What’s not to love about long-haul flights? Puffy eyes, dry skin, chapped lips and cankles for starters. If that wasn’t enough to deter you from a career in aviation, know that flying also causes oxidative stress - hello free radicals and hastened ageing.
You may have spent two weeks in Miami quaffing pressed juice and eating kale, but a few hours on a long-haul and all that good will be undone before you can say ‘vay-cay’. Humans aren’t built to fly, so our skin struggles with the changes of altitude and humidity; but we can offer plenty by way of magical potions to counteract the effects of a long-haul flight.
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We’ve rounded up the products that have truly earned their spot in our grooming mile-high club, so you can step off a lengthy flight with renewed vitality; looking business class when you actually flew cattle class.
Most important: stay moisturised
Planes have only 20% air humidity and our skin needs at least 40% to feel normal.
You may have slapped on the serum and moisturiser, but you’ll need a mid-flight pick-me-up to restore your moisture levels to keep skin soft and supple.
Elemis’ Daily Boost (opens in new tab) is the product you need to wage war on dry skin and win. It has a suede-like texture that feels like it harbours all the hydrating powers you could wish for. Even one application on the ground has your skin feeling noticeably moisturised and supple, add another mid-flight and you’ll have the desired results of baby-soft skin.
Keep your lips supple with lip balm
Cracked, chapped lips say more ‘dessert island survivor’ than ‘five-star getaway’. No-one’s going to greet you with a snog at arrivals if your lips look like dried out blisters. Airplanes are notorious for leaving lips gasping for moisture; a long-lasting lip balm and a bottle of water are your saviours.
Tom Ford’s lip balm (opens in new tab) has the texture of butter and the long-lasting hydrating power of gallons of water. The result is supple, moisturised lips in no time.
Don't let your hands dry out
Your hands aren’t always the first thing that come to mind when thinking of the best grooming products for long haul flights, but the poor humidity in-flight saps the moisture out of your hands leaving them dry and rough like sandpaper.
The travel-size hand cream from L'Occitane (opens in new tab) will save your scaly paws from cracked cuticles and flaking nails. Whilst slightly greasy in texture, a 5p portion size is enough to coat the hands with a film of moisture protection, in the form of shea butter, to keep the dryness at bay. Best to reapply throughout the flight.
Protect your skin from the sun
When you’re thousands of feet above sea level the air is significantly thinner and the sun’s UV rays are significantly more powerful. Those small round windows are doing very little to protect you from this exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
You may feel out of the holiday frame of mind when your plane leaves the tarmac, but your diligent SPF application shouldn’t stop there. When flying you need to pack on a minimum of SPF 20 for the journey, after your face serum.
Keep it light with Murad’s City Skin (opens in new tab) - a potent formulation of SPF50 and antioxidants to combat free radicals and protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. The non-greasy texture soaks in in no time, brightening and nourishing skin thanks to the addition of Vitamins C and E.
Avoid free radicals created when flying
As previously mentioned, flying increases free radicals in your skin leading to oxidative stress. The result is a decrease in cell turnover which causes your skin to age faster. What’s required is an increase in antioxidants and hydration.
Institut Esthederm’s hydrating serum (opens in new tab) is formulated with AHA, a gentle exfoliator, which increases cell turnover and refines your skin’s surface texture. The weightless texture absorbs instantaneously and will help shed your skin of the recycled pollutants in the cabin.
Keep your beard smooth
A beard oil pre-flight and during will keep your wiry face locks silky smooth and prevent the skin beneath it from flaking.
Brisk‘s beard oil (opens in new tab) will slick down hair cuticles to tame your beard, whilst the formulation of essential oils will alleviate dryness on the skin beneath. Subtly scented but nothing too overpowering. Apply pre-flight and top up mid-flight.