Posted on: February 1, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

Hours of super-dry air, plus poor-quality sleep (while your hair’s flattened against the seat) are guaranteed to make everyone look a bit worse for wear after being on a plane. Fortunately for you frequent fliers, readers recently had a great threadjack about how to look good after a long flight, and we’re sharing their — and our — tips!

What are your favorite ways to look your best after a flight (for the situations where you feel it matters, that is)?

Especially if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t get early check-in at your hotel — and don’t have access to an airline lounge for showering — these tips will help you look presentable after a flight, and feel a bit better, too.

How to Look Good After a Long Flight: Readers’ Best Advice

Use dry shampoo to freshen up airplane-hair: Of course, no seatmate wants to have that stuff sprayed near their face, so save it for the airport restroom or, if you’re sure it won’t linger, the airplane bathroom. One reader recommended MoroccanOil post-flight, and in the past we’ve recommended dry shampoos from Batiste, Hask, and Psssst!.

More hair tips: One reader also recommended showering right before you fly to have your hair as clean as possible when you board — and others suggested putting long hair up in a claw clip or silk scrunchie.

Stay hydrated: You’ll feel better if you make sure to drink water in the ultra-dry air (only 10-20% humidity!) and avoid alcohol. I also like bringing saline spray to moisturize my sinuses: Arm & Hammer’s Simply Saline Nasal Mist. It comes out in a fine spray rather than more liquid-y like other saline products. (Anyone else strive to avoid the restroom by drinking minimal water? Bad habit of mine. I chug a drink when I land.)

Remember: Don’t drink any water on a plane unless it’s bottled (eww)!

{related: what’s your favorite suitcase: hard-sided or soft-sided?}

Remember to moisturize: Because drinking water won’t really help hydrate your skin, facial moisturizer and lip balm are key. (Vaseline stopped making the basic Lip Therapy that I loved — nooooo — but I’m still using ones from my Amazon hoard.) One great option for a flight is tinted lip balm, because when you arrive exhausted, you don’t have to deal with precise lipstick application. I love Burt’s Bees tinted balm, and Kat’s recs are in this post.

One reader recommended performing your evening skincare routine when you board an overnight flight. To soothe your hands during flying, slip a travel-size bottle of rich (unscented) lotion in your bag, and for facial moisturizer, you might as well use one with SPF so that you’ll be protected when you land.

Bring a facial product to perk up when you land: Before I go on a long trip, I buy a travel pack of facial cleansing wipes, often from Cetaphil. Not only do they clean your face a bit, but the cool(ish) feeling wakes me up (a bit). If you wear mascara and you expect it to be smudged underneath your eyes after hours on the plane, bring makeup remover wipes like these, also from Cetaphil.

Don’t bother with contacts, that is, unless you want to wake up mid-flight with extra-dry eyes. They’ll feel dry enough without napping as it is! If you have a shorter flight and you do wear them, I recommend Bausch & Lomb’s Sensitive Eyes Rewetting Drops to keep eyes happy. And don’t forget to bring extra lenses in case of mishaps.

When I wear glasses, I make sure to bring a sturdy glasses case to protect them when I (try to) sleep. Also bring a travel-sized lens cleaner and cleaning cloth so you don’t have to deal with a dirty tissue

{related: dressing stylishly but comfortably: what to wear for a long flight}

Skip the full face of makeup: If you want to apply something at your destination, readers recommended bringing basic makeup (mascara, lipstick) to apply in the airport bathroom. For my bare skin on flights, I like to use blotting papers when my skin gets oily to compensate for the dry air. I’ve used Clean & Clear’s version for years and always keep them in my everyday bag.

If you can’t change right away when you arrive, wear knits or other clothes that won’t wrinkle: One reader commented, “My favorite travel outfit is a long-sleeve black knit dress with scarf and sunglasses and flats. I look presentable enough for wherever I may need to go when I land whether casual or more dressy.” Remember to bring a cardigan or cozy wrap for the chilly air.

Consider compression socks: They’re not just for Grandma! Compression socks help increase circulation in your legs, reduce swelling, and make blood clots less likely. Healthline has a ton of tips for wearing them, and Bombas makes some pretty cute ones.

Freshen up your teeth: If you have a meeting really soon after your flight, for example, consider bringing Wisp disposable toothbrushes, which don’t require water. (I’ll warn you, they have a VERY strong mint flavor. It’ll perk you right up, though!) You can also bring a regular toothbrush, of course (but for me, the idea of using an airplane bathroom’s or airport restroom’s faucet to brush my teeth gives me the ick.)

Let’s hear it, readers: How do you arrive after a long light looking your best — or your best-ish? Any tips for getting early check-in at your hotel?

Stock photo via Pexels / Gustavo Fring.

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