My In-Flight Beauty Routine & Compact Travel Make-Up Kit

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For the last few years, I’ve journeyed on many an airplane, both short and long-haul, and found the effects of a high altitude can really take its toll on your body. Furthermore, unfortunately, 90% of the time I can’t sleep on a flight, so beauty sleep is out of the question for me, and I have to make up for it even more with products and nutrition. That being said, synthetic air in an incubator of germs at 36’000 feet isn’t something I take very lightly!

Once I arrive at my destination, I apply a basic face of make-up, using very specifically packed tools and product, that will take up minimal space, but still give you a great amount of options for different make-up looks. 

After my fair amount of flying experience, I thought I’d share my beauty routine before and during a flight, along with the make-up I pack to give me a variety of options in a reasonably-sized pouch without carrying a huge kit with me.



1. Before leaving home, I exfoliate my face, then moisturise as I usually would. I don’t wear any make-up on the journey.

I’m currently using this exfoliating face wash and this moisturiser both from Woolworths. I very seldom use a toner, as I feel it’s too harsh on my face. Even if it’s a short-haul flight, I don’t wear any make-up on my skin until I land, at the most I’ll fill my brows and wear mascara. Flying and being in and out of airports tends to make you hot then then cold, then hot again, opening and closing your pores which causes them to clog.  

2. I do my hair perfectly so it looks great when I land.

On the day I depart, I wash my hair, spray it with ghd Heat Protect Spray (available here), and blow-dry it. I really take my time flat-ironing it straight, using a ghd iron and comb, then apply a nourishing oil from the ears down to the ends (I avoid the roots so they don’t get oily). My favourite product right now is the Kardashian Hair Black Seed Oil. It’s magnificent! I was given a sample months ago and it’s like the holy grail for hair. It’s a little pricey but I’m definitely buying the big bottle when my sample runs out. You can purchase it here.

3. I check in online.

I make sure in advance that I get an isle-seat, because I always drink a lot of water and need the bathroom. Hydration is essential!

4. I take an immune booster.

I try and take an Airmune or Septogard to prep my system for the claustrophobic aircraft filled with germs, as well as any illness that may result from a change of climate. I don’t ever take sleeping pills despite my insomnia, they’re so really bad for you and can make it far more difficult for you to adjust your body clock.



1. I apply a deeply nourishing oil treatment on my face and lips, because it keeps my skin moisturised for longer than an everyday cream would.

I usually use MAC’s Care Blends Essential Oils (available in store) on my face along with Elizabeth Arden’s original 8-Hour Cream Skin Protectant (available here) on my lips.

However, after recently being sent Elizabeth Arden’s new 8 Hour range to try out, I loved using the Protectant Night Time Miracle Moisturiser (available here) and Intensive Lip Repair (available here) on my flight to Paris/Lisbon and back! I didn’t have to reapply the moisturiser to my face, my skin was left dewy and it beat the dry, recycled cabin air like a champ. 

2. I use body butter on my hands and feet, and make sure I wear socks to lock in the moisture.

Body butter takes longer to absorb into your skin, and can even keep you warmer when the cabin is icy. I love this body butter range from JT One. The smell is heavenly!

3. I never tie my hair. 

This prevents it from denting, and it keeps me warm because the cabin is usually cold. After prepping my hair before the flight and staying away from tying it up, my tresses look pretty much perfect when I arrive.

4. I drink a LOT of water.

If you listen to your body in flight, you’ll hear it begging for hydration in every way. 


packed make-up

Okay, so if you knew what my professional make-up kit looks like, you’ll realise why this list is very “compact”! It allows you to create something basic for daytime or a full evening look.

 Real Techniques Core Collection Brush Set (available here). I add my Bobbi Brown eyeshadow brush (available here) and MAC 224 tapered blending brush (available here) to the pouch.

A small but varied eyeshadow compact with three/four colours. This allows you a variety of looks that can take you from day to night. One of these should be a shimmery skin colour for daytime. 

Benefit’s Air Patrol. It acts as an amazing concealer/BB cream for eyes, eyeshadow primer and is incredibly soothing with SPF20 (available here).

One foundationUnless you insist on contouring. I don’t need or like heavy coverage, so I swear by MAC’s Face & Body Foundation (available here), which I’ve been using for years.

Two lipsticks, one bold and one subtle. I love MAC Viva Glam III (available here) and MAC’s ‘Modesty’ (available here).

MAC Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder (available here) is amazing for setting your make up.

Benefit Brow-zings Brow kit (available here)

Benefit Dallas Face Powder (available here)

A buildable, volumising mascara. I love anything by Maybelline (available here) and Benefit (available here).

A gel eyeliner. Great as an eye pencil, or for creating a cat eye, and amazing for a smoky lid. Bobbi Brown’s pot is awesome, it just dries out really quickly unfortunately, but it’s great if you are careful not to leave it uncapped for too long (available here).

A highlighting cream or powder. I use Girl Meets Pearl from Benefit (available here).


 And that’s it! Do you guys have a go-to travel beauty routine that you swear by? Tweet me @SAFashionBreed!



By sharing her personal style, fashion and beauty advice, written reflections and more, Fashion Breed is a place for women to learn, relate and connect.

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