How To Save Your Skin On Long-Haul Flights


By Nica Dobles from THREAD PH

A nine-step in-flight beauty routine for your next vacay

Flights are arguably the worst part of travelling. First, there’s braving the traffic to get to the airport in time (for minimal stress, arrive at least two hours before for domestic flights and three hours for international flights). Then you have to deal with long lines at check-in, security, customs, and boarding.

And that’s all before you even get on the plane, which is a different nightmare. Zero leg space, lack of sleep, and that stale airplane air can make you cranky and exhausted. And the longer your flight is, the worse it gets — especially for your skin. A couple of hours on a plane can undo weeks worth of progress on your skincare.

But don’t worry — we’re sharing our nine best tips to save your skin on long-haul flights!

Before the flight

1. Skip the coffee

Honestly, some days coffee is the only thing keeping me from being a zombie, but I’ve learned that caffeine is actually a bad idea when you’re on a flight. It’s dehydrating, plus it’ll keep you hyperalert— and the last thing you want to be is jittery and extra-anxious while on an overstuffed plane. (This goes for alcohol, too).


2. Moisturize


Prep your skin for the stress of the flight by loading up on hydration. Don’t skimp on the moisturizer when you do your skincare routine before leaving. If your skin is extra prone to dryness, or if it’s an especially long flight, consider an essence or serum for some more heavyweight hydration.


3. Keep your makeup light

Just as your travel outfits should give your body room to breathe, your makeup should also let your skin breathe. The idea is to keep your pores from getting clogged and irritated during your flight.

The best way is to go with your face completely bare — but if you’re like me and can’t leave the house without at least a bit of coverage, stick to light base makeup with a hydrating boost, like tinted moisturizer or a BB cream/cushion.


During the flight

4. Cleanse your face

The first thing you should do when you get on the plane is to cleanse your face, whether you decided to wear makeup or not. This step will help refresh and soothe your skin before the flight.

                      FARMASI COLOUR COSMETICS Micellar Makeup Remover Wet Wipes

                      FARMASI COLOUR COSMETICS Micellar Makeup Remover Wet Wipes

It can be a hassle to properly wash your face in that tiny airplane bathroom, so pack some cotton pads and micellar water or face wipes for a more convenient cleanse. (Don’t forget to follow the 100ml container rule for carry-on liquids!)

If you wear contact lenses, switch them out for your glasses as well.

5. Stay hydrated

If it isn’t obvious by now, the name of this game is hydration. Make sure to drink water regularly — at least one liter every four hours is a good rule of thumb. Don’t rely on the drink cart for this as those tiny plastic cups are nowhere near enough; instead, bring your own water bottle and fill it up after you get through security, or buy water at the airport before boarding.

Bonus: all that water means regular trips to the bathroom, which means more opportunity to stretch your legs.


6. Keep on moisturizing

Not-so-fun fact: humidity inside airplane cabins is around 10–20%, less than the Sahara Desert.

Your skin will definitely dry out in this environment, so keep on being generous with the moisturizer. You can also use a refreshing face mist— just be considerate of your seatmates when you’re spritzing! And don’t forget to give your lips some TLC too.


7. Get some sleep


Easier said than done on a plane, I know. But you’ll help reduce the inevitable dark circles under your eyes with some beauty rest — plus sleeping will make the hours of your flight go by faster.


After the flight

8. Cleanse your face again

Bring out the micellar water or facial wipes again right before you land. It’ll feel super refreshing and help wake you up before you have to go through immigration and baggage claim.

As soon as you get to your hotel or hostel or AirBNB, give your face a proper cleanse. No matter how much pampering you were giving your skin during the flight, it’s still going to be stressed, so make sure you’ve packed a cleanser with some extra hydrating power.


9. Apply a sheet mask, stat


Put on a sheet mask as soon as you can — it’s a quick and easy way to soothe your skin post-flight, plus it’s compact and easy to pack. Look for hydrating ingredients like snail essence and aloe vera, which will help calm down the redness and irritation on your skin.

(If you don’t care about your seatmates’ judgement, you can get a head start and put on the sheet mask while you’re on the plane).


Follow these tips for your next flight, and your skin will thank you for it. Safe travels!

Getting ready for your Holy Week trip? Let us know where you’re going in the comments section below! Keep up with Thread by ZALORA for tips on making your transit outfits as comfortable as possible and other travel hacks.