Skincare essentials for travel

How to arrive at your destination with business class skin, even if you’re flying economy plus

If you’re planning a vacation, there may be a long-haul flight in your future — and airplane trips tend to bring out the worst in our skin.

That’s for a couple of reasons. First, our skin feels most comfortable in 40 to 70% humidity. But cabin air typically hovers around 20% humidity — less than half of that, so our skin gets dehydrated, fast.

Second, cabin air is high in pollutants like ozone and volatile organic chemicals that can cause dullness and skin irritation. (1)

Is dull, itchy skin the price to pay for some me-time in Rome or Kuala Lumpur? We don’t think so.

One of our favorite travel hacks is to keep a skincare essentials bag packed and ready to go with sample sizes of our go-to products.



Our list:

  • Cleansing gel or micellar water
  • Go-to booster or facial oil
  • Cold cream
  • Mineral oil-free lip balm
  • Single-pack sheet masks (pack one for the way there, one for the return)

Keeping our skincare essentials ready to go gives us those few extra minutes we need to find our passports when it’s time to pack for our flight.

Other health & beauty essentials to keep in your carry-on:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • cosmetics essentials for arrival
  • hair oil to combat dryness
  • wide-toothed comb or mini-brush, depending on hair type

If you travel frequently, or your go-to products can only be bought online, it might be worth investing in a set of GoToobs to decant your favorite products.

Not all skin reacts the same way to cabin air. That’s why it’s essential to pack right for your skin type. For breakout-prone skin, avoid all makeup in-flight and look for products with hyaluronic acid that hydrate without clogging pores.

For dry skin, we recommend a rich night cream.

And if you have sensitive skin, choose scent-free products and keep your routine simple to give your skin a break.

A lot of skincare travel guides mention facial sprays or toners to keep your skin hydrated in flight. This is not something we recommend because of the way water bonds with other water molecules. When you use sprays or toners in dry air conditions, they pull water to the surface of your skin and leave you less hydrated than before.

So skip the hydrating spray and fight the dry with an ultra-hydrating single-pack sheet mask. We’re convinced the spa experience is the new gold standard of flying long-haul.

Follow this with an antioxidant-rich serum or booster, or a facial oil. Antioxidants fight pollutants and signs of fatigue — they’re the front line of defense against skin stress in flight.

Finally, it’s not just the journey, it’s the destination. If you’re headed from Chicago to Valencia in January, you might be fine skipping the heavy-duty facial oil and sticking to lighter products. On the other hand, be prepared to hit the cold weather moisturizer if you’re off to Norway for a rugged road trip through the fjords.

The key to enjoying your trip with glow on the go:

  • Prep your travel bag of skincare essentials
  • Pack for your skin type
  • Pamper in flight


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