I’m not sure about you, but I get into a conundrum whenever I fly. I like to look presentable (ie. wear makeup) when flying, but at the same time being in an aircraft for a long-haul flight with your makeup on is one of the worst things you can do to your face.
Skin just needs to BREATHE especially in dry conditions such as inside an aircraft.
The last time I wore zero makeup on a long haul flight (Los Angeles to Tahiti), this happened:
We’ve just arrived at Tahiti airport and were waiting for our connecting flight to Moorea, when all of a sudden a woman introduced herself to us as a journalist for a local paper and the next thing we know: SNAP! SNAP! CLICK!
As she walked away, she said, “I hope you enjoy your time in Moorea and Bora-Bora! You look like you really deserve and need the holiday!”
Moral lesson for everyone: Be prepared at airports. And Do NOT wear your husband’s jacket.
From thereon, I made a mental note to myself to make an effort to look respectable.
But soon, another conundrum surfaced.
I like to call it “The Journey of a Face: From Fresh Meat to Chopped Liver in 10 Hours”
Actually, on second thought, let’s call it “Farewell to Innocence: Fresh Daisy to Serial Murderer in 10 Hours”
These were taken during actual travel and flight stages. Hands up if you can relate!
Especially when I hit my 30’s, I noticed that re-touching makeup just doesn’t do the trick anymore. More often, they create more damage and I end up looking like Bozo the clown on overtime.
I was determined to search for a solution. There has Got to be a way to still look the same before and after a long-haul flight!
Enter 2 wonderful ladies that changed the course of my skincare. Caroline Hirons and Lisa Eldridge. (Ladies, if you still have not heard of these skin-care and beauty gurus, I suggest you get Googling. Especially if like me, you are in your 30’s and upwards. These two are the no-nonsense madames of mature skin care.)
Long story short, I managed to combine both of their techniques and advice in formulating my own spin on creating any flight into a facial.
Believe it or not, this is one of the most frequently asked questions / requests I get.
I’m still waiting for the punchline for these questions (i.e “How do you manage to still look decent on your travels?…..NOT!!! “) and I’ve long put off answering but the last email seemed legit enough, not to mention that it came from a good friend 😉
HOW TO TURN ANY FLIGHT INTO A FACIAL
1.) Make sure you place all your paraphernalia in a clear bag. This will save you time from the hassles of airport security. Most importantly, all products (liquids, creams, etc) should be under 100ml.
What I have is a travel kit from Tatcha Skincare, (came highly recommended by Caroline Hirons herself). Tatcha is a luxury Japanese skincare line that incorporates Geisha skincare routine. Most days I’m more Gangsta than Geisha but if it’s good enough for the highly cultured dames, I’m in.
2.) The first step, REMOVE Makeup!
I normally don’t use a makeup remover (I use coconut oil for that), but to avoid a sticky and slick situation, let’s go for a liquid makeup remover. You can use any that’s under 100ml. I use Ben Nye’s Hydra Cleanse. Hence I pack a gazillion cotton pads on the travel kit because I only stop when I don’t see anymore traces of makeup on the pads.
I leave out my eye makeup though. In the ideal world, I would love to remove EVERY single bit of makeup , but you all know the battle of removing eye makeup without the proper cleanser (meaning with running water, etc). And this regimen is designed to be as quick and painfree as possible.
3.) Mist your skin
Removing makeup with a liquid makeup remover can be drying to the skin. Especially after several tries. So immediately after the 1st step, spray a facial mist on your skin to soothe. This also helps create a better base for your skin , to make it more receptive to the next products.
There are lots of facial mist sprays in the market, but I’ve really only ever tried Tatcha (no sting!!)
4.) Put your mask on!
Let me tell you a thing about facial masks on flights. Once upon a time when I was working as cabin crew for a Korean airline, I was tasked to do the ‘walk-around’ during one long-haul flight to Chicago. This “walk-around” in the middle of the flight meant literally walking up and down the aisle in the dark when all or most passengers are sleeping, with a tray full of beverages in plastic cups. This was normally a cruise-y task as most passengers would either be dead asleep with mouths open, or busy watching a movie. On this specific flight, I was breezing through the aisle amongst sleeping passengers when CASPER the Ghost shot out from 44B and held out a hand to ask for a drink. I nearly dropped my tray full of drinks. Holy S, it was a lady wearing an opaque facial mask sheet!
But this is why most Koreans have amazing skin. They do make the effort, no matter what it takes.
Now I’m not quite prepared to look like a bank robber in a plane, so for the purpose of this regimen, I’m opting for a CLEAR moisturising mask.
I’ve decanted Clinique’s Moisture Surge Mask into a tiny sample sized jar of La Mer. Apply generously (and I always can almost hear my pores giving “ooohs” of delight whenever I do this).
The thing to know about this mask:
You will shine bright like a die-mund.
5.) Don’t forget your eyes, hands and lips
Keep those sample-sized eye creams and use under the eyes. I moisturise my lips with Tatcha Camelia Gold Lip Balm (it has a gold flake in the balm!). And my favourite product in the Tatcha travel kit, the Soothing Silk Hand Cream, which I keep separate in my purse as I need it anytime throughout my travels. (not just the flight)
5.) Sit back, relax. Watch a Movie.
Or just sleep. But the important thing here is to DRINK LOTS OF WATER throughout the flight. I always ask for extra water bottles (or cups).
I find that mid-way through the flight, I need to reapply the moisture surge mask too.
6.) 2 hour before landing, rinse off the mask.
This can be done 2 ways – you can go to the lavatory and rinse away like normal and risk flooding yourself. Or do it discreetly by soaking the cottonpads with water and just removing traces of the mask. By this stage the most of the mask would have seeped in the skin anyway so there’s not much to remove.
7.) Optional: Re-apply makeup
Honestly, I feel reluctant to re-apply makeup after this because my skin really feels so plump and fresh after all that pampering! But should you wish to re-apply makeup, don’t go too heavy or full-on. Otherwise you may undo all that pampering for the last 10 or so hours.
another reason why I don’t remove eye makeup – so that I only take with me 4 items of makeup. Just Tinted Moisturiser, a Cream based blush, concealer and eyebrow pencil.
Now take a selfie and if anyone asks? Well “No, I did NOT just marinate my face in some mask for the last 10 hours, I wake up like this. Everyday.”
Now on to the skin-care routine.
I notice that when I travel, my bag is always heavy not with clothes or shoes, but with skincare paraphernalia!
The skin care routine below is for WINTER (as I was in Europe October-November).
This is the most important part of any skin care. I only go for cleansing oils or balms.
The Tatcha One-Step Cleanser is great because it’s in a compact container, and it also doubles as my eye-makeup remover (which normally is coconut oil). On a DRY face (yes, DRY) but clean hands, I pump about 3-5 drops of the cleansing oil and massage it to my face. I remove it with a hot towel (feel the satisfaction when you see the grime slip away!).
An on days when I feel my skin is extra rough and needs some smoothing around the edges abit, I use the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder. This product sounds complicated but it’s actually a very basic and extremely gentle exfoliant. It’s really like powder, and I place a dash of it in my palm, mix of bit of water and massage on to my face. It’s an exfoliant that has no beads or harsh elements.
My face feels extremely clean when I cleanse with this duo. On normal days, (good face days), I just clean with the oil.
2.) Eyes and Lips
I’m very loyal to my eye cream as I really haven’t found anything better. I only use this at night. Ella Bache Creme Speciale Yeux. Sooo rich and comforting! For lips, I normally go for the good old Australian PawPaw ointment but I ran out and grabbed this Rosebud Salve. I still prefer the PawPaw and I’m just finishing this tin.
If my skin is looking extra dull, I would put a teeny amount of Redermic R by La Roche Posay (tops 2-3 times a week). Nightly moisuriser is La Prairie Creme Caviar Luxe. This one’s okay. Not too miraculous in itself (but the combination with Redermic C is great). This is not my HG (holy grail) moisturiser but something that I use on colder climate where a heavier moisturiser is needed.
And we’ve finally reached the dramatic ending of my skin care routine, one that I preach but don’t practice:
Now I’d love to know, do you have a skin-care regimen on flights? Do you or did you also suffer from the “Journey of a face” situation when travelling?
—I was sent the travel kit by Tatcha skincare but all opinions are my own. All other products were purchased by myself.
Jean Naval says
This is great Jean! Love this blog entry! Miss you!
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Glad you liked it Jean ! 🙂 Miss you too!
marites tan says
ohemgee! i just discovered Tatcha and im lovin it esp the mist , perfect for traveling esp long haul. you have pretty face with or without make up too.
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Tatcha is amazing. Have you tried their body lotion? It’s amazing. Yes the travel kit they have has almost all you need to get refreshed in flight. And thanks for the compliment, you’re too kind 😉
Grace @ Sandier Pastures says
What a great post!! And way to keep yourself busy other than watching movies and sleeping!! Love this post and I think you are beautiful with or without makeup. With or without face spa!
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Thank you so much Grace!! 🙂 Oh this just looks rather long but it takes 10 minutes tops to do it! You won’t really miss out on anything especially on long haul 🙂
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
I use so much product but what your skin goes through is so much on flights, it needs it. I always try and have a facial once I’ve arrived too, even if I do it myself.
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Yes the skin needs all the SOS it can get! I was once tempted to get a facial at a lounge that offered free 15 minute services but this was before departure and to me 15 minutes wasn’t worth it 🙂
Don Cox says
You look beautiful from the start line to the finish.
Holy Smithereens says
Don Thank you!! But…What do you mean “you”?? those are completely different people! hahaha 😉
Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel says
OMG, I need to know this as I always travel with little to no makeup and sometimes forget my moisturiser altogether…. But I do believe in looking good when you arrive, I started that when I was a backpacker and always put on clean clothes a hour before arrival (after being on a train from say Rome to Edinburgh my old clothes were rather whiffy I can tell you.)
Good plan to put on a mask…. my best tip would be… go business and sleep… hahaha… true but can’t always be done, sadly.
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Seana, that’s actually a better trick- arrive with NO makeup and just do it before arriving and yes. going business is half the battle fought to try and look human 🙂
Maria Boechat says
This is so awesome Jean .Informative blogs for women who travel a a lot.
Keep posting Jean. and keep inspiring.
Tom Miller says
One line to say to you, you are superb 🙂 Keep posting
Great post. I am flying HKG- Vancouver on Sat (scrambling to decant skin care into check-in friendly bottles!) But one more thing that makes flight like a spa is Business Class (I noticed LOL)