Beauty Tips for Long Flights

beauty tips for long haul flights

I know many people may dread a long haul flights – and traveling in general – but I have to say, I actually quite enjoy it!

I’ve been taking long haul trips to Europe in the summer since I was a child (I am half Danish and have family there), and still do annually, so I’ve gathered some beauty tips for long flights over the years; whether it’s what I do or what I notice a lot of women doing.

Before the Flight

My only recommendation before boarding a plane is to remember to moisturize and hydrate your body (water only, of course) and moisturize your skin as much as possible.

On board

While on the plane, try a facial moisturizer sprays to freshen up your face mid-air (by the way, you should be wearing zero makeup) as the cabin air can dry it out. A favorite is Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray. (And even better, get their Travel Size, which is much cheaper and I believe to be allowed on all flights!) The same goes for your lips. The skin on our lips is very thin and delicate, and is one of the fastest to dry up and can get very, very dry and cracked in the cabin air. It’s best to skip the lipgloss and lipsticks and instead go for an intense moisturizing lip balm.

Another thing you might want to try are sheet facial masks. I’ve seen a lot of women do this recently. Imagine this scene: When the lights go off, I’d be walking to the bathroom and see a pool of women before me with their masks on. Can you just?! It looks like a complete spa experience, and it was so cool. It looks incredibly relaxing, too – I’m definitely trying that one out on my next long haul flight.

beauty tips for long haul flights

After the flight

As you are landing, I’d recommend using a couple of facial wipes to clean your skin from all that “recycled air” on board. (Or, as one comedy I love once described cabin air as “exhaled carbon dioxide and flecks of other people’s skin”. Either way: kinda gross. My favorite makeup wipes are these ones, but definitely check out My Best Makeup Removers.

It’s best not to pile on makeup before leaving your flight because it hasn’t been washed in a while, and it will only cause clogged pores and breakouts.

After you do get to have a shower and wash your face, reload on moisturizer (face, hands and body) as you’ll feel the dry-effects from the plane for at least a day. I recommend squalane products for the skin as it will really re-hydrate the skin as it is the closest to our natural skin oils! Check out Best Squalane Products for my picks. Give your hair a good conditioning treatment if your hair tends to feel the effects from the flight, too.

Makeup after the flight

As far as makeup after your flight, try to avoid any powder based makeup products (powder foundation, powder blush, etc), as powder will dry out your face more and even emphasize the momentary dryness in your skin.

Stick to tinted moisturizers, cream blush (this cream blush is a makeup artist favorite – including my own – and soon becoming a cult-classic!) and cream eyeshadows until your skin ‘recovers’ from the long-haul flight.

That’s it – keep yourself moisturized and make sure to have a good clean after a flight. Pretty simple, no?

What do you think? Do you have any other beauty tips for long flights to add?

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  1. I love the fact that you did this entry before I leave for Adelaide! Hehe, thanks for the reinforcing tips on not wearing makeup – it’s something I get paranoid about whenever I’m due for a flight and honestly I tend to cheat and at least put on some eye shadow because quite frankly I feel too naked (and unattractive!) without some makeup on.

    At the very least I’m thinking (for this flight to Adelaide) that I’m going to skip on the make up seeing as I’m wearing glasses anyway (urghhh, hello 12 year old look!) but just before we’re due to land I’m going to make a run for the washroom (oh gosh, hate public washrooms though…especially airplane ones that have been used for almost half a day!) and chuck my contact lenses in and preen my eyes a little with a layer of mascara. What do you think about this? I know a lot of women do this just before they land, the whole putting on their face (and in some cases changing their whole outfit!).

    Here’s another dilemma we women face: How do we still look attractive on planes when we want to be as comfortable as possible as well? Sweatpants are a bit of a no-no and so are heels and then of course there’s the issue of hand luggage: How do we lug our insanely heavy bags around without looking haggard!!!

    They should just cater a private corner for us fashionably challenged women 😉

    1. Hey Nat,

      Ugh, tell me about it, I too have glasses and I look like a little boy haha! I think putting on your contacts in the bathroom is fine, as long as it’s hygienic, of course. The little tables in front of your seat is the best little makeup table I can think of, so I suggest applying it then – the little bathrooms are horrible for doing anything like that!

      Clothing-wise, I normally wear comfy jeans, Converse shoes, a tee shirt and a hoodie… it’s not too glamourous but then again comfort is key, so i think whatever you are comfortable in is the best! As for luggage… anything in black is always a classic choice and I find small pull trolleys are the best.

      And yes, I’ll gladly fly that jet! Hehe.

      Good luck in Adelaide! Let me know how it goes 😀

  2. Original article! And useful!

    I don’t really fly that much, but if I do… I could care less about how I look! Let’s see what else you could bring…
    Hygiene-wise, I think it would be wise (get it? get it?) to bring some deodorant and/or baby wipes with you. Imagine stepping out of the plane with profusely sweating armpits… Not exactly glamourous, eh? I would also suggest dressing in layers to avoid before mentioned drama.
    Some breath mints or one of those rubbery things you have to slip over your finger (they can be used as a tooth brush when coming in contact with water), can be useful.
    In case all rubber bands fail, a cap or hat can be used to hide a horrific hairdo.
    It’s common sense but it doesn’t hurt to mention: don’t wear heels! Bring slippers or socks (or at least flat shoes) to wear around the cabin. Your feet will swell during the flight so heels are a big Mano-no (get it? get iiiit? I’m on fiyah!)!
    An eyemask and portable pillow for a nice beauty sleep are always good to carry on the plane. Remember to bring painkillers (or other meds) if you’re sensitive to headaches (presure changes, boo!). Bye bye bags (the ones under your eyes, I mean)!
    And last but not leat: a mirror! You’ll want to know when you’re starting to look like that dude from Tokio Hotel (I mean… come on!).

    Hope this was helpful! I’ll add some if I think of anything else.

    1. Hey Roxanne, thanks for your added tips! I sooo forgot about baby wipes, ugh! But yes, they are fantastic for freshening up pretty much anywhere, anytime, haha.

      HAHAH Mano-no. Yeah, heels are horrible – sneakers really are the best, not only comfy but also covers your feet – flip flops are too loose in the plane. Though comfortable, they leave your feet feeling really cold as well (especially in overnight flights).

      For overnight flights they normally give you a mini toothbrush and toothpaste, so teeth-wise, I think it should be OK. I do agree with breathe mints though – yikes! Especially when there’s a queue for the bathrooms and you gotta wait a while.

      Aw, you no fan of Tokio Hotel’s singer? 😛 I agree he looks mad but he does have style and guts!

      Thanks again for your comment! I def forgot some key items, so thanks for reminding me! 😀

  3. Oh, it was so good to hear that someone actually kept thinking about plane crashing, falling… i thought i was the only crzy who thought about this!!! I kind of don’t like fly, but last time I did, it was two weeks ago. I just went with regular straight jeans, a nice tee, and a cashmere blouse and some ballet flat. Since my flight was short (2 hours), I used some mascara and lip balm!!! And, of course, moisturizer.

    BTW, excellent post!!!!

    1. Hey Lorlori – yeah! It’s weird, when I was really young I loved flying (like around 4-7 years old) but then I learnt more about the possibilty of plane crashes, etc, and I became terrified of it. And now I’m OK, although I always have a bit of nerves and the thought is at the back of my mind. Traveling now is even more dangerous and scary thanks to terrorism, so I think my fear of flying might come back this year! 🙁

      Your outfit is perfect for a short flight! I agree, if it’s a short flight I just wear some normal makeup since after the flight I’ll be going on with my day, where makeup is needed! 😛

      And thanks so much, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! 😀

  4. I have very oily skin and so I moisturise very little when I’m flying. my problem is to keep my skin from looking shiny!
    What I do before I leave the plane is to use a cleansing wipe, then moisturise my face, run lip balm over my lips then I ready to go! Great post!

    1. Hey Ruth, thanks so much! Your ‘regime’ sounds really simple so I’m glad it’s so quick and easy for you!

      Cleansing wipes seem to be really popular – which one do you use?

  5. I did use a sheet face mask when I was returning from Taiwan. Just wiped off my makeup with a cleansing wipe (as my flight was in the afternoon and I had morning schedules.. couldn’t go out bare face!!) and plopped the sheet mask on. Man, it dried out damn quickly! Usually the SKII mask is still soaking wet with essence after 40 minutes, even with the dry hotel room aircon. But on the plane, it was dried out within 25 minutes. Evidence of bone-dry cabin air!

    1. Oh yes, the cabin air is very drying. My lips are the first to peel, which is horrible. Luckily I found a really good lipblam hehe. I’m glad you found a good sheet mask, though – if it’s still ‘wet’ 40 minutes after it must have excellent moisturing properties!

      Cleasning wipes are a good idea – I’ll have to check some out. I haven’t used any before, no idea why.

      Thanks for your tips, Daphne! 😀

  6. ughhh oh my gosh i look awful after flying. i already have dry skin and my skin just cannot take being on a plane for very long…i just moved to london from the states and flew around a lot throughout january and my skin is still recovering 🙁
    i used to bring those little evian spray bottles which were great but now you arent allowed to bring liquids on international flights.
    im sooo trying that mask trick though next time!
    oh and i couldn’t live without chapstick…i would straight up give up on life without it.

    1. Aw I remember those Evian sprays! They’re really great too on a hot day when you’re sweating (in this heat we have here, it’s every day!).

      May I asked why you moved to London? I’m so curious! 😀

      1. i moved cuz i needed a change and i wanted to go to fashion school…ive always been a film student and i wanted to mix in some fashion! so i got into the london college of fashion and now im here and im soo in love with this city 🙂

        1. Aw that’s so cool! You are very brave to move out of your country all alone…wish I could do it but I’ll miss too many people and things! 😛

          London’s awesome, isn’t it? I went there last summer and loved it too. All the best over there! 😀

  7. Hi Renee,
    I use Clinique’s ‘take the day off’ cleansing wipes, a little expensive but totally worth it ! One sheet is all you need, so a packet goes a long way.

    1. Hey Ruth,

      Oh wait a sec I think I used to have those one’s by Clinique as well… they sound really familiar. Or is that the same name as my makeup remover? Haha. I’ll have to check. Either way I’m sure it’s great ’cause it’s by Clinique 😀

  8. Really good article Renne. Last year I travel like 4 times between Romania and Siberia and I was changing planes (I waited 12 h in airport) and finally after 24 hours I reached my destination. I really hate long trips like this. I’m thinking now that it’s possible to go back at the end of the month and I’m terrified :(( sucks to be alone in airport 1 day :((

    1. Waiting in transit is horrible. 🙁 I was once in Switzerland waiting and I don’t know if you’ve been there but wow that airport is soo boring, haha. I nearly died.

      I can imagine how it must feel alone 🙁 I’m so sorry to hear that you might have to go again, though :S

      1. Well I waited in Moscow airport 12 h…OMG it’s like torture, so many asian people there and so crowded, I must hunt for free seats. I really need some good advices and tips for my next trip cause those 12 h between the planes can really make me look tired although I’m doing nothing but waiting.

  9. I read somewhere that for years it has been preached to keep ur face moisturized with face mists on a plane, but in fact water draws water, and face mists bind the water from the face, which in turn evaporates in the dry cabin air, leaving the skin drier than before! Therefore it was advised to skip that, but properly moisturize!

    1. Hey V, thanks for pointing that out, I really appreciate it! 😀 I have to agree on that logic and I also think I read about that in the past. I know water sprays have temporary relief but like you said, can dry your skin out.

      I researched the product I recommended in the post by Clinique and it’s part of their Moisture Surge line, and is a moisturizer in spray form with moisturizing agents in it, so I was mistaken when I called it a water spray. So sorry about that, I edited the post so that no one else gets confused!

  10. This is a classic and goodie! The air inside planes really dries out the skin! Really like your tip of doubling up on moisturizer and rosebud is fantastic for lips! Thanks for sharing!

  11. i like this article a lot! i usually carry my face washes with me in tiny little boxes (you get them in guardian, like travel packs) so i use those on flights or even at work when i need to cleanse my face hehe.
    the tip on slipping on lip color and sunglasses is really clever though!
    never thought of doing that.

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