Traveling from one side of the country to the other at least two or three times every semester has taught me just how much my skin hates to fly. While I love dividing my time between home and school, I’ve noticed that travel can take a toll on my skin for many reasons – whether it’s the high altitude drying out my face or the fact that I tend to slack off on my skincare routine during the three days right after a trip when I’m too tired to unpack and live out of my suitcase instead.
A few months before our semester abroad last fall, my roommate recommended stocking up on a bunch of $4 Sephora sleeping masks for flights. They’re genius, she gushed to me. So when I found myself at a Sephora later that summer, I had to buy ten — minimum. My first brush with in-flight skincare made me feel rejuvenated, like a new person. Between the amount of water I was downing, the hydrating qualities of the sleeping mask, and how ready I felt to take on the world after touching down at my destination, I knew I couldn’t go back to flying without my skincare routine in arm’s reach. Here’s an easily customizable guide to what I like to carry for an easy, in-flight cleanse, so I can feel my best and hit the ground running.
If you can, wash your hands. If you can’t, use hand sanitizer (maybe a few times). Or bring hand wipes. Or ask your flight attendant for a hot towel. But don’t – and I mean don’t – try to do an entire skincare routine when you still have airport germs all over your hands.
While it’s not totally ideal to carry an entire bottle of your favorite cleanser on-board with you (hello, TSA restrictions!), it’s important to have something that will cleanse your skin easily and quickly. I like using a cleansing stick because it’s portable, easy to use, and doesn’t raise any red flags with TSA. If I’m not in the mood to do the whole face-washing routine from 30,000 feet, I’ll cleanse and exfoliate my skin before leaving for the airport, then wipe my face with a cleansing towelette after boarding the plane.
A good face mask
Ah, the love of my life – a good face mask. For flights, I tend to opt for masks that are more hydrating, but you know your skin best! Whatever you decide on, make sure it’s something that doesn’t need to be washed off. Opt for sheet masks or sleeping masks, the remnants of which can be patted into your skin instead of washed off, so you don’t have to move about the cabin too much.
Hydrating facial mist
Because my skin sometimes feels like it wants to crack at a certain altitude, I like to keep a hydrating facial mist with me. My current faves are the Mario Badescu rosewater and this Pixi hydrating mist that a friend recommended me. Mists are good to use as part of your routine, but also as an as-needed pick-me-up.
Moisturizer + spot treatment
If you’re washing your face or applying a face mask during your flight, follow up with your favorite moisturizer! I have a few pimples that always like to reappear when I’m traveling or stressed out, so I like to hit them with a clear, plant-based spot treatment (or tea tree oil) at first sight to make sure I’m covered.
My skin regimen has come a long way since the basic cleanser/moisturizer combo I sometimes utilized in high school. While my ever-evolving skincare routine tends to involve a bit of trial and error, I love the individuality and experimentation that comes with crafting a routine that refreshes, rejuvenates, and prepares me for the day ahead. If you find yourself unsure of what to use for your skin, make sure to see a dermatologist!