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Long-Haul Flight Beauty Tips

Red Eye Flight Beauty Tips

Even a couple of hours on a plane can wreck havoc with your hair, nails and skin. More than a few hours on a plane makes me a dried up prune, so I’m constantly fighting to restore lost hydration and prevent further moisture loss.

Most long-haul flight beauty tip lists tell you go use a ton of masks while in flight, spray your face hourly with a facial mist and then apply highlighter all over your face once you arrive. Surely the shimmer will distract the eye and you’ll look miraculously awake?

I have to admit that I am one of those people that wants to look great in public no matter what time it is. So, I’m not likely to be applying face masks in public on a plane.

How to prepare for a long haul flight

Prepping for The Flight

I prepare for a flight in the same way that I prepare myself for going in to call at work (I stay at the hospital for 24-48 hours at a time while on call, in an environment pretty similar to a plane). I take an amazing shower, with all of the scrubs, shaving and even hair masks.


I gently exfoliate my skin before a flight, usually just by using my Clarisonic, but sometimes I’ll use my Exfolikate. If I don’t exfoliate, any dry areas on my face will start to flake up and become more obvious.

I follow up with super hydrating my skin. My best best is to layer multiple hydrators, usually with a few drops of oil which I then seal in to my skin with a hydrating cream.


Hair masks or deep conditioners during the flight? I can’t do that, it drives me crazy having it on my hair. I deeply condition my hair before and after my flight.

My hair tends to go flat when I’m on a flight for a very long time, I prep for this with a good root booster and a bit of dry shampoo at my roots. I curl my hair for extra volume, and I keep a wide tooth comb in my bag to take care of any tangles while I’m traveling.

If I need to keep my hair out of my face, this holder doesn’t slip out and won’t leave a dent in my hair.


For makeup, I don’t wear regular foundation when flying. I use BB Cream, a cream blush and super blendable concealer. I wear tinted lip balm rather than lipstick. Note that my eye makeup is very simple and includes my favorite waterproof mascara which stands up to everything.


One of my biggest issues on flights are actually my cuticles and nails. I wear my nails very short and I either have a natural colored gel manicure that won’t chip easily or I’ll buff my nails lightly.

I use cuticle remover before the flight, and then I use a few drops of oil and cuticle cream.

Best beauty items for during a long haul flight

Beauty on the Plane

Once on the plane, I don’t do much unless I’m noticing issues.

If my cuticles start to feel dry, I use a thick cuticle butter.

If my face is feeling dry, I gently remove my BB cream and other makeup with a micellar wipe, which leaves behind no residue and doesn’t need to be rinsed.

This is the point where many long-haul flight tip posts mention a ton of face masks, even sheet masks. I admit that I don’t even use sheet masks at home, I can’t imagine using them in semi-public around strangers. Instead, I would use a product like this hydrating mask, which can be applied thinner than usual so it isn’t easily noticed. It will sink into your skin quickly without leaving behind residue, super hydrating your skin but also leaving it prepped for makeup later.

Finally, don’t forget your lips! I like to use a super hydrating lip balm every few hours while on the plane. I go for one with an applicator, I don’t want to be applying with a finger tip.

Flight Arrival Beauty

Looking Your Best Upon Arrival

I don’t usually do much upon arrival at my destination for a short flight, maybe freshen up my lippie.

However, for a long-haul flight where I’ve removed my BB Cream and applied extra moisturizer I do reapply a bit of makeup. For red eye flights I also like to brush my teeth with a disposable toothbrush.


Usually after reapplying moisturizer mid-flight I don’t need to do much with my skin. I might use a facial wipe, but really it just depends on how my skin feels. Otherwise I’ll use my BB cream again for a bit of coverage with more hydration and that’s it.


After long flight, my hair tends to lose any volume it once had, develop a few tangles and some frizz. But if I have prepared my hair for volume before the flight then there isn’t much to worry about. I comb my hair to take care of any tangles and use a little oil to tame frizz.


I reapply only minimal makeup after a long redeye flight. After my BB cream is on, I usually have a few darker undereye circles to take care of. Rather than using a lot of concealer, I start with the Bobbi Brown corrector, it has just enough of a peach tint to correct the circles but it is still natural enough to not require concealer to go over the top. I also use a bit of my creamy concealer to cover up any other problem areas.

To add a bit of color, I’ll apply a cream blush with my finger tips and tinted lip balm.

travel beauty guide
My guide to travel beauty, full of travel tips, tricks and must have products!

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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