Beauty

The clever skincare rules flight attendants swear by

Posted by
Jacqueline Kilikita
Published

Cabin pressure always play havoc with your complexion? We feel you, which is why we enlisted three flight attendants to spill their ultimate pre-, mid- and post-flight skincare tricks…

Whether you’re flying short-haul or long-haul, cabin air can wreak havoc on your skin. 

“Flying is the perfect storm for causing skin problems,” explains Dr Justine Hextall, dermatologist at The Harley Medical Group.

“We sit in cabins with high-pressure, re-circulated air that is very low in humidity, causing extreme skin dryness. As well as this, the oxygen circulation to our skin is reduced and the stress hormone cortisol levels are high – reducing skin barrier function and causing skin inflammation, redness and breakouts.”

At 30,000 feet, UV exposure is also a threat to skin – and that’s before we’ve touched on what a lack of sleep can do.

“If you’re travelling to a different time zone, chances are you will miss out on some sleep in order to adjust to the new time,” says Dr Hextall. “As you sleep, your body’s cells regenerate, especially at skin level, so missing out on this quality rest can also affect the skin.”

But before you completely freak out, we’ve enlisted some of the most savvy flight attendants in the business to lift the lid on their ultimate skincare secrets. Because no-one knows more about how to keep their complexion looking flawless and radiant than these women do.

Shannon Kovacs, flight attendant for British Airways

How do you keep your skin hydrated on a long-haul flight?

By drinking lots and lots of water. Your skin dries out when you’re up in the air and your body loses a lot of moisture, too, so it’s important to keep hydrated throughout the flight, especially if you’re constantly on the go.

What’s the one product you would recommend to keep skin supple? Why?

I absolutely love Ponds Triple Action Moisturiser, £4.99. It doesn’t cost a bomb and really quenches my skin, providing much-needed hydration after a long-haul flight. I always slather on a few layers, as my skin gets really dry.

How do you prep skin before applying make-up? Is there anything you do differently compared to your usual routine?

I cleanse, tone and moisturise. It sound simple, but ensuring my face is completely clean and nourished before applying make-up helps stop potential breakouts and provides an even base for foundation. Nivea’s 2 in 1 Cleanser & Toner for Normal & Combination Skin, £2.65, works wonders. Even if I’m not flying, I still cleanse, tone and moisturise before applying make-up, as I think it’s important to not change up my routine, as my skin might react differently.

What product would you never fly without? Why?

SPF, especially a high factor. I’m the first to admit I’ve been incredibly lax with SPF over the years, as I love tanning, but I have a lot of sun damage on my face because of it. Now that I fly to lots of sunny destinations, it’s important to protect my face and the rest of my body. Currently, I’m using Garnier Moisture Bomb Face Mist Hydrate & Protect SPF 30, £9.99.

What products do you use to help your skin deal with different time zones?

I don’t tend to switch up my products when I’m in different time zones, as my skin needs a good routine. If I’m not exploring a new destination or just chilling in my hotel room, I will sometimes bring a hydrating face mask with me. I used Origins Drink Up 10 Minute Mask to Quench Thirst, £25, which is brilliant. Otherwise, I’ll just layer skin with moisturiser and let it soak in overnight.

What’s the first thing you do as soon as you’re off the plane?

As soon as I’m off the plane and back home, it’s make-up off! Rehydrating and letting my skin breathe after a flight is so important. I always have a shower and moisturise and then it’s PJ’s, hair up in a bun and some much-needed sleep.

Any top tips or anything else we need to know?

Something I’ve really noticed whilst flying is that you bloat and expand in a pressurised cabin. Avoiding any carbonated drinks and drinking plenty of water will help combat this.

Always wear flight socks as this helps with puffy ankles. I always do this when travelling as a passenger, but luckily when I’m working, I am on my feet walking around a lot, so that gets the blood pumping round my body and reduces any puffy ankles happening.

Finally, always carry a moisturising lip balm. Flaky, cracked lips are not the one. 

Elizabeth Kleeven-Mansell, cabin crew, Etihad Airways

How do you keep your skin hydrated on a long-haul flight?

I love to use facial mist sprays, in particular the Evian Facial Spray, £3.49. It feels amazing when my skin is dehydrated and also helps to perk it up when I wake up in the morning or after resting in-flight.

What’s the one product you would recommend to keep skin supple? Why?

It has to be the Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto Replenishing Hydrator, £36. It’s like a much-needed drink of water for your skin. Mine absorbs it instantly.

How do you prep skin before applying make-up? Is there anything you do differently compared to your usual routine?

I always apply my Clinique moisturiser 30 minutes before I fly, and I just let that in sink in. Afterwards, I use a primer – my favourites are the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, £28 and the Too Faced Hangover Primer, £27. They really lock the moisture in before I apply make-up. Then, I apply my foundation. 

What product would you never fly without and why?

It has to be the facial mist again. During flights, my skin needs help to freshen up, especially after a sleep break in-flight. Make sure to pack one that can be used over your make-up and moisturiser, that way you can use it at any time.

What products do you use to help your skin deal with different time zones?

I use rosehip oil. It’s a natural source of vitamin A and a powerful antioxidant which helps to keep breakouts to a minimum. It also helps to balance my skin tone and texture.

What’s the first thing you do as soon as you’re off the plane?

I must take off my make-up! I use the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, £24. It melts away all my make-up and impurities. I love this cleanser as it works well even with heavy make-up. It leaves my skin feeling so squeaky clean.

Any top tips or anything else we need to know?

Hydration is key. Don’t skip the small steps, and make sure you properly clean and moisturise your skin before applying make-up.

Helen Salmon, cabin service supervisor for Virgin Atlantic

How do you keep your skin hydrated on a long-haul flight?

I use tinted moisturiser instead of foundation and frequently apply facial spritz and moisturiser if my skin needs it. I also use crème blusher, not powder, to try and avoid drying out my skin any more.

What’s the one product you would recommend to keep skin supple? Why?

I absolutely love Aesop’s Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol Spray, £15. It gives a great moisture boost thanks to the nourishing oils, plus it has a lovely reviving fragrance – just what I need post-flight.

How do you prep skin before applying make-up? Is there anything you do differently compared to your usual routine?

I try to add a layer of serum before my normal moisturiser to boost my moisture levels, because cabin air can be very drying thanks to the low humidity and recycled air. 

What product would you never fly without? Why?

My trusty Carmex Original Lip Pot, £2.69, is pretty much my holy grail on flights. It quenches dry, cracked lips in seconds and keeps them moisturised for hours.

What products do you use to help your skin deal with different time zones?

Tissue moisture masks are great at replacing lost moisture. I leave on for as long as possible! The Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, £ is great for livening up jet lagged skin and hiding a lack of sleep, too.

What’s the first thing you do as soon as you’re off the plane?

As cabin crew, we keep our make-up on until we reach the hotel, but then it’s so nice to remove it all, have a lovely hot shower and replenish the skin with lots of moisturiser, lip balm and body lotion.

Any top tips or anything else we need to know?

This isn’t necessarily new, but the most important thing you can do post-flight is to keep yourself nice and hydrated by drinking lots of water. I try to drink at least two litres per flight.

Images: Getty / Helen Salmon / Elizabeth Kleeven-Mansell / Shannon Kovacs