Flying regularly as part of your work may sound glamorous but, as every long term business traveller or, in my case, travel blogger will tell you, flying, especially long haul, really takes its toll on how you look, feel and function. Having worked in the travel industry for over twenty years, I’ve done more than my fair share of flying, especially since becoming an established travel blogger. I’ve perfected my in-flight beauty routine over the years but why are these beauty tips necessary?

Why does flying dehydrate you?

With hundreds of people breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide, the air on a plane is regularly replaced from the air outside. Air at such altitudes contains little moisture, which is why it is easy to become dehydrated. Staying hydrated isn’t just about drinking water – the skin is the biggest organ you have and it plays an essential role, affecting both how you feel and how you look.

As I get older I’m becoming more and more conscious of the importance of looking after my skin. And, whether I’m flying for business or pleasure, I always want to get the most out of my visit and feel and look my best. The following beauty routine leaves me feeling pampered and helps pass the time, especially on those long-haul flights.

Top Ten Beauty Tips for Long Haul Flights

1. Downsize your beauty essentials

There are fiercely enforced restrictions on the amount of liquids, gels, pastes, sprays or lotions that you can take with you onto a plane in your cabin luggage around the world, including all UK airports. All liquids must be in containers of no more than 100ml. I use a range of leak proof travel bottles and jars from Boots to decant all my onboard essentials into. They cost £1.35 for a screw top bottle for liquids and £1.69 for a squeezable bottle or a pot – perfect for lotions and creams.

Remember, all the containers must be carried in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm. The contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed. For up to date information visit the UK government website.

My top ten beauty tips for long haul flights

2. Remove your make-up

I know for many, including myself, this isn’t easy, but it is so important and if you remove your make-up before or at the start of a flight – you’ll feel better and look better when you reapply it at the end of a flight. I recommend cleansing twice to thoroughly remove all your make-up. I use Boots’ No7 Soft & Soothed Gentle Cleanser, transferred to their squeezable bottle to be within the 100ml limit.

3. Tone your skin

Toner both closes your pores and removes any toxins drawn out of your skin by your cleanser. Splashing your face with cold water has a similar effect if space in your little plastic bag is an issue. I love No7 Soft & Soothed Gentle Toner, again, decanted into a smaller bottle.

4. Give your skin a hydration boost

Once you’ve thoroughly cleansed and toned your skin, use a hydrating face mask to give it an extra boost. Nügg offer a range of face masks which come in handy travel friendly pouches and are formulated without mineral oil, chemical emulsifiers, parabens and synthetic fragrances or colours.

Nügg hydrating face mask, one of my top ten beauty tips for long haul flights

Nügg’s Hydrating Face Mask won the Allure Best of Beauty Award three years running and it is colourless, so isn’t too obtrusive for use on a plane. I used it recently for the first time on a long flight to Thailand and loved it, and it’s now an essential beauty tip. Another favourite from nügg’s face mask range is their new Black Charcoal Skin Detox Face Mask, which I took with me to use while in Thailand (don’t use it on the plane though as it is most definitely not discreet).

5. Moisturise

Once you’ve removed your mask, apply your favourite moisturiser, gently massaging it in small upward circles over your face and neck. While UVB rays cannot penetrate the glass of a plane window, the more damaging UVA rays that lead to premature ageing can. It’s important to use a moisturiser that protects against this, especially if sitting by the window (pulling the blind down won’t hurt either). I use Protect and Perfect Intense Day Cream from Boots’ No7 range, transferred to a smaller pot to save on space.

6. Don’t forget the delicate eye area

After a long haul flight, the area around your eyes often appears puffy. To help reduce this I use an under eye cream as part of my in-flight beauty routine. Nügg’s Eye Mask comes in handy tubes, perfect for travelling, and it has no parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates, synthetic fragrances or colours. Using your ring finger, as it has the gentlest touch of all your fingers, gently dab the cream around the orbit of your eye, being careful not to drag the skin. Place one of the provided pads over the cream. The perfect time to do this is just before having a nap, as you can pop on an eye mask to hide the pads.

Nügg eye mask, one of my top ten beauty tips for long haul flights

7. Keeping your lips luscious

Lips also tend to dry out during flights, so I always carry a good lip balm with me. I particularly love nügg’s Beauty Hydrating Lip Mask
with coconut oil, shea butter, liquorice extract and Irish moss. Winner of the Cosmopolitan Beauty Award for best lip mask, it’s made from 100 percent natural ingredients and contains no preservatives, mineral oil, parabens, sulphates, synthetic fragrances or artificial colours. I have to admit that I really love the packaging too.

Nügg lip mask, one of my top ten beauty tips for long haul flights

8. Your nails, cuticles and hands need moisture too

I also take with me a small bottle of almond oil to massage into my cuticles during the flight. Not only does it help to hydrate your cuticles, it nourishes your nails, making them stronger too. This 50ml bottle of Almond Oil costs just £1.59 from Boots. If you’ve room, include a small tube of hand cream too, otherwise, use your moisturiser or almond oil to keep your hands soft and silky. The Body Shop does my favourite range of hand creams, many of which are available in handy 30ml tubes.

Almond oil, one of my top ten beauty tips for long haul flights

9. Drink plenty of water

Drinking plenty of water will help you look and feel better during and after a flight. The water provided by the airline to passengers on a flight is not enough to keep you hydrated, so I always make sure that I buy a bottle of water airside to take onto the plane with me (two bottles for long haul flights). This is probably the most important travel and beauty tip there is.

10. Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Both alcoholic and caffeinated drinks dehydrate the body further. I won’t pretend that I don’t love a glass of red wine with my meal or indulge in the occasional G&T, but the more you limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, the easier it is to keep hydrated.


During a long-haul flight, it’s a great idea to perform this beauty routine again towards the end of your flight. Apart from helping to pass the time, it will give your skin a boost before you disembark. And just before you land, reapply your make-up (on your cleansed and moisturised skin) and then waft off the plane feeling like a million dollars.

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My top ten beauty tips for long haul flights
Disclosure: I was given a range of nügg beauty products for review purposes, my favourite of which I have now incorporated into my in-flight beauty routine. I have used Boots’ No7 and The Body Shop products for over twenty years and did not receive any samples or incentives for including their products in this article. A few of the links in this article are affiliate links.

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