When it comes to long haul flights (six hours or more), it’s just simply far than possible to land with a salvaged skin (I dare not even to mention the words ‘bright’ and ‘radiant’ because… well #reality.) Your skin gets very little oxygen during the flight as you are stuck inside the plane without fresh air -only the stuffy recycled air; therefore this will result in dehydration, dryness, sensitivity and tired dull skin. Seriously, anyone who can get through a long haul flight in economy seat and arrive post flight actually looking great is sort of like… well, a unicorn. So, on today’s journal I want to talk about my ultimate in-flight skincare essentials!

The solution? Easy, just slather tons of moisturizer on your face and drink enough water, right? Nope, unfortunately it’s not that simple. Your skin definitely needs enough hydration, vitamins and protection as you snooze inside the plane with the aircon set to inhumane degree, dehydration, low cabin humidity, air pressure, altitude, and many other nasty flight jargons. Not to mention the climate change upon arrival, jetlag and days packed with activities. That is why my cabin beauty pouch serves a purpose as important as my camera bag. Ok #exaggerating. Seriously ladies, you do want to look your best on your vacation instagram, right?

It took me years to find the right skincare for my skin, and then downsized them down in TSA-approved sizes. I highly recommend you to stock up on sample sizes/sachets of products that you really love, or use travel-size PET bottles/jars that can store your favorite beauty products. Otherwise, take the empty bottles of toiletries that hotels usually provide as they are not bigger than 50ml in size. Keep all your products all inside a clear pouch with zip or plastic press closure so you can pass the security gate seamlessly. I got my clear pouch from Muji and it’s pretty durable, been using it for almost a year in so many trips.

So keep reading as I will break down my in-flight skincare essentials below. I keep some products on rotation so i will also give a few options on each category.

All the review here are honest, not paid and only based on my first hand experience. In fact, these are all my favorite products that I’ve been using for awhile. My skin is a combination of dry/oily so for other skin types, some products might not be suitable for you. 

Make Up Remover: Biore Make Up Remover & Sephora Eye Make Up Remover Wipe

It’s best to fly with a clean face with no make up on. But usually this only happens to me on early flights. For afternoon or evening flight when I have to fly straight from work, usually I still have some make up products on. Now for an hour flight, this won’t be any problem; but for longer flights, I want my skin to rest and it obviously requires a bare face. Make up remover wipe is the convenient answer to clean all the make up and dirt/oil accumulated throughout the day. Also, I don’t know how clean the plane’s lavatory sink water is, but I wouldn’t risk to try it on my face.

Not only these Biore wipes is handy and the perfect size for traveling (10 wipes inside the package), best yet; it’s also affordable (IDR20K, available at any major drugstore or supermarkets.) The eye make up remover wipes from Sephora are made of slightly softer, perforated cotton material. It removes your eye make up gently and doesn’t irritate the delicate skin around your eyes.

Face Mist: Mario Badescu Facial Spray

This is my holy grail face mist, I use it to give my face a boost of hydration, to set my make up, or to spray on dry hair. This will also act as a kind of barrier between my face and all of that nasty recycled air. It smells sooo good (rosewater), absorbs quickly and it feels light on the skin. Whenever I feel my skin dry and needs refreshment, I re-spray it generously all around my face.

Toner: Avène Micellar Lotion / Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner

After removing my whole make up with the wipe, my face usually feels a bit dry so I would quickly spray and tap the toner on my face. It cleans through the last remaining dirt and sebum and restore the pH balance of my skin, and also preps my skin to absorb the next step below, the essence. I’ve been using the Avène Micellar water for awhile (it comes in convenient travel bottle), and last week I stumbled upon the Rosehip travel pack by Trilogy which has the mini sized toner in it.

Essence: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (FTE)

I bet that most of you will avoid the camera the moment you land after 10 hours flying. Or it is just me? The moment everyone lift their phones doing a #touchdown selfie, I would instantly hide my face behind giant sunnies. However, I’ve been using this The SK-II FTE since my last trip to Tokyo and it’s a game changer! This pure Pitera water essence moisturizes my skin during the long flights, keeps my skin firm and makes me look fresh when I finally land. #instaglow

The original bottle is actually pretty big, so I always store the content into another spray PET bottle and it can last me the whole week. I think a smaller 30ml travel size is also available at the SK-II counters.

Lip Balm: Avène Cold Cream Nourishing Lip Balm / Paw Paw Lip Balm / L’Occitane Shea Butter Lip Balm Stick / Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Your lips are probably the one part that gets dry and chapped first when you get inside the plane. I always keep them moist and hydrated by always using a lipbalm, and sometimes I will reapply multiple times to let it really soak in. I keep a few lipbalms inside my beauty pouch, handbag, toiletries pouch, everywhere, but my most favorite right now is the Paw Paw lip balm that I just got last week in NZ.

If I plan to rest during the whole flight, I will apply for the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (which comes in this super tiny sample size.) before going to sleep.

Face Oil: Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil / Trilogy Rosehip Oil (Light Blend)

When you get combination skin, you either get very dry or very oily after the long haul flight. My face chooses the oily side. After a lifetime spent using only oil-free moisturizers and assuming that doing otherwise would make my oily skin even oilier; I finally discovered during the skin check at the Tokyo SK-II event when the friendly skin expert lady (with the most amazing skin I’ve ever seen) patiently told me that, in fact, the skin can over-produce oil to compensate for the lack of moisture in the skin, which is why dehydrated skin can easily get mistaken for oily skin. Whoa, #epiphany.

So I (first, hesitantly) braved myself to try my first oil, and safe to say that… I officially converted! The oil actually penetrates the skin at a deeper level than a cream/gel, meaning you get more hydration than you would with a traditional moisturizer. Not to mention it smells so good, luxurious and calming. My first facial oil is the amazing Josie Maran 100% Argan Oil (fully loaded with vitamins, minerals and powerful anti-oxidants), and last week in Auckland I also got myself the award winning, cult favorite New Zealand’s own Trilogy Rosehip Oil. They claimed that a bottle of this was sold every 48 seconds; I’m weak.

Moisturizer (Face): Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer / Boscia Oil Free Moisturizer / Trilogy Vital Moisturizing Cream

The hours inside the cold, airless plane will completely take away all the moistures on your skin, and this is exactly why you’ll arrive looking sluggish and tired. Moisture well to repair and hydrate your face and your skin will thank you. I have a bunch of favorite moisturizers, but I love these ones for their handy travel size. For shorter flights (3/4 hours), apply a generous amount of moisturizer. But for longer flights when you plan to sleep on the whole flight (more than 6 hours), head straight to the next product.

Sleeping Mask: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

For longer flight, skip the moisturizer and go straight to this one. This is another product that I’m pretty much addicted to, and best yet, they come in handy travel size! The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is my emergency beauty treatment when I have to look fresh despite not having enough rest, and worry not, it won’t make you look… well… awkward, like other normal mask would. It’s a translucent gel-type product so it would look like you got no product on your face at all. However it provides extreme hydration and it locks in the moisture as your sleep and will give your skin a well-rested look like you had an 8-hour sleep… even if you didn’t. So slather it on your face like the way you put nutella on your bread! #hungry.

Moisturizer (body): Avène Cold Cream

I have extremely dry eczema-proned skin, especially on my arms, hands and legs; and long exposure to aircon/cold weather will make me itchy and rashy all over the place #eww. I discovered this cream from a drugstore in Paris a year back. It was freezing winter and I was looking for salvation for my dry, chapped skin while scratching my arms like crazy. It did magic when I applied it all over my dry skin and I never looked back ever since. This is definitely my best friend during winter travel and also during long flights when the aircon is inhumanely freezing.

Also, note that all these products above will not work their best if you don’t hydrate yourself! Always drink lots of water when you’re flying and skip the coffee, wine or those tempting mini sized liquors as they will only dehydrate your skin even more. Aircraft cabin humidity levels are so low that your body will be prone to tiredness, thirst, chapped lips and wrinkled skin #ugh. Need to sleep? Ask for warm tea instead of wine

There you have it love, my ultimate in-flight skincare regime! It might sound like a LOT… but really it’s not much. Once you get used to it, the whole process will feel like a luxury instead of chore. Not to mention the good effect it will have on your face on the long run! Long flights will easily take add some ages to your face is you don’t treat it properly. Kisses!


You May Also Like



I always enjoying your life diary on your blog. And i am adoring you hahahah…
Anyway we have same skin condition “combination” and its lil bit hard to find the right skincare. And i hope with following your skincare routine it will make my skin better.
Thankyou nicoline!! XOXO


The idea of applying sleeping mask during the flight is awesome! Thanks for sharing 🙂


You’re welcome! Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do! x


I really liked your blog, it gives amazing ideas of how to treat your skin and survive a long haul flight!
I am working to develop an all in one product (TSA approved!) that will address all the concerns that skin faces during flights to simplify the skincare routine on board.
I would very much like to get your opinion of it, and send you a sample if possible.
Please let me know what your email address is and I will share further information!
Many thanks Nicoline

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *