How Flight Attendants Take Care Of Their Skin

It’s the time of the year to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

If there’s anyone who knows how to deal with dry skin, it’s flight attendants. Cruising at 36,000 feet for a living means being an expert in a lot of things, actually, but that definitely includes how to not turn into a dehydrated wreck.

Given that it’s the holiday season, you’re probably flying soon, and given that it's winter and the world is basically a tundra, even if you're not flying, you're probably in an environment where the air wants to suck your skin free of all possible moisture. As Taylor Tippett, who flies for American Airlines, says: “Being stuck on an airplane all day, with the same circulated air and no vitamin D, is not a good recipe for A+ skin,” but it doesn’t have to completely ruin yours.

Scroll through to read up on what you can do to stay as well-moisturized as Rihanna through the holiday season and beyond.

Stock Up On H20
No surprise here: All of the flight attendants we reached out to emphasize how important it is to drink as much water as you can during a flight. Tippett says that she uses an app called My Water Balance, which helps you keep track of how much liquid you consume. “I also set reminders for myself every hour or so on my phone, and they remind me to drink.” She recommends flying with a reusable water bottle, as well. “You end up having to throw away any water you bring through security and water bottles in the airport are as much as a meal,” she notes. “But if you bring your own, there are water bottle fountains all over most airports. It’s the best.”

Joyce Foley, who flies for Hawaiian Airlines, says she tries to avoid soda and anything that has too much salt, “because it causes me to retain water and look puffy.” Instead, stick to the always-reliable, if sometimes boring, H20. You can add some lemon or opt for green tea if you want to make things interesting. And don’t worry about having to use the bathroom too much, Foley says. If you're not in the aisle seat, your seatmate will just have to get over it. “It makes such a difference in your health overall—less bloating, jet lag, wrinkles, and the list goes on,” she says. “I can tell when I don't drink enough just by my lips being dry and my makeup settling on my smile lines. Once after a 12-hour international flight, I felt like I aged 10 years due to not drinking enough water!”

Keep Things Consistent
The skin-care regimen you stick to on the ground should pretty much be the same when you’re in the air. “I try to be consistent with the products I use because my skin tends to be more sensitive from all the changes it goes through in the air, with the time changes, lack of sleep, and diet,” Hannah McMahon, who flies for United Airlines, says.

Now, if it’s summer, you may want to apply a heavier moisturizer before you board. Otherwise, a lot of the flight attendants swear by face mists for quick hydrating pick-me-ups. Some of the favorites include: Cocokind Organic Rosewater Facial Toner, Kate Somerville’s Nourish Hydrating Firming Mist, and Scratch Goods Jasmine Rose Skin Drink.

Another product Tippett recommends incorporating into long flights: eye masks. “I always got off the plane with my under-eye bags even more noticeable,” she says. “Until I found my secret weapon: Honest Hazel Collagen Eye Pads. You just put them on right under your eyes and, I’m telling you, they do wonders. They are clear, too, so they aren’t too noticeable and they are jelly, so they are so refreshing and stay cold.” You can put them on during the flight or right before you land so that you arrive wide-eyed and ready to go.

Put Down the Concealer
“If you don't HAVE to wear makeup, don’t, because your skin will thank you,” advises Renee Bull, who flies for Delta Airlines. “Always travel with makeup-removing wipes during long flights so you can give your face a rest.” If you are going to dab on a little something for good measure, she recommends using moisturizing products beforehand to prevent dryness later on in the flight. This is also when those mists come in handy because, more often than not, they won’t disrupt your makeup.

Most flight attendants are encouraged to put on a full face when working, so doing so as a passenger won’t ruin your skin. Just make sure to take it off once you land. It’s the first thing most of the ladies we spoke to do once they get off of a long flight. Then, most recommend putting on a hydrating mask (like a K-beauty sheet mask) or even getting in a good steam in the shower before heading to bed.

Take Care of Yourself Beyond the Face
“I work with my hands all day long, not to mention wash them bajillion times a day, so a heavy-duty hand cream is a necessity,” says Daphni Edwards who flies for Delta Airlines. Her favorites are Eucerin’s Advanced Repair Lotion and First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream. “As you can tell by the names, both creams are intensely moisturizing.” 

Her other must-haves include a good lip scrub: “Whenever my lips get super-dry, I use a sugar scrub to really polish and revive them,” Edwards said. She says Lush has some of the best ones. And, a good deodorant. “Planes are usually cold, but you can easily get really hot wearing a bunch of layers, rushing through airports, or moving around a lot,” she says. “Secret makes one that gives me the confidence I need to close overhead bins without flashing sweaty armpit stains at my passengers.”

Consider Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is very much a thing right now, which means you probably have some essential oils laying around. Tippett recommends bringing them on board with you. “I swear by them, and I think they have been most beneficial when flying,” she says. “Lavender calms, thieves protects you from getting sick—which is amazing since you are trapped in a tube of germs—and frankincense is so good for your skin all the time.”