Travel skincare: how to take care of your skin on flights

By Kens Apothecary

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Like us, you probably love to travel and discover beautiful new cities and idyllic seaside resorts.

But — like us — your skin probably doesn’t enjoy the flying so much.

Airplane cabin air is known for turning skin upside down, leaving it dry, tight and downright unhappy. Not exactly the best way to touch down on a holiday, is it?

That’s why we’ve designed the inflight skincare routine below that includes a handy carry-on packing list. This simple routine can be done in your seat after you’ve gotten comfy and buckled your seat belt.

Take care of your skin while flying and you’ll arrive feeling energised and looking radiant.


1. Cleanse hands and face

Carry-on: antibacterial wet wipes or hand sanitiser, cotton pads, micellar water (transfer to a smaller bottle if your products are over 100ml)

First things first: make sure your hands are clean. Pack wet wipes or hand sanitiser and only touch your face with clean hands and fingers.

Travel skincare long flights - Ren micellar water

Pack micellar water in your carry-on to cleanse your face without needing to rinse off. [Image: Ren]

Wipe off makeup and dirt with micellar water like the
Ren Rosa Centifolia 3-in-1 Cleansing Water. A British Tatler award winner, this detergent-free cleanser doesn’t need rinsing off, and is formulated to soothe skin without stripping it dry.

Similarly, the Caudalie Micellar Water is made with clean ingredients and free from sulphates and parabens. Soap-free and fuss-free, it soothes and moisturises all skin types.


2. Hydrate, inside and out

Carry-on: a hydrating booster, face mist, empty water bottle

We cannot emphasise enough just how important it is to stay hydrated when you’re on a flight, especially if it’s longer than 4 hours (The Aerospace Medical Association recommends drinking 250ml of water for every hour of flying).

Keep it easy for yourself by bringing an empty water bottle on board and asking the flight attendant for refills. Avoid drinking alcohol and coffee when flying — these diuretics will only cause more dehydration.

Spritz on a hydrating face mist like the popular Caudalie Grape Water to reduce sensitivity in skin. Spray it on throughout your flight for a refreshing burst of hydration.

Cabin air has lower oxygen levels and its drying effects show up quickly on the skin.

Travel skincare on long flights - Omorovicza Oxygen Boost for hydration

Cabin air tends to dry out the skin; treat it with a hydrating booster that can be mixed with your moisturiser. [Image: Omorovicza]

Combat dry skin with a powerful shot of liquid oxygen by mixing one or two drops of the Omorovicza Oxygen Booster with your moisturiser. Suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin, your complexion will instantly feel hydrated.

3. Seal with moisture

Carry-on: eye mask/cream, face moisturiser

With last-minute packing and rushing about just before a flight, it’s no wonder most of us are prone to puffy, tired eyes when we fly.

Consider your long haul flight a chance to pamper those peepers with a nourishing eye sheet mask like the antioxidant-rich Talika Eye Decompress. Place it over eyes for 10 minutes to banish puffiness and dark circles then use its excess lotion to double as eye cream.

Travel skincare for long flights - Grown Alchemist moisturiser

Pack a non-greasy moisturiser that will soak into the skin and seal in moisture. [Image: Grown Alchemist]

Regardless of your skin type, your skin needs extra moisture to protect against low humidity in recirculated cabin air.

For oily and combination skin, look for a non-greasy moisturiser like the Grown Alchemist Hydra Repair Day Cream that will strengthen the skin barrier while balancing sebum levels.

Dry skin types can opt for richer creams like the Ren Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream for instant restoration and comfort.


4. Pack the essential extras

Carry-on: lip balm, hand cream, tinted moisturiser

Your lips and hands can quickly feel the brunt of dehydrating cabin air, especially if those areas are already prone to dryness under normal conditions.

Keep lips hydrated by applying a nourishing lip balm like the Caudalie Lip Conditioner, made with essential oils and antioxidants.

For hands that feel soft, reach for a rich hand cream like the Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer and apply throughout your flight.

Before it’s time to land, freshen up so you’ll feel energised when you arrive.

If you’ve been flying for 8 hours or more, giving your face another wipe with micellar water can be refreshing to perk up your senses.

Travel skincare on long flights - tinted moisturiser

Before you land, apply a tinted moisturiser to even out skin tone. [Image: Caudalie]

Want to even out your skin tone without slathering on foundation or a full makeup routine?

Apply the oil-free Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Tinted Moisturiser SPF20 to cover any imperfections for a clear complexion. With built-in sun protection, this will keep your carry-on beauty kit lightweight while doing triple duty to moisturise, provide light coverage and protect.


5. Check-in your other beauty must-haves

Check-in: hair care, body care, face treatments, sun protection

Lighten your carry-on luggage by only packing in-flight beauty essentials. For everything else, pack it in your check-in luggage so your skin stays happy while you’re on holiday.

If you have blemish-prone skin, pack a treatment like the Malin + Goetz Acne Treatment Nighttime for overnight results.

On the night of your arrival, applying a hydrating mask like Ren Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask before going to bed can help your skin adjust to a new climate and bounce back from travel stress.

Pack a travel-size kit of shampoo and conditioner to keep hair healthy.[Image: Sachajuan]

If you’re sensitive to hotel shampoo, conditioner and body wash, then consider packing your own travel-sized kits. Some hotel amenities can be highly-fragranced and full of harsh chemicals, leading to dry and irritated skin.

In your check-in luggage, pack the Sachajuan Ocean Mist travel-size shampoo, conditioner and leave-in spray for healthy hair that’s easy to style without being weighed down.

For body care, the Ren Atlantic Kelp travel-size body wash, body lotion and bath oil are all free from parabens and chemicals, with anti-fatigue oils that lift the spirits.

SPF is a must-have, whether you’re travelling for business or leisure. If you’re going to be out in the sun a lot (hello, beach holiday!) pack the oil-free and waterproof Jack Black Sun Guard Sunscreen SPF45 and apply liberally.


Come by to KENSapothecary stores and try out these travel-friendly beauty essentials before your next flight.

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