'I fly all the time. Here's my non-negotiable on-board beauty routine.'

Ever find that when you get off a long-haul flight your skin is so dry you resemble a reptile? Ever wondered how to arrive at your far-flung destination looking a hell of a lot fresher than usual? Here’s how I arrive at my overseas destinations looking like I’ve just travelled business class (even though I am definitely always in coach).  

11 years ago, vlogger, make up artist and beauty maven, Lisa Eldridge, posted a video on YouTube detailing her long-haul beauty routine. I remember first watching that video whilst sitting in the grotty confines of my student flat in Wellington, I think before a flight I was about to take (which at the time I deemed long-haul) to Sydney. Ever since I have sworn by this routine, one which Lisa honed over years of travelling. The video now has over one million views, proving it isn’t just me it’s engaged. 

Like a perfect recipe I’ve followed her steps to a tee, adding my own twists and experimenting with a lot of different brands along the way (I travel a lot). Let me talk you through the steps…

What you’ll need:

  • Lip balm
  • Hand cream
  • Concealer 
  • Moisturiser 
  • Wipes or micellar water 
  • Hydrating face mask
  • Hair tie or headband 
  • Cotton buds & cotton wool
  • Some kind of lip colour
  • A pocket mirror or compact 
  • Eye cream


  • Some kind of hydrating hair serum or oil (personally I don’t opt for this as somehow my naturally dry hair gets oily on flights…?)
  • Pimple cream if you have a spot
  • Mascara

All of the above need to be sample sized or your lotions and potions obviously won’t make it through security in that ridiculously small snap-lock bag. I know this doesn’t sound very sustainable, so how I conquer single use plastics is by buying little pots (which you’ll be able to find somewhere on the internet, meanwhile I’m still using pots I bought from Muji in London eight years ago mixed in with those tiny sample pots from Mecca) decanting my products into them. I also opt for Micellar water over wipes.

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Video via Mamamia.

As soon as you get to your airplane seat pop your (optional) hair serum in before tying or pushing back your hair off your face. Next, cleanse your face - yes, I said that - cleanse your face using your micellar water or wipes (ideally the former) and try to avoid eye contact with your seat neighbour as you do so. 

Then there’s the crucial part. Put one, thin layer of your hydrating mask on (you can even massage it in like Lisa). Leave it for about five minutes, maybe decide on what movie you’re going to watch, and once the first layer feels like its settled put on a thicker, second layer of the same product.  

Ideally you’ll be working with a mask that sets clear (there are loads on the market but I usually use Clinique’s Moisture Surge Overnight Mask). You’ll find the mask forms a film, protecting your skin barrier from all of that plane ickiness and dryness, as well keeping the moisture in (where it belongs!). 

Leave that for another five minutes or so then chase it with eye cream and lip balm. Pop some lip balm on your cuticles too, add hand cream, then sit back and pretend you’re at a day spa, not on a crowded bus with wings. Also, if you’re a contact lens wearer, as I am, wear your glasses on the flight and bring some eye drops too - contacts tend to dry your eyes out. 

You’d be amazed at how normal you look throughout this process. I certainly was the first time I tried this - I was expecting myself to resemble an eccentric ala Grey Gardens, but instead I just looked relatively normal, a tad shiny, and overly make up free. It also only takes mere minutes.

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Roughly 45 mins before you land wipe off the filmy mask left on your skin (water from your drink bottle over the basin in the bathroom with do). Pop on some moisturiser and a bit of concealer (especially if you’re prone to dark circles like me). I then use a dab of the lip colour (usually a pale pink coloured balm or moisturising lipstick) on my lips, eyelids and cheek bones. I tend to top it all off with mascara as my eyelashes are naturally see-through, but you don’t have to.


After this little bit of effort you’ll find you land with bouncy, clean-as-possible skin, instead of showcasing that shade of stale only a long time spent aboard a plane can bring. 

Apart from the Clinique mask recommendation I tend to mix my products up - trying out a combination of high, low, natural or heritage brands. You can honestly use a fusion of whatever you please, as long as the aim of each product you select is to hydrate, and that you can squeeze the product into one of your little travel pots. 

Another thing I do on a long haul flight is brush my teeth (again, I do this using water from a drink bottle), change my knickers and drink loads of water throughout the entire journey. I also bring my own sleep eye mask for those precious moments where I’m somehow not awake. 

Late last year as I arrived, after 25 hours of travel, in Milan, I was chatting to a cool couple from Melbourne who had been on both of my flights. The woman of the duo said, “You do not look like you’ve just been on a long haul flight.” I told her I always do a face mask on the plane and she couldn’t believe it! 

Let’s face it, down here we’re pretty far away from most of the world. A long-haul flight is part and parcel with being any kind of intrepid Antipodean. So arrive looking fresh by following these simple steps. It’s business-class on a budget (and in a bottle). 

Image: Supplied.


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