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6 Expert Ways You Can Arrive Fresh After a Long Flight (Actually)

Get on board with beauty tips beyond staying hydrated and taking sleep aids

A woman partly obscured by shadows sits with her hands in her lap looking out an airplane window

Social media makes jet-setting look easy. Hop on a flight in Toronto and end up in Bali 30 breezy hours later, bright-eyed, fresh-faced and ready for your #selfie. But the reality is, long-haul travel is taxing, not only emotionally (stay on your own side, middle seater!), but physically, too. It’s tiring, and the effects of dry, recycled air shows almost immediately on your skin.

Here are six ways to arrive fresh after a long flight, so you can take advantage of your journey the second you step off the plane (and not have to use eight different filters just to look human in your first photo).

Banish grime with an exfoliating wipe

Once you’re in the air and the seat belt sign has turned off, pull out a pack of exfoliating wipes and gently use on your face, neck and hands to remove any dirt or grime that’s built up since you left your house hours ago. (Spoiler: it’s probably more than you realize.)

Product shot of Sephora makeup wipes over a shot of an airplane wing from out the window taken at sunset 

Sephora carries inexpensive cleansing and exfoliating wipes with microbeads, which will not only clean your skin, but remove a layer of dead skin cells, too.

Pop on a sheet mask

Within the first few hours of your flight, apply a sheet mask. These things are like soft, dewy blankets sent from the beauty heavens. Fresh-faced Celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen swear by sheet masks during long-haul flights.

Product shot of sheet masks over a photograph of the aisles of a full airplane 

The strategy is pretty simple, too, as long as you’re not shy about wearing one in public: find a mask you love (SK-II, available at Sephora, is Teigen’s go-to), drape it over your face and soak in the moisture. It’ll feel like having your own spa in seat 13C.

Alternatively, try a subtler eye mask

If a full face mask feels too Freddy Kruger, an eye mask (two little moon-shaped patches that sit under the eyes) will still benefit your skin without frightening flight attendants or fellow passengers. Elemis’ pro-collagen hydra-gel eye masks will combat any under-eye bags, plus they’ll help reduce fine lines that always seem to look more defined after travel.

Product shot of the Elemis eye mask over a shot of a person looking out an airplane window 

Then use a serum

Once you peel off your sheet or eye mask (or even if you didn’t have the confidence to commit to either), apply a layer of ultra-hydrating serum to your face, neck and hands. Consider “Buffet” from no-frills Canadian beauty brand The Ordinary, which is under $15 and actually works.

Product shot of The Ordinary Buffet serum over a photograph of the view of an airplane wing in the clouds from a window 

Don’t skip your lips

Chapped lips can last for days. Avoid rough, flaky skin by lathering on a moisture-rich balm. Bite Beauty (another Canadian cult favourite) makes an agave lip mask that feels instantly soothing once applied. Use as needed—even after you clear customs and are waiting for your luggage.

A shot of Bite Beauty Agave lip balm over a photo of a woman walking out of an airport, suitcase trailing behind her 

Always avoid makeup and contact lenses

While a swipe of mascara might be part of your morning routine, skip it when there’s a flight in your forecast. The ingredients in your cosmetics can dry out your lashes, eyelids or skin on a normal day, so avoid applying any makeup until you land.

A product shot of a tube of mascara overlaid over a shot of an airplay on being loaded on the tarmack 

Same goes for contact lenses—nobody wants red eyes after a red-eye.

Looking for more useful travel tips?

Get expert advice on how to make your trip to the U.S. affordable or find out what you need if you’re planning on travelling with a baby.