Scattered across the globe are a number of truly extraordinary, uniquely beautiful, and some nearly incomprehensible landmarks. These destinations, along with scores of historic and famous cities, create some of the largest volumes of traffic—in the sky. While it would be convenient for the wonders of the world to be a short drive apart, their widespread and sometimes remote locations will eventually (or, for more frequent travelers, often) find us anticipating a long-haul flight. You know the ones: questionable meals, transatlantic passage, and certain disorientation when all is said and done.
Unless you’ve got an incredibly reliable sleep aid and a red-eye flight, you most likely view these long-haul flights the same way most do: a “necessary evil.” The destination makes the journey worth it, but when the journey has us looking and feeling less than our best come destination time, excitement can quickly be replaced by self-consciousness and discomfort.
While we may consider flying to be extremely commonplace and typically unremarkable these days, it is still a true marvel that takes us 35,000 ft. above our natural habitat—and there are consequences that come along with the opportunity to travel in this way. Thankfully, these consequences, or side effects, are, generally speaking, quite mild to our bodies. These issues will also usually heal themselves in time, but it’s a lengthy process that can seriously put a damper on travel plans and leave us feeling sluggish, sleepy, bloated, and wishing we had a magic wand.
Science, the glorious thing that it is, has provided explanations for why simply sitting still through a flight can make us feel and look so wiped out, and there are actually a number of reasons. Both the interior and exterior environments of aircraft, while flying, contribute to the changes our bodies undergo while we cruise through the clouds. Low humidity, low air pressure, and salty foods are among the factors that contribute to dehydration, the top element threatening our plan to disembark our flights looking flawless. Close proximity to strangers’ germs and noisy distractions can lead to illness or sleepiness, as well.
With all of the variables working against us, it’s not a bad idea to prepare a plan to fight back and protect ourselves.
Planning, by the way, is one of the most important things you can do, surrounding travel, to reduce stress; stress plays a huge part in how we look and feel after a flight, so make plans both to avoid stress as best as possible accept that there will be some stressful moments when traveling, no matter what you do. Regardless, looking fresh when you reach your destination after a long-haul flight is not just about what you do on the plane. It starts with how you handle and plan for your trip, your ride to the airport and potential traffic, lines and delays, crowds, cancellations, and your patience before take-off. To assure a problem-free flight, pack smart, keep important items (phone, passport, ID, ticket or e-ticket, charger, etc.) together, create accommodations and safeguards for any medical needs, and avoid salty foods and foods that might cause indigestion. Give yourself plenty of time to get to and from your checkpoints, and be ready to roll with the punches from thereon out.
As mentioned earlier, even just sitting still at a high altitude is extremely dehydrating. Dry air conditions in flight are the biggest contributing factor to changes with your body that will impact how you look and feel post-flight. As such, be sure to drink lots of water. Bring your own, empty water bottle through airport security and fill it up on the other side. Hydrate often throughout your long-haul flight to keep your skin moisturized and your body loose. Chapstick, oils, and lotions are also great ways to prevent your skin and lips from drying and cracking.
When it comes to your skin, wearing little to no makeup is definitely optimal on a long-haul flight. Although, if you are someone who just can’t leave home without your best full-coverage foundation, you may want to invest in a second dry-skin foundation to apply on travel day to really help lock that moisture in as much as possible so that your makeup still looks fresh on the other side. And don’t forget to set that face with a lot of spray if you are in full glam. Long-haul flights are often a prime time to sleep and get on a better schedule for your destination, so the last thing you need is some drool or a pillow case smudging your look.
Another key factor to look lively and well when you land is to be comfortable throughout the duration of the flight. One method of being comfortable is to keep tight-fitting clothing out of the equation. Due to the elevation and the seated position, circulation is reduced during flight, making it important to give your limbs as much freedom as possible, especially on a long-haul flight. This applies not only to clothing but also to getting up every once in a while to stimulate blood flow and avoid sleeping arms and legs.
Don’t forget the facets of comfort that include whatever you plan to do en route to your destination, either. Equip yourself with noise-canceling headphones, a blindfold, a neck pillow, music, or other accessories you might need to sleep. Noisy neighbors, talkative seatmates, and window glare can all ruin a good, healthy beauty plan.
Before landing, or when taxiing, you can give yourself a little extra vivacity with some dots of concealer where needed, a slightly tinted lip, and curled eyelashes. A pass or three of mascara is not necessary, as the curled lashes will already open up the eyes, but it’s an easy addition if you prefer it. Baby powder can be used in place of a dry spray shampoo to avoid a greasy hair fiasco. Baby wipes can be used to cool and deodorize armpits (or to remove deodorant marks from clothing, if you pack a stick in your carryon).
So, you may not have expected it, but staying hydrated and comfortable (physically and mentally) are truly the most critical beauty travel tips for a long-haul flight. We need to give our bodies a little extra special attention and care as they endure our dreamy travels, and in return, they will ensure we don’t look or feel like we’ve traveled at all. Remember to keep calm and make good choices for your body leading up to, during, and just after your long-haul flight. Actively engage your muscles and body to increase your blood flow and circulation once or twice an hour during your flight. Freshen up your armpits, brush your teeth, and apply a little bit of brightening makeup and you’ll be confident and ready to effectively live your way through the first portion of magic at your faraway destination.