I am not one to acclimate to plane cabins as though they were my own lounge, though I
recognise some airlines encourage that relaxation level.
Relaxed as in padding about in neck-pillows, drawstring pants and bedhead as though we are not a bunch of strangers bound by a common need to get to from A to B.
As though air travel was never smart or a privilege… I can’t go for that.
I’m reluctant to so much as remove eye-makeup in what feels like a public space still.
I need to budge a bit because reserve might help me endure personal space-violations but my skin is unforgiving of bleed air.
That cold compressed desiccating air, mussing my hair; and my face and hands are not having it.
I have experimented my way to an in-flight
regime for normal-to-dry skin, as well as hair distressed by seat-sleeping and AC vents.
It really is possible to step off looking more rested than when you left.
Seatbelt Sign Off: Cleanse
Cleansing wipes are the thing, whether you’ve boarded wearing makeup or just rolled out of bed and onto an airport shuttle.
Residue and a whole host of potential irritants make me advise against these soggy cloths most of the time but needs must when space and light are so limited.
DHC, my favourite Japanese skincare brand, does big packs of Make-Off Sheets, €7.40 for 50 at feelunique.com, that clear skin comprehensively and without irritation.
The infusion is fragrance-free and water-based, so suits all skin-types.
Two is the most you will need for a full cleanse, and popping them in a clear resealable bag at home saves space and preserves product.
On the Climb: Hydrate and Protect
Treat clean skin to a luxurious facial product before you nap.
Hyaluronic acid masks, in sheet in any other form, are en vogue but while this ingredient is a super-moisturiser it is also hygroscopic, meaning it draws water from the atmosphere without and the dermis (the thick tissue layer beneath the skin you see) within to create that plumped look we love.
HA’s powers are curtailed by a cabin’s dry air.
I find any cream or treatment rich in barrier ingredients — Shea, sweet almond, avocado or even simple liquid paraffins — vastly more comforting in this situation.
These fortify your skin’s ability to retain moisture in harsh climes, even if you suffer from an atopic condition (this last problem can and should be grounds for exceeding the liquid allowance on long flights, so do explain to staff that your skin needs regular applications to stay comfortable).
You can always put a little hyaluronic acid foundation or SPF tint on before landing, if you need a fix.
Moisturisers I like include basic E45 cream and Paula’s Choice Clinical Ultra-Rich Moisturiser, €36.
Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, €39.
I like silk sleep masks for flights, the natural amino acids have oft-touted benefits (though I doubt their efficacy, especially after washing) but they just feel better than the rough stuff sold in duty free.
Options under €20 are available via Amazon.
Tissue off excess from your mask 10-20 minutes before landing and de-puff with some patches.
Pull a sachet from a box of Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask, €78 for 8, for a water-based shot of potent antioxidants and other collagen-supporting extracts.
These patches at particularly could at plumping out the fine lines air travel emboldens, but Masque Bar Eye Puffiness Minimising Patches, €13.49 for five at Boots, is a good purse-friendly option.
So keen are beauty brands to instigate natural swelling in lips that treatments often contain natural irritants, such as cayenne or menthol.
These do not support the lips’ especially vulnerable moisture barrier and can cause peeling and thinning over time.
Work with and protect the skin by applying a fragrance-free, plant-fatty treatment on-board.
I like Clinique Superbalm Lip Treatment, €16.50, and Eucerin Dry Skin Intensive Lip Balm, €8, but absolutely adore Image Skincare Ormedic Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex, €23.50.
Carry-on liquid limits are a real bother for beauty junkies, so why not take a hand treatment disguised as gloves?
Borghese is a Roman skincare company begun by the late Princess Marcella Borghese, who developed products using botanicals that surrounded her family’s Tuscan villa.
So far, so Sisley, you say, but Borghese’s options are less perfumed and include a number of dry skin products I rate, such as the Extraordinary Day Treatment Cream SPF25.
The brand is increasingly difficult to get in Europe outside of Italy, though if you’re headed boot-ward or to New York this season you can check out most of the line in major department stores.
Borghese Spa Mani Rehydration Gloves, €35.16, are available via feelunique.com and a lovely way to pamper your hands for a few hours.
The polymer-lined interior release an emollient blend that includes ceramides, jojoba, olive oil and resveratrol.
The formula is a pick-me-up that works in thirty minutes but the longer you keep them on the better hands feel.
Borghese also does a similar treatment in sock form.
These feel wonderful but you may not want anyone to see you in them.
Pre-Landing: Protect and Save
I keep a little liner and mascara on throughout the flight (Charlotte Tilbury in The Classic Liner Pencil in Audrey,€22, which looks exceptionally natural and does not smudge, paired with any waterproof mascara with a short-bristled wand, to maximise definition), as plane lighting just doesn’t allow for a decent re-application.
With lips and skin taken care of, all there is to fix before landing is hair.
Pre-flight blowdries are great but whether you’ve gone straight or bounce-full it is
unlikely to survive headrests and sleep intact (how do geishas learn to sleep while maintaining such complex hair? I have squished my pillows into pretzels trying to save a good blow-dry and still no sleep ensues).
Aussie makeup artist Sarah Jagger, whose work I really admire, spritzes her roots with Bumble and Bumble Beach Hair, €30, and pops hair in a bun during the flight.
Great texture and volume form by arrival.
A little water and hyaluronic-acid rich makeup enhances your natural glow.
I like Make Up For Ever Water Blend Hydrating Face and Body Foundation, €39, which is sheer-textured but satin-like in look and feel.