I love the idea of a boujee in-flight skincare routine. I’m flying long-haul this week, and the beauty editor in me has been making a mental check list of all the masks, serums, and creams I can jam into one TGA-approved Ziplock bag for weeks now. It’s instinctual to pack my Chanel and my Rodin, place them neatly on the tray table and slather myself at hourly intervals until I’m so greasy I leave marks all over the in-flight entertainment system.
But the truth is that I’ve travelled many times before and this just doesn’t work. My booking class is not business and I lack the confidence required to wear a sheet mask at 40,000 feet. There’s also a strong chance I won’t want to haul myself out of my seat and into the overhead locker every ten minutes to rummage through five hand cream superlatives. But airline cabins are both dehydrating and bacterial breeding grounds, so it would be brash of me to slather on moisturiser before take-off and call it a day. Also, I’d have seventeen new blemishes and skin like a raison come touchdown.
Instead, I have mastered a somewhat simple routine that is discreet enough to apply in confined spaces, and accessible enough so as to not cost more than the flight itself. Non-negotiables like toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen and hand sanitiser don’t count here, obviously. Bon voyage indeed!
Lanolips 101 Ointment
My lips are dry even when it’s humid out, so flying is high-stress. Lanolips 101 Ointment is the only one I trust for the job. Lanolin is the oil from sheep’s wool, and because it’s semi-permeable and partly occlusive, it will hydrate the skin’s inner layers – not just superficially. Use it on cuticles and to tame your brows, too.
Lanolips 101 Ointment, $15. SHOP NOW
Spot Medic Pimple Patches
Is it just me, or do planes solicit dormant pimples to all come out of hiding at once? Hydrocolloid bandages are my favourite short-term blemish treatment both on the ground and in the air for multiple reasons. They’re traditionally used as medical dressings because they absorb fluid (think blisters or burns) but the healing effect is much the same for whiteheads. They absorb fluid, reduce swelling, and because they cover the blemish, there’s no room for picking or touching – especially useful on a germy flight. They’re relatively undetectable, and work within hours. Spot Medic are some of the best I’ve tried in Australia.
Spot Medic Hydrocolloid Bandages, $10. SHOP NOW
Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water
Unless you have a death wish by way of sticking your head in the airline bathroom sink, pack a waterless cleanser. Bioderma’s cult micellar is one of the best. Soft and non-irritating, it will remove gunk and dirt every few hours. Pack a few cotton rounds to go with it.
Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution, $12. SHOP NOW
Avène Skin Recovery Cream
French pharmacy brands are wonderful because they contain simple ingredients, and focus on hydrating, soothing, and repairing skin barrier function – all of which can be compromised when flying. This cream is specifically for long-lasting repair and protection, and it delivers in spades. I think of it like a little suit of armour. It comes in a tidy tube with an air-locked pump for minimal mess and maximum sterilisation. A rich iteration is also available if your skin needs. Use it after the Bioderma and pimple patches every few hours – I personally find this is enough to keep me clean, hydrated and comfortable for the duration of any flight. Sometimes, I’ll add a hyaluronic serum like Drunk Elephant or Skinceuticals underneath to absorb what very little moisture there is in the air, but just the three will suffice if you’re trying to keep it minimal. Lastly, don’t forget SPF on top – UV rays are extremely powerful at that level of elevation.
Avène Skin Recovery Cream, $39. SHOP NOW
Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm
This cream is for anywhere below the neck, including hands, elbows, legs – whatever. Its light but herby fragrance is clean and welcome on an aeroplane, and it’s not too sticky or greasy but still feels hydrating.
Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm, $33. SHOP NOW
Bonus products for those with space in their carry-on (and wallet):
Slip Silk Scrunches
Great for anyone with long, frizzy, or easily matted hair, a silk scrunchie will help you preserve your style while flying. Flip your head upside down and secure in a loose topknot.
Slip Silk Scrunchies, $45. SHOP NOW
This Works Sleep Roll On
I use lavender essential oil on my pillow every night, so find a little while travelling really flexes my olfactory muscle and lulls me into a state of relaxation. Sprays and mists are great but if you’re sitting close to strangers, I think best to avoid. This roll-on instead has cedarwood and lavender to encourage sleep. It’s not too strong, so you can roll a little on your wrists without offending those around you. If nothing else, it masks the smell of aeroplane food.
Slip Relax Roller, $40. SHOP NOW
The Beauty Chef Glow inner beauty powder
I used to cart a tub of The Beauty Chef Glow Powder with me overseas until I realised it’s supposed to be refrigerated once opened and exposed to air. I swear by it for my skin and gut health, so I’ll certainly be ducking past Sephora and grabbing the sachets to take. Adding it to my water while I’m flying will make me feel virtuous whilst I simultaneously eat the Kit Kat’s they’re constantly giving out.
The Beauty Chef Glow Inner Beauty Powder, $18. SHOP NOW
I am an anxious flyer and Rescue Remedy really helps – or maybe it’s placebo but I swear by it all the same. I actually rely on it for a bunch of nerve-wracking situations and have friends who feel similarly. The pastilles are also fantastic and won’t even add to your liquid quota.
Bach Rescue Remedy Drops, $19. SHOP NOW