No need to stress about that post-flight puffiness.
The Travel Beauty Essentials You Need
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Nothing is worse than stepping off a plane for vacation feeling swollen, puffy, and dry. There are a few reasons: When you're at a high altitude, your body (and skin) is forced to quickly adjust to the sudden changes in pressure and temperature. It doesn't help that the air on planes is constantly recirculated, making it much drier than what you're used to. Add to that a lack of solid beauty sleep and you have a recipe for dehydrated and dull skin and hair.
"The key is not letting your skin dry out," says New York–based dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, M.D. In other words, "It's not the time for a retinoid. It's not the time for a peel. It's not the time for anything drying." It is the time, though, for some major moisture. Look for hydrating, gentle, and calming ingredients that will help prevent dryness. (See more: 12 Soothing, Hydrating Oatmeal Products Your Skin and Hair *Need* This Winter)
Ahead, every travel beauty essential you need to keep yourself hydrated mid-flight and refreshed after, no matter how long you're up in the air.
Photo: AleksandarNakic / Getty Images
Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Face Sunscreen Lotion with SPF 50
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When you're flying, you're much closer to the sun—so don't forget to protect your skin accordingly. "UVA light can penetrate your skin right through the window, increasing your risk of sun damage," says New York–based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. Beyond opting for an aisle seat, apply a sunscreen pre-flight to prevent damage, he says. Try a zinc oxide mineral sunscreen with SPF 50, like this pick from Aveeno, which offers added soothing benefits to your skin.
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes Singles
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One of the most important steps to keeping your skin soothed after a flight is taking your makeup off, especially foundation. Why? Leaving your makeup on pre-bed is already a skin-care no-no (hello clogged pores), but it can cause more disruption during a flight when your skin is under drier, more irritating conditions, Dr. Zeichner explains. Plus, if your face rubs up against a pillow or seat with makeup on, you'll cause even more irritation to your skin. These individual wipes are perfect to toss in your carry-on and use during the flight.
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels
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Travel puffiness comes from the winning combination of lack of sleep, the high altitude, and that salty plane food. To reduce any swelling, try under-eye patches with cooling and de-puffing. Dr. Waldorf recommends these from Skyn Iceland for when your lower lids need a post-flight pick-me-up. With rejuvenating ingredients like antioxidants that neutralize damaging free radicals and ginkgo biloba, which diminishes puffiness, they give you quick and effective results.
Photo: Skyn Iceland
Jade Roller Beauty Jade Beauty Roller
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If you're in need of some extra TLC, a jade roller might be your best bet. The pressure will enhance lymphatic drainage, which can de-puff your skin. Just a few moves throughout the face, especially under the eyes with the smaller roller to better target the area, will not only feel good but will also help get your face and eyes back to normal. (Bonus: It can help your skin further absorb any leftover product from your eye patches, serums, and moisturizers.)
Photo: Jade Roller Beauty
Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy Skin Protectant
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That loss of moisture from the dry plane air can cause redness, flaking, and irritation, which is why rehydrating is key. Keep a small sample of this ultra-rich moisturizer from Aquaphor in your carry-on to apply during and after your flight—a little goes a long way with this heavy-duty option. (Plus, you can use it on your lips, hands, and feet too!)
St. Ives Soothing Oatmeal Sheet Mask
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A sheet mask is perfect in-flight since you don't have to deal with the messy process of washing it off. "Sheet masks are a great way to prime the skin and protect your face against the harsh environment of an airplane," says Dr. Zeichner. He suggests looking for calming and protecting ingredients, like colloidal oatmeal—found in this St. Ives sheet mask. Throw one on at the start of the flight for maximum results. Combined with moisturizer, it'll quench your skin—and make a huge difference when you step off the plane.
Photo: St. Ives
Vaseline Clinical Care Body Lotion Extremely Dry Skin Rescue
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Even if you're not usually diligent about applying body lotion, it's worth spending the time to lather up before, during, and after your flight to protect skin from dryness and irritation to combat dehydration. "Look for moisturizers that contain rich emollients to soften and hydrate the outer skin layer," says Dr. Zeichner. This one from Vaseline will definitely do the trick.
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk for All Hair Types
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That stale, recirculated air can also dry out your scalp and hair, says Dr. Zeichner, which can cause your scalp to feel irritated and flaky once you step off. If you aren't able to wash and condition your hair right after flying, freshen up with dry shampoo. This option from Klorane is super light and works for even the most sensitive of scalps thanks (again) to soothing oat milk. The best part? It doesn't cause product buildup or leave behind a grainy texture, which is perfect for refreshing post-flight.
Amika Silken Up Dry Conditioner
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Just like your skin, your hair too can lose moisture in drier air and feel dull, frizzy, and lifeless. After some dry shampoo, follow up with this conditioning mist from Amika. Its weightless texture will smooth, detangle, and rehydrate strands without making you feel greasy again. It gives you a shiny, just-washed finish, so no one will ever know you just got off the plane.