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Notes on Long Haul Flights

I’ve had my fair share of long haul flights and cold weather. While an Australian Summer is harsh and New York at minus two degrees can be crazy, I believe our skin takes the most punishment at altitude whilst we travel.

Skin maintenance while travelling has to be one of my most asked questions. Fortunately, with just a bit of planning, we can make those long hours in the air work for us and for our skin. Read on to see how.

Part 1. ✈️❤️ 1. Remove all your makeup.

First thing’s first: Remove all of your makeup as soon as you board the plane, ideally with an oil cleanser so as to nourish at the same time as deep cleansing. If you prefer to do this in your seat you can use a micellar water on a cotton pad instead. I don’t care for makeup remover wipes, they’re just not that great for your skin and the perfectionist in me doesn’t really believe they remove all traces of makeup, dirt and debris.

Try: Cosmedix Purity Solution or Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution
2. Mist for moisture.

Spritz your face with a refreshing mist spray to prepare your skin for your serums and masks, and to maintain hydration and awaken your skin. I do this constantly throughout the flight to keep my skin super moist and dewy. They also smell heavenly.

Try: Cosmedix Mystic Hydrating Mist or Sisley Paris Floral Hydrating Mist
3. Apply serum.

I always apply an antioxidant serum to protect my skin from nasty free radical damage. Recycled cabin air has very little oxygen and dehydrates, depletes and devitalises our skin.

Try: Skinceuticals Phloretin CF or SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum
4. Nourish with oil.

Then, apply a nourishing face oil over your face, neck, décolletage, eyes, lips and cuticles to keep your skin supple and moist.

Try: Chanel Jasmine Oil or Sisley Black Rose Precious Face Oil
5. Apply a mask.

My favourite thing to do on a long haul flight is to apply a face mask and watch reruns of Sex and the City on my iPad — heaven!! If you prefer to be discreet try a sleeping mask that rubs in like a moisturiser and doesn’t require any rinsing. Sisley Paris Black Rose Cream Mask and Eminence Linden Calendula Treatment are great and are both invisible.

Part 2. ✈️💜 6. Apply a rich cream or balm before sleeping.
For those longer flights, before sleeping apply a rich night cream or balm to lock in moisture and protect your skin from the dry, air conditioned cabin air. I always apply rescue balm straight over the top of my sleeping mask.

Try: Cosmedix Rescue Balm & Mask or Skinmedica Treatment Ceramide Cream or if you have a super oily, blemish prone skin try Niod Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Serum
7. Drink herbal tea and still water.

Swap alcohol and coffee for herbal tea and still water, and avoid the salty airplane food as this only encourages water retention and puffiness. If you’re prone to swelling and fluid retention apply a body oil that stimulates circulation — I use Dr Haushka Revitalising Arm and Leg Tonic or Sisley’s new White Ginger Contouring Oil for legs — and always, always wear compression stockings (Wolford and Falke make really nice, normal looking ones). 8. Get some sleep.

Sleep is super important to maintaining a great complexion, so take a good quality block out mask with silk or felt lining , try Slip silk Sleep Mask (not the polyester ones they give you on the plane!) earplugs and — my secret that I swear by — a personal humidifying breathing mask. It traps and recycles your own moisture in your breath and prevents dehydration and airborne viruses. My husband thinks I look like a pink Darth Vader and pretends that he doesn’t know me when I’m wearing this, ha!
9. Decant your product.

Decant your product into small travel bottles and jars so you don’t need to carry as much or have products confiscated by airport security. Don’t forget to take disposable wet wipes to clean your hands. There is just nothing worse than touching your face with dirty hands.

Part 3. 💙

10. Adjust your skincare accordingly.

Adjust your skincare depending on your destination’s climate. I always say that Australia has one of the harshest climates in the world. But every time I travel to London or Paris during our Summer I’m reminded that the intense, bitter cold of a European Winter can be just as harsh on skin as the sun.

If you’re travelling to a cold climate swap your gel cleanser for an oil cleanser and apply a nourishing antioxidant serum. Apply an eye serum to the eye area as well as your nose and lips, then add a broad spectrum SPF moisturiser for day — sunscreen is still essential even in Winter!

For a warmer, more humid climate use an AHA or gel cleanser with a light weight antioxidant gel or serum under your SPF moisturiser. I love a water-based spray-on sunscreen in hot weather with a hydrating spritzer to keep the skin fresh and dewy.

11. Layer oil under cream.

Layer your body oil underneath a rich body cream as soon as you get out of the shower and try not to leave the aircon on in your hotel room while sleeping — this causes serious dehydration and flaky, devitalised skin. If you can’t turn off the aircon place a large bowl of water in the room to humidify the air, and change hotels in the morning (I’ve done this a few times)! 12. Swap in hydrating formulas.

For the evening swap your retinol or AHA serum for a hydrating or restorative formula (like SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E, as active products can cause dryness and irritation to a dehydrated or sensitised skin. Layer your serum underneath a rich occlusive night cream or balm. Don’t forget to also use a nourishing eye cream to protect the delicate eye area and keep your lips and nose super moist with a balm — I often apply Sisley Paris Eye Contour Mask over my entire face, neck and décolleté!