We all fantasize about having that movie star moment where you step off a plane (looking perfect, of course) and run directly into the arms of your true love. Oh c’mon, I know I’m not the only one.
Between TSA waiting to readily toss out all your prized beauty possessions and the gross, life-sucking plane air you’re forced to endure for hours on end, the chances of getting off a plane looking as good as you did getting on are slim. At least, they were.
After years of traveling for work and looking like a swamp witch who hadn’t slept for nine days at the baggage claim, I decided to stop letting the recycled air and jet lag win.
How To Keep Looking Good While Traveling?
I actually came to this conclusion when I had a little time on my hands during an unexpected 24-hour-long layover. I mean, what better time to try and decipher the secret to traveling and looking good at the same time?
I’d spent the last day chasing after connecting flights, losing my favorite face wash to TSA, and drinking bottles of water at $9 a pop. I was lost, frazzled, sleep-deprived, and in desperate need of some dry shampoo. Basically, the perfect level of madness needed to make a real difference in the way I traveled.
The way I saw it, genetically-blessed celebrities shouldn’t be the only ones arriving in style. We all deserve a fair shot at looking half-way decent when we reach our destination.
Following some trial and error (FYI loading on extra makeup doesn’t work), I found a few sure-fire ways to make my airport beauty dreams possible and flying a little less… awful. Now, I can’t guarantee prince charming will be waiting for you, but at least you won’t shrink in horror at your first glimpse in the bathroom mirror post-flight.
This may sound dramatic, sure, but I’m not exaggerating when I say flying literally steals all the joy from my hair and skin. If you want to be prepared for your next flight, here’s a short guide to not looking like death when you land.
Be Prepared And Know Before Traveling
We can’t exactly change the conditions we’re faced within the air, but we can combat them with the right combination of products, clothes, water, and food.
Staying hydrated (no, I don’t mean the free booze) and having snacks that won’t make you feel like garbage is essential. Don’t give in to the cart of temptation as it rolls by your seat, instead, bring some healthy foods and a ton of water.
Trail mix is a happy blend of whatever you like (seeds, nuts, chocolate – you name it!) and it’ll keep you full the entire flight. Of course, we can’t forget power/granola bars; they’re super convenient and better than a bag of chips. Throw in some fresh fruit for a little extra variety and you’re ready to go!
If you’re like everyone else in the world and sleeping upright isn’t your thing, you should at least be comfortable in what you’re wearing. Lose the denim and slip into something a little more breathable and legging-ish.
Plan accordingly and stash the beauty products you’ll need during and immediately after the flight in your carry-on. For starters, I recommend dry shampoo, mascara, deodorant, chapstick, and a good moisturizer. Check out our packing tips for travel to see how we get ready for long trips.
I know, going through TSA is nerve-wracking and stressful. Fortunately, I know a few pre-flight steps you can take to avoid having your precious products thrown in that godforsaken bin.
When packing your beauty supplies, remember they all fall under the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule. Don’t worry, I didn’t know what this meant either. Each container must be 3.4 ounces or less and fit in one sealed ziplock bag, with one bag per passenger (in case you’re wondering, for example, if you can bring shaving cream on flights). Don’t panic if your favorite products don’t fit the bill – buy smaller containers and transfer some of your favorite products into those smaller containers, that way you can bring your dry shampoo on flights.
Take this extra step and you’ll scoot through TSA faster than you can say “aerosol.”
While You’re In The Air
When it comes to keeping your cool during the flight, less is more. There’s nothing worse than putting on your best face only to have to slowly melt away. Save that stellar cat-eye for your destination and fly with a clean, makeup-free face.
This rule applies to your hair as well – don’t let the overhead fan and uncomfortable sleeping positions ruin your beautiful blowout. Keep the styling to a minimum and spare yourself some disappointment.
Take ten in the airport bathroom when you arrive to liven up. Trust me, it’ll be easier to work with a clean slate than trying to revive a look that died at 10,000 feet.
Fake It Til You Make It
You may have landed, but your hair could probably use a little lift. Before you face the outside world, give your flat, parched strands a little love. Tossle it with some dry shampoo in your roots and dry conditioner in your ends and restore the oomph to your look.
For your “pièce de résistance,” wash and moisturize your face, then apply a bit of makeup to mask your tired eyes. Take a few deep breaths, throw in a stick of gum, and call it good.
You might not feel your very best, but at least you look it!