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The Skincare Rituals of Flight Attendants

Insiders share tips for taking care of your skin at 36,000 feet.

By now, we all know long flights can do a number on your skin. “From changing air pressure to decreased humidity, it's a less-than-ideal place for skin," says Karen Ballou, founder of beauty brand Immunocologie. But one group that seems to be exempt is flight attendants. Ever notice that on a 10-plus hour trip their polished looks never veer from flawless? We asked a group of flight attendants from Cathay Pacific to share their pre-, during, and post-flight skincare secrets.
Find out more: Well Packed Presented by Cathay Pacific

pre-flight: bath salts and clay masks

Los Angeles-based Cathay Pacific flight attendant Tracy Wu's pre-flight ritual involves a hot bath with either eucalyptus or lemongrass bath salts. “The scents tend to help me feel relaxed and yet fully energized before the flight," she says. While in the bath, Wu uses a clay face mask aimed at hydrating and moisturizing. “Flying dehydrates your skin which can cause it to over-metabolize certain nutrients, leading to nutrient deficiencies," says Ballou. She adds that a clay mask nourishes with essential minerals and vitamins, which your face will crave while flying.

in-flight: h2o and serum

Ballou says moisture loss is one of the biggest things skin combats during a flight. And every single flight attendant we surveyed stressed the importance of staying hydrated. “The most important thing to do during a flight is to drink water," says Los Angeles-based flight attendant Rizza Inocencio. “If you're hydrated, your skin won't produce extra oil," adds her colleague Fei Yu, who is also based in LA. A good rule of thumb is to drink one liter every five hours. In addition to staying hydrated, Ballou also recommends applying a hyaluronic serum on your face. “It can stimulate hyaluronic acid production and restore that critical moisture loss," she says. “Also, applying a mineral-rich mist every hour or so will also help keep your skin feel fresh."

post-flight: olive oil wipes and eye cream

San Francisco-based flight attendant Kim Manalo says she gives her skin a post-flight refresh with olive oil makeup wipes. “They're very handy, and the product doesn't dry up my skin because of the olive oil," she says. Many of the attendants also noted that this is a good time to apply a quick layer of facial moisturizer containing an SPF—especially if you're landing in a sunny destination. And don't forget eye cream. “The difference in pressure can reduce circulation throughout the body, most notably in the orbital eye area," Ballou says. “An eye cream can help flush out some of the toxins and capillary congestion that causes dark circles and puffiness."