I Tried a Beauty Editor’s 8-Part Flight Routine—This Product Actually Worked
I have a mild obsession with watching aeroplane beauty tutorials. There's just something so soothing about the methodical way skincare experts follow a mid-flight routine, then arrive at their destination looking fresh-faced, as if they have emerged from a five-star spa treatment rather than a 10-hour red-eye. Products tumble out of their carry-on as comically as a clown car routine, and before you know it, they have applied no less than 15 serums, masks, lotions, and potions to their plump, dewy skin. It makes for great Instagram fodder—but does a lengthy in-flight beauty routine actually work?
With a boarding pass from New York to Rome in hand, I decided to find out. Referencing the detailed skincare routines of beauty experts like Eleanor Pendelton and Byrdie's editorial director Faith Xue, I packed the products they swear by and noted the various order each item was applied. Here's what happened when I tried an edited nine-part travel skincare routine, and the product that made me a convert.
Step 1: Hand Sanitiser
Airplane tray tables have more than eight times the amount of bacteria per square inch than a toilet flush button, TravelMath found, so it's important to clean your hands before applying products to your face. I start with Byredo's rinse-free handwash, a gentle product that's moisturising and has an amazing scent. This is certainly more luxurious than your typical hand sanitiser, but it does make economy feel a bit more special.
Step 2: Make Up Wipes
Most beauty and skincare experts recommend packing face wipes for easy cleansing on the go. These Neutrogena wipes are a great travel pick—they are hydrating, gentle, and don't leave skin sticky.
Step 3: Sheet Mask
I was most nervous about this part of the routine. Byrdie's editorial director Faith Xue swears by this jelly sheet mask to hydrate her skin, but given I was flying in coach, not business, I was definitely self-conscious about applying a mask. As soon as the lights dimmed, I slipped on the translucent product and waited for 15 minutes. As the temperature dropped on the plane it had a cooling effect and I was surprised by how hydrating it was. Next time, if I were to only pack one product for a long haul flight, this would be it.
Step 4: Serum
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare C+ Collagen Brighten & Firm Vitamin C Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL ($114)
Next up: serum. Vitamin C helps brighten skin and I like that Dr. Dennis Gross' formula is lightweight and sinks in quickly. In hindsight, I probably didn't need to apply this straight after the mask, which was also super hydrating. Next time, I'd reach for one or the other.
Step 5: Moisturiser
This moisturiser is light but dewy, and is packed with squalane to nourish dehydrated plane-skin.
Step 6: Lip Balm
My lips always get dry and cracked on planes and I've struggled to find a product that stands up to cabin conditions. I discovered Lanolips via a beauty editor friend and was pleasantly surprised by how effective it was. It promises "powerful hydration," and when I woke up from a two-hour sleep, my lips were still glossy and plump.
Step 7: Eye Mask
I prefer to use this eye mask over the ones they provide on planes. It's made from high-grade silk, which doesn't cause friction or "drag" skin like cotton does. There are no crease marks on my face when I wake from my nap.
Step 8: Tinted Moisturiser
Upon landing, I've been told a little tinted moisturiser never goes astray. This option from Charlotte Tilbury gives skin a healthy glow too, so it's great for seaside vacations.