The Best In-Flight Skincare Routine to Arrive at Your Destination looking Fabulous / by Didier Young

As we all know by now, I am a bit of a skincare junkie and I love trying out new products and adding them to my ever-growing skincare routine. Even though my friends love to tease me about my skincare addiction, it’s something that I am very proud of. Skin is the biggest organ in the human body and it is the one that is the most prone to external damage, not only from scraps and bruises but also from environment factors like the sun and pollution. Although our cells regenerate every month, we do not have a second skin to shed (in the literal sense) and as such it is very important to take care of it and to pamper it as much as possible. 

While I do have a fairly extensive skincare regiment at home, it’s a different story whenever I need to travel. As someone who tries to board a plane with just a carry-on, I have learned to be very selective with the products that I bring with me both in terms of sizing and in usage. I have written about my favourite travel sized products before but today, I’d like to address another category of travel products: in-flight skincare. It’s not a category that is always very apparent to most people and it is very understandable. Whenever you’re flying, especially if you’re in economy, there’s barely any space to move let alone a sink to wash your face in properly. However I am sure that we can all agree that our skin never behaves quite the same after we take a flight right? Here’s the good news: one doesn’t need a sink to cleanse anymore, nor do you need to carry around a full vanity to be able to achieve a quick pamper session on the plane. You could literally go for as little as three products on the plane but trust me, your skin will thank you for it.


The obvious first step would be to cleanse. One of the main skin issues on a plane would be dehydration and if you are a makeup user, you probably finish off your routine with a setting powder. The way a powder works is that it sucks out the oiliness in your makeup and skin to give it a mate finish. Unfortunately that also means that in an environment that’s already dry, your powder is just helping to dehydrate your skin further. If you are not a makeup user, that still doesn’t excuse you from not cleansing! By cleansing out your skin and unclogging it at the surface, you’ll allow the products that you’ll be applying afterwards to penetrate your skin better and working to the best of their potential. Since we do not have a water source readily available, the two best options would be a micellar water or makeup remover wipes. Neutrogena makes some of the best makeup remover wipes out there and they have a fairly new travel-friendly version that consists of individually wrapped single use wipes.They are super easy to use and definitely a lot more compact than bringing a full pack of wipes (they are also alcohol free which is something that you should always be looking for in the ingredient list). Another great option is my absolutely favourite micellar water in the world from Bioderma. The Bioderma Sensible H2O cleanses and removes makeup super easily with the help of a soaked cotton pad and it also comes in a very convenient 100ml bottle which will clear security at the airport. It is also formulated for sensitive to intolerant skin and it is suitable for people with redness, sensitivity and allergic issues.

Serum & Hydration

Since we are travelling light and focussing on key products, we will skip the toner (scandalous I know) but make sure to bring your serum! Since the focus is hydration here, you might want to opt for one with a good dose of hyaluronic acid in it. This acid basically draws and locks in moisture which will enable your skin to retain hydration. The good news is that since hyaluronic acid has been the talk of the town for a while now, it is available in pretty much every serum these days. However, I do have some favourites. My ultimate favourite remains Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II which I use religiously at night. The brand has recently released a new version that rescues and resets the look of skin even faster: Advanced Night Repair Intense Reset Concentrate. It is meant to be used after the Advanced Night Repair Serum, soothes irritation within an hour and fortifies the skin amongst other things. The concentrate also contains 15X concentrated hyaluronic acid in a multi-molecular weight complex so you are sure to be VERY hydrated after using this. Another great option is Esthederm’s Intensive Hyaluronic Serum which is meant for both day and night and it immediately moisturizes, leaving my skin supple and comfortable. If you’d like any additional hydration, you could finish it off with a moisturizer but I usually skip it in favour of the next product that I will mention.


Yup, I’m sure that you didn’t see this one coming. Sunscreen is a very important step that we should all be taking daily but that we often skip. I know that we all love the sun but it doesn’t always love us back as it can be the cause of skin cancer and the rapid aging of our skin. While it is true that we are fairly well covered when we step on a plane, we are also a lot closer to the sun which means potential harsher exposure. I recently discovered Alumier MD’s Sheer Hydration Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF40 which is paraben, sulfate, phthalate, chemical sunscreen filter, artificial fragrance and animal cruelty free. It is also reef-safe (which means that it doesn’t contain oxybenzone or octinoxate which can cause coral bleaching) which is something that you should consider if you are going to a destination where you will most likely be swimming in the ocean. However if you were to head to a city destination instead, a product with chemical sunscreen also does the trick. Esthederm’s Sun Ultimate cream SPF30 may not be reef-safe but it is still offers great protection (don’t go any less than SPF30 with any sunscreen guys), a beautiful lighter texture and most of all, no white cast which is very important if picture taking is on the agenda. Both sunscreens are fantastic and they offer hydration along with sun protection which is key if you are not planning on bringing an extra day cream with you due to space constraints. 


If you guys have no issues being seen in public with a mask on, doing a sheet mask on the plane can also be a fantastic option! Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Powerfoil Mask might make you look like the Tin Man but the foil helps the product to penetrate fast and deep within the skin’s surface and thus leaving you with fresh looking skin within ten minutes. If you are looking for something a little more inconspicuous, Advanced Night Repair also has a concentrated Recovery Eye mask which goes right under the eyes and is packed full of the iconic serum. It is one of my favourite eye masks on the market and it always leaves me looking refreshed and like I had a full-night sleep. One last option would be a hydrating mask similar to Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Sleeping mask or Summer Friday’s Jet lag which are very similar in texture to moisturizers and may be left on the face without having to be washed off.

And there you go! As you can see, an in-flight skincare routine can be as easy as 1-2-3 but it can make a world of difference to your skin. I used to get off the plane with dull looking skin but ever since I’ve been doing a routine, I always land looking like a million bucks. I still feel very jet lagged though and that is definitely not something that’s as easy to remedy.