Face it - we may love going on vacation or visiting another country but I don't know many people who enjoy a long-haul flight.
Besides lack of sleep and jet-lag, you need to deal with dehydrating cabin air that sucks all the moisture out of your skin, a tendency to retain water and get puffy around the face and eyes, and makeup looks terrible on top of all that.
So what if you need to hop off a flight and go straight to a social engagement? You kind have to get yourself looking as good as possible. No easy task.
Here are a few tips (and product faves) that you can consider on your next flight.
FIGHT CABIN SKIN
Cabin air sucks the life out of your skin. Which can give you a crepe-y looking skin surface, magnify fine lines, and compromise your skin barrier and put you at risk of sensitive reactions later on. Always use a product that is a bit more moisturizing than you normally need, even if you have oily skin. Your skin will thank you for it.
My favorite in-flight skin protectants after trying tons of different lotions and potions over the past 10-15 years are oils, because they help seal and protect the skin surface longer than a water-based lotion will, and they don't contain fillers and additives that might give you a reaction after a 20-hour flight.
You also get a bit more time to give yourself a good facial massage during application, which can help reduce/prevent puffiness.
For normal to dry skins, try more nourishing concoctions:
- La Mer The Renewal Oil (available from Nov 2015)
- La Prairie Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil
- Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate
- Jurlique Purely Age-Defying Face Oil
- Clarins Santal or Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil
If you're combination, there are lighter oils that help protect your skin while not sitting in a greasy film on your skin:
- Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate
- Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil
- Laura Mercier Rose Infusion de Rose
- By Terry Huile de Rose
- Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Oil Capsules
Even if you're very oily and cannot imagine applying a straight oil to your face, consider an oil-in-water serum like Chanel's Hydra Beauty Micro Serum. It will not feel oily but supplies a dose of calming camellia oil to the skin, along with other water-based humectants.
Some people also like to bring hydrating masks and sleeping masks (Origins and Laneige have some good ones) on flights. Do that if you have something on hand and prefer it to an oil, but I personally just find oils last and work better. You need less to keep your skin supple for hours and it just doesn't feel as sticky and heavy. Plus, you can use oils on your cuticles, on the ends of your hair, etc.
Reapply every few hours, and make sure you drink plenty of water.
Keeping your makeup on for an entire long-haul flight is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. You might be able to get away with it in your teens and 20s, but as you get into your 30s and up, your makeup will look positively leathery, cakey and cracked by the end of a 10 hour flight. Putting more makeup on top of it will not help.
I'd rather have no makeup on for a few hours on the plane where few people will be looking at you (trust me, nobody will be staring at you and thinking "man she looks bad") than spend the rest of the day looking raggedy after touch-down.
You're better off removing all your makeup after take-off so you can apply all your skincare and lip balm first, and then having a fresh canvas at the end of the flight to apply fresh makeup on.
PRE-LANDING SKIN PREP
About 40 minutes before landing time is about the time I start to prep my skin. You can't just slap makeup on and expect it to look great. Even if you've managed to keep yourself well-hydrated and smooth the past few hours, you probably still want to remove the hours of residue and dirt on the surface.
- A gentle wipe or a very light and non-drying cleanser is usually sufficient to refresh your face.
- Then give yourself a nice gentle massage with a few drops of oil mixed with a brightening primer, like Le Blanc from Chanel. This not only brightens and evens out your skin slightly so you need less makeup, the lighter layer of oil will help your makeup to go on MUCH better.
Tip: In the cold, dry environments, foundations and concealers will all feel a lot drier and be harder to blend out. That little bit of oil on the skin surface is just going to make sure your makeup is not cakey and heavy-looking. If your makeup is feeling really dry, add a single drop of oil into a pump of foundation and it will go on beautifully.
Again, take a minute to massage your face with firm, gentle pressing/patting motions to get your circulation going a bit. It will help to drain some water and helps with absorption. What you want to be left with is plumped, smooth skin that's perfectly primed for makeup.
When it comes to makeup in your carry-on bag, less is more. Honestly, heavy thick concealers and camouflage creams will not even work well in such a cold and dry environment, so look for creamier formulations. If you have good skin and minimal blemishes, a good BB cream will do fine.
If you need more coverage though, look for one of those multi-tasking serum foundations that either have great coverage, or come with a matching concealer in the cap.
Lancome's Teint Visionnaire is a classic, but La Prairie's launching a anew Skin Caviar Concealer Foundation as well. The added benefit is many of these foundations and BBs do contain sun protection, but it's minimal, so if you're going to be in a sunny environment, make sure you apply a proper sunblock first.
GET YOUR GLOW ON
Heavy thick powder foundations can look dull and chalky on the skin. If you have dry skin skip powder entirely. If you need to set your makeup still, skip the traditional powders and use a lightweight illuminating powder like Guerlain's Meteorites (I have the traditional pearls here to show you but I would recommend the pressed compact or travel-friendly brush-on containers for traveling with. You don't want to accidentally tip these over and scatter your precious pearls all over the cabin toilet floor.)
|Guerlain Meteorites in 03 Medium
These are actually satiny-matte powders that help correct discolorations and illuminate the skin without looking pearly and sparkly. They are NOT highlighters in the traditional sense. They work more like brightening setting powders, but can be used alone as well.
If you're feeling tired and sallow, the warmer shades in 03 Medium work better to correct discolorations than the cooler-toned 02 Clair, which actually does not correct undertones as well (unless you happen to be porcelain pale).
For me to look alive and rested (no matter how tired I might feel), there are a few other tricks.
- Use darker defining colors around the lash line and a matte shade in the hollows of your socket, rather than pale shimmery shadows all over, which can emphasize puffy blood-shot eyes. Well-defined sockets and lash lines are instantly eye-wideners and can help minimize the appearance of puffiness.
- Redness-relieving eye drops like Visine or Prefin will remove the bloodshot appearance in minutes. Filling in brows (naturally), and applying mascara can also make a huge difference.
- Groom your brows. They instantly lift and frame the face and make you look more alert and put-together.
KEEP IT LIGHT
I'm talking about your makeup bag. Your makeup should allow you to do both more dramatic looks as well as more natural looks. But you shouldn't have to bring lots of it.
Here are some favorites, many of which have been my trusty companion for years.
- My trusty travel companion for brows is Shu Uemura's Hard Formula 9 Pencil (above). One shave in the sword style lasts for weeks and weeks so I can be sure I don't need any sharpening on a trip. It's an investment as these cost more than most pencils. But they do last a year each, so purchase them at Duty Free and save some money.
- Benefit Gimme Brow - these tiny tubes of brow mascara actually hold your brow hairs in place amazingly well. And they're so small they don't take up any space.
- Dual-ended eyeliners like Urban Decay's 24/7 Double Ended pencil in Naked 1 is perfect because it's not only creamy and easy to use, but has 2 shades that would go with most looks.
- A perfect neutral palette that's not too large - not too small, and has both very deep, as well as pale shades in a variety of textures. It will carry you from day to night, and can work with pretty much any lip color you choose to wear.
This gorgeous thing is Chanel's Entrelac palette from the Autumn 2015 collection. It's sadly a limited edition, but again - this is one thing that you should pick up at Duty Free if you see it because it's so much cheaper than retail. (In Singapore at least.)
I love the Naked palettes but this is so much sleeker, smaller, and sharper.
Now if you want the step by step for the simple, defined neutral eye that can go with a soft lip or a strong one, the pictorial is below. I used all 5 colors in the Entrelac palette, although you can easily substitute them with other neutral palettes that have 4 shades or more. Products used are all listed above, except for:
- Cheek color - NARS Orgasm
- Lip color - Urban Decay Sheer Liar
- Mascara - NARS Audacious Mascara
Tip: If you're working with a 4-shade palette, just apply the medium shade all over the entire lid (in place of step 2 above).
Lip-color wise, you can put on whatever your lips feel good enough to handle. If you did not use a good lip balm and they're a bit chapped and raggedy, go with a sheer, moisturizing lipstick or gloss that can smooth things out and add some hydration back. If your lips are in good condition, wear whatever you want.
P.S. Every product listed (excluding Benefit Gimme Brow, which is optional) is available at Shilla Duty Free stores at Changi Airport - if you're looking for things to add to your shopping list. If you've been meaning to try some of these, it's always a good idea to try them tax-free.