Decades of regularly flying long haul have taught me that it’s necessary to accelerate a skincare routine when you fly. Extra attention to your skin on the plane and at least a few nights after landing in a destination is critical.
Why? Skin is your largest organ, and we can agree that proactively caring for it while in-transit helps prevent you from looking like you have jet lag.
I also firmly believe that diligent in-flight skincare plays a role in preventing jet lag altogether. When you feel well, you tend to sleep well. If you look good, you feel good. It’s all linked.
With that in mind, these are products I carry on the plane or in my checked luggage. Several now also appear in my tween’s in-flight bag.
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1. Guerlain Midnight Secret
About 20 years ago, a skincare consultant told me to use Guerlain Issima Midnight Secret after flying or staying up too late and needing to look my best the next day.
Boy, was she right. I find a more even skin tone, less dryness, and less puffiness after use.
A bottle of Guerlain Midnight Secret used to be an investment, but it has come down in price over the years. A new .5 oz size makes it easy to pack in a carry-on, especially since it’s good to use it when your skin is fatigued and stressed on the plane (though some people do apply it every day).
2. Bliss Triple Oxygen Self-Activating Facial with O2 Molecules
Bliss Triple Oxygen Self-Activating Facial with O2 Molecules gives skin a quick pick-me-up if you have to get off the plane and immediately go to a meeting or out with friends.
I had the privilege of living within a short walk of a Bliss Spa in London, where I enjoyed their signature triple oxygen facial multiple times. This is as close as you can get to that energizing facial at home. And, now they also make it in a travel size.
Wash your face, apply the foam, and leave it on until the bubbles mostly evaporate which usually takes about 5 minutes. Rinse and apply your regular skincare routine.
The end result is tighter skin, more even color, and visibly smaller pores.
3. Eau Thermale Avene Thermal Spring Water
Eau Thermale Avene Thermal Spring Water is a good hydrating spray for any skin type.
As this bacteriologically pure water takes a 50-year journey through the Cévennes Mountains in Avène, France, it becomes infused with trace elements and silicates and mixes with an ancient microorganism called Aqua Dolomiae. The company says that over 150 studies prove the microorganism’s healing properties. People go to the Avène Dermatological Hydrotherapy Center to treat skin conditions because the water is so unique.
In reality, if you’d like to hydrate on the plane with a non-irritating water spray, this is one of the best. It helps improve the effectiveness of any moisturizer.
I was told to use it as a skincare helper when out in Hong Kong humidity and after a workout as it helps remove salty perspiration. Evian sells a facial mist as well that I have also used in the past.
4. Mario Badescu Facial Spray
If you prefer a scented facial spray, Mario Badescu Facial Spray comes in a variety of scents. The cult favorite is the pink/red colored one with aloe, herbs, and rosewater in it.
The purple spray with aloe, chamomile, and lavender is also fantastic. I recommend a spritz on your airplane or hotel pillow to help you settle in.
Most of the bottles are in a 4 oz size but they do also sell a travel 2 oz bottle.
5. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate
Pack an exfoliant that’s right for your skin to use after landing. If you’re looking for suggestions, try Kate Somerville ExfoliKate.
It’s a very gentle microfoliant with natural silica (not polyethylene beads) that tends to clear my pores and polish skin. Its instructions are for twice-weekly use but I use it for a few days straight after landing (use your own judgment here).
6. Lucas’ PawPaw
My friend Curated Cool gave me Lucas’ PawPaw with the caveat that many Australian women in-the-know have a tube in their handbags. It’s an amazing healing ointment derived from papaya, a natural antiseptic.
Use it on lips, hands, or any dry spots. I get cracked lips after long haul flights and they’re fine after one night of sleeping with this slathered on. It’s a bit too thick to slather on arms or large areas so you’ll want to keep reading.
7. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Towelettes
You must wash your face on a long haul flight. If you’re not a fan of doing it in an airplane bathroom, opt for these easy and non-irritating Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes. They do a decent job of taking off eye makeup, too, and you can buy a bag of singles.
8. Nivea Creme
Did you know that some people believe that the ingredients in Creme de la Mer are the same as Nivea Creme in the blue tin?
I use Creme de la Mer and see similarities but what I do know is that Nivea Creme is cheap enough to slather all over hands, body, and face without guilt and it does work.
The tins now come in travel sizes to pop in carry-on and checked luggage.
9. Aquaphor Lip Repair
While you could put PawPaw on your lips, for those of you who prefer a separate lip balm, not much beats Aquaphor. This old-school favorite heals cracked lips, and you can also use it on dry spots, heels, and more.
10. Chanel Ultra Wear Lip Colour
If you’d like to go nearly the entire flight with color on your lips after one application, try my go-to Chanel lip stain that I wear daily. It’s called Ultra Wear Lip Colour and is magical. It comes in multiple colors.
Apply it in two parts. First, use the color side and then seal it with the gloss side (the gloss can also moisturize lips when in a pinch). Most people who use this lip stain don’t bother with a lip liner, but you can use it if you want. It’s low-maintenance.
Other Inflight-Skincare Tips
Taking good care of your skin is one of the best ways to beat jet lag symptoms. Remember that current TSA restrictions mandate that you can’t bring liquids larger than 3.4 oz onboard.
What skincare products work for you on long flights?