Have you ever gotten off a long-haul flight and felt like every drop of moisture has been sucked out of your skin? Oh boy, have I been there! As someone who absolutely loves travelling and visiting new places, I absolutely dread the impact that flying has on my skin. The dry cabin air and sitting in one spot for too long really take a toll on my skin. This means that when I land, my skin is dehydrated, dull and flaky. Flying can even cause some pretty nasty breakouts too! On my last holiday, I’d had enough. I wanted to disembark looking and feeling my best glowy self, ready for all the holiday pics. So, I crafted the ultimate long-haul flight skincare routine to ensure my skin stays plump and hydrated even at 30,000 feet. I want to share this skincare routine with you, so you can start your holiday feeling your best and free from skin concerns! 

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Pre-Flight Prep – Get Your Skin Ready for the Journey Ahead

Glowing post-flight skin starts in the days leading up to your trip. The most important thing to do that will ensure optimal skin hydration is to drink plenty of water for a few days before your flight. If you don’t always manage your 2-3 litres per day usually, set a strict goal for yourself before you take flight. Your skin will seriously thank you!

Once you’ve loaded up on water, it’s time to start prepping your skin with products and some TLC. Prepping and giving your skin some love the night before a long-haul flight is crucial. What you do at this stage lays the groundwork for a successful in-flight skincare routine and will make it easier to stay on top of once in the air. 

Once your bags are packed, and you’re just one short sleep away from heading off on your latest adventure, it’s time to indulge in a pampering skincare session. 

  • Start with exfoliation

A gentle exfoliate will banish dead skin cells and reveal smooth, baby-soft skin that better absorbs moisture during the flight. Opt for a nourishing exfoliant with natural ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and jojoba oil. Some of my absolute favourites include Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator, Avène Gentle Exfoliating Gel for Sensitive Skin and Aveeno Face Calm+Restore Gentle PHA Exfoliating Cleanser.

  • Calm and cleanse

Once you’re free from flaky dry skin, you face will need a calming cleansing routine to pack some moisture and goodness back into it. This step will remove any remaining impurities without stripping your skin of its natural oils. Some of my favourite cleansers include Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, La Roche-Posay Sensitive Cleansing Milk and Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser.

  • A skin-plumping hydration mask

As you unwind down for the night, consider applying a luxurious hydrating overnight face mask. Smother it on and let it work its magic as you catch up on some pre-travel rest. My favourite overnight hydration masks include Origins Drink Up Overnight Hydrating Face Mask, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Rehydrating Mask and Liz Earle Hydrating Cream Mask.

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In-Flight Skincare: Keeping Your Skin Hydrated at 30,000 Feet

Once you’ve boarded and settled into your seat, watched your first in-flight movie, and enjoyed your first round of plane food, it’s time to kickstart your flight-friendly skincare routine. Long-haul flights can wreak havoc on your skin thanks to the dry, recirculated air in the cabin. Luckily, with a trusty and well-prepared arsenal of skincare products, you can combat dehydration and maintain a healthy, moisturised glow throughout the journey. 

  • Cleanse and refresh your skin

During flights, your skin needs a regular refresh. I don’t know about you, but I feel like the cabin air makes my skin feel clogged up and dirty. To avoid that feeling, I make sure to bring along micellar water or cleansing wipes. These products are key before getting into your full in-flight skincare routine too. They are convenient and effectively remove impurities without the need for water. I love the Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water or just a simple pack of Micellar cleansing wipes.   

  • Hydration is key

Serums and moisturisers are a game-changer during long flights. They are packed full of skin-loving ingredients and provide an extra layer of hydration. Make sure to choose serums with hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, or vitamin B5, known for its ability to lock in moisture. The best skin-plumping serum I’ve ever used is Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Serum Concentrate and although it’s pricey, it’s so worth the price tag. Another great (and cheaper!) serum is the Byoma Brightening Serum. After applying your serum, seal the deal with a rich moisturiser to lock in all the extra hydration. My favourite moisturiser of all time is Kiehl’s Ultra-Facial Cream but I also love Avène Hydrance Hydrating Cream, La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Soothing Balm B5 and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Daily Moisturizer

  • Don’t forget your lips and eyes!

The skin around your eyes and the skin on your lips is much more sensitive compared to the rest of your face. Because of this, you need lighter products that will give these areas special attention during your flight. Apply an eye cream rich in antioxidants and peptides to combat dryness and minimise any puffiness. Some amazing eye creams include Drunk Elephant C-Tango Eye Cream and Olay Collagen Peptide 24 MAX eye cream. 

For your lips, use amoisturising lip balm with ingredients like shea or cocoa butter to keep them soft and supple. Reapply as often as you need throughout the flight! My favourites include Burt’s Bees Moisturising Lip Balm and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Moisturising Lip Balm.

  • SPF – Yes! Even in the air

Although you’re in a cabin with pressurised doors and small windows, the sun’s harmful UV rays can still penetrate through the airplane windows, especially at high altitudes. Protect your skin from the sun’s rays by applying a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 before take-off and as part of you in-flight skincare routine. This step can often be overlooked but I heard recently that an hour flight sat by the window i the equivalent of lying for 20 minutes on a sunbed! You don’t want to imagine what that can do to your skin. To avoid premature aging and potential sunburn, don’t skip the SPF. Try Bondi Sands Sunscreen Lotion for Face SPF 50+ or La Roche-Posay Invisible Fluid. 

Be sure to check out my latest post about all the best face SPFs for sensitive and eczema-prone skin!

In-Flight Tips for Glowing Skin

Achieving that coveted post-flight glow isn’t all about what you put on your skin during a flight. There’s a couple extra tips that can ensure your skin looks radiant and refreshed when you land.

  • Stay hydrated – the importance of drinking water during your flight

Neve underestimate the power of staying hydrated, especially during a long-haul flight. I know it can be tempting to enjoy a few glasses of wine before and during the flight – hey you’re going on holiday after all! But don’t forget to keep your hydration levels topped up with plenty of water too. Drinking plenty of water during the flight will counteract the drying effects of cabin air and keep your skin plump and glowing. 

  • The power of a refreshing face mist

One more product that will add a little extra pamper to your flight is a facial mist. Throughout the journey, spritz your face with a hydrating facial mist like Elizabeth Arden Miracle Eight Hour Cream Hydrating Mist to instantly boost moisture levels and revitalise your skin. Make it even better by finding a facial spritz infused with botanicals like lavender, rose or aloe vera for a soothing and calming effect. More options include the Caudalie Beauty Elixir and PIXI Rose Glow Mist.

  • Get moving and improve your circulation in-flight 

Sitting for hours on end isn’t great for our circulation or skin! During a long-haul flight, gentle in-seat exercises can be a lifesaver for your skin and overall well-being. Simple movements can help boost blood circulation, prevent fluid retention and reduce the risk of swollen ankles and legs. Try doing some ankle circles, knee lifts and foot flexes while in your seat to help. Additionally, take regular breaks to walk up and down the aisle to stretch your legs and get blood flowing. Not only will this help you stay active and improve your circulation while in the air, they’ll leave you feeling more energised and help you arrive at your destination with a healthier and more radiant complexion. 

Photo by Jessica Newendyke on Unsplash

A well-prepared skincare routine is the secret to maintaining a radiant and hydrated complexion during long-haul flights. If you follow the pre-flight preparation of exfoliation and a nourishing face-mask, you set the stage for a successful in-flight skincare routine. 

During the flight, remember to refresh your skin with micellar water and prioritise hydration with serums and moisturisers enriched with skin-loving ingredients. Don’t forget the sensitive eye and lip area and remember to protect yourself from those harmful (and strong) UV rays with a broad spectrum SPF 30+. Pop a refreshing hyrdration mist in your carry on and make sure to stay hydrated throughout the flight. This ultimate long-haul skincare routine will not only leave you with a healthy glow upon arrival but will help contribute to your overall well-being throughout the journey. 

If you’ve tried or plan to try out any of the products mentioned on your next long-haul flight, let me know how they work for you! Share your experiences in the comments below, I’d love to know what you’ve used and if you’ve benefitted from an in-flight skincare routine. Thank you so much for reading, this was such a fun post to write and I’ll be back soon with more travel skincare tips to help you achieve your ultimate, healthiest glow on all your travel adventures! 

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