I Did Everything Beauty Editors Say To Do On A Long Haul Flight

Is it possible to get off a plane with better skin than when you got on it? Let's see, shall we?

I have just come back from a whirlwind trip to Switzerland and Italy. A spot of shopping in Turin, some truffles in Piedmont. Driving through the Alps. That kind of thing.

I know, I'm sorry.  If it helps, I hate myself too. And I certainly don't bear any resemblance to Jessica Alba -- not even  a bit. And flying, well I look nothing like her. I'm the one on the left, by the way.

Anyway, because I was doing it over just 10 days, I knew I needed some skincare assistance or I'd get off at the other end looking 50 years older than when I got on.

Here's a photo of me on the plane to make you feel better. Yes, I'm wearing a sheet mask and yes, I'm wayyyyy down the back in economy. Does that help?

Anyway, I read up on what the world's beauty editors did on flights so I could do the same -- my thinking being that instead of the prune-faced dried-up crone with more baggage under her eyes than in the cargo hold who normally steps off a long-haul, I could disembark a floral-fragranced and supple superstar. In fact, my hope was I'd arrive with a better complexion than when I set off.

But did it work?

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Well let's see...

As any good beauty editor will tell you, the first thing you should do when getting on to a plane is remove your makeup and moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. You should also not drink any alcohol. Hahah, I laughed. One of those things was not going to happen and it wasn't the moisturising one either. I live for an inflight gin and tonic.

I removed my makeup pronto, almost as soon as the "Fasten Seatbelts" sign went off. The poor woman next to me was just reaching for her headphones and already I was using my micellar wipes with gay abandon.

Once I was cleansed it was time for part two.  The gin.

Only kidding.

A face spray.

You see, the plane environment is very drying for the skin so it's crucial, if you do want to stay hydrated, that you apply moisture regularly and protect your skin from the ravages of air travel.

So I used this:

And it was a winner. According to a press release about it, Alpha H Daily Essential Vitamin Mist ($50) shields the face from pollution and environmental aggressors, contains an antioxidant vitamin ABCDE complex, cureberry and pollushield to support the skin’s natural defences, whilst rose, bitter orange and witch hazel invigorate the complexion, to leave it feeling dewy and refreshed. I spritzed it on throughout the flight. It also smells pretty darn good.

Moisturiser next and I'd read that rich creams were best as they form a barrier between the skin and the disgusting old air inside a plane. I feel queasy just thinking about it. I used La Mer Moisturizing Cream ($242) which is pricey --yes -- but very moisturising, and every beauty editor worth their salt scrub swears by it. And you don't need much.

So, moisturised and delicately fragranced I could relax for a while. I watched five episodes of Brooklyn 99 if you're interested.

But not before I had sanitised everything I could find. Research has shown that the tray table for example, is the dirtiest place on a plane.

Website sent a microbiologist to take 26 samples in the US and according to the lab results, the airplane tray table was the dirtiest of all the locations and surfaces they tested. Tested tray tables were found to have an average of 2,155 colony-forming units (CFUs) per square inch.

I'll just leave that there.

I didn't have anything industrial to work with -- but I did use this Dr Bronner's hand sanitiser, ($7.95) every time I touched anything. I'd read about it on a number of beauty blogs and was keen on it for price and organicness alone.  An added bonus being that it smells so deliciously of lavender it blocked out the smell of the man next to me who seemed to have run a marathon several years ago and then decided to give up showering.

Next up, a sheet mask. Now, most beauty blogs I read suggested that a mask was a crucial step in the airborne beauty process. And I knew it would be a good thing to do -- the benefits of these masks getting actives into the skin and helping moisturise are well documented. But I knew I would look like this.

Or this:

And yep. A little from column A and a little from column B.

I use La Mer The Treatment Lotion Hydrating Mask, $180 for 6. And I actually believe that this is what saved my skin overall.

Yes I looked like a total loser/serial killer and I scared a number of other passengers / embarrassed myself totally but hey, all in the name of research right? But just eight minutes in this little baby and my skin was like that of a newborn. A newborn what I don't know, but a newborn nonetheless.

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And yep, I had a gin, fear not, to get through the hardship of looking like that.

Miracle worker right here. Image: La Mer

Okay so once the mask was off and everyone had calmed back down, I reapplied a layer of moisturiser -- this time I used Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream, $99  because I use it normally and it's both super moisturising AND good under makeup, and a lip balm -- I used Alpha H's Absolute Lip Perfector $32, recommended by a beauty ed friend.

Just before I got off the plane I also used an eye cream.

It was then I found my second great find of the flight. Well, third, if you count the fact that I could get doubles of gin if I asked nicely.


It's an eye cream and brightener in one, and by god it's a miracle worker. The Sampar Paris The Impossible Eye Care Pen, $49 brightens the eye area and actively works to reduce lines and plump up the eye bags. After 22 hours in the air, this little beauty meant I actually looked like I had slept instead of just sat there stewing as marathon man wafted. It also looked less like I had a 32 kg eyebag allowance and more like dainty carry on under there.

I reapplied my makeup in the toilet before landing, spritzed the face spray a few more times, and popped on some mascara. I may have been crumpled, creased and covered in food but goddam my skin looked AMAZEBALLS.

So, was it worth it. Hellz yeah, I would do it all again -- even the sheet mask -- because for once when I arrived at my destination I didn't look like my face was falling off, I wasn't searched and not one single child ran screaming from me (yep, okay, they did that in the plane.)


Feature image: Instagram/ Claireisaac/Jessica Alba