How to Keep Your Skin Perfect When Travelling

Aug 3, 2019

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Many frequent travellers can relate to having skin that suffers from the stress of long flights and jet lag. But with the proper care, you can keep your skin looking healthy and radiant during and after even the most intense travel. This routine will ensure your skin looks brighter and feels more hydrated, despite the dry, recycled air on planes or the lack of sleep. You can do all of it, part of it or repeat it a number of times throughout a flight (as well as before and after travelling), so find the way it works best for your skin and travel style. 

Step 1: Shop and Prepare

While all of us here at TPG have our favorite products, the most important thing is that you purchase items that you already know work for your skin. If you’re not sure what works for your skin, first decide if it’s dry, oily or a combination of both, and test products that suit your specific skin type, creating an established daily skincare routine you use at home.

When it comes to packing some of these products for your trip, select items that hydrate, nourish or brighten. It’s better to use treatments that combat the dryness of the plane without drying out your skin more, so leave the anti-acne creams or intense wrinkle fighters at home. Those with oily skin should aim for water or gel-based hydrating products and not oils, as oily skin tends to overproduce to fight the dry air on board. The products you’ll want to take along are the following:

    • Refreshing wipes
    • Refreshing facial spray (toner or water)
    • Eye cream or gel
    • Eyedrops (for contacts or not)
    • Sheet or overnight mask
    • Hydrating moisturizer or serum
    • Lip balm or chapstick
    • Essential oil roll-on

Never bring along a product you haven’t tried before in case you have a bad reaction. Breaking out in hives is never fun, but it’s decidedly worse on a plane or while on vacation. Also, make sure all your liquids fit into a quart-sized plastic bag and are each less than 3.4 ounces (100 ml). Another pro tip? Collect samples — they take up less space, weigh less and are ideal for one or two uses.

If your favorite products don’t come in a travel size, make your own by buying small, empty containers and filling them. Just test them first at home using water inside to make sure they don’t leak or spill when you’re on the move.

Step 2: Hydrate

Hydrating from the inside out is key for your skin. I aim to drink three liters of water the day before I fly and continue to drink water the day of my flight — before flying, during and after. Doing this will keep your skin fresh and also help you avoid dehydration. I also like to add a small pack of powdered collagen to my water when flying, which is amazing for your skin as well as your joints and bones.

Step 3: Remove Makeup

Once you’re in the air, you’ll want to use you wipes to remove any makeup you have on from the day. The wipes can be used to refresh your skin at any time during the flight, but I like to wipe my face right before starting the rest of my skincare routine to make sure I remove any dirt or oil from my pores. I usually also like to do this after waking up from a long nap — a cold, refreshing wipe is the DIY economy answer to a hot towel in business class.

Step 4: Refresh

There’s nothing more delightful after sitting in recycled plane air than spritzing your face with a light spray to hydrate and revive your skin.

Many beauty stores sell refreshing sprays, or you can make your own by putting your favorite brand of bottled water into a small, empty spray bottle. Or, take some of your toner from home and put it in a small spray bottle. I usually take the ones provided in amenity kits when offered, and save them for future flights. Spritz as needed throughout the flight, but try not to get your neighbor. Unless they want to be spritzed, in which case, share the love.

Both the refreshing spray and the wipes can also be used to wake up and cleanse your skin while waiting in long lines at the airport, while on a bus or train, at the beach, or any time you feel a little hot and need a personal pick-me-up.

Step 5: Eye Care

Collagen eye patches can help you look more awake even when you’ve only had a couple of hours of a sleep on a red-eye flight. I like to leave these on for about 15 to 20 minutes. You can also combine this step with the following, putting them on under the sheet mask if you’re short on time.

Afterward, apply an eye cream for dark circles or, if you tend to get puffy eyes when flying, an eye gel. I normally don’t fly with contacts in, opting to wear my glasses instead, but eye drops save my eyes after a nap if they feel itchy or dry.

Using eye patches also works wonders with jet-lagged skin, especially if I have an event soon after landing in a new time zone. A quick post-flight shower and eye patch session can fake it you’ve slept a full eight hours. Or at least six.

Step 6: Apply a Sheet Mask

Ideal travel look: mid-flight with sheet mask.

This is one of my favorite ways to care for my skin on flights, on vacation, at home and pretty much everywhere. I leave a sheet mask on for about 20 or 30 minutes, or until the mask feels almost dry on my face. Personally, I relish the strange looks I get from passengers. I usually toss them a knowing smile, thinking about how lovely and soft my skin will be after the flight. I actually handed out a spare mask to a passenger with thirsty skin once after they inquired about my mine. Most of the stares you’ll get are simple curiosity!

Sheet masks are also excellent ways to treat a sunburn or even a hangover — all times when your skin needs that extra immediate boost. During a flight or before falling asleep, I prefer hydrating sheet masks and for jet lag, brightening. For after sun or in the morning, I like to use something refreshing and cool, like a cucumber or aloe mask.

If you’d prefer not to use a sheet mask, however, an overnight mask is more like a cream you put on and leave on while you nap — and is much more discrete.

Steps 7 and 8: Moisturizer and Massage

Apply a serum or moisturizer once you remove your mask. Dab it on as needed and then began the next step, where you massage the product into your face using circular motions, upward sweeps or light taps (never sweep down). Self-massage is also excellent for circulation, bringing the blood flow to your face so your skin appears brighter, younger and healthier. Any excess can be used to hydrate your hands, or you can always use a separate hand cream.

Step 9: Lip Care

Applying a chapstick or a lip balm often before, during and after flying will ensure your lips stay comfortable and hydrated. You can do this as many times as you want throughout your journey as lips can get very dry on planes — they’re extra susceptible to the recycled air.

Step 10: Essential Oil

My travel skincare routine ends with rubbing an essential oil on my wrists and behind my ears. I use lavender when I prefer to relax and citrus when I need some energy (think: to wake up right before landing). This is a pleasant way to apply a scent that can also have mood-boasting effects, but won’t bother your seatmate like a strong perfume or cologne might. The lavender fragrance is also helpful when my jet lag-induced insomnia kicks in at the hotel after landing.

Continuing to hydrate and moisturize as much as possible for at least 24 hours after your flight will also help your skin and body adapt to a new climate or time zone. Using all or part of these skincare steps during your travels will also help you look more refreshed during and after your entire trip.

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