It never ceases to amaze me how one can get on a plane in one country and then get off several hours later in another part of the world. Yes, air travel is fantastic. However since I have recently become a creature of the skies I have noticed a dramatic difference in my skin. Not all bad I must say, the drying cabin air means that I hardly ever get breakouts whereas before I would get one every week! The flip side of the coin is that now my normal to dry skin can look grey, dull and I often get flaky patches, all due to dehydration. Now rather than focusing on deep cleansing, my skin routine is all about hydration and this is my tried and tested method for how to hydrate your skin after a long haul flight.
I know you think you’ve heard it all before, but hear me out. The cabin air is incredibly dry, drier than the Sahara desert, so it will suck the moisture from not only your skin, but your whole body. When our body is dehydrated it steals moisture from our skin to ensure that all of our vital organs have enough water to function correctly which isretty clever, but not great news for our skin. Upping your water intake is the only way to prevent this from happening. So, after I a long haul flight, I try to drink three litres of water so that when when I wake up the morning after my skin looks (and I feel!) more human.
Whenever I get off a flight, whether long haul or short haul, I look to take my makeup off at the first available opportunity. I like to use a gentle micellar water; my favorites are the versions from Bioderma or Simple to initially remove all of my makeup. I then do a second cleanse with whatever cleanser I am using at time – I like to chop and change regularly! My current favourites are the Rose Facial Wash from Neal’s Yard or the Glow Mud Cleanser by Pixi.
When our skin is dry or dehydrated it will shed more…disgusting, but true. Before I go in with my hydrating lotions and potions, I give my skin a good once over to remove dead skin so that when I apply my serum it will sink straight in. I have recently switched from using a facial scrub – which I found too harsh on my skin – to a gentle acid exfoliator and the difference has been quite dramatic. The one I am currently using and I have no reason to switch is the Pixie Glow Tonic, which has made my skin look noticeably brighter and feel softer.
Once I have cleansed and exfoliated this is when I go in with a hydrating serum. Look for one that contains hyaluronic acid as this is an ingredient that holds on to moisture and will help to hydrate your skin. Serums are designed to be absorbed quickly and penetrate deep down into your skin to work their magic. The one that I am currently using is an oldie, but a goodie, the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum. It may have “night” in the name, but I use it whenever I feel that my skin needs it, whatever the time of day.
Most people will use either a serum or an oil but, when I have been on a long flight, I will often use both. A word of warning though: first of all, dehydrated skin is not the same as dry skin because dehydrated skin is a skin condition caused by a lack of water. Dry skin, on the other hand, is a skin type caused by a lack of oil. So you may well have oily skin that is dehydrated and if that is the case you will probably want to skip this step and just use a hydrating serum. I either use argan oil or rosehip oil and I don’t think there is a lot of difference between the brands that I have tried, but I always make sure the oil is organic and ethically sourced.
Once I have used my oil I go in with a moisturiser. “Wet” moisturisers are great for dehydrated skin and I like them because of their lightweight texture. Clinique’s Moisture Surge is one of my favourites because it sinks straight into the skin rather than sitting on the top and I find it really hydrating. Sometimes I find that my dehydrated skin can feel dry and irritated after a flight and if that is the case I will go in with a moisturiser specific to sensitive skin. My favourite brand for this is Avène, which has a range of products suitable for all skin types; I am currently using the skin recovery cream and the soothing eye contour cream.
To really seal the deal and make sure my skin is properly rehydrated, once I have completed all the steps above I pop a sheet mask over the top. I try to stock up on sheet masks whenever I am in Asia because they are so cheap and readily available. I love them because I find them really hydrating, they are so easy to use and they make my skin look and feel refreshed and plump. I try and leave the sheet mask on overnight, but otherwise I will pop it on and watch a movie or read a book for a couple of hours.
So there you have it, these are the steps that I follow for hydrating my skin after I have been on a long haul flight. What are your after flight skincare tips to rehydrate your skin?