Un-Glamorous Flight Essentials


There’s no paparazzi shot I love more than a celebrity leaving an airport. No single photo series has inspired me more than this one: a little bit witchy, a lot bit cozy, and Birkenstocks with peds. Oh, the glamour! What better way to dress for stale air, staler food, and living in other people's personal space for a while? Sunglasses always; some sort of cashmere usually; and a big-ass bag that might not neatly fit under the seat in front of you, but you’re probably flying first so the rules don’t apply. Put that Birkin smack dab on your lap during takeoff and dare the flight attendant to scold you. You asked for it, but ain’t nobody gonna mention it.

Of course, everybody knows that constant travel isn’t actually glamorous. I've never spotted paparazzi at the airport—not even at LAX. For this I am very grateful. Because travel can suck the living guts out of you—leaving you with very little patience and even less glow. So much so, that it's better when your routine stays accordingly unglamorous; better to combat the unglamorous environment with. Assuming you don't fly private (yet), just lean into it. For your skin's sake! Emotionally, physically, mentally you can be drained. But you’ll still look fresh as a daisy when you arrive. Just abide by these five simple rules:

Absolutely no makeup

Not even tinted moisturizer. Not even just a little concealer on that one zit just in case you run into an ex or a colleague or your star-crossed lover. Makeup in that atmosphere will break you out; I don’t know why, but it will. Wear a hat and glasses and a big blanket shawl if you’re trying to cover something up. Or better yet…

Pimple patches

Whoever thought of the pimple patch deserves some sort of humanitarian award. Not only do the hydrocolloid bandages somehow manage to suck the life-force out of pimples without leaving a trace, but they blur redness and scabs while you’re wearing them. So while you can’t wear concealer, you definitely should stick a bunch of these on. A different kind of cover up—one with action items and key performance indicators.

Wet Ones

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the Byredo hand sanitizer. I do! I have it in Suede. But that is not your plane hand sanitizer when the water that comes out of the sink isn’t potable. Save it for when you’re trying to show off. Instead, grab yourself a pack of Wet Ones. The ones your mom used to have. Anytime you come near touching your face, wipe. Want to remoisturize? Wipe. Want to find a new, comfortable sleeping position? Wipe. Got an itch? You get the picture.

Compression socks

Less about looks and more about feeling, the key to a long haul flight might just be your grandmother’s secret to comfortable calves. Compression socks are chic now, and available for the millennial set through companies like Comrad. Pull on (in private—they’re snug) the knee-highs under your baggy pants and slip on some comfortable slides. The tightness of the nylon keeps your circulation in check and your lymph from pooling in any one place. The results are more energy and more comfortable legs. A true miracle if you're flying coach for any length of time.

One more water bottle than you think you need

Some flight attendants are sweethearts. They’ll fill your empty Smart Water bottle up with their filtered water so that you only have to shell out $5 once for that accessible luxury. But you can’t count on this. So buy two. It’ll encourage you to drink more (you bought two for a reason) and keep your skin from going from shriveled mess to oily mess to pimply mess. See it as a challenge. Finish both and your shoulder bag just got a hell of a lot lighter. The arrivals terminal will feel like a breeze.

—Emily Ferber

Photo via ITG.