Sky High Beauty | Tips On Looking First Class When You’re Feeling Like Economy

By Sophia Fukunishi
13th Aug 2016

Best travel beauty tips

Oh the “glamour” of flying. Herded like cattle onto the plane, trudging past the smug passengers in Business Class with their fancy flat beds, toward the back where you’re packed like sardines into Economy.

Okay, okay, it’s not all bad. If you’re on a plane, you’re probably travelling somewhere awesome like Hong Kong, Tokyo or Queenstown and if you’re flying with an airline (a la Cathay Pacific) that’s got great service, actually edible food and a whole host of in-flight entertainment, it’s actually alright and, dare we say, fun? Plus, if you have a few beauty tricks up your sleeve, you can step off the plane resembling a human who’s had a decent night’s sleep. After all, isn’t that the dream?

What better way to find out how to keep our skin and sanity intact than by talking to someone who flies for a living? We chat to Margaret Lai, a Cathay Pacific flight purser to steal all her beauty tips so that the next time we fly, even if we are flying economy, our skin can feel first class.

Pre-flight Beauty Game

It’s important to up your pre-flight beauty routine in order to prep your skin for the hydration-suck that is an aircraft. They key is to hydrate your skin as much as possible before, during and after the flight. Beauty-wise, Margaret recommends an overnight mask such as Glamglow’s Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment.

Right before applying make up pre-flight, Margaret uses a sheet mask or, if she’s low on time, a quick acting mask to refresh her complexion in five minutes. We love Dr. Ronald Moy’s DNA Renewal Restoring Mask, which instantly awakens the skin and is loaded with enzymes and vitamins E and C.

Stay Hydrated

We all know that the airplane environment can be super dehydrating, so to ensure you don’t turn into a human-sized sultana, Margaret recommends the following:

  • Drink a tonne of water. Aim for about eight cups a day, or at least one litre on a 15 hour flight (before, during and after the flight).
  • As hard as it might be, skip the alcohol as it dehydrates your body and skin.
  • Avoid foods with high levels of sodium—that means lay off the chips, pretzels etc.
  • Use a clear gel or cream mask to keep your face hydrated. We love Skinstitut's Hydrating Mask which keeps our skin looking gorgeous. Margaret avoids sheet masks because they can scare people, however, if you want to go the sheet mask route, remove this after 10-15 minutes as it will start sucking moisture from your skin.

In Flight Skincare

So, you’re looking down the barrel of a multi-hour flight… Think of this as the perfect time to treat yourself to a mini-spa.

Before you start, change into something comfortable (it also helps to keep your outfit fresh). Make sure you wash your hands and then clean your face with cotton pads and a gentle cleanser, or even facial wipes (we recommend Wotnot wipes), and then apply your toner, serum and eye cream.

Sleep is super important, so try and get as much of it as you can. Before you get cosy, apply an overnight hydration mask, preferably an invisible one, and layer on—massage on the first later and wait for it to absorb, then massage on a second, third and fourth layer to lock moisture in.

Half way through the flight, wipe off your products and repeat the process. We know it may seem like a lot of work, but what else are you doing? An hour before the flight lands, wipe off all the product again with a cleanser and prep your skin with a toner, serum and moisturiser like Skinstitut’s Moisture Defence Ultra Dry. Apply some basic make up (we love Lycogel’s breathable tint which gives good coverage but lets the skin breathe) and get changed.

Pro-tip: Don’t wait until too late as the restrooms have a tendency to get crazy busy 30-40 minutes before landing.

Long Haul Make Up

Somehow flight attendants always look fresh, leaving us normal peeps feeling like a haggard mess. To up your make up game, Margaret gives us these hot tips:

  • Use a face primer and eye make-up primer to help make up stay a bit longer.
  • Lipstick finishes the look. While you wouldn’t wear it all flight, it can really wake up your face when you land.
  • Give your skin a good base by cleansing and moisturising well beforehand.
  • Hairspray is your friend—tame flyaway hairs with some hair spray and a few bobby pins.
  • Use a setting spray like Jurlique’s Rosewater Balancing Mist to set your make up (avoid powder as it may make your skin look cakey).

There you have it, some tips and tricks to leave your skin looking amazing as soon as you step off the plane. Now to just book in a holiday…

Cathay Pacific flies to a multitude of international locations from all over Australia. To see where they fly from your city, head here.

Check out our Best of Aussie Beauty for all your home-grown beauty needs .

Image credit: Lumina

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