In-Flight Skincare Tips for Long Flights

In partnership with Joanna Vargas 

Hi everyone! I am back from Bali and finally getting settled back into my routine. Man, what a place! Don’t worry, I’ll have a post all about it soon, but first, skincare.

Skincare is such a huge part of my everyday routine, and it’s even more important to me while traveling. Ever notice that your skin gets out of whack after a long flight? At 20,000+ feet in the air oxygen levels are low, recirculated air comes from that little dirty vent above you, and your skin ultimately suffers from lots of dryness.

Today I’m sharing my in-flight skincare tips to keep your glowing complexion throughout super long flights (a 12.5 hours flight + a 5.5 hour one – each way – to be exact), plus how to keep up with your routine while you’re on vacation.

After a lot of cross-country flights to NYC, I’ve adopted a few practices for my in-flight skincare routine that I sure as heck wasn’t about to skip the first leg of our flight to Taiwan before I arrived in Bali. But in-flight skincare starts before you board the plane!

Before Your Board

Make sure you’re not flying with makeup.I don’t care if you have to go directly to a meeting from the plane. Put your face on in the airport bathroom after you arrive to your destination. Wearing makeup on the plane is terrible for your skin. Makeup in general limits oxygen to your skin, and when it’s super scarce up there in the air, the negative results are amplified. Let’s also be real here, nobody is looking at your face on a flight. Most people are asleep or in their own universe. You’re good to skip makeup. 

After you cleanse your face clean, moisturize! Airplane air is super dry (like Sahara Desert dry), so make sure you lather on moisturizer before you get to the airport to avoid dehydration, redness, or flakiness. (More on this later.)

Pack the right airplane essentials.If the skincare products you normally use aren’t available in travel sizes, then purchase TSA-friendly friendly containers. If I have room, I’ll take the smaller containers with the exact amount I need for my flight then check the full-size bottles.

I like these soft, squeezable tubes for things that I’ll use frequently while away (like face wash). But, if you have a cream or even a waterier product (like a serum), then I use these tiny pots. I’ve flown with multiple times and they’ve never leaked.

I like to keep a separate skincare pouch in my carry-on or tote so that I can easily find all my goods while in-flight. 

In-Flight Skincare Routine

Before I do anything, I de-sanitize my hands. Yes. Planes are dirty. Do you want to press dirt, pollution, sick babies, coughs, and sneezes into your skin? I didn’t think so.

Then, I’ll spritz a little Evian water or a toner on my face. By adding moisture to my skin prior to treatments or serums, it helps penetrate those benefits more.

Sheet masks deliver nutrients directly onto the skin, so they absorb fast! Regardless of flight time, I always end up with dark circles under my eyes. So, this time around, I definitely wasn’t about to mess with them. Joanna Vargas makes amazing sheets masks, including special ones just for the undereye area. I took along her Bright Eye Firming Eye Masks – featuring hyaluronic acid (which carries 1,000x its weight in water!) for ultra-hydration, chamomile extract to de-puff, and algae extract. Algae contains chlorophyll which helps oxygenate the skin… perfect for that high altitude.

After your skin absorbs the serum, it’s time to go big. You know those crazy people wearing sheet masks on planes? I’m one of them, and for good reason.

I for sure looked like a serial killer wearing my sheet mask, and I may have slightly embarrassed my friends. But hey, at least my skin was hydrated. 🙂

SKINCARE HACK #1: I learned a little trick from the team at Joanna Vargas, and that’s to layer your face sheet mask over your eye mask! It’ll save time, won’t disrupt your routine. I see you, in-slight skincare routine multi-tasker!

Joanna Vargas’ Forever Glow Anti-Aging Face Masks have lots of ingredients to help hydrate the skin. I’m not going to go into all of them, but here are some key benefits of this mask:

  • Improved circulation (which you learned above helps to decrease that puffy look)
  • Improved elasticity (younger looking skin, yay!)
  • Added hydration

SKINCARE HACK #2: You can use the excess serum in the sheet mask packets for your neck and hands for extra hydration beyond just your face.

Serums are packed with vitamins, and up in the air you’ll have plenty of time to load your face UP with them. I used a couple of pumps of Joanna Vargas Rejuvenating Serum, then patted in an upward motion (to defy gravity!) from the neck to the face.

When I got my first Joanna Vargas facial in NYC almost two years ago, they used her Rejuvenating Serum on me to help combat hydration after my flight from LA. Now, you know I love to try new things and report back to you, but I’ve consistently used this serum ever since that first facial. So that’s saying a lot!

It’s gentle on all skin types, and contains a variety of oils to give you a gorgeous glow:

  • Argan Oil– Maybe you’ve seen this in hair products, but it’s great for your face, too. Not only does it aid in combatting dehydration, but it helps combat loss of elasticity in skin. (Elasticity in skin is what gives a youthful, firm appearance. As we age, elasticity naturally decreases, causing sagging.) 
  • Neroli Oil – This increases circulation in your skin and helps to release toxins. Think of this oil as a little helper to give your skin a cardio workout.
  • Olive Oil – Olive oil helps to reduce inflammation in skin.

Have you ever noticed that your shoes feel tighter on long flights? That’s because your blood isn’t flowing due to staying static, which causes swelling. The neroli and olive oils in Rejuvenating Serum work together so you won’t have a puffy face when you land!

Be sure you’re constantly drinking water. (I know going to the bathroom on an airplane is annoying, but it’ll be better for your skin once you land.) I also like to apply a heavier lip balm (my favorite is Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask) and moisturize my hands throughout my flights.

If you missed my in-flight skincare routine in action, don’t worry, it’s all saved in the “Bali” highlight on my Instagram Stories.

Once You Arrive

Don’t undo a good in-flight skincare routine with bad vacation habits. Keep up your normal routine as much as possible as not to disrupt the overall balance of your skin in a different climate.

Wash your face in the morning so that you can apply sunscreen onto a clean face. Some of my favorite facial sunscreens are Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum Sunscreen; Lancer Sheer Fluid Sun Shield Broad Spectrum Sunscreen; and REN Clean Screen Mattifying Face Sunscreen. Make sure you re-apply just like you would with any body sunscreen.

A great summer vacation means lots of time on the beach and under the sun, which unfortunately causes dehydration. Dang! As if plane dehydration wasn’t already enough, right?

At night, especially while on a tropical vacation, I’ll use Joanna Vargas Rescue Serum after I wash my face and before I moisturize. It hydrates skin post-beach, and Vitamin C helps to shield skin from free radicals and UV rays. (MAJOR DISCLAIMER HERE: even though Vitamin C helps protect against UV rays, you still need a sunscreen.)

I also pack a couple of extra sheets masks to give my skin added vacation R&R. Try to find a quiet time for this. I like to use a sheet mask 1 – 2 times depending on the length of my trip and usually put it on after I shower and before dinner, or right before bed.

Your skin already gets a beating from the plane, so the key here is to remember to keep it extra hydrated via moisturizers, serums, and masks. When skin is thrown off and its balance gets out of whack, that’s when over-oiliness or breakouts happen.

If you’re not spot on with your vacation skincare routine, don’t stress. It’s vacation after all! And I get it, when you’re on vacation you also kind of want to be on vacation from your skincare routine.

I always miss a couple of nights face washing – we all do! Be realistic. I bring a travel pack of facial wipes for this exact reason. On low-key nights try to commit to your full routine. This way if you have a late night and you want to be lazy, your skin won’t be affected as much. Just make sure you’re back on it the next day and try not to go back-to-back on face night wipes! 


Nice to Meet You

Hi, I'm Camille! I'm a bi-coastal blogger splitting my time between LA and NYC and sharing elevated, yet relatable ideas so that you can achieve your most stylish life.

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  1. 7.1.19

    This line is seriously a must!


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