Creating the perfect in-flight beauty routine is an art, one that's incredibly hard to master. That is unless you're a seasoned traveler with thousands of airline points to your name (if that's you, respect). Most of us, however, are not, which is why it helps to have a set of product recommendations, in-flight beauty guidelines if you will. From a glow-boosting jelly mask to a brightening concealer-and-foundation duo, these are the 10 products we use to look refreshed and alive after even the longest of transatlantic flights. Because who wants to walk off a plane looking like the bedraggled passenger who almost missed their flight due to hitting snooze too many times?
These are by no means end-all recommendations. They're simply some favorite products, that, if they strike your fancy, can be implemented into your own in-flight routine. So go forth and create your own customized beauty regimen like a real travel pro.
Here's a confession: I never wear sheet masks during a flight. Well, not traditional sheet masks at least. I find them too finicky to apply without a mirror and too serial killer–esque to wear without requiring an explanation to the person sitting immediately next to me. That's why I love Glow Recipe's new watermelon jelly mask. It's a transparent hydrogel mask that comes in two pieces, which means it's easy enough to apply by feel alone and looks 80% less scary on the skin (that's according to my very un-scientific calculations). Plus, the whole point of the mask is to fix dull, tired, or aggravated skin—which is my exact reality whilst sitting in the dry recycled air of a plane's cabin. So, yeah, this jelly mask is my new travel go-to.
If you're not a sheet-mask person or you want to target the under-eye area directly, pack these eye masks. They're made of gold foil, which traps in heat and prevents evaporation so the maximum amount of the mask's serum can penetrate the skin. The result is a plump and hydrated under-eye area with a lessened appearance of dark circles. Personally, I love the warming effect, which relaxes me just enough to ignore the fact that the passenger next to me has fallen asleep and is currently using my shoulder as a pillow.
One of my favorite skincare brands of the moment is Verso, a chic millennial-minded line based out of Sweden. This anti-pollution face spray hydrates and refreshes the skin while protecting against environmental aggressors and aging free radicals. I like the fine, fragrance-free mist, which never fails to boost my skin's glow factor mid-flight.
To round off a good in-flight skincare routine, you're going to need lip balm. As mentioned before, the air in a plane's cabin is incredibly drying. Smooth a tad of Vaseline's petroleum jelly balm over your lips to keep them smooth, plump, and hydrated. I like the smooth texture and my-lips-but-better pink tint that it provides. It subtly enhances them.
Most people recommend flying makeup-free so the skin can breathe and soak up all the nutrients of an in-flight skincare routine. So when you're getting ready to land and face the jostling buzz of the airport, it's time to apply makeup. I like to start with a foundation/concealer hybrid to cover up any redness, blemishes, or under-eye darkness that my eye masks failed to reach. I like this one from Rituel de Fille since it comes in an easy-to-stash compact and the creamy formula is slippery enough to apply with my fingers. I quickly dab the skin-perfecting tint around my nose, under-eye area, and T-zone, and I'm done.
Next up is brow makeup, if you're into that. Try this dual-ended product from Nudestix, which has a waterproof gel pencil on one end and a defining brow gel on the other. The fact that these two brow products are combined into one is incredibly convenient and saves space in a carry-on for the important things such as headphones, phone chargers, and snacks.
I like to apply a swipe of mascara before de-boarding the plane just to awaken the look of my eyes and appear bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (not tired, grumpy, and hungry like I'm most likely feeling at that point). I like to bring mini mascaras with me for this purpose. They're easy to stash away in a makeup bag and last the average length of a work trip or vacation. Plus, I have a habit of losing full-size mascaras, and I'm not cool with that.
Next up is blush. This step is especially helpful if you have dull post-flight skin (like me). A touch of color on the apples of the cheeks and even the nose and sides of the forehead makes my skin look naturally rosy and glowy. This Honest Beauty cream formula is easy to apply with my fingers and blend into a soft and diffused effect. No harsh lines here.
Can you tell I like cream formulas when it comes to in-flight beauty products? I find them to be generally easier to apply without tools or mirrors, and they give a more natural effect when I have dry and dull skin. Highlighting is the last step in my in-flight beauty routine and the most important one for looking radiant and glowy. In all honesty, I took this tip from Victoria Beckham, who once said in an interview that she counts on a dewy light-reflecting makeup product to reverse the "horrific" effects of airplane air. I hear you, VB.
Next up, read 10 in-flight tips from Byrdie's editorial director, who has flown 16 times in just six months (yep, she's a certified travel pro).