Vintage women in plane


How to look fresh after a long-haul flight

Published November 8th, 2013

We’ve all seen the shots of celebs gliding through the airport with nary a wrinkle or hair out of place and looking fresh as a daisy. For the folks in the cheap seats, the reality is creases on your face from where you smushed up against the window, crusty remnants of the drool from your (adorable) travelling partner sleeping on your shoulder and not-so-minty fresh breath. Let’s not even get started on the dry skin, angry pimples and lank hair. Great start to the vacay, hey?


You can be my wingman any time.


Being so far away from everywhere else in the world, flying from Australia means clocking up some serious air miles. Great for your frequent flyer program, not so good for your looks. Don’t frown (not good for your wrinkles), we’ll show you how to keep it pretty in economy. Your resident Student Flights grooming expert* is on hand to ensure you deplane looking even better than when you arrived at the airport. Here’s the 7 ‘plane truth’ beauty commandments you need to know.


1. Get thyself a neck pillow
This is a twofold tip. Firstly, you’ll support your head and hopefully get some shut-eye. Two: you’ll avoid flattening your hair against the headrest for the entire duration of your flight. Another hair tip? Dry shampoo is your friend. Use it to soak up oily roots and add oomph to your ‘do. Just remember to work it in and brush it out otherwise you’ll look like a greying nanna.


2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Drink water before you get on the plane, during your flight and when you disembark. Sure you’ll spend the entire journey climbing over your fellow passengers to get to the toilet, but just think how plump and well-hydrated your skin will be. Want to ramp things up? Try coconut water or vitamin-infused water for a boost.


3. Snack smart
Your stomach may be saying M&Ms, but a protein-rich snack like nuts will keep you sated and stop you reaching for the yum-yums that will make your blood sugar twerk like Miley Cyrus. What nuts? Keep ‘em raw and eat almonds for the added omega 3s for glowing skin, fibre for fullness and essential fatty acids to keep the breakouts at bay. And no, almond M&Ms do not count.


4. Rub me the right way
Ooh baby; the air is dry up there so keep your skin smooth and non-scaly by slathering on some moisturiser – face and body. Use that hot towel or wet wipe you were given and wipe it over your skin to allow the moisturiser to infuse and work its magic. Follow up with some eye cream. And an eye mask.


5. Circulate
Not in a networking sense ( ‘How are you, 3D? Looking good, 38F. How’s the chicken?’), but getting up from your seat to stretch your legs is a good idea to get the blood moving and stop the post-meal bloating. Of course, if you’ve been following my advice you’ve probably already been to the toilet a few times anyway. Check out the airline’s in-air exercises for some in-the-seat inspo too.


6. Ice, ice baby
If you’re a seat slammer, know this. Reclining your seat way back not only marks you as a douche to the passenger behind you, it will also cause you to bloat and puff up as the fluid retains in your face and especially your eyes. To avoid puffy eyes, pop some ice from your drink into a napkin and hold gently over the under-eye area. And put your seat in an upright position already.


7. Touch up before you touchdown
Savvy travellers will have their waterproof mascara on already, but you’ll need to perk up your complexion after a long-haul trip. Employ a double-duty cheek and lip crème and a dab of highlighter to brighten the face. If paparazzi are waiting at the gate, pop your makeup on before you deplane, or else duck into the bathroom at baggage claim to beautify.


*True! I have stints in cosmetics retail and as a beauty editor under my (makeup) tool belt, and I occasionally take my own advice...

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.