A Beauty Editor Shares Her Essentials For Looking Fresh After a Long-Haul Flight

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After a long haul flight, many find their skin feels drier and many might even look visibly so, with fine lines and under-eye darkness more prominent. Not ideal, particularly if you’ve spent months planning your perfect trip and want to look fabulous for every moment of it.

“Usually, the humidity levels in planes are less than 25%, which is relatively low compared with the typical humidity on the ground,” says Sophie Howe, Beauty Editor at The Iconic. “The lack of moisture in the air is why it’s so important to drink lots of water and ensure we’re hydrating our skin when we’re flying — especially on journeys to Europe, which often involve long flights and at least one stopover.”

How to Prep Skin For a Long-Haul Flight

Howe’s advice when it comes to skin prep for a long-haul flight is — if you feel comfortable doing so — to avoid wearing makeup. Instead of wearing it, she says, focus on ensuring you’ve cleansed and moisturised properly.

“If you prefer to travel with makeup, or your plans prior to getting to the airport mean you have makeup on, I’d recommend bringing some makeup wipes to take it off during the flight so you can instead focus on hydrating your skin, especially if you’re planning to try to get some rest during the flight.”

Right before the flight, Howe recommends using a gentle cleanser that won’t strip your skin of all its moisture and oils, then rinsing it off and using a hyaluronic acid serum while your face is still damp before following with a small amount of eye cream and a good moisturiser or face balm.

What to Do With Skin During a Long-Haul Flight

Howe says her go-to routine for treating her skin during a long-haul flight doesn’t even require getting up from her seat.

First, she recommends you cleanse your skin with gentle face wipes, like Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Cleaning Cloths ($19), which are safe to use around the delicate eye area and don’t require you to rinse afterwards. Finally, spritz on a moisturising face spray, like Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray ($48) or KORA Organics Minty Mineral Hydration Mist ($59).

KORA Organics Minty Mineral Hydration Mist ($59)

“Then, apply a hydrating serum, like Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Multi-Recovery Complex Mini ($29), press a pea-sized amount of eye cream under the eye area and follow this with the KORA Organics Noni Glow Sleeping Mask ($68) to lock it all in,” Howe says. “Also, make sure you’re regularly applying lip balm throughout the flight — chapped lips are no way to start a trip. I really like M.A.C.’s Lip Conditioner.”

Another of Howe’s must-haves for a long-haul flight? A thick, multi-purpose balm like Weleda Skin Food ($27.95) is a multi-tasker that can be used to moisturise lips, hands and other dry areas. “It can even be used as a rich eye cream, too,” she says.

Weleda Skin Food ($27.95)

What to Do With Skin After a Long-Haul Flight

Once she’s made it to her destination, Howe says the first thing she likes to do is shower to freshen up and relax. She recommends cleansing your skin with a gentle cleanser and following this with your usual skincare routine for day or night, depending on what time you land.

“No matter what time of day it is, you definitely want to ensure you’re hydrating your skin as much as you can to help it bounce back from the flight,” she says. “If it’s daytime, don’t forget your SPF — I would recommend 50 SPF. Otherwise, no less than 30 SPF.”

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