Long story short—let’s just say I am a very good friend, and I had some air miles burning a hole in my pocket—I found myself headed straight across this great nation on Friday night for a 36-hour stay in Los Angeles. So, approx. six hours each way. And nothing, and I mean nothing, sucks the dewy goodness out of your skin like air travel. So, as a newly appointed beauty editor who’s spent a good amount of time in planes over the years, I packed as many unguents and creams and sprays as would fit in my TSA-approved Ziploc, so that when I hit peak boredom, around hour four, I could methodically moisturize and at least know I was fighting the good fight—raging against the machine, if you will.
A good facial cleansing is important for skin health, but have you been in a plane bathroom lately? That lighting? Those dour little metal compartments that were formerly used as ashtrays? It’s like a David Lynch film set. Not an environment that encourages leisurely preening or splashing around. In-flight grooming is about getting in and out of there, or things you can do in your seat with minimal annoyance to your fellow passengers. L’Oréal Revitalift Radiant Smoothing Wet Cleansing Towelettes are rich in vitamin C, come in a foil pack that can live outside your Ziploc (more room for everything else, whee!) and gently remove makeup and that thin layer of “traveling” that always seems to accumulate. They’re easy, are found in most drugstores for $6.99, and more importantly, they make me feel clean...-er. (Airplanes are pretty disgusting.) I usually bring Avène Eau Thermale as a backup. Who doesn't want a light mist from time to time? If anyone complains about being hit with ricocheting mist, tell them to direct their complaints here.
As for moisturizing, I popped one of the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules: the fast absorption was key—as opposed to looking slickly drenched in a thin oil, or like you're sweating profusely (never a good idea on airplanes). The 10 to 15 minutes afterwards, when I let my Clarins Beauty Flash Balm sink in, were among the best of the entire flight. The balm feels hydrating and somehow both soothing and stimulating—as if you’re dipping your face into a very delicious, sparkling pool. “Bright” is a pretty tall order, post-travel, but I felt surprisingly glowy, all things considered. Moving on, I spread some Jurlique Calendula Cream—soothing, non-greasy and rich in both calendula and witch hazel—on my limbs. I kept my mitts happy in Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment, which I am so in love with, I would marry it (if it asked). In a perfect world, wherein I am completely unaffected by the opinions of others, I would have slapped a SK-II Facial Treatment Mask on before we took off, and wandered the aisles of the 747, doing ballet-themed stretches (à la Mary Helen Bowers), a sort of beauty-addled Freddy Krueger. Alas, the world is not perfect, I am not that brave; I kept these aside for after touch-down, after I unpacked and could let my skin soak it up. If these masks were a person, they’d be someone that I am wild about but never get to see as much as I’d like, because they live in London or something. They feel miraculous, especially after all the harshness of travel—the literal and figurative ‘ups and downs’—there’s something to be said for kicking back with one of these puppies on. You will scare any and all onlookers, though. I promise you that.
And for the orally focused: Aesop Tuberose Lip Heal is a bit heavy on the oil, which would bother me in the day-to-day, but is perfect for a flight. The combination of tuberose, violet leaf, and jasmine right under your nose knocks out the cabin's stale-air-mixed-with-humanity odor, and it will keep you smooth and refreshingly un-chapped for at least six hours. I only reapplied once. I also thankfully had the Earth Tu Face Skin Stick, which operates like a push-pop, smells like heaven, tastes clean on the mouth and is soothing but not too shiny. You can use it all over your body (it's formulated with geranium and vetiver, but I carry it around in my bag as my everyday lip balm. Also, it’s entirely edible, if you’re into that). Regardless, it was a comfort 'on the go.' And let me tell you, 'on the go' is exactly when you need comfort the most.