I travel quite a bit. In fact, I'm 40,000 feet in the air somewhere over Estonia, writing this from my airplane seat right now. Over time and after countless flights, I've pinpointed the best beauty products for travel and have curated a lineup I always keep close at hand whenever I fly. Unless it's a quick domestic flight, I'm typically not one to wear any makeup on travel days, so the beauty bag in my carry-on is stocked with skincare products that promise to protect me from the elements (read: an either too-hot or too-cold pressurized cabin circulating recycled air).
The goal of my in-flight pampering is to arrive at my destination looking refreshed and sans common signs of air travel—be it dry skin, parched lips, pesky breakouts, or telltale signs of sleep deprivation.
Nothing has put my in-flight beauty routine to the test like my last vacation. Over the past four and a half weeks, I've traveled from Philly to L.A., to my hometown of Seattle, then to Southeast Asia where I visited Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. In total, I racked up 64 hours of flight time over 11 flights. Between the many take-offs and descents, I tested out newly-acquired products as well of some of my mainstays to decide which are worth investing in before a long-haul flight.
After accompanying me halfway around the world—and back—here are the game-changing beauty products I keep in my carry-on when I travel.
I'm prone to having chapped lips no matter the climate, so when stuck in a moisture-sucking airplane cabin, my lips really struggle. This lip sleeping mask is my go-to for nightly use to combat dryness and wake up to a more supple pout. When flying, I slather on a generous amount as a protective layer to lock in moisture with the mask's hardworking formulation of hyaluronic acid and minerals.
I love a good refreshing mist to spritz throughout the day—or flight—especially as I'm combatting quickly depleting moisture levels when miles high in the air. This moisture-rich toner offers a generous dose of hydration and feels utterly indulgent with its relaxing scent of steam-distilled Indian jasmine flowers.
Bioderma's Sensibio H20 is a major player in my skincare routine so when I travel, I sub in the brand's cleansing wipes (they take up less space than the travel size bottle). For those with sensitive skin, these are less abrasive and irritating than other makeup-removing wipes on the market. A full-face cleanse feels great mid-flight, especially before applying a sheet mask.
An in-flight sheet mask is a somewhat bold beauty move I adore and highly recommend. While in Seattle, I visited a Japanese supermarket and picked up a box of these sheet masks to try out on each of my longest flights. Not only did they have a soothing cooling effect but they served up a heavy dose of much-needed moisture.
On a long-haul flight, I always try to sneak in some quality shut-eye so I can arrive at my destination feeling (and looking) refreshed. For me, an eye mask does wonders for falling and staying asleep and this silk iteration works worlds better and retains more moisture than the rough, flimsy ones the airlines provide.
Ashwagandha has been a game-changer for me since I first discovered it a few years ago after moving to L.A. I take this potent adaptogen daily to help manage stress and keep my body balanced. I'd never travel without it.
These compression socks saved me on my recent 16-hour and 13-hour flights. If you haven't tried them before, you'll notice the difference they make after your next long-haul flight. While not the most on-trend look, it's worth sucking it to combat swollen legs and feet, not to mention reduce the risk of blood clots.
While I’ve been trying to cut back on coffee, this is a daily dose of caffeine I welcome. I apply it most mornings as an instant pick-me-up for my face. On long-haul flights, I’m particularly prone to puffy eyes. This concentrated serum of caffeine and green tea catechin visibly reduces dark circles and puffiness so you can arrive at your destination looking refreshed and awake.
I believe that brushed eyebrows are one of the subtlest (yet most impactful) ways to make a whole face look more put together. Like a good eyelash curl or a touch of BB cream, a swipe of clear brow gel is one of those can't-quite-put-your-finger-on-it things that totally upgrades a beauty look. Especially when napping on airplane pillows or foam neck cushions or with the aforementioned silk eye mask, eyebrow hairs can end up in a bit of a disarray. An easy swipe before landing can instantly hide any signs of the former.