8 Best Beauty Products to Take on the Plane

Woman applying moisturizer cream in front of mirror

You’ll never travel without these products again. | iStock.com

If you’re preparing for a flight, chances are good that you’ve thought carefully about which beauty products you’re packing in your checked bag. You’ve likely chosen your favorite skin care products, left behind the hair products that can harm your health, nixed the makeup that leads to rogue breakouts, and perhaps even resolved to break your worst beauty habits once and for all. But have you given any thought to the beauty products you’ll want to have with you on the plan, TSA’s 3-1-1 rule notwithstanding?

Even if the most you’ve done for your skin in-flight is swipe on some hand sanitizer before eating a snack, there’s something to be said for creating a skin-care routine that’s tailor-made for your face’s needs. After all, you probably want to look chic and well-rested when you arrive at your destination, even if you’re tired and ready for a shower. You probably already know that spending time cramped in the cabin at high altitudes rarely does good things for your skin, so it’s well worth considering giving your skin a little bit of attention once you’re buckled into your seat and hoping that none of your fellow passengers are noisy sleepers.

If you want to arrive at your destination sans dark circles and dull skin, the beauty products ahead are the ones you should be stashing in your carry-on. You’ll find it a lot easier to look fresh when you land if you take care of your skin en route.

1. Makeup-removing wipes

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: A model cleans makeup off backstage at the Bill Blass Spring 2006 fashion show during Olympus Fashion Week at Bryant Park September 13, 2005 in New York City.

Use face wipes. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

If you’re only going to pack a few beauty products in your carry-on or your “personal item,” make sure that a pack of makeup removing wipes makes the cut. You wouldn’t keep your makeup on to sleep while at home, so why would you keep it on when you’re zoned out in your window seat? Everybody’s skin is different, but if you don’t already have a favorite brand, look for a formula without irritating ingredients (which often means potent fragrances). Even if you wore just the bare minimum of makeup to the airport, it pays to take it off so you can rehydrate your face in-flight.

2. A hydrating mist or your favorite moisturizer

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 14: General Atmosphere during Dr. Jart+ for Opening Ceremony Fall/Winter 2016 show during New York Fashion Week at Pier 90 on February 14, 2016 in New York City.

Moisturizing in a cramped space has never been easier. | Kris Connor/Getty Images

Everyone likes to moisturize differently, but when you’re hanging out somewhere as dry as the cabin of a plane, you’ll definitely want to be able to refresh your face. A hydrating mist is perfect for no-fuss moisturizing, particularly if you’re on a long flight and will want to reapply often. Or, choose a moisturizer that you trust and love to make your face, neck, and décolletage a little more comfortable despite the not-so-ideal conditions. Keeping your skin moisturized in-flight is crucial to arriving looking well-rested, and moisturizer is quick and easy to apply.

3. Antioxidant serum

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: A model is seen backstage prior to the Apu Jan show on day 3 of London Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2016 at Fashion Scout Venue on February 21, 2016 in London, England.

Keep your skin flawless with an antioxidant serum. | Nicky J Sims/Getty Images

One of the best ways to prevent damage from the sun or pollution is to apply an antioxidant serum. Antioxidants slow the impact of free radical damage. (If you need a quick refresher, free radical damage is the reason why collagen breaks down, DNA in our skin cells mutates, and your skin’s ability to heal becomes compromised.) Look for a serum, or, if you prefer, a gel or a lotion, with ingredients like green tea, vitamin C, or grape extract to apply in-flight. You’ll not only be helping your skin protect itself in-flight, but the long-term benefits of regular use include healthier skin cells and less sun damage. Which brings us to our next suggestion.

4. Sunscreen

Amy Ong, 50-year-old visitor receives a facial anti-ageing treatment at the Beauty Asia trade show in Singapore on February 18, 2014. The three-day Beauty Asia trade show exhibits the latest products and trends in the beauty, spa and health industry. AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN

Applying sunscreen to your face is a must. | Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Especially if you’re sitting by the window, but even if you’re not, it’s a great idea to apply some sunscreen after you’ve removed your makeup. You may be avoiding short-term damage by removing your makeup and moisturizing, but as your antioxidant serum will tell you, the real endgame is to prevent long-term damage. The airplane’s windows won’t protect you from the sun’s UV rays. Even worse, the UV radiation that you’re exposed to at the high elevation can prematurely age you and cause wrinkles and fine lines earlier than you’re anticipating. Always apply a well-formulated sunscreen to your face, neck, décolletage, and hands. And if you’re sitting at the window and don’t mind missing the Instagram opportunity, consider pulling down the shade to protect yourself and the people around you.

5. A targeted mask

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 17: A model wears Dr. Jart+ skincare during Dr. Jart+ for DKNY Fall/Winter 2016 Show at Skylight Modern on February 17, 2016 in New York City.

Use a mask to combat any problems you may encounter mid-flight. | Anna Webber/Getty Images

If you want to get really serious about treating specific skin concerns in flight, then you should also pack a mask that’s targeted to the particular problem you want to solve. If your face typically gets painfully dry when you fly, choose a moisturizing mask. If you typically break out after a flight, choose a mask that can calm inflammation and head off any breakouts. Or if you always find yourself oily mid-flight, go for a mask that can gently balance your skin. You can choose the type of mask that you apply with your fingers, or if you don’t mind any strange looks, go with a sheet mask and even some under-eye patches to prevent puffy eyes.

6. Hand cream

woman itching the her hand

Don’t forget about your hands. | iStock.com

Especially if you’re the type to lather up with hand sanitizer multiple times during the flight (don’t worry, you’re not alone), it’s a great idea to pack your favorite hand cream. After all, it’s not just the skin on your face that’s prone to drying out during a flight. A good hand cream will soothe skin that’s dry or has been abused by rough suitcase handles. There’s nothing more satisfying than finishing your facial skin care routine by making sure your hands are moisturized, too.

7. Specialized treatments

An employee checks Nivea lip balm sticks on March 2, 2010 at the Beiersdorf headquarters in Hamburg, northern Germany, where the world famous cream is produced. Beiersdorf presents its annual results 2009 on March 4, 2010. AFP PHOTO DDP/ PHILIPP GUELLAND GERMANY OUT

Specialized treatments can take care of smaller problem areas. | Philipp Guelland/AFP/Getty Images

You’ll also want to consider toting specialized treatments for everything from the delicate skin around your eyes to lips that may be in need of moisturizing. An eye cream or under-eye patches are a great way to avoid looking too tired after your flight. An exfoliating lip treatment can get rid of flakes and make a swipe of lipstick much easier to apply right before you land. And a spot treatment for any problem areas that you know will pop up will give you some peace of mind. You can even pack a small bottle of sea salt spray or perhaps a hair oil to smooth in your hair before you clip it out of your facet.

8. Minimal makeup routine

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 17: A model wears Dr. Jart+ skincare during Dr. Jart+ for DKNY Fall/Winter 2016 Show at Skylight Modern on February 17, 2016 in New York City.

Take the time to reapply makeup if you desire. | Anna Webber/Getty Images

Once you’ve made it through most of your flight and the pilot announces you’ll be landing soon, you can congratulate yourself on taking great care of your skin during the flight. We have no problem removing our masks and walking off the plane sans makeup, but it’s also great to put on some minimal makeup if doing so will make you feel more put together. Pack a tinted moisturizer or powder foundation, plus your eyebrow pencil, and either some mascara or lip color (or both). A swipe of blush will keep your in-flight glow going, too.