How to Keep Your Skin Looking Its Best When Flying


There’s something high-flyers Jessica Gomes, Nicole Trunfio, Lara Bingle, Montana Cox, Delta Goodrem and Phoebe Tonkin have in common: great skin. Their secret weapon? Melanie Grant. Red-carpet regulars make a beeline for her eponymous salon in Double Bay, Sydney, to maintain their glow. With her new salon in Armadale, Victoria, and her role as Chanel Australia’s skincare expert, Grant’s “skincare doyenne” status is secure. And with a roster of frequent flyers on her books, Grant knows exactly how they emerge from a long-haul flight looking runway-ready. She lets us in on what to do inflight to keep your skin looking its best.

Keep up your skincare regimen in the air

You should always have a short-haul and a long-haul plan for your skin. Like many of my clients, I do my fair share of flying – regularly between Sydney and Melbourne, as well as international flights. Remember to always wear sunscreen when flying during the day, especially when sitting in a window seat. UV exposure is much greater at higher altitudes. 

Take off your make-up

On long-haul flights, cleanse your skin to remove any make-up and prepare it for serums and hydrators. I always recommend layering an antioxidant serum, to protect your skin from free-radical damage, underneath a heavyweight moisturiser.

Wake up your face

Spritzing your face with a hydrating mist every couple of hours is an easy way to maintain hydration in the air – and it’s incredibly refreshing.

Apply a face mask 

Masks are nutrient-rich and a great skin-boosting treatment. When flying, I recommend hydrating cream masks that can be applied like a moisturiser. They are less conspicuous, work just as well as sheet masks or gel masks and are instantly hydrating – your fellow passengers will be none the wiser.

Up the ante with your moisturiser 

For air travel, it’s important to choose a richer, heavier, more occlusive [which means it helps to prevent moisture loss] moisturiser. By creating a barrier, it protects the skin from drying out and traps valuable moisture.

Layer your serums

An antioxidant serum is a must-have – it protects your skin from free-radical damage – and so is a hydrating serum. These can be layered under, or mixed in with, your moisturiser to boost hydration levels and keep your skin supple and plump. 

Skip the Champagne 

As tempting as it is to have a glass of Champagne or whisky inflight, it’s just not worth it. Swap the alcohol for still water and herbal tea and avoid salty and processed foods. And try to get some shut-eye. Don’t forget to use compression stockings if you’re prone to fluid retention – there’s nothing worse than cankles on arrival!

Cleanse again before landing

Towards the end of your flight, cleanse your face of all masks and balms. For a fresh look, reapply a hydrating serum with a lightweight tinted moisturiser, mascara and a dab of lip balm and eye balm.

Adjust for the climate

For warmer climates, swap your milk or oil cleanser for a gel or AHA cleanser. Switch to lightweight lotions and gels and ensure you’re wearing sufficient sun protection. For colder climates, choose richer, more nourishing creams and swap your active retinol and AHA serums for a restorative face oil. Layer a body oil underneath your body cream and try using a humidifier to replace the moisture in the air and counteract the effects of dry air from heating and air-conditioning.

Rest up

Travel can be exhausting and with the change in time zones, you can miss out on much-needed rest. Sleep is crucial to your body’s restoration cycle: it’s when your skin and body repair and rejuvenate. Invest in a good-quality sleep mask and earplugs for the plane and avoid stimulants such as caffeine before travelling to ensure a better sleep.

Melanie Grant’s must-have

I don’t board a long-haul flight without my humidifying mask. I’ve been using it for a few years and I swear by it. It works to mitigate dehydration inflight by humidifying the air you breathe.

SEE ALSO: The Best Face Masks for Travelling

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