Flying high: The jet-setter’s guide to beauty with altitude


Chances are you’ve been planning this trip for a while. You’ve picked an Instagram-worthy destination and a picture-perfect outfit for every frame in your feed. You may also have thought about your inflight beauty routine. But looking your best upon arrival begins well before you board the plane. Ideally, start planning at least a week ahead. Here’s how…

Before you go

Dry cabin air, dietary disruptions and lack of sleep all play havoc with your skin when travelling. The golden rule is, when you are changing locations, keep your self-care routine constant. Buy mini travel-sized versions of your trusted products or decant them into portable bottles. Sto ck up on herbal teas and electrolyte sachets to amplify the benefits of the copious amounts of water you plan to drink on your flight. And think about what you may need at your destination. Will it be hot and humid (blotting papers will come in handy), windswept (try this super-emollient hydrator ) or beachy (pack a sea salt texturising spray for hair)? Of course, if you’re city-bound, it pays to pack an emergency blemish kit to banish pollution-triggered breakouts.

Adjust your circadian rhythm

Your what? Your body clock. Begin by adding the time at your destination to the world clock in your phone a week before you go. If it’s ahead of your usual time zone, start moving your bedtime and wake-up times forward slightly each day by roughly an hour. Or do the reverse if you will be going back in time. On your departure day, wear a wrist watch set to your destination time, so you can start getting your internal body clock (aka circadian rhythm) seriously in sync. Sleep as much as you can before you go; time to try that sedative spray for your pillow. Keep your send-offs short to avoid late nights and try to minimise work stress. Turning on your OOO message a day early is cheeky but worth a try.

Pre-flight maintenance

Drink even more water than usual for a week (at least two to three litres a day) at room temperature (you’ll absorb it better). Or even better, try this Ayurvedic trick: carry a bottle of warm water everywhere you go for 48 hours hours prior to departure, and take a sip every 10 minutes to supercharge your hydration levels. Avoid dehydrating coffee, tea, soft drinks and salty foods for at least 24 hours pre- and post-flight. After you clear customs, buy some large bottles of water to carry on board, so you can keep sipping all flight long (and avoid drinking plane water).

Cabin air dehydrates your skin and creates a sluggish lymphatic system (hello, puffy face), so keep moving. Try to take a long walk or do a workout before you leave home, then continue to move around as much as you can at the airport. To prep your face and body pre-flight, take a head to toe approach. Fresh haircut and colour, gloss-boosting serum, a bright vacation-hued mani and pedi, perfect brows, bikini line, a skin-brightening peel or two, a body scrub and smooth over, and, finally, a starter tan. Whew, now you really do need a vacation.

Fly defensively

The best-laid holiday plans can be hijacked by airborne bugs, no matter which end of the plane you are sitting in. Microbes don’t discriminate. Do not sit down until you have wiped your seat, tray table and even the overhead luggage handle with antibacterial wipes, then slather your hands with antibacterial gel. You can also freshen the air around you with a spritz of fragrance. Don’t worry about what your fellow passengers think. They are not likely to speak to you once they witness your inflight beauty wizardry anyway.

Be the in-flight entertainment

Leave your sheet mask on for the first part of a movie. Then remove and slowly and firmly massage in the residue (this doubles as natural face lift). Lightly spritz your skin again, then lock in the moisture with a soothing serum. If it’s a hideously long-haul flight, spritz and re-apply your serum for your fellow travellers’ amusement. Don’t forget to keep moving. Shoulder shrugs, neck rolls, ankle rotations and striking a few tree poses at the end of your aisle will keep your lymphatics flowing and help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Self-administered Ayurvedic scalp, hand and foot massages will also prevent your circulation from stagnating mid-flight. But be careful, your neighbour may ask for one, too.

Touch-up, then touch down

About an hour before you land, it’s time to mist, moisturise (again) and then apply your arrivals hall game face with a tinted moisturiser (choose one that contains a sunscreen). Fake eight hours sleep with a touch of concealer and a creamy lip and cheek stain. Finish with an eye-opening application of mascara and smooth your locks into a low bun. You have arrived.

Words by Jody Scott
August 2018


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