flight wearing makeup won’t do much harm to your skin, however, if it is a longer flight it is recommended to not wear makeup.
It is important to keep your skin hydrated with moisturizers and sheet masks.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.