8 Beauty Secrets We Can Learn From Flight Attendants

Have you ever wondered how passengers like us disembark off a plane after a long flight feeling dry and puffy, yet as your cabin crew emerges, they look immaculate with just the right touch of makeup and not a hair out of place? They board the same flight, work the aisles serving food and clean up after loose rubbish, vomit and dirty toilets. All the while, our job as passengers is to get cozy in our seats, immerse in in-flight entertainment and eat when served. Yet, they are picture perfect while we suffer from the unglamorous state of severely parched skin and limp frizzy hair.

What are flight attendants doing to look fresh and radiant after a long flight? I uncovered some of their best kept secrets we can learn from.

Secret 1: Exfoliate The Night Before

Give your face a good exfoliating scrub the night before you fly. This helps to remove any dead skin cells and prepares your skin for the long flight ahead. Clean, unclogged pores give skin the best chance of soaking up all the benefits of moisturizer and serum you will apply on the next day. In an already dry cabin environment with low cabin pressure, you want your skin to be at its best ability to absorb all the moisture it can get.

Secret 2: Deep Condition Hair Before Flying

Dry recycled cabin air is not just bad for skin, it is also bad for hair. To avoid dull frizzy hair, most cabin crew practice deep conditioning their hair before every long-haul flight. Apply a deep conditioner to hair, put on a shower cap and watch TV or read a magazine. One hour or so later, rinse off and hair is good to go.

Secret 3: Drink Plenty of Water

Drink water, not alcohol. Also, those little sealed cups of water served on flight with your meal is not enough to hydrate your skin. When flying at high altitudes, moisture is sucked out of the cabin air and becomes extremely dry. Your skin starts to feel dry and tight. For skin to look fresh and hydrated, you need to drink plenty of H2O throughout the flight. A good rule of thumb: 1 litre of water every four to six hours. Be prepared to go to the toilet regularly.

Secret 4: Get Travel-Sized Containers

Most international airports’ guideline of no liquids in containers larger than 100ml should not deter you from having skin-saving products with you. Flight attendants rely on leak-proof miniature jars and travel-sized bottles to fill their regular skincare products in. You don’t need your entire range of skin products. Just pack a few daily essentials like a cleanser, serum and moisturizer for your cabin bag to last the length of your flight.

Secret 5: Never Enough Moisturizer

Cabin crew can never pack (or use) enough moisturizers. You will find a good range moisturizers in their cabin bags from facial lotion, serum, hand lotion, lip balm and eye cream. Even a small bottle of spray mist. All flight attendants, even female pilots, will tell you that spritzing face with water is a great way to keep skin hydrated in an arid cabin environment (read A Female Pilot’s Skin Story: Lara Lozano). The next time you are on a long-haul flight and it is rest time when most passengers are asleep, go to the back of the cabin. I bet you will find at least one flight attendant applying lotion to her hands, reapplying lip balm or spritzing her face.

Secret 6: Color Your Lips Red

All flight attendants rock red lips. It is not because they all love the color; there is a reason behind the look. Red lipstick has a way of making white teeth look whiter and tired skin look radiant. Red also makes for good contrast on most skin tones and gives an impression of professionalism and flawless grooming. So the next time you want to look instantly fresh and radiant, apply red lipstick. Even better when you wear organic red lipstick, check out my review on ILIA’s red lipsticks with the help of real-life cabin crew.

Secret 7: Go Light on Makeup…and Don’t Reapply

There is also another reason flight attendants don’t cake their face with makeup. It clogs pores and dries skin; especially on long plane flights. Instead, they choose long-wear makeup that needs minimal retouching. Reapplying makeup adds additional layers of product on the skin and is more prone to look smudgy. There is one problem with long-wear makeup – it can be very drying. To get around this, cabin crew refresh their makeup and skin with a water spritzer (refer to secret #5).

Secret 8: Dry Shampoo

A good dry shampoo brings life to dull, limp hair. Spraying on this arrowroot or cornstarch solution absorbs oil from hair that has accumulated during the flight. It gives instantaneous volume while essential oils in the spray makes hair smell fresh and heavenly. You no longer have to suffer flat, face-plastering, just-got-out-of-my-chair-after-12-hours-in-a-plane hair.

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