Essentials For Your In-Flight Skincare Routine

Holidays are a highlight of every year, and prepping for one is equally as fun. Whether you’re going for a long weekend away, a week sitting by a pool, or a longer escapade – you’ve likely put aside time to prep yourself with skincare, new summer nails, and hair treatments.

But alongside all that hard work for the pre-holiday glow-up, all the hours put into the everything shower, and the hydrating sheet masks used, you can also carry out some in-flight skincare steps to maintain your holiday prep…

What Happens to Your Skin on a Plane?

No matter your flight, the air on a plane will always be dehydrating and damaging to your skin. Typically the air around us is at 80% humidity, but when you’re up in the air you’re looking at below 20% humidity which is super drying for your skin. Cabin pressure above the clouds means there is less blood flow to your skin too, which also contributes to a duller complexion.

Not only does the air dehydrate your skin but also sends your oil glands into overdrive as they try to compensate. Combined with the bacteria and germs circulating in the cabin, it’s the perfect recipe for breakouts. Puffiness is also a common result of sitting on a plane. This is because you’re sitting for so long, combined with increased water retention from salty foods and dehydration. So, it’s likely your face and eyes will become puffy, especially if it’s a longer flight.

How to Prepare Your Skin for a Flight?

Firstly – hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Ensuring you’re hydrated when you step onto the plane is the first step towards protecting it from the ultra-drying conditions on board. This means trying to drink two to three litres of water a day in the run-up, and avoiding salty foods and dehydrating drinks like coffee and alcohol pre-flight too. This way, you’ll look and feel fresher when you land.

You can also layer hyaluronic acid into your routine and try hydrating skin treatments pre-flight to really saturate your skin. This will boost your skin’s hydration and help with overall moisture retention – ideal when you’re prepping your skin for drying conditions.

How To Clean Your Skin on a Plane

Before you apply any lotions or potions to your face, it needs to be clean. Because of the recycled air on a plane, you’re more likely to trap bacteria on your skin as you layer on hydrating treatments if you don’t clean it first.

It’s a shared thought that plane bathrooms aren’t the most appealing, so we recommend bringing along a micellar water type cleanser to use from the comfort of your seat – no tap necessary. First, clean your hands with a sanitizer and then wipe your face over with cotton wool soaked in your favourite micellar water. We love the Bioderma Sensibio Cleansing Micellar Water, and it comes in a handy travel size that’s perfect for taking on a plane. It will work to soothe skin and prevent inflammation – a godsend for your skin against those pesky plane conditions.

Once you’ve cleansed your skin, layer over your favourite toner to fully prep it for the hydration you’re about to pump back into it. The By BEAUTY BAY Niacinamide & Vitamin C Toner is always a solid choice. Vitamin C will help to bring back some glow to your skin and niacinamide will help tackle breakouts by controlling inflammation, excess oil, and enlarged pores. Plus, it will help boost your skin’s natural production of ceramides, helping to prevent moisture loss – ideal for in-flight skincare and beyond.

The Best Hydrating Face Masks for Flights

One thing we love to do on a flight is apply a sheet mask. It may seem extra but it’s so, so worth it. The ultimate hydrating face mask to use on a plane is the Dr Jart+ Cryo Rubber So Cool Duo, a two-step mask set that will provide your skin with everything it needs in the drying cabin. Leaving skin calmer, more supple, and soothed, they help lower the skin’s temperature to increase blood flow and the absorption of the hydrating hyaluronic acid and irritation-protecting allantoin. Don’t forget to pop the excess lotion from the packet on your skin too.

Only on a short flight and don’t want to commit to a full sheet mask in public? Then at least opt for under-eye masks. Both are ideal for application on a plane – they take up little room in your allowed toiletry bag and are completely mess free beauty treatments.The eye area has thinner, more fragile skin so it’s usually the first place where you’ll notice dryness, dehydration, and puffiness. To treat your eyes so you feel fresher when you land, try popping on the florence by mills Hydrating Under Eye Gel Treatment Pads. They use hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump your under eyes for a well-rested look, ready for your holiday. 

Serums, Moisturisers, and Mists in the Air

Once you’ve used a sheet mask, it’s time to infuse your skin with hydrating serums and moisturisers to hydrate your skin and lock in all the mask benefits. 

We might be biassed, but we love the By BEAUTY BAY Brighten and Hydrate Serum, because it does just that –  brightens and hydrates using a combination of hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and snow mushroom. Pop this on after a sheet mask but before your moisturiser to help your skin soak up all those nourishing ingredients. It’ll keep dehydration at bay and bring a gorgeous holiday-ready glow to your skin. 

After applying masks and serums on a plane, we like to use a light gel moisturiser like the Innisfree Cherry Blossom Glow Jelly Cream. It won’t feel too heavy on your skin but will do the job of nourishing and hydrating. And if you’re on a long flight and don’t feel like repeating this routine, add a facial mist into your plane skincare essentials bag. By regularly spritzing your face with something like the Glow Hub Nourish & Hydrate Serum Mist with hyaluronic acid and peach extract, you can keep your skin hydrated,feel more awake, and maintain your glow.

Facial Massage is a Must

Because of that pesky puffiness a flight can cause, we’d really recommend using a Gua Sha or facial roller whilst flying, to help keep your lymphatic draining system working. We have a full guide on how to Gua Sha, but you’ll need a face oil like The Ordinary Plant Derived Squalane and the Kitsch Stainless Steel Gua Sha or The BEAUTY BAY The Rose Quartz Facial Roller. Carry out a facial massage for a few minutes to help tackle fluid retention in your face, and you won’t have to step off the plane puffier than when you got on. Top tip: do this after cleaning your face. 

SPF Up High

Just because you’re technically inside on a plane doesn’t mean you can skip the SPF. You should wear face sunscreen every day – especially if you’re flying during the day. Even if it’s cloudy at take off, UV levels above the clouds are much stronger, so protection’s a must. We recommend using an SPF 50 to keep your skin safe in the sky. Rather than bringing a moisturiser and an SPF on the plane, you could go for the Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream SPF50+ which will moisturise your skin whilst also providing protection from strong sun rays. (This is a great option if you know you’re going to struggle fitting everything into your allotted travel toiletries plastic bag.) Alternatively, layer the By BEAUTY BAY SPF 50 Face Lotion over your moisturiser of choice to ensure your skin stays sun-safe whilst you fly.

Don't Forget Your Lips

Is there anything worse than dry lips? With dry conditions on the plane, strong UV rays, and the fact you might not be drinking as much water as usual, the risk of your lips becoming dry is sky-high. To protect that pout, make sure you bring a good lip balm or lip mask on board. 

The By BEAUTY BAY Hydrating Lip SOS Mask with Castor Oil and Borage Seed Oil is an in-flight essential, to keep lips happy and healthy, nourishing them and protecting the delicate skin. Apply it regularly during your flight to ensure soft lips on landing. But if you want something a little lighter, try the Bondi Sands SPF 50+ Lip Balm. It’ll protect your lips from harmful UV rays if you’re flying in the day, whilst still deeply nourishing your lips – the gorgeous vanilla scent is an added bonus.