5 Easy Beauty Travel Tips

5 Easy Travel Beauty Tips

Other than the year that my now husband lived in Boston and I was stuck in Minnesota, I wouldn’t consider myself a frequent flier. I love to travel, but other things (like paying off school loans —anyone else in that boat still?) have been priorities save for maybe a once a year, middle-of-winter getaway.

But this year, I’ve happened to leave on a jet plane more frequently for work and I’m currently planning a two-week European vacation that takes off in late May. Airline fees and obvious liquid restrictions have made me get savvier about my cosmetics, and the more regular flying has give me insight into how to actually deal with my skin pre- and post-flight.

While my tips may not be anything profoundly new, there are five things I’ve now taken to doing every time I travel.

  1. Pre-flight: Packing non-liquid makeup. Like most, I hate paying extra for a checked bag, and as I’ve gotten more travel-savvy, I’ve cut down my makeup routine so that I can stow my cosmetics in my carry-on without having to separately send them through the security checkpoint in my liquids bag. Mineral makeup is my savior here. I pack mineral foundation, bronzer and blush to avoid cramming liquid coverup into my Ziploc. If I need to be bolder with my makeup looks (hello, fancy dinner), I stick to one color scheme and try to make that as mineral-based as possible (and limit myself to only bringing two lip colors… which is really, really hard). Then I can reserve that small, clear bag for my skincare, which is way more important anyway.
  2. In flight: Wearing little to no makeup. This maybe seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve never employed this oft-recommended travel tip until recently. And I’m glad I finally did. While I still swipe on a little concealer or tinted moisturizer to cover up whatever blemishes my skin is throwing at me, I forgo mascara, blush and full foundation. Skin can get dry and flaky on flights, and no matter how hard I tried, I always ended up an oily mess post-plane. Less makeup avoids creasing or flakiness, and lets my skin breathe. I still swipe on a little just before landing, but it’s helped keep my pores clear and skin more dewy than oily.
  3. In flight: Hydrating (with more than just water). Another no-brainer. The air on a flight is drier than dry and it just circulates around the cabin, looking for moisture to steal, usually from your skin and hair. Enter hydrosols or facial mists. I love the Evan Healy ones because they come in little travel sizes and you can easily fit them in your liquids bag. And, just like when you’re at home, sipping water constantly keeps your skin and hair and body from feeling hungover post-flight.
  4. Post-flight: Essential oils + yoga. This could technically be in the “in flight” section too. The lovely Hope Gillerman is not only a genius at EO blends (the whole NMDL team travels with them), but she also offers travel tips. Like Putting her Travel Remedy blend on your legs before getting on the plane (I just inhale this whenever I’m feeling blah on the flight). Post flight, she recently told me to do legs-up-the-wall pose with a heat pack on my stomach to get blood back into my core. Helps tired limbs immensely. Her Sinus Blend is also an essential (ha) EO blend for me post-flight: It clears up any sinus congestion or pressure being 30,000 feet in the air causes.
  5. Vacation: Exfoliation. I usually skip my usual skin exfoliation process while traveling, for the sake of trying to cut down on the number of skincare products that tag along. But Ive come to realize that this contributes to any breakouts I get while away (especially if I’m in a warmer locale). Skin dryness caused by flying leads to my skin getting flaky, and flakiness, if left unaddressed, can cause clogged pores and breakouts. Plus, if I’m beaching and sweating, dirt and grime that’s not usually on my skin can get caught and contribute to an uptick in blemishes. Lesson? Don’t stop my regular exfoliation game because I’m on vacation. The more regular my skin routine can be, the better.

What other travel tips do you utilize when you take off?

16 Responses to “5 Easy Beauty Travel Tips”
  1. Victoria says:

    Nicolle! So excited for your European two week trip in May. Make sure to visit all the little apothecaries and pharmacies which are so different than our American pharmacies. I have a few little tricks and tips to share with you.

    1) Bring the basics, pashmina, loose fitting jeans or wear a dress or skirt for comfort and wear flats while flying. I see women wearing tight heels on long trans-atlantic flights and don’t get it. Your feet get bloated being in the air for 8 hours and then you have to stand in customs or walk through large airports with your feet stuck in too tight shoes. Women need to be kind to their feet, it’s what keeps us upright daily!

    2) Add oil to the ends of your hair and put it in a nice bun, braid or fancy updo. You’re going to go straight for a shower as soon as you get to your hotel anyway and it’ll help with the water differences and keep hair shiny.

    3) Transfer products like eye cream, night cream or exfoliatior paste/cream into a clean compact lense case. The duo unit should be enough for two weeks of daily use.

    4) Take facial wipes to use mid-flight because you don’t want to wash your skin with airplane water! Then spritz with a toner or facial spray and apply anti-inflammatory oils.

    A few little tips I’ve learned. Have fun! xo

  2. Megan says:

    This post is so timely! In two days I’ll be hopping on a plane to Morocco. I will definitely have to incorporate your essential oils + yoga tip (de Mamiel altitude oil is a lifesaver on a plane!) I travel a lot for work and am a huge fan of the in-flight mist. I haven’t graduated to the in-flight mask, but often times I’m very tempted to! (Although I imagine people that recommend applying a mask while on a plane are traveling in spacious first class, not crammed in coach like me! haha)

    As an aside, the TSA does not seem to like miron glass. Even if it’s a powdered exfoliator or mask, you will still get stopped because the thick, dark glass makes it difficult to differentiate between a liquid and a powder. It’s highly annoying so I’ve learned it’s best to transfer your powders to a smaller (clearer) container.



  3. Silvy says:

    Great post! I have a similar approach to packing make up and skincare, but I limit my liquids for skincare as well. I always take bar soap with me, and even facial soap, like Osmia (after having cut off smaller pieces), and cleansing grains (like Queen of the Meadow) for exfoliation. Facial oil I always decant into a small glass vial, that you can get at most health food stores. So then, the only full-sized things I will take (and even then, depends on how long I’m going for), are deodorant, moisturizer/sunscreen, and toner. Pretty much everything fits into one small make up bag, one for dry things. This has worked really well for me, even when traveling for a week or so with just a duffel bag.

    For makeup, I usually stick with cream-based stick formulas, because I find the packaging is usually light, small, and portable- like W3ll People and the Hemp Organics berry lip tint that I wear as blush (that thing is tiny!). Also love that these are multipurpose. I also just bring mascara and eyeliner for eyes, since eye shadows and brushes take up more space.

    @Victoria: Great tips! I always find that leggings or pants are most comfortable for travel, because then you don’t have to keep your legs smushed together. I am really digging your hair tip, especially! Can’t wait to try that, and that contact lens case tip as well!

  4. Sarah says:

    Good tips! I never go away without Stark’s grapefruit balm, since it works brilliantly as a cleanser, body moisturizer, uplifting scent, etc. (plus it’s not a liquid!). And I also have to keep up exfoliation when traveling, so I always take a tiny jar with a few scoops of May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt – it’s the perfect gentle scrub once you mix with water (and again, not a liquid!).

    Now for an embarrassingly weird etiquette q: whenever I hear tips about spritzing yourself throughout a flight, I wonder if anyone does this at their seats? I would feel self conscious doing so, but I also avoid the plane bathroom as much as possible, so it’s not like there’d be a lot of opportunity for said spritzing. What do y’all do?

  5. Silvy says:

    @Sarah (and Megan!): Sometimes, I have no shame when it comes to my skin care! I also travel coach and oftentimes will spritz away. If I’m uncomfortable, though, I wait until people are asleep, or I take my entire bag of products into the bathroom and have at it.

  6. Helen says:

    Good tips! I could definitely benefit from leaving some liquid makeup/toiletries at home.

    A few that I’ve picked up over the years:

    Choose your seat on the plane wisely. Sometimes you can sit behind a section divider and get some extra legroom. (Of course then you don’t have a seat in front of you for a bag, so there are advantages and disadvantages.) Seat Guru has helpful diagrams of planes with tips for where to sit and whether certain seats should be avoided.

    Bring some sanitizing wipes to wipe down your armrests, remote, etc. Those are pretty gross and if you’re touching your face after touching those, you’re getting germs all over.

    Invest in a really good eye mask. I love the Bucky ones because they’re convex and let your eyes move around, and you don’t have any pressure on the lids. Conventional eye masks actually used to give me styes. Your chances of getting any sleep are minimal, especially in coach, but they’re nil if you don’t have some way to block out the light.

    Make sure to wear a pashmina or some other flowy piece that you can use as a blanket or pillow. Don’t use the ones the airline provides, I don’t think they’re ever washed.

    Make sure to have some tissues and cough drops. Even when I’m perfectly healthy, something about the super dry air always sets me off!

    Bring your own dinner and snacks, especially if you have any allergies. It sounds like a pain, but if you make something with no excessive amount of liquids–a few things I’ve taken have been quinoa tabbouleh, roasted veggies, roasted almonds + dried cranberries, pretzel sticks–there shouldn’t be any problems. You can take a reusable, unbreakable container like a Lunchbot and chances are you’ll find a use for it at some point during your trip. Your skin will thank you for not consuming something weird with a ton of sodium, you’ll feel better and start your trip on the right note.

    Bring tea bags!!! This one has always helped me. I always pack something decaffeinated, like peppermint tea, which helps my stomach if I get queasy; and a green or earl grey tea for breakfast. No liquids to carry, I just ask for a cup of hot water on the plane. Way better than the oversteeped breakfast blend that most airlines will bring you when you ask for tea. This way you get to take out the bag before it’s bitter. My skin appreciates not being forced to drink horrible airplane coffee, and the tea flavors make it more interesting to drink a lot of liquids.

    Bring an extra pair of socks in your carry on, ideally nice thick ones. You can take your shoes off and if you have to get up to go to the bathroom or whatever, you basically have slippers on, without having had to pack bulky slippers.

    Bring a toothbrush and an itty bitty thing of mouthwash. This way you don’t have to use the non-potable airplane bathroom water for toothpaste. Just scrub around with your toothbrush, swig some mouthwash, and enjoy having at least one part of your body feel fresh and clean after 8+ hours on a plane! Even if you can’t shower, it’s amazing the difference a freshly brushed mouth makes.

    I’ve always been told to get up and walk around every hour for circulation. It helps, especially when traveling in coach.

    One thing that might just be me, but hey: don’t wear your grodiest sweatpants/sweatshirt combo. Dress comfy, but relatively chic, i.e. leggings + a long cardigan or a knit blazer, and cute but walkable flats instead of sneakers. You’ll be super comfortable but will look a lot more pulled together. There’s enough about flying to make me feel crummy, if I’m wearing something relatively cute I feel less bleh.

  7. Helen says:

    Wow, I just realized my post was ridiculously long! Very strong feelings about how to make flying more comfortable.

  8. Kayla says:

    Helen, I love your advice, especially packing your own meals! I am also embarking on a Europe trip in May and haven’t been on an overnight flight since my paleo diet change. The food situation definitely makes me a bit nervous!

    My advice for in-flight beauty:

    If possible, shower as close as you can to take off, so either right before an overnighter or the night before an early morning take off. This way my skin and hair feels fresh!

    I keep makeup minimal to none, and wear my full skincare routine to the airport. For the plane, I use my most moisturizing products to keep my skin hydrated! On my most recent excursion, I brought argan oil along to keep my hair tamed, my nails and hands from cracking/splitting, and to moisturize my face. I also pack a little makeup to put on right before landing, usually RMS concealer and highlighter. Oh, and lip balm. Always lip balm.

    I try to keep my outfit chic yet comfortable, so a light cashmere sweater with some leggings and a pair of flats, and I always pack slipper socks!

    I also plan on packing my Essence of Vali’s Sleep Bedtime Ritual to put on my neck pillow/sleeves to help lull me to sleep, or at least keep me calm and unstressed.

  9. This was definitely helpful for me as I’m traveling in a couple of weeks, a long haul flight as well. To keep hydrated, I’m planning on trying the Osmia Organics Active Gel Toner or the Floating Hydration Serum from Flight Skincare as they both have been raved about for their ability to keep skin supple and nourished. Also, I like to throw my hair into twisted buns as when I take them out, I get instant pretty waves.

  10. Helen says:

    Thanks @Kayla!

    I like your shower close to takeoff tip. I hate the feeling of arriving somewhere dirty so that would help.

    I’m also nervous to travel abroad this summer, it’s my first trip after being diagnosed with Celiac’s. This will be interesting–I think I’m going to have to lug around a supply of safe GF snacks just in case, which is a logistical thing I’ve never dealt with before. If anyone has tips on traveling with allergies, especially in foreign countries where both awareness of Celiac’s + English is not very common, I would love to hear it!

  11. Jennifer says:

    @Helen: There’s a website called celiactravel.com that offers downloadable restaurant cards in different languages. I think they’ve created an app as well. Take a look and see if any info there might be helpful to you. I hope so!

  12. Great tips for traveling. I have some other beauty tips for traveling. These tips are given below:
    1. Save the heavy stuff for later

    2. Tone down a breakout

    3. Stick to cream makeup

    4. Help makeup work overtime

  13. Ruhi says:

    Lovely post! Agree with almost everything posted here! Love the idea around carrying mineral makeup. I’m just not that into makeup and end up taking whatever I use regularly…don’t have a lot :-) Skincare is another matter altogether. For in flight misting, I find that the water or hydrosol based mists evaporate way too fast, and instead of hydrating, the evaporation process steals more moisture from my face. The only hydrating mist I can use in flight without this issue is Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist. I usually add some extra drops of face oil to combat the dry in flight cabin air. I did an entire post on my travel routing on my blog – http://ruhi.wordpress.com

  14. Anh says:

    Great travel tips!

    @Helen: Not sure if you’ll come back to this post and see this comment, but I would recommend going to local health food stores for your GF needs. I don’t have Celiac’s but I’m vegan and every time I travel I scope out where the health food stores are located. As I buy my almond milk and vegan snacks, I tend to start up a conversation with the shop owners or employees and have gotten great recommendations for places to eat or local tips that you wouldn’t be able to search up online. I use happycow.net to find the stores and restaurants, it’s a wonderful resource for anyone traveling with diet restrictions. Happy travels!

  15. Emma says:

    I also travel with only a ziplog bag; i fill up my regular cosmetics into smaller pots of buy travel sizes. In terms of makup, apart from mascara, I put my wax based foundation, lipstick, blush etc in a separate bag – they are not liquid so can go in a normal bag – at last that’s the rule in europe, where I live.

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