10 Ways To Get Gorgeous Skin When You Fly


We love ourselves a good vacay and packing our cosmetics case, liquids bag, makeup brush roll-up, toiletries case, and beauty trunk, even more. Being away from home without the essentials?! Way too scary to think about. Plus all those adorable travel-friendly minis? Our idea of little luxuries. But before you check in and check out your new digs, make sure your skin is prepped for the holiday ahead. What you do (and don’t do) on the flight over makes all the difference in the world when it comes to your glow-meter. Heed the advice of these skincare gurus when it comes to take-off, mid-flight, and landing, and you’ll be looking glowy all vacay.

Prepare Your Skin for Travel Before You Leave the House

If you’re a last-minute packer, world-renowned skin expert and celeb dermatologist Dr. Doris Day recommends making a skin travel kit that’s always ready to go. “Most of us notice our skin gets dry when we travel and if you’re prone to eczema or psoriasis, this can trigger a flare-up. It’s especially important to have a great moisturizer to keep you healthy and hydrated, since drinking water alone won’t make the outer layers less dry,” she says.

On the flip side, if you have oily skin and tend to break out when flying high in the sky, the stress of traveling can trigger a breakout leaving you more oily and dehydrated at the same time. “It’s not always easy to pack all your acne medications when you travel, but it is important to maintain your routine to minimize any breakouts when you least want one,” adds Dr. Day.

Save New Products for At-Home Testing

“One thing you should never do on a flight is use a new product for the first time right before or during,” advises Dr. Day. “If you have a reaction you’ll be stuck at 38,000 feet without access to a skincare professional and it can take time for it to resolve, which can ultimately ruin your holiday.” Yeah, no thanks.

Don’t Neglect Your Hands

As Dr. Day points out, the water in airplane restrooms is very drying to the skin, so be sure to moisturize every time you wash your hands or face. (BRB, asking for extra refills.)

Reach for the Sunscreen

If you’re sitting in the window seat, that means sun exposure and considering it’s stronger at higher altitudes, you better come prepared. Dr. Day likes packing a mini SPF or a tinted sunscreen that can double as a foundation for travel purposes.

Choose the Right Lip Balm

Given the beating our skin takes when we’re up in the air, it’s no wonder you’re probably reaching chapstick every other second. Depending on the kind you’re using however, you could actually end up drying out your pucker faster – which is not the end goal. Adriana Martino, co-founder of Skinney Medspa in New York City, prefers Smith’s Rosebud Salve, $7.50, to “keep lips from getting chapped, but also because it has a great hint of color – perfect to apply on a flight, pre-workout, or running around without makeup.” Plus the emollient-rich formula is a multitasker and can be used to soften cuticles, quench parched locks, cure itchy areas, and revive dry elbows and knees.

Don’t Forget Eye Cream

According to S. Manjula Jegasothy M.D., founder of Miami Skin Institute and Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, eye cream is a biggie for long flights. “Since eyelid skin is the most delicate, it needs extra TLC when you’re flying, so I always stash my favorite Senté Illuminé Eye Cream, $89, in the seat pocket in front of me.”

And if you’ve been using your fingers to apply products… stop right now. As Dr. Jegasothy warns, bacteria lurks EVERYWHERE on planes, despite hand sanitizer and frequent washing. Keeping an ample supply of Q-tips close by for ease of application is the smarter move.

Stock Up On Cortizone 10

Just when you think you couldn’t possibly fit one more product in your liquids bag, think again. “I always carry over-the-counter Cortizone 10, $5, with me,” says Dr. Jegasothy. Her reasoning? Dry cabin air and the changes in altitude temporarily alter your skin’s immune system, literally stressing out your skin. “While this has not been proven in the medical literature, I find that calming things down with a little mild cortisone cream really reduces the need for constant moisturization (which can give you pimples when you land), or misting,” she adds.

Take Off Bare-Faced

“I never get on board with makeup on,” says celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skincare, Joanna Vargas. “Instead, I leave my skin bare for the trip so I can apply skincare throughout the flight.” Another no-no is applying retinol pre-flight as this will dry you out even more.

Say No to Plane Food at All Costs

Drinking a ton of water is a given (as is avoiding eye contact with the alcohol side of the beverage cart), but Vargas likes packing her own healthy snacks so the munchies don’t lead to food-for-purchase abuse. “Plane food, in general, is loaded with sodium, which makes you look puffy, so I pack a salad or do small things like nuts and fruit.”

Time Your Mask

If you’re the type of person who’s packed and ready to bounce as soon as the wheels come down, just hold on. While most people would assume the art of the in-flight sheet mask should take place at the start of a journey, it should actually be saved for the end, if you ask Vargas. This is because you reap the benefits longer and your makeup will look better, versus the serums drying up by the time you land. “I bring sheet masks like my Dawn Face Mask, $75 (for 5), and Eden Instant Lift Mask, $75 (for 5), and I pack Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths, $16 (for 30), because they have Vitamin E and C, amino acids, and honey to hydrate and soothe,” she says.

More TSA-Approved Skincare Must-Haves:

easorb Antifungal Treatment Powder,

Zeasorb Antifungal Treatment Powder, $8: Dr. Day recommends Zeasorb for those who sweat when they travel since it’s absorbent and will keep you dry and comfortable, and not smelly – always a bonus!easorb Antifungal Treatment Powder,

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist, $28: Unlike other mists which can be annoying AF to seat-mates against self-care in the air, Glow Recipe’s watermelon-scented version is micro-particle-fine. Which means it feels more like a fog puff that doesn’t travel too far. Plus it smells ahhhmazing and is hella hydrating!

easorb Antifungal Treatment Powder,

Drunk Elephant Out of Office, $25: After you post that OOO, be sure to pack DE’s minis in your carry-on. Everything you need for a flight and a vacay, like Lippe Balm, D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Serum, and a vile of Virgin Marula Oil. Amen.

easorb Antifungal Treatment Powder,

Coola Full Spectrum 360° Sun Silk Drops Organic Sunscreen SPF 30, $46: Even if your plane shades are down, your skin can still suffer from all that screen time. Coola’s breakthrough (and mess-free) drops will protect your money maker from damaging digital exposure.