How To: A Beauty Editor & Frequent Traveler Shares Her Best Skincare Travel Tips

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As someone who gets on a plane at least every other week, I know that keeping your skin healthy while you’re traveling can be tough. Plane air is really drying, you probably can’t bring all of your products with you (especially if you’re not checking a bag), and changing climates can be tough on your body as a whole. All in all, traveling is no bueno for your skin. I already have dry skin, as well as skin sensitivity and eczema, so every time I get on a plane, bus, or train, it’s like taking my skin 20 steps behind where it already was. But as I’ve traveled more and more, I’ve developed some skincare travel tips that I think everyone can use, no matter how much you travel.

Until recently, I had no idea how important in-flight and post-flight skincare was. I always assumed that having skin issues and breakouts was just a part of traveling. However, once I started reading up on people using sheet masks on planes and face rolling in the cab after the flight, I figured it would be worth a try. Lo and behold, I saw an instant difference in how my skin reacted to traveling conditions. I’ve been hooked ever since, and can’t imagine traveling without my extensive routine. Though traveling is definitely still rough on my whole body (Anyone have tips for beating jet lag?), my skincare travel tips are truly life — and face — savers.

Keep reading if you’re looking for ways to keep your skin healthy while you’re on the go.

Skincare Prep Starts Before You Leave Your House

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Contrary to popular belief, travel skincare starts before you leave for the airport. I always recommend taking a thorough shower right before you get on the plane, especially if it’s going to be a long flight. By “thorough shower,” I mean wash your hair, shave, and do whatever it is you need to do so you feel extra clean. You should also wash your face with a gentle cleanser. My current in-shower fave is the Farmacy Clean Bee Ultra Gentle Facial Cleanser ($28).

After you shower, go through your normal daytime skincare routine. You’ll be adding on more products on the plane, so it’s best to keep this step light. I always apply an essence right when I get out of the shower to help amplify the effects of my other products. I also find that essences are the most effective when my pores are open from the steam of a shower. Try out the Peach & Lily Wild Dew Essence Treatment ($39). Follow up with your SPF of choice and a lightweight moisturizer, like the Tatcha Silk Cream ($120). After that, you’re good to head out to the airport.

Avoid Wearing Makeup If You Can

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I use the same skincare rules for flying as I do for sleeping. In short, if you won’t leave it on your face when you go to bed, you shouldn’t when you fly. That’s why I’ve developed my no-makeup-on-planes rule. I’ve found that makeup leads to breakouts and dry skin, so I’ve sworn off of it when I fly. If you can avoid wearing makeup on the plane, I highly recommend you do so.

In-Flight Skincare Has Four Required Products

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This is the step that I’ve had to figure out through trial and error. Everyone’s skin reacts differently to plane conditions, so feel free to play around with the products. At the very least, I recommend a sheet mask at the beginning of the flight (and one at the end if you’re on a long international flight), a hydrating serum, an intense moisturizer, and a heavy-duty lip balm.

Even though you might get some funny looks from the flight attendants, I think that sheet masks are the best method to give your skin a huge boost of hydration while you’re in transit. My current faves are the Purlisse Blue Lotus + White Tea Masks ($36), and Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Sheet Masks ($45). For a hydrating serum, my ride-or-die is the Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment ($158), and my current go-to travel moisturizer is the newly-reformulated Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream ($30).

You Can Add On Some Extra Steps If You Feel Like You Need It (Or Just Want More Skincare)

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Other optional steps are eye cream, a sleep mask (if you’re on an international flight), and a face roller. I love brightening eye creams because they make me look awake, even after a long flight. Try out the Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum ($85); it instantly brightens the under eye, and the ceramic applicator is cooling to reduce puffiness.

Overnight or sleep masks are perfect for long flights because they seal in hydration from your other skincare products and block out the dry air from the plane. A few of my favorites are the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($45), Laneige Water Sleeping Mask ($25), and the Glamglow Good in Bed Passionfruit Softening Night Cream ($54).

Face rollers are a new favorite of mine to bring on planes. They usually stay pretty cool when they’re in storage, so they feel very soothing when I run them across my face. My face also tends to puff up on planes, so the face rollers help reduce the swelling. Try out the Skin Gym Face Sculptor ($69) or the Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar ($195).

Next time you head out on a trip, try out some of my favorite travel skincare tips so you can jetset and glow. Bon voyage!

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