What’s My Travel Skincare Routine?

Nadine-Courtney-Travel-Essentials This one’s for Danielle, who commented in my royals post last week asking for some intel on my travel skincare routine for long-haul flights:

Q: I’m going on a long-haul flight in a few months for the first time in many years. I’ve been searching for ways to protect my skin from the going nuts during the flight and also easy travel makeup tips. I’m not someone who likes going bare-faced anywhere but the gym and to bed, but I understand that my usual makeup routine may be too heavy for a 10 hour travel day. If it matters, I’ll be traveling to the South of France in November, so I’ll already be battling winter skin. I’ve been thinking of face oils or hydrating masks. Something like that. Can you tell us your routine? Or some good tips? Thanks!

A: Thanks for your question, Danielle. Two of my favorite things: beauty and travel together!

Yes, your normal makeup routine is definitely too heavy for a 10 hour flight (unless you’re one of those unicorn people who claims that your skin looks better after not washing off makeup). Personally, I understand the impulse to head to the airport with makeup on, and I often go with a full-face while trying to play the upgrade game. Every little bit helps, especially on an international flight. (Once while flying back to the states on British Airways from London, I simply asked for a business class upgrade…and they actually gave it to me! I damn-near fainted.) But once you’re on the plane, it’s time to pull out your trusty travel beauty bag, which I’ll always have handy under my seat in my purse.

My long-haul plane routine generally goes like this. And by generally, I mean, exactly to a T. I have it down to a science:

— Go to the bathroom.
— Glare at the people in business class.
— Remind self that I must really do better with my life.
— Take off shoes and change into thick, comfy socks for the remainder of the flight.
— Read US Weekly for 20 minutes.
— Remind self that this is probably why I’m not in business class. Should be reading something highbrow instead.
— Scroll through the movies on offer.
— Get cranky because I don’t like any of the movies on offer.
— Settle on something terrible that went straight to DVD, like a Keri Russell movie about Jane Austen-obsessives.
— Judge myself for loving it.
— Ooh! Food! (I always pre-order a special meal online or over the phone. You have to do it more than 24 hours in advance, but it’s worth it. The meals are a billion times better than the regular offerings. I usually go for the “Vegan” or “Muslim” meals, which are often delicious little non-dairy curry dishes with spices, rice, and veggies.)
— Eat while watching said terrible Keri Russell movie.
— Down a glass of red wine or pop an Ambien. (“Or”? Who are we kidding here? I do both.)
— Pull out travel bag (see below for details of what’s in my kit).
— Use a wipe to clean my hands.
— Take off all my makeup with TWO more makeup wipes. (One will suffice, but the second ensures your skin is truly clean.) Literally any brand will do, but I like anything from Neutrogena (they have a travel packet of 7 Make-Up Remover Cleansing Towelettes that’s perfect) or Ponds Wet Cleansing Towelettes. I emphatically do not like the generic Sephora-brand wipes.
— Take out and store my contact lenses in a case pre-filled with solution.
— Pat on some facial serum or moisturizer. I like Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica Lightweight Cream. It’s non-greasy and won’t break you out, but contains enough hydration to get you through a long flight. Go to any Kiehl’s store and request samples, and they’ll give you single-use sachets. Genius for flights.
— Pop on eyeglasses. (I am BLIND.)
— Head to the bathroom with a travel-sized toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste, and small bottle of water.
— Brush teeth with the bottled water.
— Pee.
— Get irritated again that I’m not in business class.
— Back at seat, watch a few more minutes of Keri Russell until the sleeping pill kicks in.
— Apply Lucas Papaw Ointment to lips and hands. (Elizabeth Arden Eight-Hour Cream works, too.)
— Groggily put on face mask and insert earplugs.
— Pass out for the next…ZZZZZzzzzz.
— Wake eight hours later.
— Pop an Aleve.
— Pound another water.
— Briefly wish I had woken in time for breakfast.
— Remind myself that no airplane food is better than sleep.
— Use a Colgate Wisp to get rid of morning breath.
— Pop some gum.
— Use another makeup wipe to freshen my skin and wash the airplane off.
— Use another Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica Lightweight sachet to re-hydrate.
— Apply the leftover Kiehl’s moisturizer to my hands.
— Swipe on mascara. You can have your regular favorite handy, or get a travel-sized sample at most department stores. I’m currently testing out Urban Decay Perversion mascara and Lancome Grandiose mascara and LOVING them both.
–I normally stop there with the makeup, but if for whatever reason I need more, I’ll forgo my beloved bareMinerals (too messy on a plane) in favor of a BB cream or tinted moisturizer. I like Boscia BB Cream Light SPF 27. (You don’t want to forget the sunscreen!)
— Deplane!

Nadine Jolie Courtney travel bags

And just for the heck of it, here’s what I personally have on hand when I’m long-haul traveling:

— A long, heavy scarf that can double as a blanket
— Thick, cozy socks
— A travel pillow
— Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone earplugs
— An eye mask
— Gum
— Colgate Wisps
— Travel-size toothbrush/toothpaste
— Contact lens case already filled with solution
— Makeup wipes
— A travel-size tube (or at least two individual-use sachets) of face moisturizer or serum
— Lucas Papaw Ointment (good for chapped lips, dry hands, and raggedy cuticles)
— Aleve
— Ambien

If you have dramatically drier skin, Kiehl’s might still be a good solution with their individual-use samples. Instead of the Rosa Arctica Light, however, ask for samples of Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream – Intense Hydration.

For more details about my travel carry-on, check out travel website Destination 42, who recently interviewed me all about it. I hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions!

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  1. Danielle

    Thanks so much Nadine! I’m going to use this as part of my checklist as I get ready to travel. And I will practice my evil glare for the people in Business and First class!

  2. This was SUCH a delight to read (while being perfectly pinnable and practical for later)! Your humor makes me giggle (in manner of early Bridget Jones). Where do you buy the Lucas ointment in the US?

  3. Great list and tips! That Lucas Papaw seems so amazing. I will include this in my skin care products. But first gotta include it to my purchase list.