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In-flight skin care: An exhaustive guide to keeping your skin in check on a long haul flight

Flight Skincare

No matter how prepared you are, a long haul flight takes a mental and physical toll. It's also rough on your complexion – there's recycled air, low humidity, UV rays and more often than not, a lack of sleep. Couple in the associated dehydration and it's a recipe for dull, tight, itchy skin.

But fortunately, there's steps you can take both pre-flight, during and post-flight to restore moisture and keep your complexion in check (luminous, even). Below we have put together the necessary checklist for your best in-flight skin care regimen.

Skin care before the flight

Prepping your skin before you head to the airport is a serious undertaking. We know that wearing a full face of makeup is not ideal, especially if you plan on sleeping, so being with a double cleanse. Not only will this ensure your pores are free from dirt and debris, but enable the rest of your products to work properly. Once your skin is clean, go straight in with a hydrating serum (look out for water-binding humectants like Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid). While that's still damp, lock in the hydration with moisturiser – typically before flying, richer is better. If you're really dry, you could also add a few drops of face oil. Studies have shown radiation levels are twice as high when flying then they are at ground level, so be sure to finish with plenty of SPF.

Augustinus Bader The Cleansing Balm

In Flight Skincare

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel

In Flight Skincare

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5

In Flight Skincare

Skin care during the flight

Despite all the aforementioned efforts, it's inevitable your skin will dry out whilst flying. Drink as much water as you can manage, while avoiding too much caffeine or alcohol. Depending on your flight time, you'll probably want to top up your skincare to replenish lost water and lipids. Cleanse off existing skincare with some micellar water, and use a face mist to dampen your complexion. Repeat your hydrating serum, and follow up again with a rich face cream. You could also add some oil, or a creamy face mask. If you're sleeping, use a silk eye mask to avoid irritation and creasing.

You can also add a great lip balm and hand cream into the mix and you'll be nourished come landing.

Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water

In flight skin care

Emma Lewisham Supernatural Sleeping Mask

In flight skin care

Circumfrence Pure Balancing Botanical Face Oil

In flight skin care

Sisley Nutritive Lip Balm

In flight skin care

Skin care post-flight

Your post-flight skin routine should look at two things: the first is purifying to get rid of accumulated dirt and bacteria, followed by rehydration to replenish what was lost during travel. Start with a thorough cleanse to remove all the skincare you slathered on whilst flying. If you're prone to breakouts or congestion, follow with a gentle exfoliation and clay mask to draw out impurities. Otherwise, go in with your regular routine, paying special attention to formulas that will hydrate the skin and protect the barrier (which can often become compromised while flying).  Avoid piping hot showers too as this can further dehydrate, triggering redness and irritation. If you feel really, really tight post-travel, apply a face mask packed with ingredients like Shea Butter, plant oils and Ceramides. The fatty acids will replenish and soothe, mitigating that tight, uncomfortable feeling.

Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque

In flight skin care


Biologique Recherche Creme Masque VernixIn flight skin care

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Images: @bellahadid, @emrata