The 14-Hour Flight (Ugh) Beauty Routine


Happy end of holidays, everybody. After MLK Monday, we're fresh out of holidays until the Memorial Weekend. That's right—with the exception of a few bank holidays, you're on your own [PTO] until summer. While you ponder that, Glossier's own Jessica Sheft-Ason (she makes work) is heading back from spending New Year's in India. In between here and there, there's about 14 hours of travel time, and Jessica prepared like a champ. Here's her full beauty dispatch from the flight to. Safe travels, J:

Greetings from Delhi and Agra. I’m here for a wedding of two of my best friends from college, and also to see the Taj Mahal. Fun! It took a 14-hour flight to get here—that is an extremely long time to be airborne. I was going to connect, but I figured that the only thing more miserable than flying for 14 hours was to fly for 12 hours, deplane, and then get on another flight. Direct from JFK to Delhi it was.

Apparently airplanes dry the heck out of your skin; I read a very non-scientific study about someone who poured water on an airplane napkin and it evaporated 50% faster in air than on land. What!? If that was going to happen to my face, I had to be preventative instead of treating my skin in-flight. Also, I wanted to look decent when I got off the flight, because the best way to feel good is to look good. Or the opposite, maybe? Sorry, I am severely jetlagged.

Fourteen hours is way longer than you think it's going to be, so my routine was weighted far more heavily on what I did BEFORE the flight, rather than what I did in-flight. (Seasons 1-3 of The Sopranos.) Feel free to apply this to your next transcontinental flight, or whatever life event calls for a ton of preparation. Maybe a wedding in India?

I started by taking the shower of all showers. The "Last Shower For Maybe The Whole Trip" kind of shower. If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you know that not all showers come with American luxuries such as hot water, pressure, and faucets. I didn't know when my next one would be, so I had to make this one good. I used all my expensive and scrubby products: Christophe Robin Sea Salt Hair Scrub, Maison Louis Marie Bois de Balincourt Body Wash, and Laura Mercier Fresh Fig Body Scrub, shaving with a fresh-out-the-box Venus Spa Breeze Razor. My skin is baby smooth, and I smell expensive. I lock it all in by mixing Kiehl's Creme de Corps with some Rodin Body Oil for max moisture.

I've found there are two ways to ensure your hair looks good post-flight: 1) airport blowout, or 2) braids and deep conditioner. Since number one is difficult to make happen, I settle for taut braids à la Kelly Mittendorf at Soulcycle. I braid my hair when wet and smooth a good leave-in conditioner like Phyto Intense Hydration Night Cream through it. When the flight is over and the braids come out, I look like a goddess who just arrived to Earth on Air India Flight 102.

My daily makeup has to be simple so that it's prepped for the inevitable sheet mask assault I’m going to unleash after boarding. However, I also want to look decent while idling around the International terminal—you really never know who you might meet! After the standard cleanse and moisturize, I top off with Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Medium and Burberry Cream Blush for a dewy finish that says, 'I’m not flying First Class, but I could be!' Makeup that doubles as skincare is great for looking good and layering more skincare products on top. I once Googled to see if the water on airplanes was safe, and while I'm not sure, I'd prefer not to wash my face in the lavatory.

On the plane, I love starting off with a classic in flight sheet-mask. This is a great time to use the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask I bought on a whim. It has honestly never been so worth it—I left it on for a very full 45-minutes (one episode of Sopranos) until it was bone dry. After the mask, I seal in the excess serum with Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Oil, a strong and nourishing squalane serum and a great product at any altitude. Instead of switching it up, I stuck to reapplying the oil whenever my skin felt dry.

Then, as the plane entered its initial descent into Delhi, I put on the CosRx Apple Zone Power Patches. They're hydrating, but I like them mostly because eye masks make me feel more awake. And "awake," as it happens, is a great way to feel when you end up standing in the wrong Visa line for hours post-flight. There's no sheet mask for that, unfortunately.

—Jessica Sheft-Ason

Photographed by the author.

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