The Best Flight Skincare, According To Flight Attendants

Ask the experts in air travel.
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Air travel can really suck the moisture out of your skin. Recycled air and low humidity can leave your skin parched and begging for water.

On the flipside, it can kick your oil glands into overdrive as they try to give your skin the moisture it craves. This excess oil can lead to breakouts, large pores and, ultimately, a confused dermis that will need a bit of love to re-balance.

We look very different on our flights… (Credit: Instagram / Kylie Jenner)

However, air travel doesn’t have to mean doom for your skin.

We spoke to cabin crew on Etihad on how they keep their skin prepped and prime despite spending so much of their time in the air. According to them, these are the products you need.

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 by The Ordinary, $14.30

A hydrating serum

Hydration, hydration, hydration. Etihad cabin crew Emma, Brooke and Claire all keep their skin well hydrated before, during and after their flights.

Emma preps her skin with a hydrating serum from The Ordinary, followed by a vitamin C moisturiser and, finally, an SPF.

After your flight, the team recommended face masks with Brooke preferring the TriDation B Express Gel Hydrating Mask by Synergie Skin ($99), and Claire loving the Repair Shop Mask by Go-To ($50).

Fabulous Face Oil by Aesop, $67

A skin oil

A serum with an active moisturising ingredient like hyaluronic acid is a start, but to lock in and reinforce moisture, you may benefit from a facial oil.

Claire recommends Aesop’s Fabulous Face Oil ($67) or Go-To Skincare’s Face Hero ($45).

While these may work for Claire, folks with sensitive skin might benefit from a product without added scents (this includes essential oils).

If you are using a skin oil, also be sure it doesn’t conflict with your sunscreen. (A vital step which we’ll get to…)

Pout Preserve Peptide Lip Treatment by Ole Henriksen, $29

Lip balm

When it comes to combatting the effects of dry cabin air on our skin, we mustn’t neglect our lips!

Emma says a lip balm with peptides is an in-flight must-have. Peptides help boost collagen, as well as smooth and hydrate skin. 

Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+ by La Roche Posay, $35.95


Yes, you need SPF on a plane! Exposure to UVA is potentially higher due to the altitude, the thinning of the atmosphere. Furthermore, The Cut reports while plane glass can block UVB rays, UVA rays can still penetrate.

If you’re using the right SPF, it can also stand-in for a cream moisturiser.

Flight attendant Brooke uses La Roche Posay SPF 50+ as her daily sunscreen. 

Read more: The best facial sunscreens

Extra tips for plane-friendly skincare:

Each member of the crew we spoke to recommended a few extra tips to keep your skin in-check on a flight.

  • Drink plenty of water. Skin health starts from the inside.
  • Avoid too many dehydrating foods and drinks, including diuretics like coffee and tea, or salty and sugary foods. Claire recommends herbal teas. 
  • Avoid skincare ingredients that could dry you out, including harsh alcohols and scented products.
  • Remember there are liquid limits on flights! Ensure any skincare ingredients you take on-board are under 100ml and in a zip-lock bag.

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