Full disclosure: I have spent many pre-flight packing sessions, in-flight descents, and post-flight car rides deliberating on how I can look less like, well, a troll when I get off a plane. As someone who loves traveling and does so often, I always amaze myself at how brutal I can look at the end of a flight, whether it was two or ten hours long. It's become a sort of mission of mine to find the best in-flight beauty tips, and I think I've finally made some decent headway.
The most important tip: keep it simple. Having a full face of makeup usually doesn't end up working in your favor at the end of a flight. Unless you're willing to take it all off with a makeup removing wipe and redo your whole face before landing (which is a little bit tricky, considering TSA liquid guidelines,) stick to the basics, like tinted moisturizer and a few swipes of mascara (I like to do my eyebrows with a long-wear pencil, too.) I take extra-good care of my skin in the week leading up to a flight, so I can get away without heavy spot concealing and foundation.
For every hour you'll be stuck on a plane, tuck the corresponding item from this list in your carry-on (plus everything before it.)
0 Hours: Water, Water, and More Water
The best way to fight back at airplane air's attack on your skin is to stay hydrated before you even step foot on the aircraft. Seriously, if you even think about an airplane, take a gulp of water. (Hey, this is becoming like a healthier version of a drinking game!) Continue to drink up throughout the flight — your neighbors will get over your frequent bathroom breaks.
1 Hour: Tinted Lip Balm
Rosebud Salve's version is super light and moisturizing — plus, cult products always feel a little bit glamorous, don't you think? Dab a little bit on the apples of your cheeks for a little color if need be.
2 Hours: Concealer
The skin under my eyes is always the first thing to go on a flight. Garnier's light two-in-one blendable formula, which has both pigment for concealing and caffeine for reviving, does a good job of making me look, well, alive.
3 Hours: Mineral Water Spray
This step is new to my flight routine, but I'm not going back. Applying full-on moisturizer does a great job of messing up the small amount of makeup I have on, which just isn't worth it unless I'm on a long-haul flight. Hydration sprays are great for reviving tired skin and refreshing makeup, not removing it. Plus, you can use all the moisture you can get.
4 Hours: CC Cream
A CC cream is just light enough that it won't get cake-y over whatever other makeup you have on, but it still does a good job of evening out tone and brightening skin. Depending on how well I've treated my skin in the days leading up to my flight, this sometimes comes into the mix an hour or two earlier.
5 Hours: Dry Shampoo
The one benefit to have super-coarse, thick hair is that it doesn't get greasy too often. However, it's nice to refresh my strands a bit after I've been on a flight for a while — it makes me feel a little bit cleaner. A word to the wise: Take this with you on your next bathroom break. Your neighbors probably won't appreciate you spraying dry shampoo in their vicinity. (Unless it's me, in which case, you must share.)
6 Hours: Under Eye Masks
Okay, we're getting serious here. Around hour six, you have my full permission to apply an under-eye mask. They take about 15 minutes, and apparently work wonders under your eyes where concealers and creams simply fail. Don't worry about your neighbor's odd glances, because I guarantee that your undereyes will look much better than their's upon landing.
7+ Hours: Full-On Face Mask
You're already stuck on a plane for seven or more hours, so you might as well make your time worthwhile. Pick a clear mask so you don't freak out the kids in aisle 17 (even if they are annoying the crap out of you.) Spoon a little bit into a smaller travel jar so it's TSA-friendly, and you're good to go.
Images: Anatoly Tiplyashin/Fotolia; Courtesy Brands