Back when I was a product-obsessed beauty editor and didn’t sashay round with a handbag full of corn puffs and plastic cars, my flight skin advice would have read something like this:

“Start with a deep cleansing exfoliating mask, then a hydrating mask, then three serums, a face oil, eye gel, and SPF then makeup before you leave the house. Once you’re on the plane, cleanse your face with a cleansing balm and muslin, and pop on a sheet mask. Ignore the weird looks. Once you remove it, re-apply serums, oils and SPF again. Before you land, apply tinted moisturiser, mascara, blush, brightening eye shadow, a pop of pink lipstick, and apply dry shampoo throu-“… you get the idea.

Who has time for that?

Lots of people probably, the lucky squids.

But not me people.

These days I spend all my energy, time and handbag real estate on nappies, sippy cups, snacks and Lego. I know! I know. It’s as glamorous as a burp.

And so, since I now boast the holy trinity of:

  • Very young children
  • Lots of travel experience
  • Years spent creating skin care products for people who don’t want fussiness and confusion and seven-step routines, just skin that looks good and feels nice

… I have a pretty effective, simple philosophy of flight skin care. Most of it is done before you get on the plane, so you can focus on your meal and a movie/walking your child up and down the aisle 75 times.

1. Do a mask before you fly.

You’ve seen how much flights suck your face dry, right? Well the battle starts before you get to the airport. So whether it’s a nourishing cream mask the night before, or a serum-drenched sheet mask the morning you fly out, DO take 10 minutes to hydrate your skin before a long flight. Bonus points for exfoliating first. I like Sodashi’s Plant Essence Replenish Mask.

2. Layer oils and creams.

To give your face (…and neck and chest because your face stops at your boobs) its’ best possible chance to retain moisture, apply a nourishing face oil and then a rich facial moisturiser the day you fly. I slather myself in my own Go-To Face Hero and Very Useful Face Cream, obviously.

3. Wear SPF 

Before kids when I had time to read a lot, I discovered UV exposure intensifies the higher up you are (closer to the ozone), and plane windows don’t protect you from UVA rays. So, if your flight is in daylight hours, yah, ya need to wear SPF. And broad spectrum is a must. This is especially true if you’ve got a window seat, or, um, you’re flying the plane. (I personally use mineral/physical sun protection, preferably with at least 15% Zinc Oxide.)

4. Mask as you sleep

If you’re on a flight over 10 hours in length, or have a special event once you land, it is worth doing a mid-flight mask. So, clean off makeup with a wipe (or even better, some micellar water and cotton pad – ready made face wipes are pretty gross and drying in my opinion) then generously apply either a leave-on (read: invisible) hydrating mask. Aspect’s Hydrating mask is good, so too Eminence’s Linden Calendula Treatment. A very rich night cream will also do the trick. No rinsing required.

5. Look after your lips and hands.

Pack a replenishing hand cream and lip balm. Apply frequently. Then some more.

6. Avoid flat hair.

Planes don’t just suck the moisture from you and give you a cold (just me?) they make your hair all flat and s%*t, too. So, if length permits, tie it up high in a bun once you get on, and let it out once you land.

7. Your body gets dry, too.

Does it EVER. Especially if you’ve had a spray tan, which I generally have before flying somewhere hot, and which extracts every last drop of water from my epidermis and leaves my hands and ankles and arms looking like that of a 200 year-old. Cute! So. Moisturise with body oil, THEN body lotion before you fly, then do it again once you land and shower. And if you can be assed, take a hotel or travel size body lotion and apply it to arms and legs as you fly. Why not? Why not.

Since it’s so cheap and convenient now, we tend to forget that long flights are incredibly taxing on the body. So, look after it! It’s your magical, moving temple! Try to skip the booze, or just have one. Drink a ton of water. Stretch. Get some sun or go for a walk when you arrive. My husband fasts on flights and reckons it makes him feel better once he arrives, but I fasted for three hours once and have decided it’s not for me.

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