In-Flight Beauty Regimen

I haven't always been that diligent about skincare. It wasn't until I hit my mid-20s that I started taking skincare much more seriously. I think it's because I had moderate acne in my teens and it kind of felt like no matter what I did, I couldn't clear up my skin and then when I turned 20 it sort of cleared up on its own and then I felt like queen of the world because my skin was clear and my youth gave me rose-colored glasses.

Fast-forward five years and I realized that I needed to start taking care of my skin if I wanted it to keep looking fresh and youthful. That's when I started getting interested in Korean skincare trends, pricier miracle products, and building my own routine.
And now that I take skincare much more seriously, I've gotten into the habit of more seriously pampering my skin all the time, and that includes during air travel.

The first thing I do after I've stowed my luggage and settled into my seat is I'll grab a pack of antibacterial wipes and wipe down my arm rest, tray table, window shade, and anything else in my area that's likely to harbor germs and that I'm likely to touch. Even though I appreciate the cabin crew for keeping me safe on flights, I don't exactly expect them to deep clean the planes.

Cleaning the seat serves a couple of purposes. It helps to get rid of germs and bacteria and other nastiness that previous travelers have left behind (I'm looking at you, person with no manners whose parents never taught to cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze). It also deodorizes the space, which makes for a more pleasing environment.

I also like to have wet wipes and hand sanitizer handy. After I wipe down my space with Clorox, I'll use a wet wipe to clean my hands and finish off with some hand sanitizer. Now you have a clean environment and clean hands, which is important if you're planning on eating and drinking throughout the flight.

And, even though you shouldn't touch your face in general (unless you like smearing your delicate skin with germs), at least if you accidentally do, you've done so in a sanitized environment.
That last bit leads me to my next rule: try not to touch your face! It will spread germs which will likely lead to breakouts. That being said, the actions played out in Step #1 will help to abate the legions of germs marching around and the consequences should be less severe.
I don't like to wear makeup when I'm traveling. There's just no point; after all, who am I trying to impress? Instead, I like to do my full on skincare routine prior to leaving the house to really pamper and nourish my skin as much as possible.

Once I'm on board, I'll use a face wipe to clean off my skin. It's not as ideal as a wash basin, but the water in the airplane restrooms is non-potable, which means it's not ideal either. But the face wipe allows me to clean my face without my actual hands touching my skin, so it helps me to abide by Rule #2. I like doing this since I plan on sleeping on flights and when you sleep, your skin is working to restore itself, which is best done when it's clean. Even if you washed your face at home, you likely picked up some grime and dust en route to the airport and as you walked through the airport itself.

By the way, I do always wash my face and brush my teeth in the airport restroom prior to boarding, but I find that I feel fresher to use a wipe and it's perfect prep for Step #4.

Once my skin is cleaned, I'll put on a face mask within the first hour of the flight. In the past, I've been too shy to use sheet masks so I've used moisturizing cream masks. However, because the cream masks require dirtying up my hands (and also dirtying up my face with my dirty hands) and sometimes they require rinsing, it can be inconvenient. So, I've decided to no longer give any fucks about scaring others with a sheet mask face. Plus, sheet masks are super portable and don't take up precious space in my 3-1-1 toiletries bag.

Starting early with a mask really locks in whatever moisture is already in your skin before it's evaporated by the dry plane air. Plus, I'm prone to falling asleep immediately when I board moving vehicles (except boats because I get seasick) so I need to make sure I do this before I conk out.

I'm not loyal to any specific brand of sheet masks. I buy a lot of Korean sheet masks through Amazon and Forever 21 (mostly Baroness and Tony Moly), YesTo from Target, and Freeman's from Harmon and my aim is typically to spend $2 or less per mask.

(If you're wondering, the best sheet mask I've ever used is by the brand 'When' and it was a gel essence mask meant to be used when traveling (meaning it was meant for moisturization). The mask itself was a jelly material so it didn't dry out like the typical paper mask and it worked so well and plumped up my skin. But, it was $28 for a box of 4 so it was really a splurge.)
I find that the little cups of water that the flight attendants hand out are barely enough to even moisten my lips so I always buy a giant bottle of water before I get on board the plane. And I make sure to drink plenty of water not only to hydrate, but because if I have to pee, I have to get up and move my legs. It's important to get a bit of movement and blood flow so you don't end up with swollen legs and feet.

The face mask does quite a bit of work but if you're on a long haul flight, you're going to want to do some touch ups. A face mist is a great way to apply some moisture to your skin without having to actually touch your face. I really like Evian Spray and the Caudalie Beauty Elixir.

I'll also take this time to smear on a little lip balm and hand cream.
My goal is to arrive feeling fresh and clean, despite being stuck in a dry environment for hours. If I arrive with plump, bright skin, I feel successful. I usually won't even bother with makeup as we're landing unless it's absolutely necessary; I'll just throw on a pair of sunglasses and instantly feel more glamorous.