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How to stay beautiful on board: Make-up and skincare tips from a flight attendant

by Alex Light

Flying is a stress on the skin and can leave it looked tired, dehyrated and a little worse for wear when you reach your destination. But I have some tips to help you stay looking groomed and glamorous during both long and short haul flights - from a flight attendant, no less!

Virgin Atlantic air stewardess Harriet Conrath gave me a glimpse into how she and her colleagues look after their skin, all while maintaining a flawless appearance during even the most gruelling longhaul journeys.

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Two Aegean Airlines attendants pose up in a picture posted to Instagram

"It's hard to stay looking fresh during a longhaul flight," says Harriet. "We're battling skin-drying air conditioning, dark circles from jet lag and often tiredness, so good make-up is all-important. I wear Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation – it's super longlasting and doesn’t require any touch-ups. As for lipstick, No7 Stay Perfect in bright red is my go-to on flights – it has great lasting power without drying your lips out."

Harriet and her colleagues have a top tip for making yourself look instantly awake with make-up – a genius trick that I've now actually incorporated into my daily routine! "Apply a touch of highlighter in the corner of your eyes – it makes them look more open and you look instantly brighter and fresher."

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Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation is a flight attendant favourite

While lash extensions have become popular among flight attendants – they eliminate the need for mascara – Harriet uses "lots of mascara" to further open eyes and make them pop.

There is a lack of humidity in the airplane cabin, which can lead to dehydration in your skin, so you need to monitor your water intake carefully during a flight. "Seriously, the most important thing for keeping your skin fresh while flying is staying hydrated, you have to drink tons of water," says Harriet. "You need to drink at least two litres during a flight to New York, for example."

To further hydrate your skin, she recommends using Neal's Yard's White Tea Facial Mist – a blend of antioxidant-rich white tea and calming aloe vera, it soothes and rehydrates all skin types.

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Harriet recommends this Neal's Yard Mist

What about post-flight skincare – does it need to be any different? "You need to make sure you cleanse thoroughly to remove all make-up and let your skin breathe. Some of us use the PreCleanse from Dermalogica as it really cuts through all make-up and post-flight debris, prepping the skin for easy and thorough make-up removal."

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Dermaologica Pre-Cleanse

She added: "Then you need a great night cream to further rehydrate the skin and a good eye serum – my top pick is the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum, it’s intensely hydrating and really soothing."