Cabin crew beauty secrets: how to look great when you fly.

Image: iStock

Have you ever wondered how us mere mortals step off a long haul flight feeling and looking like we’ve been put through a hot dryer, and yet the cabin crew emerge looking just as airbrushed and immaculate as they did when you boarded?

At first I suspected they were an alternate species with no requirement for sleep, but it tuns out they’re just exceptionally cluey. In fact, some airlines even include training for female staff on how to take care of their skin and how to apply makeup to last throughout the flight.

Here are some of their best kept beauty secrets to keep you looking just as fresh 15-plus hours later.


Skin hydration is everything

Any flight attendant worth her weight in complimentary nuts will tell you that flying is a killer for dehydrated skin. The cabin pressure combined with recycled air will strip the moisture out of your skin faster than one of those space aged hand dryers at the terminal.

Clinique's moisture surge intense is the perfect long haul companion (and it promises not to keep talking through your movie).

Prior to flying, make sure you use a deep conditioning face mask, heavy duty moisturiser and hair treatment (even try sleeping in it with a shower cap on for silky smooth locks). Then, during the flight, reapply your products when ever you feel the need.

I'm talking lip balm, hand cream, eye cream and moisturiser. You don't need to sit there smothered in a face mask, but regular applications of hydration will really help the condition of your skin when you  disembark.


Drink, drink, drink

No, not the endless booze on offer. In fact, that's the worst thing you can do short of smuggle on a crack pipe. If the aim of the game is to keep your skin hydrated, alcohol is going to do the exact opposite.

Instead, make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the flight which will help with any puffiness you may suffer and will help rehydrate you from the inside, out.

Exfoliate before you fly

By removing any dead skin cells before you get up in the air, you're giving your skin the best chance of absorbing all that lovely moisture you'll be slapping on it.

A build up of dead skin will act as a barrier to the moisture getting in, and can cause breakouts as the toxins can't get out. My favourite exfoliator right now is the Exfoliating Swipies from Go-To skincare. As a long time devotee of scrubbing the bejeebus out of my skin I was dubious about using chemical exfoliating but I'm a convert. Dee-vine (and they smell like Mandarin).

Words cannot describe how much I love these Exfoliating Swipies from Go-To skincare. They contain lactic acid to gently and effectively remove any dead skin cells. Image via go-to skincare

The night before you fly, give yourself a really good exfoliation at home to prepare your skin for the long day (and night, and day) ahead.

Invest in a good post flight mask

Last time I was at the airport waiting around (ugh it was so painful being stuck in duty free by myself for all that time...) I made a mental note to stalk some cabin crew and see what was in their duty free goodies. You know what I noticed? A damn good portion of them were stocking up on masks.

Hydrating masks, resurfacing masks and deep cleansing masks. In fact, I saw so many of the cabin crew purchasing Sk 11 masks  that I wondered what on earth I was missing out on and marched myself over there to find out.

SK11 Facial Treatment Masks. You'll look like a serial killer, but one with very nice skin. Image via SK11

I've since fallen in love with these masks (although my credit card has not) and I can absolutely see why they are the go-to post flight treatment of choice. They're exceptionally nourishing and soothing, and feel like angels dancing to Enya on my face.

Go light

Don't cake yourself in makeup before the flight, it will only clog your pores and leave you feeling tight and dry.

Rather, use a light foundation, tinted moisturiser or BB cream for coverage and use concealer on any problem areas. You can get long wear formulations in all of these which will last the distance, although I always recommend a quick cleanse with a cleansing wipes before applying moisturiser so long wear may not be necessary.


RELATED:One packet of these facial wipes sells every 15 seconds. Are you using them? 

Don't retouch

To keep lipstick looking as fresh as the cabin crew, don't reapply. Instead, remove your old lipstick when needed, apply a hydrating lip balm and then give yourself a new coat of colour. It will prevent that over-applied smudgy look and your lips won't dry out underneath.

Take a cleansing wipe with you to remove lipstick during the flight. Image via iStock

Colour choice

Cabin crew are experts at looking put together and the reason is because they know what colours to wear to make themselves look immaculate. Red lipstick, for example, is great for making teeth look extra white and adding life to a tired face. Pale lipstick is great for a more natural look but avoid it if you have a breakout. The lighter the lipstick, the darker your spots will look.

Waterproof mascara

Invest in a good waterproof or tubular mascara before the flight and you'll have pretty peepers all the way there. Both waterproof and tubular mascara are smudge proof which means that you won't wake up with panda eyes after a little mid flight snooze.

Here's our pick of the best tubular mascaras out there (many of which are available duty free)


Dry Shampoo

And lots of it. Dry Shampoo refreshes your hair and takes away and oil which may build up during the flight. A quick spray will add volume and lift and leave your hair smelling oh so pretty. Even if you have to restyle your hair, dry shampoo will mean your 'do will look exactly as it did when you found your seat.

What are your fail proof tips for looking fresh at the other end of a long haul flight?