The Ultimate Beauty Essential Checklist For Long-Haul Flights
11 minutes read
While heading to far–flung destinations will always feel glamorous, the reality of long–haul flights (parched skin and compression socks) can often tell a different story. But fret not, Beauty Daily has compiled all the long-haul flight essentials you need to practically power through the airport and arrive at your destination looking and feeling fresh.
Before you even set foot on your flight, make travelling through the airport as smooth as possible by:
- double checking your itinerary and travel paperwork – if you’re an anxious traveller, printing out copies of important documents can provide some reassurance
- taking pictures of your passport and credit cards and emailing them to yourself so the details are safely stored
- checking the Gov website for any travel requirements your destination has in place
- utilising online check-in and bag-drop facilities at the airport to avoid unnecessary queueing at the check-in desk
- keeping a hand-luggage list on your phone, ensuring you never leave a pesky charging cable at home again
Long-haul flight key essentials
A wireless flight adaptor
Plugging into the entertainment system on a long-haul flight is a joy whatever your age, but the free headphones distributed by cabin crew are not often up to scratch when it comes to sound quality, and they can be uncomfortable, too. That’s why you should treat yourself to a wireless flight adaptor.
This handy Bluetooth adaptor means you can use your own headphones to watch the latest J.Lo movie without wires getting in the way.
If you’re prioritising shut eye, a pair of ear plugs will help you forget you’re airborne.
WUTAN Ear Plugs For Sleeping, £18.99
Wutan’s silicone variety can be shaped into the curves of your ear, meaning they won’t slip out mid-kip.
These lightweight devices take up a sliver of room in your hand luggage. Some models can hold a vast library and have a long battery life, adjustable light and a larger display for comfort. Plenty to keep you occupied no matter how many delays you run into. However, traditionalists may prefer their papery predecessor!
Dozing off slumped against a stranger’s shoulder isn’t nice for anyone – sink into a comfy travel pillow instead.
This memory foam pillow provides the comfort needed to nod off and will support your neck muscles, so you don’t wake up feeling sore.
To further aid sleep in a less than ideal environment, melatonin (a hormone that helps control your sleep patterns) supplements can help you drift off.
Read next: How To Sleep In Hot Weather
When we wake up, the first thing most of us want to reach for is a toothbrush, but if the toilet queue is long or you’ve overslept, reaching for a piece of gum can help you feel fresher until you get to the terminal. It also helps with the irritating ear popping that can strike when planes come in to land.
It’s no rumour that flying can leave you susceptible to getting sick. This is because the humidity levels in the cabin are lower, and the drier air can affect your mucus levels – an important part of your immune system. In fact, one study showed that people are 113 times more likely to catch the common cold on a flight. So, be sure to pack some disinfectant wipes and give your seat, table and arm rest a good once-over before settling in. For inspiration, see Naomi Campbell’s now-iconic pre-flight routine here.
The toilet paper on planes can often be of poor quality so a pack of tissues can come in very handy, plus they can be used as an emergency toilet seat cover or when the sniffles strike.
Packing an empty water bottle bypasses the liquid restrictions at security and allows you to fill up for free at airport water fountains.
Vapur Eclipse Outdoor Bottle, £18.87
This clever bottle folds up when empty so it won’t take up precious space in your bag or in the cabin.
The markup on food and drinks purchased in the air can be eye-watering, and unless you’re flying in the extreme lap of luxury, airline offerings don’t tickle the tastebuds like a stash of your pre-chosen favourite snacks will.
Long-haul flight beauty and skincare essentials
Experts recommend cleansing your skin as soon as you take off, this is because the air on planes can dry and crack your makeup. However, a full double cleanse in an aeroplane toilet is anything but ideal, so invest in a genius no-water cleansing solution such as Thisworks In Transit No Traces, £18 cleansing pads or Omorovicza Peachy Micellar Cleansing Pads, £45.
These convenient pads are 100% biodegradable and strong enough to remove all traces of make-up, dirt and pollution without damaging the skin’s pH balance.
Unsurprisingly, the lower humidity levels in cabin air also wreaks havoc with your hydration, which is why your skin can feel parched and thirsty post-flight. The Aerospace Medical Association suggest that you should consume around 240ml of water every hour that you’re in the air. While this might mean more frequent trips to the bathroom, this is no bad thing as it’ll boost your circulation.
When it comes to your skin, it’s simple: pile on the hydrating products. Pack a rich thirst-quenching cream like this one, brimming with hyaluronic acid, organic lead of life extract and organic shea butter.
Add a facial spritz such as Biossance Squalane and Hyaluronic Toning Mist, £25 for regular top-ups to help minimise tightness.
Gone are the days when wearing a sheet mask in public would garner bemused stares, so you may as well embrace it. Of course, you need to check whether your sheet masks are eco friendly. Or try Clarins SOS Hydration Mask, £33, it’s as close to a professional facial you can get at home (or in the air).
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Rather than thinking of your products as individuals, when flying, it’s best to consider the unit as a whole. Mists and moisturisers alone can’t tackle the drying effects of flying; your skincare needs to work together to win this dehydration war. Bringing in the big guns, like the best-selling Double Serum, £82, will boost the moisturising properties of your other chosen products.
Double Serum, £82
Full of powerful plant extracts, this hydrating serum will help keep your skin hydrated all flight long.
The delicate skin under the eye can feel the pinch of dehydration harder than other areas of the face. Counteract with a reusable eye mask paired with a hydrating product like Total Eye Contour Gel, £36 and Dieux Skin Forever Eye Masks – Dieux Classic, £22.
Don’t forget your feet
Water retention is an unwanted side effect of flying, with many of us departing the cabin with heavy and swollen legs and feet. That’s why specialised leg creams have found their way into many people’s beauty essentials for long-haul flights.
This energising emulsion is heaven for tired legs and feet. It’s packed with calming camomile, basil, sage, cypress and other moisturising ingredients to relax, tone, and rev-up those legs ready for landing.
An interesting study in 2014 found that aeroplane windows don’t completely block UV radiation, so we’d always advise keeping your trusty SPF in your hand luggage. It’ll also be handy if you are immediately exposed to the elements when you disembark.
Before you even set foot on the plane, think about what you are planning to eat and drink. An airport Prosecco is ritual for many of us but both alcohol and caffeine affect your sleep. Big and rich meals will also disrupt your rest and can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable.
An indulgent oil
Just because you’re 30,000 feet in the air doesn’t mean all luxury needs to be left on sturdier ground. A few deep inhalations of de Mamiel Altitude Oil will soothe and revive, clear your mind, and boost your energy levels.
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What to wear on a long-haul flight
Comfort is undoubtedly key when flying and Jigsaw’s herringbone offering provides the elasticated waistband and soft fabric required, plus the effortless elegance desired.
Keep feet toasty warm with Genevieve Sweeney’s gloriously colourful cashmere bed socks. For some people, compression socks to prevent swelling are a must, but believe it or not there are some discreet and even chic options out there, courtesy of The Compression Sock Shop.
Regulating your temperature on a plane can be tricky, and a sumptuous wrap like this one can be worn as a scarf when it’s chillier and used as a blanket while sleeping.
A sleep mask
A sleep mask is a flight essential, and rightfully billed as the world’s most luxurious offering, Drowsy Sleep Co’s double padded silk mask is gloriously squishy.
A false-lash-friendly sleep mask
Eyelash extensions find their nemesis in a sleeping mask which, generally speaking, will crush and displace delicate lashes. Enter Slip’s Contour Sleep Mask whose clever design means it sits away from your eyes, ensuring your lashes aren’t compromised.
When deciding what to take on a long-haul flight, we can’t recommend noise-cancelling headphones enough. This comfy pair from Bang & Olufsen’s will block out unwanted noises from the whirring engine to the prolific snorer in Row C.
Long-haul flight tips
Pre-pack your liquids
Purchasing your own clear, resealable bag will prevent inevitable leakages from the free and somewhat-shoddy, offerings at airport security. And having your liquids separately packed in advance will save precious time.
Consider airport hotels
They’re not as grim as you might imagine, with The Sheraton Skyline at Heathrow and Doubletree by Hilton at Newcastle Airport even offering a touch of luxury on the eve of your trip. Taking away the pressure of arriving to the airport in sufficient time for very early flights can be a great comfort.
Pick your seat
Apparently, window seats above the wing experience the least turbulence, meaning a smoother flight. Meanwhile, those with longer legs should plump for the Emergency Exit row with its much-coveted extra leg room.
Arrive at night
Anyone who has experienced jet lag can testify that it can decimate the first few days of a trip. To help ease into a new time zone, try a flight that arrives at night. That way you can relax and unwind without feeling pressure to seize the day only to end up falling asleep in your lunch. Plus, it’ll give you a chance to immediately catch up on any rest you missed out on while flying.
Adapt to your new time zone
It’s estimated that it takes around one hour per day of time difference to adapt to a new time zone, so the further you fly, the worse the recovery. Start trying to adjust to your new time zone before you even leave for the airport, adapting the times that you sleep and wake up, and scheduling your meals accordingly. It can all help soothe jet lag on arrival.
Have essentials in your carry on
Everyone knows someone scarred by a holiday overshadowed by lost luggage — forced to saunter around the pool in an airline t-shirt for three days. Don’t let yourself suffer the same fate by packing underwear and other essentials in your hand luggage.
Download podcasts, playlists, TV shows and movies to give you much-needed things to do on a long flight. Plus, offline maps for your destination often come in handy.
Bring a pen
Having a pen on a flight is mighty useful when filling in Passenger Locator forms or other paperwork handed out by the cabin crew. Plus, you’ll be popular with your fellow fliers, many of whom will need to borrow it.
Go left when making your way through security as, interestingly, studies have shown that the majority of people will plump for the right.
Can you take lip balm on a plane?
Can you take electronics with batteries on a plane?
According to the Gov website you can only take certain electronic devices and electrical items on flights, including mobile phones, laptops, straighteners, and electric shavers. Electronic toothbrushes are a little trickier, with no universal guidelines offered. Your best bet is to check with your individual airline before flying.