How To Survive A Long Haul Flight Looking Fabulous


beauty-long haul-flights

Flying long haul and looking fabulous aren’t exactly two phrases you’d expect to go hand in hand. Travelling at 35,000 feet and above, with limited access to an arsenal of beauty products from home means we often leave the plane looking a little worse for wear. The dry cabin air can also wreak havoc on our skin, dehydrating the look of our complexion.

So how do flight attendants manage to always look so immaculate and fresh-faced, even after a 15-hour flight? We decided to speak to an expert to get the lowdown once and for all.

Margaret Lai, Flight Purser at Cathay Pacific reveals her top beauty tips and secrets to surviving a long haul flight.

  1. Come Prepared

As the saying goes, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. Whilst a little extreme in this case, getting ‘beauty organised’ before departure can make a world of difference. Keeping in mind the 100mL liquid limit for international trips, start collecting travel sized beauty products in advance. Look out for gift with purchases from your favourite brands throughout the year or buy empty containers to fill them with product from home. Be selective with the beauty essentials to pack in your carry on and include the must-haves like make up wipes, a good facial moisturiser, sunscreen, blotting paper, sheet masks and a hand cream.

  1. Avoid Airport Temptations

Always eat before you leave for the airport so you won’t be drawn to all the fast food options at the terminals. Indulging excessively on sugar, grease or salt laden food can be dehydrating for your body and skin, affecting the way you look and feel after a long haul flight. Opt for a healthy and nutritious meal instead and bring some healthy snacks with you to curb any cravings at the airport.

  1. Be Mindful of Your H20 Intake

Most people are already conscious of staying hydrated inflight, but the amount you are drinking matters too. Drink a glass of water before flying, then one glass of water per hour inflight. When you’re on board, it might be tempting to treat yourself to a glass of wine but alcohol can also dehydrate the body and skin. If you must indulge, try drinking more water to compensate – one glass of water for every glass of alcohol you drink.

  1. Treat Yourself…with Hydration

Treat yourself to a series of pampering treatments inflight. The cabin air can be dehydrating, making replenishing moisture a must-do. Pop on a disposable sheet mask and drench your skin in hydration goodness. These produce instant results and are so easy to travel with. Don’t forget to moisturise afterwards with a rich face cream, and feel free to add some drops of rosehip oil if you have extra dry skin. Repeat the above process every 3-4 hours (or when needed), and you’ll notice a big difference to your skin when you land.

  1. Plan for a Beauty Sleep

The shortcut to achieving a healthy glow is sleeping. Easier said than done, right? Make sure you come prepared. Pack ear plugs to block out crying babies or loud neighbours. A silk eye mask multitasks to shut out light and also helps decrease any crinkles you get from sleeping. Top it off with a soothing lavender spray to relax and doze off.

  1. Apply Makeup Right Before You land

When travelling as passenger, I always board the flight with no makeup on. It allows your skin to breathe, and when you’re flying for more than 10 hours, this is a godsend. Apply your makeup 30 minutes before landing so that it stays on nice and fresh. Use a primer to ensure a silky smooth base and set the look with translucent powder for longer lasting coverage. Go minimal where possible so you look naturally glowing.


Margaret Lai is a Flight Purser at Cathay Pacific. She has been part of the in-flight crew for 7 years and flies mainly between Hong Kong to New York/Toronto (15-16-hour flight)


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