The Airplane Skincare Tips I Swear By

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Alright guys, as I’m preparing for my first flight of 2020, I thought I’d do a deep dive into my airplane skincare tips!

Considering I fly quite a lot for work (something I absolutely hate both in terms of knowing my carbon footprint and because I hate being cooped up for hours with little to do), I like to think I know how to come off a plane looking fairly fresh. At least when it comes to my skin (can’t say the same for my hair).

In case you’re wondering, my skin is that weird mix of oily and dry. In the summer, I’m always worried about having a forehead where you can see your reflection, and in the winter, I’m constantly trying to keep my skin from feeling like cardboard.

This can get easily exacerbated if I’m traveling to different climates. For example, when I went to South Africa, I flew from snowy Pennsylvania, had a layover in Frankfurt, and then landed in dry, summery Cape Town. My poor body didn’t know what hit it.

If my skin gets fed up with me, I’ll find myself with some nice, dodgy blackheads around my jaw and chin, irritating rashes on my hands, and the driest, grossest feet known to man.

Anyway, I’ve figured out the best ways to manage my skin care while flying, so here are my tips to help you! Keep in mind, this stuff works for my skin type. If you have different skin, you may need to modify or research different products that work best for you!

My Best Airplane Skin Care Tips

For Overall Health

DRINK PLENTY OF WATER BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER YOUR FLIGHT

I mean, this should be a no-brainer. Drink even more water than you’re used to drinking. I can tell when I’m skimping out on drinking enough water, and it makes jet lag that much worse. When you’re on the plane, make sure you get enough water as well. I have a weakness for Diet Coke, but even if I do indulge it, I’ll try to make sure I’m drinking water to counteract it.

Most airports have water fountains and I’ve even seen many have specific fountains for water bottles, so bring a Hydro Flask and fill up before you board!

BE CAREFUL OF THE SODIUM IN PLANE FOOD

I kind of like plane food! But, yes, it does tend to have a lot of sodium in it. I’d say combat that by, again, making sure you get enough water, and bringing your own snacks instead of taking their snack bags.

GET SOMETHING REFRESHING TO EAT OR DRINK

As tempting as it is get a hot coffee and a pastry as soon as you disembark, try to get something a bit more refreshing than that — like a fruit smoothie or a fruit snack box. It really does make a different if I indulge in a latte than if I get a green smoothie.

EXCERCISE!

Getting your blood flowing again and working up a sweat is good for your skin! Within the day after you fly, try to get some exercise in. I usually am tired after long flights, so I do a more relaxed Yoga with Adrienne video or go for a walk.

For Your Face

OBVIOUSLY, DON’T WEAR MAKE-UP

I mean, in this day and age, I hope this is obvious, but for the sake of being thorough, here we are. Even the best, most gentle make-up is pretty drying and shouldn’t be worn for hours in high altitudes. Take. It. Off.

USE MICELLAR WATER

Depending on how much make-up you’re wearing, you may be able to get it all off with an oil-based cleanser, However, if its more stubborn, you’ll need some sort of remove. The gentlest option is, of course, micellar water!

Micellar water was basically invented in Paris to help women who didn’t want to rely on hard water, which can be damaging to the skin. It’s seen as a gentle alternative to typical make-up removers.

Obviously, you should do this before you fly. But if you can’t or you forget, you can buy micellar water wipes, or, to be more eco-friendly, you can pour it into a travel-size bottle and take reusable face pads with you. When I was in Korea, I used Innisfree’s version but in the States, I’ve used Garnier and Botanics. I’ve also used the OG of micellar waters, Bioderma.

DOUBLE CLEANSE

I know some people try to use micellar water as a full replacement for cleansing — don’t do that. I still highly recommend double cleansing — using a cleansing oil followed by a regular cleanser. I don’t do this in the summer because my skin gets too oily, but for winter climates and for days I know I’m flying, I 100% do this! 

I’m not particularly loyal to one foam cleansing brand — I’m currently using a berry cleanser a friend gave me in Korea, other times I’ll use Innisfree products, and I also have the Biore Deep Pore Cleanser.

However, the cleansing oil I love the most is Innisfree’s Apple Cleansing Oil. The green tea makes my skin feel too oily while the apple one is a nice balance. I really don’t wear that much make-up, so if I don’t have anything on my eyes, I’ll just make sure to thoroughly massage in my oil cleanser to get rid of anything on my face.

Reminder: Don’t just rub on the oil cleanser and then rinse off! The proper way to do it is to massage it onto dry skin. Then wet your fingertips and massage your skin again so it emulsifies. Only after that do you want to rinse off and move to a foam cleanser.

INCORPORATE TONER INTO YOUR SKINCARE REGIMEN

Toner is such a secret weapon! Some people don’t think it’s necessary, but to me it makes all the different. In colder climates, I use the Innisfree Green Tea Moisture Balancing Toner as it’s more moisturizing. Otherwise, I have other Innisfree toners that are lighter for more humid climates.

Honestly, with the green tea one, I just put it on my fingers and massage it in that way instead of using a face pad.

USE A THICKER MOISTURIZER THAN NORMAL

To finish up your pre-flight skincare routine, use a thicker cream than you might normally use. For example, I typically use Clinique’s yellow cream, but if I’m flying I might layer another cream on top. Right now I have Innisfree’s brightening sleep mask.

BRING A FACE MIST WITH YOU

Face mists are nice for a quick bit of moisture. I kind of see using them as little touch ups throughout the flight if I need something but don’t want to add more cream or do a sheet mask.

There are a bunch of brands I like (enough that I’m working on a post haha):

USE A SHEET MASK

love sheet masks. I’ve been using them regularly since 2011 when I first studied in Seoul and discovered all their magic. I remember a time when everyone at home thought I was crazy for always bringing them with me. 

Anyway, if I have a long flight, I like putting one on in the middle of it. I always stock up on Innisfree sheet masks before I leave. I’ve try other random brands in Korea and the US, including the fancy gold masks, but those are my go-to. I did just get a bunch of Dr. Jart masks on sale and I’ve been liking them as well!

ADD EXTRA MOISTURIZERS IF YOUR SKIN IS REALLY DRY

If your skin is really suffering, add in ampoules, serums, or emulsions. I personally don’t really need them, so I don’t look into them that much. If I use them at all, it’s to use up free samples I often get in Korea.

DON’T FORGET YOUR LIP BALM

Nothing is worse than misplacing your lip balm or completely forgetting it on a flight! Dry lips are downright painful. Of all the lip balms I’ve used, Burt’s Bees is still the best. If you want, you can bring a little lip scrub to exfoliate before you board. I like the elf one since it comes in a tube.

WASH YOUR FACE WHEN YOU DISEMBARK

As soon as I get off the plane, I find a bathroom to completely wash my face, moisturize, and maybe put on some light make-up if I’m going somewhere right after. Bonus: I also brush my teeth and put on deodorant. It’s just an instant way to feel refreshed.

For Other Body Parts

SCRUB YOUR FEET

This post isn’t just for your face! For feet, make sure you exfoliate properly before you fly. Use one of those foot scrubbers after your shower, and then use a thick cream or foot salve right after. Honestly, the best thing I’ve used is vaseline! Finish by putting on a pair of socks to keep it all in. You won’t need to remove your socks when you go through TSA, just your shoes.

GET MOISTURIZING SOCKS

To take extra care of your feet, get a cozy pair of socks for the plane. My mom always gets us these aloe socks from Earth Therapeutics.

USE NAIL SERUM

Hey, I always have this in my carry-on toiletry bag, so I might as well add it! If your nails tend to be brittle, or maybe they’re suffering after your last gel manicure, add some nail serum into your routine. I have an Innisfree one, but Sally Hansen also has them.

And there you have it! All my best airplane skincare tips after spending many an hour on a plane and dealing with oily skin, dry skin, and random blackheads for the last decade!

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