My Skincare Routine for a Long-Haul Flight

Airplane cabin air is notoriously dry. This is why it’s important to stay hydrated (read: don’t forget to bring water!) and take other steps to keep your skin happy while in the air. These are the products I use to make sure that even if I’m jetlagged, my skin is not.

Something I’ve gotten really good at is sitting through a 10-hour flight from New York to Hawaii, where I’m from and my family lives. I take this trip about twice a year or so and although I love the nonstop flight from JFK to HNL (shoutout to Hawaiian Airlines), it definitely takes a toll on my skin.

I pack all of my skincare products in whatever pink Glossier pouch I have lying around. I love these bags because they are slightly transparent, so it’s easy to bring through TSA, and they’re pink. Once the plane takes off, I begin my skincare routine in this order:

1. Use hand sanitizer.

It’s never a good idea to touch your face without clean hands! You could always go to the bathroom to wash your hands, but sometimes it’s not ideal if you are sitting in a middle or window seat, so hand sanitizer does the trick.

2. Cleanse with micellar water.

I usually pack 2-4 cotton rounds in my Glossier pouch. Saturate the cotton round with micellar water and swipe it around your face to get rid of dirt and impurities. Micellar water (also known as cleansing water) is made up of tiny balls called “micelles” suspended in soft water. The first one I’ve ever used was from the French brand Bioderma, but I have also enjoyed using the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water.

3. Spritz a toner.

Spray toners are a great way to prep your skin for all of the products that follow this step. The two that have worked best for my skin are the Caudalie Beauty Elixir and OMOROVICZA Queen of Hungary Mist.

4. Pat in serum and moisturizer.

I’ll be honest, I usually use whatever samples I have of serum and moisturizer when I’m traveling. However, some of my favorite serum samples in the past have been the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum; Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum; and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. For moisturizer, I’ve been loving the Tatcha Water Cream or belif The Truth Cream Aqua Bomb because it is water-based and leaves my skin feeling bouncy and supple, or my go-to favorite La Roche-Posay Toleraine Daily Soothing Moisturizer.

5. Apply a hydrating mask.

This is the most crucial part of the skincare routine, in my opinion. Applying a hydrating mask will ensure that your skin retains moisture in a dry environment. The key is to find one that dries clear, and I typically look for ones that you can use overnight or while you are sleeping. Masks that contain hyaluronic acid are also ideal because hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule in your skin and retains moisture to leave your skin dewy and happy. Personally, my favorite mask is the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask because it has a light scent and leaves my skin looking better than it did before I boarded the plane. Optional: finish with 1-2 spritzes of toner to ensure everything is sealed.

You can either leave the products on and rinse it off once you get to your destination, but if you prefer to get your skin ready before landing, here’s what you can do without taking a trip to the bathroom:

1. Wipe everything off with the cleansing water.

This step takes the place of the traditional method of washing your face with a facial cleanser and water and is just as effective.

2. Moisturize.

Though your skin may have survived the dry cabin air, it’s still important to not let your hard work go to waste. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. (And be sure your hands are clean before touching your face, too).

3. Apply sunscreen if the sun is still out.

It’s extremely important to not forget this step. Once the plane begins its decent, flight attendants usually request passengers sitting by the window to lift the shades up. The plane flies at tens of thousands of feet in the air, thus it is closer to the sun and the UV rays are stronger, so it’s important to minimize sun damage.

RELATED: How I Cleared My Skin

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