The best long-haul beauty skincare routine ever

Long-haul beauty has almost become a competitive sport. While once a cleansing face wipe and moisturizing mask would do, today’s airline cabins are packed with women spritzing on essences and layering full face sheet masks over serums before face-rolling away any altitude-induced puffiness. NEWBY HANDS explains what you really need to be doing on board


Cleanse thoroughly

Always clean your face after take-off – skin gets so dehydrated when flying that it sucks any drops of moisture out of your makeup, leaving foundation and other products looking dry and dull. Also, cleansing ensures that whatever you use later in your routine is better absorbed. The Omorovicza Peachy Micellar Cleanser pads are highly effective and fuss-free to use when traveling, as are the individually wrapped Facial Cleansing Wipes from Cleanse by Lauren Napier. Alternatively, the Face Halo microfiber cleansing cloths work with just water to remove dirt and makeup, making them great for traveling.

Seal in your skincare

With around 20% humidity in cabin air – compared to the usual 40-60% on the ground – flying is like being in the desert. But just loading up on skin-plumping hyaluronic acid (HA) serums isn’t the answer. In fact, if you just layer up hydrating serums and sheet masks, the HA may in fact work to pull the moisture out of your skin to put it into the super-dry air, leaving you even more dehydrated than before. That’s also why women often report leaving a sheet mask on for much of their flight, only to find it’s virtually dried onto their skin – this is not a good thing. The same goes for the increasingly popular face spritzes: great to use, but not at altitude or on their own, as when they evaporate from the skin, they can leave it drier than before. The trick is to use the hydrating products but then ‘seal in’ the benefits with a light oil (Costa Brazil Kaya Anti-Ageing Face Oil is becoming an obsession of mine as it’s so good; use just a few drops over anything hydrating to treat and nourish dry skin). My in-flight essentials invariably include Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Hyaluronic Serum (it’s light enough to be massaged in) followed by the Costa Brazil oil or a cream – La Mer Moisturizing Cream is great for those of us with dry skin. Even a lightly textured lotion will still hold hydration in, just always use some type of cream on top.

Use the right mask

Sheet masks are increasingly acceptable in-cabin wear these days, but you need to use the right one to ensure skin is left hydrated and plumped up, not dry and arid. The lighter-textured, more serum-based masks are better for post-flight skin, while I prefer to use the creamier masks (think of the consistency of a light lotion) when flying. I love the Ren Evercalm™ Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask and the Lano Face Base Aussie Flyer Recovery Mask, while for a sheet mask La Mer The Treatment Lotion Hydrating Mask can be massaged in after use to leave skin really nourished. For eyes, the brilliant 111 Skin Sub-Zero De-Puffing Eye Mask is great for refreshing on overnight flights. Even better, layer your HA hydrating serum underneath any of these face masks, rather than just using it alone, to give skin a plumped-up boost that the mask then helps to seal in.

Fight fluid retention

If your Jimmy Choo pumps don’t slip on quite so easily after landing, try spritzing legs and feet both pre- and in-flight with the Susanne Kaufmann Leg and Vein Cooling Spray. It’s brilliant at fighting in-flight puffiness. Or liberally apply the amazing Legology Air-Lite cream – I use it from chin to toe before flying and re-apply after showering post-flight. It gives heavy, weary limbs a lighter, leaner feel. If this is a real issue for you, consider taking a tennis ball on board in your carry-on; simply rolling this under the feet is great for getting the lymphatic fluid moving, rather than allowing it to settle into puffy ankles and feet.

Keep a clear head

Dab a little de Mamiel Altitude Oil under your nose to stop that heady feeling and to help fight the colds and bugs that can circulate in cabin air. I always travel with this and the clever roller-ball version of the brilliantly effective Inner Strength oil from Aromatherapy Associates. And, finally, an eye mask is an absolute essential; Slip’s silk versions are cozy and comfortable.

The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown.