If you are a people-watcher like most of us, you may have noticed that some women walk off the plane after a long-haul flight looking like they just emerged from their bedroom at home and are off to meet a friend for lunch—perfectly groomed, fresh, and made-up. Meanwhile, others emerge looking as though it’s the morning after a particularly rowdy bachelorette party, and they were the one dancing on the tables the night before.
So how do those women who look so clean, refreshed, and ready to face their new destination with a smile do it? What is the secret to looking and feeling great after a very long flight?
Lay the Groundwork While Still on the Ground
You can prepare yourself to look fresh getting off the plane by preparing yourself for a long flight before ever getting on the plane. Make sure you are well-hydrated before leaving for your trip. The air inside airplane cabins is very drying, and beginning your journey with a good hydration level will help you stay feeling refreshed.
If your skin is prone to breakouts, you should wash with a good face wash for oily skin before your flight. The dry air inside plane cabins often causes skin to go into overdrive producing oil in self-defense, so preparing your skin in advance is a good way to prevent excess oil during the trip.
A long flight is not the time to wear a fully made-up face. Your skin will have a difficult enough time breathing with the dry, harsh cabin air. Instead, moisturize your skin—use a tinted moisturizer if you’d like to even out your skin tone—add a little concealer under your eyes, and some colored lip gloss. You can add a touch of eyeliner, but avoid the mascara. Long flights inevitably lead to yawning and rubbing your eyes, and it’s best to leave the heavy mascara and makeup for the ground.
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes for your flight and bring a sweater. You are already going to be trapped in a seat for hours, tight clothing will only further restrict your circulation. A sweater is essential when you can’t control the air temperature around you and you need something versatile that you can put on if you’re cold, or remove if you get too warm.
Get Your On-Board Beauty Sleep
One of the most essential ways to look refreshed when you get off the plane is to FEEL refreshed. You can do this by planning a good nap while you travel. On long-haul flights, you can even bring a sleep aid such as melatonin. Melatonin is ideal for travel naps because it helps you fall asleep at any time of the day but it isn’t long-lasting and won’t leave you feeling groggy when you wake up. A good neck pillow to support your head while you are sleeping so it doesn’t end up on the shoulder of the stranger sitting next to you is also helpful for a more restful in-fight nap. Bring along some great earplugs for sleeping and enjoy a doze on the go!
Watch What You Eat and Drink During Your Flight
Avoid salty snacks (yeah, I know, the airline is out to get you with those peanuts and pretzels), alcohol, and caffeine on the plane. If you plan to nap, it’s fine to have a cup of coffee when you wake up, but don’t over-do the coffee during your flight. Not only does coffee dehydrate you further, but it also causes extra trips to the tiny little bathroom—rarely a pleasant experience. Instead, opt for healthy snacks and water. You can even bring herbal tea bags and ask for hot water. Chamomile tea will help you to relax on a long flight.
Keep Fresh Down There While You’re Up There
It’s not a tip commonly shared, but most of us know that being trapped on a long flight and using cramped little airplane bathrooms does not allow for great hygiene. It’s helpful to keep clean and dry on really long or overnight flights by packing some pantyliners in your purse. You might not want to change your underwear during a flight, but it’s easy enough to change a pantyliner. Feminine wipes are always a great item to keep in your purse, but especially on a long flight. After all, one secret to looking refreshed is feeling refreshed—even down there.
Get Up and Makeup Before You Get Off
It’s a good idea to get up and stretch your legs before landing. You can combine this with a final trip to the restroom with some items from your carry-on. If you have room to pack a change of clothes, the time to do it is about half an hour before the plane begins its descent and you have to be seatbelted in. If you can stand changing clothes in the teeny tiny restroom, this is very helpful for allowing you to look and feel refreshed. You can also splash some water on your face to clean, hydrate, and freshen up your skin. (Another reason to not wear mascara or a lot of makeup.)
Some seasoned travelers swear by hydrating facial sprays for refreshing the face at the end of a flight. Try spritzing your face with an antioxidant-rich (alcohol-free) facial toner such as a rose-water spray. These not only hydrate your face, but the antioxidants help your skin to combat damaging free radical cells that develop in our skin due to impurities in the environment. And we all know that the air-quality on flights isn’t the best. And the natural rose scent also gives you a pleasant lift!
Keep a travel-sized deodorant in your purse for further refreshing before leaving the restroom.
When you return to your seat, you can further freshen up your face by dipping into your makeup bag from your purse or carry-on bag. Refresh your eyeliner, blend a little concealer under your eyes to instantly lift them and give them a more awake look, and add a little mascara and tinted lip gloss or lipstick. And, of course, give your hair a quick brushing or twist it up into a messy bun with a few locks to frame your face.
If you follow these tips from the well-traveled, you too can be one of those people who alight from an airplane looking like you’ve emerged from a spa! Or at least from the comfort of home, rather than from a flying tin can filled with teeny tiny seats.