What You Actually Need To Pack Beauty-Wise for a Flight

The minimalist edition (kinda)…

This year I’ve been a lucky lady and have got some serious air miles under my belt. From the almost three-day round trip to and from New Zealand, to quick dashes over the channel to Italy, Spain and upcoming trips to Amsterdam, Madrid and Copenhagen – I can now unload a carry-on suitcase for a security screening in approximately 10 seconds. I still clench my butt-cheeks through turbulence and prod plane food as though it’s the most unappetising thing I’ve ever seen (which to be fair nine times out of ten, it is), but I’m getting there with this whole travel thing and I know I prattle on and on about packing, but I thought today I’d share with you the beauty bits that you really need in-flight.

I’ve broken my list down into three to cover all scenarios. First up we have the bare bones that are must-haves for short-haul flights (anywhere from an hour to four-five hours I’d say). Then we have the items that I add in additionally for long-haul flights (anything six hours plus). Finally I’ve written down the makeup items that I’d pack on top of either of those kits, if I needed to look presentable straight off the plane. Whatever the situation, there’s a list for you…


Mini Deodorant, Perfume, Toothpaste & Toothbrush. Just incase your flight is delayed and you start to feel like the innards of a bin when it hasn’t been emptied for two weeks, always pack the base level hygiene essentials that you can freshen up with in a pinch. These also come in trés handy if your bag decides to go walkies on the other end.

Anti-Bac Hand Gel. I mean, do I even need to say anymore? You’ve been in those loos up in the air right? Pack a hand gel and eat your free bag of sour cream pretzels with a clean conscious (and hands!).

Lip Balm. If I’m only in the air for a couple of hours then I keep the beauty essentials to the proper basics. I strip it back to just a balm because not only can it be used to nourish the lips, but I find myself using it on my cuticles and any rough patches of skin too; a fab little one to have with you at all times. I like the Lanolips 101 Ointment.


Mini Mouthwash. Take your dental hygiene up a notch. I keep this little weenie mouthwash bottle that I nabbed from a hotel bathroom topped up and pack it for when I’ve OD’ed on the garlic-heavy airplane dinner.

Nasal Spray. Whilst we always focus on keeping our skin and selves hydrated, we always forget about our other orifices and I don’t know about you, but all the AC up there makes my nose so dry that it becomes sore up my nostrils. I took the Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray on the flight to New Zealand because I didn’t want to catch Mark’s cold, found that it worked a treat and have traveled with it long-haul ever since.

Eye Drops. ANOTHER area to hydrate, eh? Got to keep those eyeballs nice and juicy, plus the anti-redness formulas work a treat if you’ve only managed to sleep for 45 minutes in the past 24 hours. Stock up on the Rohto Redness-Reducing Eye Drops next time you’re over in the U.S.

Body Wipe & Body Cream. I know wipes are the devil, but even Caroline says that they are allowed on flights. I like to keep one of the Yuni Beauty Shower Sheets tucked in there for if I really need a freshen up, and I always have a mini Kiehl’s Creme de Corps on board for my hands and limbs for if they need some TLC whilst we’re up there, because I have the tendency to become the texture of a raisin.

Sleep Spray. Now I wouldn’t recommend spritzing this all over the cabin, but it is nice to lightly spray over a scarf or your blanket if you’re trying to get some shut eye and the air has an interesting aroma of toilets mixed with fish pie. Keep an eye out over Christmas time because all the brands tend to do their sleep sprays in miniature as part of bedtime gifting kits.

Makeup Remover & Cotton Pads. I don’t like to wear makeup on long-haul flights, but that doesn’t mean that your face remains grime free. I’m not crazy about using wipes on my face so pack a mini bottle of Bioderma and some cotton pads so I can feel like I’m giving my face a bit of a rinse without having to traipse up the bathroom every time.

Hydrating Mask, Oil & Eye Cream. The holy trinity for me when it comes to skincare on flights. Sure you can pack all the fancy schmansy steps, but these three I feel are non-negociables. I decant out small amounts of the following three; the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask which is a thick creamy hydrating face mask that can be left on for as long as it takes to absorb, the May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon because it does a good job of calming my redness and then whatever eye cream I have on the go, just to give that area a little more love and attention.


Tinted Moisturiser. My skin post-flight is a glorious combination of dry and red, so although I’d appreciate the coverage, a tinted moisturiser is the better option because although it doesn’t do such a good job of dimming down the redness, it gives glow and that’s the priority when you’ve sat in a tin can for 12 hours. I like the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser, MAC Face & Body and the Glossier Skin Tint.

Concealer. I appreciate something that brightens up my inevitable dark circles, but does so in a way that doesn’t bunch up in my lines and creases at all. I am REALLY loving the new Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer, but until that’s released the RMS Beauty Un-Cover Up Concealer in 11 has been my daily go-to.

Cream Bronzer/Highlight/Blush. We all have our own personal preferences when it comes to cheeks, so pack whatever you fancy here. If you go for powder you’ll need to pack a brush, although the compact itself won’t count towards your liquids limit; however I prefer a cream formula for ease of use and once again to oomph up my luminosity levels. I’d recommend the Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer in Baked and Glossier’s Haloscope in Quartz.

Brow Tamer. If you just need to pack a comb then go you! I like to throw in the Hourglass Arch Brow Pencil because it has a cracking spoolie on one end and then a waxy, long-lasting pigment packed nib on the other end that helps to beef out my sparse areas.

Mascara & Eyelash Curlers. If you need something on your lid multi-task and apply a little of your highlighter or bronzer there just to add some sheen, then dose up with a serious coating off mascara that will open up your eyes and make you look more awake than you actually are. Again I throw in my curlers as a personal preference because I can’t be without them, then I’d go in with the Lancome Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara x10 coats.

Pinky Lip Colour. There’s something about a pink on the lips that makes you look more perky – FACT. Depending on what I had to do at the other end of my flight I’d go for something sheer (for a daytime event), or more matte and pigmented (for an evening event). I’d recommend the NARS After Glow Balm in Orgasm for the former and the Laura Mercier Velour Extreme Lipstick in Bring It for the latter.


Photos by Emma Croman

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