Whether we travel for fun or for work, we want to look our best. Unfortunately, many of the basic conditions of traveling, especially by air, work against that. Here's what you need to do.
Protect your products. Packing your down hair and skincare products is a great idea if you don't trust the quality of what you'll find at your destination. Just make sure you pack the right away. “Extra air trapped in bottles from products that have been opened previously can cause plastic containers to explode when air pressure changes due to elevation,” says celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau. She advises opening all your bottles and squeezing out almost all the excess air, then quickly replacing the cap. For extra insurance, cover the opening of each bottle with plastic wrap before screwing the cap back on. This gives an extra layer of protection in the event a cap comes loose during travel. Still, Rouleau cautions, “even with all these [steps], it's still possible that products can leak -- so it’s best to put each bottle in its own zip-top bag" to avoid messes.
Hydrate smartly. All those misting sprays are actually bad for you during flight. “Because the air is so dry, it looks for water wherever it can get it. And since water attracts water, when you spray the skin, it takes the water from the layers in the skin -- [which] gets evaporated into the air,” says Rouleau. The result is even tighter, drier skin. If you want to treat your skin in-flight, it’s applying another layer of moisturizer is best for helping the skin retain its moisture.
Apply sunscreen before flying. Fact: The windows on an airplane do not filter out damaging UV rays. So even though you're not in direct sunlight, you can still be exposed to the harmful rays, which as we all know results in skin aging and wrinkles. “Wear a minimum of an SPF 15 on the face, neck, and sides of the neck," say Rouleau. "Foundation makeup containing SPF is not enough -- it must be in your moisturizer."
Post-flight, use a mild facial scrub or light acid peel to remove surface dry skin cells accumulated from flying, says Rouleau. Then rinse and apply a serum, followed by a good moisturizing mask -- with ingredients like sodium PCA, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid -- to add back essential hydration and brighten the skin. She explains, “Because the air is so dry on an airplane, the moisture deep within the layers of the skin can get depleted quickly.” For dry skin, which produces very little or no oil, a long airplane trip can make the skin even drier. For oily skin, on the other hand, flights can both dehydrate and increase oil production -- an automatic, protective response when the skin recognizes that it's being dehydrated. (This is why breakouts can occur after traveling, says Rouleau.)