This Editor's Secrets to Glowing Skin After a Long-Haul Flight

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Woman standing under an airplane
Danil Nevsky / Stocksy

I've been on a couple of long-haul flights recently, and after years of travel, I think I finally, finally, have my long-haul skincare routine nailed.

It wasn't long ago that I would step onto a plane at Heathrow and step off the flight many hours, films, and naps later with a spot or two that had joined me at some point along the ride. My skin would feel tight, look shiny and be sporting the aforementioned blemishes. When you're on a flight for a long time, the air conditioning system wreaks havoc with your skin, dehydrating it like a kale crisp.

We now know that dehydration and spots are like best pals at a party—rowdy and annoying, they love each other, but everyone else ain't so keen. So the key to in-flight skincare is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I have been known to fall asleep on a plane wearing under-eye masks and a lip mask under a sheet mask with a sleep mask perched precariously on top. I don't care what I look like, as I can't see myself—I'm sleeping.

If the thought of wearing a sheet mask in public fills you with terror, never fear, as there are other tricks I have up my sleeve. Below you'll find all the products I now cram into that little clear plastic bag and my carry-on bag and how I use each to keep dehydration and spots at bay.

My In-Flight Essentials

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: My in-flight skincare essentials
Amy Lawrenson
in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Colbert MD Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Mask
Colbert MD Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Mask $109

I know these are pricey, but when you break it down, they work out at $22 per mask, and boy, are they worth it. The bio-cellulose mask is seriously hydrating, and it wards off dehydration like no other. Skin will look and feel seriously plump and dewy after use. I'm hooked on these.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Seoulista Beauty Brightening Instant Facial
Seoulista Beauty Brightening Instant Facial $11

I always take a few masks on the flight with me (plus extras for when I arrive and am fighting jetlag). I tend to pack some focused on hydration and others on brightening, as they are my personal skin concerns. This Seoulista mask is a steal at just $10. It's great quality and leaves skin looking like you've been for a facial.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Origins DrinkUp Intensive
Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask $27

Not down with whipping a sheet mask out while sat among strangers? I get that. This 100ml tube just scraps by security, which is good news because as the name suggests, it's like a long refreshing drink for your skin. Avocado and Swiss glacial water help repair the skin's barrier to prevent dehydration. I always travel with cleansed skin, and then I just head to the toilet, massage this into my skin (it will just look slightly shiny—no one will notice), and then go for a nap. You can just tissue off any excess next time you visit the loo.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Rodial Dragon's Blood Eye Mask
Rodial Dragon's Blood Eye Mask $49

The skin under your eyes is thinner, so it needs more help to prevent dehydration, which is why I always travel with these to use on the plane or as soon as I reach my hotel room.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Patchology Flashpatch Lip Gels
Patchology Flashpatch Lip Gels, 5-Pack $15

The same goes for the lips. I suffer from a seriously dehydrated pout on the plane, so I always make sure I have these in my carry-on.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Bliss Skin Softening Socks
Bliss Skin Softening Socks $50

Super cozy, these socks have a gel lining containing jojoba oil, olive oil, ceramides, and vitamin E to soften the skin on your feet in just 20 minutes. They are seriously comfy—just slip them on during the flight.

Slip Silk Eye Mask
Slip Silk Eye Mask $50

Sleeping on a flight can really help minimize jet lag on the other side, but if it's a daytime flight and you're a light sleeper, it can be tricky. Shut out the world with this skin-friendly silk mask.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: NYDG Re-Contour Eye Gel
NYDG Re-Contour Eye Gel $60

Bolster the skin around the eyes with this cooling gel that soothes and de-puffs.

LeMer The Mist
La Mer The Mist $85

This is definitely not the cheapest face mist on the market, but it delivers a silky fine veil of mist across the face that drives the brand's cult miracle broth deep down into the skin. It keeps skin totally hydrated and prevents that tight feeling.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Kiehl's Cactus Flower & Tibetan Ginseng Hydrating Mist
Kiehl's Cactus Flower & Tibetan Ginseng Hydrating Mist $27

First of all this mist smells incredible—sort of floral and herbal—thanks to the lavender and rosemary. It keeps skin seriously hydrated. I travel with two mists, in case I lose one, and sometimes I just fancy spritzing this, as it smells so good. If you're sat next to a stranger, then head to the toilet to mist your skin—it's good for your circulation to move around on a flight, and this is as good as an excuse as any.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Dadi'oil
Dadi'oil Nail Treatment, 2.4 oz. $19

Because I travel with so many face masks and creams, I find my hands stay pretty hydrated, so I just pack a cuticle oil and slather this on to prevent my cuticles and nails drying out. Not only is this oil incredibly nourishing, but it also helps to strengthen nails, which is ideal if yours are prone to breakage.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Givenchy Le Rouge Perfecto
Givenchy Le Rouge Perfecto $37

It's a fool's game to step on a flight without a lip balm. This Givenchy one is packed with moisturizing shea, the rosy color adapts to suit you and it leaves skin looking subtly plump. Plus, the packaging is so incredibly chic.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Pixi Rose Tonic
Pixi Rose Tonic $15

About an hour before touch down, I start to prep my skin for the escape. I use a couple of cotton pads soaked in this hydrating tonic to remove any excess product and any dirt I may have picked up on the flight, plus it is nicely refreshing. Micellar water or wipes would also be a good option here if you prefer.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: Pixi Rose Caviar Essence
Pixi Rose Caviar Essence $24

I'll then slather some of this essence onto my skin, it's nice and hydrating and is rich in antioxidants—ideal if you're headed to a polluted city.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: The Body Shop Oils of Life Twin-Ball Facial Massager
The Body Shop Oils of Life Twin-Ball Facial Massager $21

Before my skin has a chance to drink in the essence, I'll use this face tool to give my skin a circulation-boosting massage. It just takes a couple of minutes and is seriously worth it.

in-flight long-haul skincare routine: BareMinerals Bare Pro 16-Hr Full Coverage Concealer
BareMinerals Bare Pro 16-Hr Full Coverage Concealer $24

If you're conscious of any skin imperfections, then you can always apply a little concealer before you leave the plane. I love this one from BareMinerals, as the bullet makes targeting small areas a doddle and it blends really easily.

Now, this may seem like a lot of products and steps, but you can totally pick and choose the ones you think will work for you. And remember, if you're on a 10-plus hour flight, there are only so many movies you can watch or books you can read. This will help pass the time and ensure your skin looks fresh as a daisy when you arrive at your destination.

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