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What to Pack for your In Flight Beauty Regime on Long Haul Flights

Updated on December 28, 2013

Long haul flights can be so tiresome! All that recycled air, airplane food and mixture of odours and bodily functions surrounding you for hours upon hours is not the best start to your vacation.

The bonus to long haul flights however is you do have a lot of time to kill and it’s the perfect time to give yourself a little pampering, turning your flight into a spa. It makes for a more relaxing, enjoyable flight and when you land you're less likely to look jet lagged and you can really start your vacation in style. I’m not saying you have to step off the plane in skyscraper heels looking like a celebrity, but just feeling and looking fresher after such a long time in that cramped space puts you in the right frame of mind to start your vacation!

Keeping in mind the restrictions of size of liquids and hand luggage weight and size, there are still plenty of ways to bring your favourite pampering products on board. Don’t forget that once through security and air-side, you can buy a lot of full sized products in the duty free that are safe to take on board. Look up your designated airport duty free to find out if they stock your chosen brands.


It’s important to get the right containers and bags for your in-flight beauty kit. It’s all about space, ease of access and keeping within the size restrictions.

Travel bottles

I love my travel bottles. You can pick up full sets of flight approved bottles and containers at most drug stores and they don’t cost too much either! These are great for decanting your full sized products into without having to worry about going over your allocated 100mls limit. Look for bottles that are quite sturdy with screw caps. I find the pump dispenser bottles more expensive and messier in my bag. Pre-flight I always secure the lids with a little tape as an added anti-spill precaution – due to the change in cabin pressure some containers will expand!

Travel wash bag

Buy a specific wash bag for your in flight toiletries and keep all your goodies in here. It doesn’t have to be overly large but something that can fit all your bottles and products in, as well as a small hair brush, perfume atomiser etc. If you can, use a clear plastic wash bag as you will need to show the liquids you are taking on board at airport security. If you don’t have a clear wash bag, put your liquids in a clear plastic bag (available at most airport securities) and pop that in the wash bag – that way you can just pull it out at security then quickly put it back away. Having the separate wash bag means you don’t have to take your whole hand luggage bag to the bathroom, you can just grab your small wash bag and go. If you get one small enough you can even store it in your seat back pocket – perfect access for in-seat pampering.

Perfume Atomiser

I only recently discovered these amazing little products. They are about the size of a lipstick and hold around 50 pumps worth of perfume. They have a little clear window in the front and come in a variety of colours. Airplane approved they’re a great alternative to carrying glass perfume bottles on board or having to go without your favourite scent because the bottle is too big!

Brush Wallet

If you’re taking any make up brushes on board, pick up a small foldable brush wallet. It keeps all your brushes in place and tidy too. Also, if anything does happen to leak in your bag your brushes will be kept clean and protected.

Zip Lock Bags

Ok, maybe this is a little too organised for some people, but little zip lock bags are great for keeping things like cotton pads, hair ties, bobby pins etc in. You don’t want to tip your whole wash bag out looking for that elusive clip to pin your hair up! It’s so much easier to just pull out one of these little bags and have access to what you need.


What kind of applicators and tools will you need in flight? Remember, we’re not opening up a salon in our seat, we just want the necessary basics.


Get hold of one of those fabric head bands that go all around your head. They’re ideal for keeping your bangs and fly aways out of your face whilst you apply products and make up.

Eye Mask

Great for keeping out the light if you want to sit back and just rest for a while, also see my great tip below about a further use!

Eyelash Curlers

Security won’t take away your eyelash curlers so take then on board. More so for disembarking, curl your eye lashes to open up your eyes. I’d avoid using mascara – if you manage to get any sleep you don’t want to land with Panda eyes! Try to opt for a clear mascara to help set your curled lashes.

Cotton Pads

For applying and removing products. Especially great if your apply a face mask during the flight, these make it easier to remove in your seat than having to trudge to the bathroom and splash around.

Top Tip- Try and get a cup of ice water during the flight and soak two cotton pads in it. Once cold apply over your eyes and rest for around 20 minutes. It freshens up your eyes and reduces puffiness. If you don’t want people watching, pop a sleeping eye mask over the top!


Take the minimum and look for duel use or double ended brushes. You can pack your full brush kit in your suitcase. One of the best multi-use brushes is a mini kabuki brush. Great for applying mineral foundation, bronzer, blush and finishing powder. You can angle the tip with your fingers for more precision, especially if you take along any highlighter. Try and aim for one eye shadow brush, your not looking to do anything complicated or fancy! If you’re a liquid make up user try and use your hands as your tools instead of taking along several bulky sponges.

Cleansing Wipes

Personally, I find these too dry for my skin but they make great in-flight brush cleaners. No mess, no fuss, just dab your brush on the wipe and I will remove the bulk of any excess make up and skin cells.

Hair Accessories

Take a collapsible brush with a mirror on one side – multi function! Pack some spare hair ties, bobby pins, even a clamp if your wearing your hair down during travelling and need to put it all out of your face.

Make Up

Personally I prefer to wear as little make up as possible when travelling. The recycled air causes my skin to dry out and thus the applied make up doesn’t look so great! If you sleep then you’re probably going to smudge a lot of your make up too. If you are going to travel with make up though take the bare minimum; foundation, concealer, bronzer or blush and eye shadow. I’d be inclined to skip eye shadow and take blush over bronzer – it’s more forgiving and easier to fix if you overdo it or make a mistake during turbulence.

If you’re going to travel to the airport with make up on, remove it during the flight with some cleansing wipes. Your skin will thank you for it. If you can’t disembark without it, you can apply it before landing. Just keep it simple!

Choose a lip balm over a gloss, especially something with added moisturiser. You can go for something tinted too if you want a bit of colour. Balms will be great during the flight, saving your lips from drying out and cracking.


Our goal here is to feel relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to start out vacation. We want to keep moisture levels up and reduce puffiness.

  • Facial Moisturiser – decant your own into a smaller bottle/container or see if you can snag any free samples, they’re the perfect size and take up little to no room in your bag!
  • Eye Cream – look for something that specifically reduces puffiness and moisturising. I struggle to sleep on overnight long haul flights and so my eyes always end up looking really puffy and tired. Applying a little eye cream every couple of hours has really helped me to avoid the noticeably tired look!
  • Hand Cream – again, it’s all about keeping your skin nourished and moisturised so apply hand cream regularly. You could even look up hand massage online and give yourself, friends and family a little extra pampering too!
  • Deodorant – self explanatory! You’ll struggle to feel fresh if you don’t smell so fresh!
  • Face Mask – You’ll have to leave the oatmeal and clay masks at home unless you want people really staring and wondering what’s all over your face! Go for something more subtle like a sheet mask (great on over night dark flights!) or a clear gel mask that it’s too obvious. To remove, wet your cotton pads with water and wipe away. Be sure to try the mask before you go so you know it doesn’t dry coloured or is too hard to wipe off!
  • Mouthwash / Floss – Trust me, no amount of pampering will make you feel refreshed if your mouth and teeth feel dirty! Pop some mouthwash into a small travel bottle and rinse your mouth out in the bathroom after your meal and before you land – you’ll feel all the better for it!
  • Make up Remover - If you're going to pass through the airport wearing make up you'll need something to take it off with on the plane! Try looking for a mild multi-use remover so you don't need a separate eye remover. Using cotton pads you can remove your make up from your seat.


  • Always take extra water, the more hydrated we are on the inside, the better it shows on the outside! I take around 2L for a 9 hour flight – bought after I’ve passed security.
  • Consider taking along some headache relief medication too just in case you’re the unlucky passenger who gets sat next to the squalling baby!
  • I love the suggestion of taking dissolvable vitamins, that will give your insides a real boost and you’ll step off glowing!
  • Ladies, don’t forget to take along a few feminine hygiene products too!

Don't forget...

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