For the Long Haul : A Flight Attendant's Mile High Skin Care Tips


So when it comes to skin survival during a long-haul flight (anything over 6 hours or so) , who better to turn to than a flight attendant for advice? Sarah Jonas has been Flight Purser (that's fancy airline speak for manager) at Emirates for seven years, and needless to say, she's got her jetset essentials down to a fine art. Here, we compiled the ten cardinal beauty rules to pack with you next time you fly - including why sunscreen is crucial. Who knew?




1. Exfoliate & Cleanse The Morning Before
Always hop onto a flight with clean skin. It's also best to MILDLY exfoliate the morning before you fly to remove any dead, dry skin. The skin will also be more effective in absorbing your moisturizer. Then put a nice, thick layer of moisturizer and eye cream on. Let it absorb. VERY IMPORTANT: Do not use any harsh products such as traveling and when being exposed to different climates.

2. Avoid Wearing Any Makeup
The makeup has to come off. This may be a contradiction considering flight attendants wear make-up in-flight but if you're a passenger, try skipping it altogether. Just like you remove make-up before bed, you should remove all make-up during a long haul flight. Keeping your makeup on for an entire long-haul flight is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. You might be able to get away with it in your teens and 20s, but as you get into your 30s and up, your makeup will look positively leathery, cakey and cracked by the end of a 10 hour flight. Putting more makeup on top of it will not help. You're better off removing all your makeup after take-off so that you can re-apply moisturiser, which you'll probably need. Pack some face wipes for fuss free removal of makeup.
We like Neutrogena's All-in-One Makeup Removing Cleansing Wipes, which come in full-size and travel-friendly sizes. These are gentle enough for most skin types and will tackle the most stubborn of makeup grime with ease.

3. Pop On A Face Mask
If you’re facing a long haul flight, you might as well take advantage of the extra time and supersize your skincare regime to fight dehydration and tight skin. Some people also like to bring hydrating sheets masks and sleeping masks on flights. I like sheet masks better as they are not liquid items and will pass through the most stringent of airport security checks.



Some of my favorites include Sloane Inc Water Infusion Mask which saturates skin with moisture-magnetising hyaluronic acid for a quick radiance bounce-back anytime, anywhere. Slap this one after giving your face a good cleanse.

For a splurge worthy option, SK-II Facial Treatment Masks are the crème de la crème of sheet masks. They're a go-to for tons of celebrities, from Chrissy Teigen to Cate Blanchett, for red carpet prep and post-flight moisturizing needs. After just 10 minutes of using the mask, skin is noticeably springier, softer, and more radiant.

4. Pack a Hydrating Facial Oil
Cabin air sucks the life out of your skin. Which can give you a crepe-y looking skin surface, magnify fine lines, and compromise your skin barrier and put you at risk of sensitive reactions later on. Prevent external dehydration by slathering on a moisturizer to re-balance your skin’s oil production.  Always use a product that is a bit more moisturizing than the one you use back on earth, even if you have oily skin. Your skin will thank you for it. The best way to apply if you have oilier skin is to warm a few drops between your palms and then press gently over the face area by area. This gets the lightest and most even layer onto your skin surface. 

Face oils work to put the moisture back in your skin so your glands don’t go into overdrive to make up for the lack of hydration in the air. My favorite in-flight skin protectants after trying tons of different lotions and potions over the past 10-15 years are oils, because they help seal and protect the skin surface longer than a water-based lotion will, and they don't contain fillers and additives that might give you a reaction after a 20-hour flight. You also get a bit more time to give yourself a good facial massage during application, which can help reduce/prevent puffiness. 

The facial oil is also a multi tasking product. You can use it for your cuticles, your dry hair ends, your lips and even your under eyes. 





(+) Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate: This lightweight, readily absorbed elixir effectively restores skin’s healthy appearance overnight, resulting in smoother, more radiant complexion by morning. Enriched with Squalane, a botanical lipid similar in molecular structure to natural skin lipids, Evening Primrose Oil, rich in Omega-6 Fatty Acids and Essential Oils including Lavender, the formula provides a boost of intensive moisture to depleted skin. These natural oils instantly penetrate the skin surface to help replenish it. The recovery concentrate works at night when skin is most receptive to repairing itself from daily aggressors. With skin hydrated, supple and soft, rest assured you can say goodnight to tired-looking skin.

(+) Clarins Blue Orchid Treatment Oil: Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil contains 100% pure plant extracts and no preservatives that tone the skin and give it back its natural radiance, while upping the moisture levels too. Immediately absorbed, this oil contains essential oils of Rosewood, Blue Orchid and Patchouli that help deliver moisture to ensure soft, supple skin. Hazelnut Oil helps prevent moisture loss and the formation of fine lines.

(+) Sloane Inc Youth Oil: Intensely nourishing, this restorative huile has 100% organic rosehip oil, which carries high concentration of active and reparative plant nutrients that work immediately over dry, crinkly spots to create soft, dewy skin. Over time, the formula counteracts the complexion-dulling effects of ageing with a brightening kick, and reinforces collagen synthesis to visibly smoothen skin for less wrinkles and more giggles. We like how it comes with a roller ball, almost begging for you to stash it in your ziplock bag. 

5. Pack a Multi-Tasking Moisturizer



(+) Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream is a cult classic with more functions than I can possibly list here. It is a savior for dry skin as it is so amazingly moisturizing. You can use it for my lips, hands, face and even body.  It's no doubt that this is a in flight staple for most women.

(+) Sloane Inc Magic BalmThis multi-purpose wonder is a therapeutic salve with super emollients to soothe dehydrated, flaked or damaged patches into baby soft skin, especially particularly parched and problematic areas. It magically soothes, deeply moisturizes ill-treated skin while forming a protective shield against future assaults.

It also works as a charm to help your lips and shins battle the chills as you conquer the icy slopes or take on long-haul flights. You can also stash a tube in your makeup case and rub a thin layer on your lids for the glossy look we love on the runways, smooth it over your brows to keep them in place, or mix it with your favorite powder shadow to create an at-home cream formula.

Various Uses: Moisturizer, lip balm, cuticle softener, calms, inflammation, prevent chaffing, brow tamer, to turn powder blush or eye shadow into a cream formula.


6.  Keep Spritzing
We know that those mini Evian facial sprays seem totally useless, but that's only if you've never experienced the pure joy that is spritzing infused-water all over your face. Airplanes are notorious for sucking the moisture from your skin, leaving your epidermis feeling oily and grimy. Combat that by spritzing your face with a gentle facial mist. This will refresh your face and add hydration, something you can never get enough of on airplanes.



(+) Sloane Inc Nanomister: Fill this up with your favourite toner and use it liberally throughout the day, especially during your flight, so your skin doesn’t feel tight in the drying cabin air. Nano-mister generates a microspray of your toner to airbrush your skin without any greasiness or mess, helping your skin lock in vital hydration.

(+) Caudalie Beauty Elixir Facial Mist Spray: Caudalie’s innovative Beauty Elixir is a part-toner, part-serum that sets make-up, provides an instant burst of radiance and tightens the appearance of pores.Formulated with grape extracts, as well as clarifying ingredients, this cult favorite is an exceptional anti-dull complexion treatment and a wonderful after-shave for men.


7.  Pack sunscreen in your carry on to avoid UV radiation
If you love a seat with a view, great - but pull down the blinds. If you can't, make sure you bring and apply SPF. Being on a plane doesn't make you less prone to the effects of UV rays and in fact, research has shown that at 9000-metres (the level most commercial aircraft fly), the UV level is approximately twice that on the ground.

8. HYDRATE!
Now that your face is feeling hydrated, we encourage you to do the same with the rest of your, ahem, person. Eschew coffee and soft drinks in favor of herbal tea, water and electrolyte-replenishing beverages and try to avoid in-flight alcohol, though we know first-hand how tempting those little mini-bottles of liquor can be, especially for nervous flyers. The rule of thumb is one regular-sized bottle per hour in-flight (yes, really), but we totally get that the idea of having to spring up to run to the bathroom multiple times during your trip is unappealing. Avoid the de-haydrators and you should be fine.

9. Get your beauty sleep
Skipping sleep can affect your skin's appearance and your ability to fight germs (meaning you may get sick easily - not what you want if you're heading off on holidays). Use an eye mask and earplugs even if you don't usually sleep with them - they make a big difference. You never know when someone is going to switch on their reading light, pull up a blind or if a baby is going to start crying. If sleeping in-flight is a struggle, try a soothing spray with lavender and take melatonin if necessary.

10 Get Fresh Faced Before Landing
Wakey wakey! Chances are you've conked out for at least a few solid hours and are at least somewhat closer to your destination. Once you've got your bearings and have had the chance to stretch (another requirement for arriving at your destination half-alive, BTW), we like to take this opportunity to mist or wipe down the skin again––no, seriously. Wiping down your face one last time before landing with something gentle and non-irritating (like those Neutrogena wipes) will refresh your face from the stale air, and giving it a good spritz adds more hydration, which you can kind of never get enough of.  

(+) Sloane Inc Oxygen Boost Energizing Masque: If you need an instant skin pick-me-up to transform your visage from drab to fab, look no further than this oxygenating treat. 

Pure stabilized oxygen complex delivers star ingredients such as vital peptides, vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids to breathe new life into lacklustre complexions, instantly leaving skin soothed, glowing and refreshed. Ginseng extracts provides additional oxygen boost to energize fatigued complexions. It is a great companion for travellers because nothing recharges and replenishes your skin quite as fast as this when you are on the go. Follow up with a moisturizer to prep your skin.  


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The Skin Radar is an online avenue which documents my tumbling thoughts, ideas and musings from my daily life, mainly based on skincare and beauty. It is designed to take the clutter out of beauty journalism to provide trustworthy and objective insights, new finds and sneak peaks- all in a beautiful and clean platform.

I test all products & treatments with age and skin colour in mind, break down the latest health fads, and source for expert opinions from international skincare leaders. All in all, my goal is to make sure that I am on top of every beauty innovation and skincare trend the world has to offer.