One of the most common skincare questions I get is what skincare and makeup to use when traveling long distance on a plane. I have so many women that find their makeup disappears and their skin gets dry and even reacts during long flights. I’ve had my rosacea flare up on a six hour flight to the West Coast. So I know how much of a problem this can be. And now as many people prepare to take winter vacations to the Caribbean, I thought I’d ask one of the foremost authorities on travel and beauty. Maxime Poulin is Guerlain’s International Makeup Artist. He’s spent much of his career traveling around the world working directly under Olivier Echaudemaison, the brand’s Creative Director of Makeup. He’s agreed to share his insider tips on how to keep your skin healthy and hydrated while traveling.
Guerlain International Makeup Artist Maxime Poulin
Dave: To start, how does air travel affect skin and makeup?
Maxime: The recycled air in the plane is very dry and makes you super dehydrated, even on short flights! Add to this to a bit of jet lag and you have a bitter combination for your skin!
Dave: What is the best skincare advice to prep before you go on a long flight?
Maxime: The best thing you can do is apply a moisture mask the night before and the morning of apply an oil-with-moisturizing serum. The serum will offer extra moisture and the oil will help maintain the hydrolipidic film and maintain the skin barrier during the flight.
Dave: You used to live and work in Paris. How often did you travel?
Maxime: I lived and worked out of Paris for 7 years but I was almost never there: I traveled to almost 70 countries and on occasion I would fly up to 4 times a week! The craziest trip I did was Paris-London-Milan-Athens-Cannes and Paris in one week!
Or that other time where I was literally gone for 3 full months!
Dave: What can you do during your flight to make your skin feel more comfortable?
Maxime: In the beginning, I was shy to take out skincare on a plane but that quickly changed as my skin developed eczema from so much travelling and fatigue. It was clear that I needed to take extra care of my skin when travelling. I always have carry travel sizes of different masks, moisturizers and lip balms. If my flight is longer than 3 hours, I reapply as many times as needed. A good indicator of dehydrated skin is when your lips start to feel dry. Lips are the first to show signs of dehydration. Whenever I feel the need to apply lip balm, I refresh with a gentle wipe then either massage a mask or apply moisturizer on my face and neck.
Dave: What do you do when you land to revive your makeup and sooth your skin?
Maxime: Well, I do not recommend wearing much makeup during long flights because it discourages you from taking care of your skin while in the air. What I do recommend is keeping a moisturizing BB Cream, a good eye cream and concealer, a Terracotta, a mascara and a Moisturizing soft lipstick in your bag. These are simple products to apply on the go that will give you a fresh and polished look. After long flights, heavy makeup tends to sit badly on the skin.
Dave: Is there anything to avoid in terms of air travel?
Maxime: Don’t drink alcohol! It is your worst enemy on a flight! I would recommend drinking a litre of water before, at least a litre of water during the flight and another when you land. Drinking water helps counter dehydration and also jet lag.
Dave: If your skin reacts to travel and you get redness, how do you hide it?
Maxime: Get yourself little savior like Guerlain SOS Cream: this special travel friendly size product is magic on these little rashes. When you get to the hotel, I would recommend a sheet mask for extra moisture.
Dave: What is the longest flight you’ve ever taken?
Maxime: In one go, I travelled Miami-London-Frankfurt-Singapore-Jakarta-Surabaya… I was travelling for almost 36 hours! But the longest flight was one of the many 14 hour flights to Asia! Once a woman saw me applying the Orchidée Impériale mask on the flight and on a stopover she bought it at the Duty Free !
Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Mask
Dave: Is there one airline in particular that you think is most comfortable to travel?
Maxime: On a long flight anything with a full bed and full menu is a life-saver for me. Singapore Airline is just amazing!
Dave: Is it worth paying to use the airline lounge to touch up your makeup or skincare?
Maxime: I do not think this is necessary. Everything now exist in super convenient travel sizes that you easily can do in your own seat as long as you are not shy to be the person who moisturizes mid-air! Just remember you will land looking fabulous!
Dave: What essentials should you pack in your carry-on when traveling?
Maxime: A good moisturizer and mask, lip balm, water to take good care of your skin. Nuts to avoid eating the cookies they offer on the plane. A BB Cream to look fresh when you land and a good book!
Guerlain is available in Canada at select Hudson’s Bay stores and thebay.com
Wendy Lam-VechiMarch 30, 2023 at 9:14 am
I feel sorry for the air hostesses that have to wear a lot of make up on flights and flight so frequently too. I hope they know tips on how to keep their skin hydrated
Aman KhajanchiDecember 12, 2021 at 12:13 am
I really enjoyed reading this article, it offers lots of solid advice to help us when we travel
deniseSeptember 13, 2017 at 12:25 pm
What a wonderful article with lots of great advice!
Dawn SSeptember 13, 2017 at 10:15 am
Great article with lots of solid advice to help us when travelling!
MarinaJanuary 11, 2017 at 10:20 am
I totally understand the feeling of self consciousness. But I am grateful to those brave souls who start the trend. We should all be free to moisturize on a plane. Now I can join in too.????
Chantal SeguinJanuary 2, 2017 at 11:07 am
I loved reading this, Dave! Thank you so much for posting. I have been going through some skin changes recently, my doctor said I developed some eczema on my cheeks on my face. So reading tips like these are essential!! Thanks so much, wonderful article and interview with Maxime. @chantalseguin
Christine ChristensenDecember 30, 2016 at 11:50 am
I use to travel Frankfurt to Omaha and back when I lived in Germany. My boys were little but one had eczema anyeay so we all three would lotion up our arms and legs before sleeping and we all used lip balm. The worst flight didn’t have enough meals for the last 4 rows for both dinner and breakfast. We were starving. Next time I put sandwiches and snacks in all our bags.
Christine WatkinsDecember 29, 2016 at 3:02 pm
My boyfriend and I are going away for the first time. We are going to Jamaica and I keep wondering about how the flight would affect my skin. Thank you so much for the advice.
Elizabeth FriesenDecember 29, 2016 at 8:55 am
Fantastic advice from a well-seasoned traveller and beauty expert! 😀
Makeup lady 7December 28, 2016 at 11:37 pm
Thank you for the much appreciated advice
DeniseDecember 28, 2016 at 10:29 pm
great advice! I don’t fly often, but it’s always good to know
SjimoneDecember 28, 2016 at 5:33 pm
Great advice… Even just taking a 2 bour flight dries my skin out (and living in sunny South Africa doesn’t really help woth that too)… So thank you for the advise… Next flight I’ll be looking fabulous!!
Gonny AartsDecember 28, 2016 at 5:24 pm
My skin and hair look terrible after a flight.
FeniaDecember 28, 2016 at 4:28 pm
Thank you Dave.. Thank you Guerlain.. It’s great advice!!
FeniaDecember 28, 2016 at 4:31 pm
Great advice Maxime.!!Thank you Dave..!!
September DeeDecember 28, 2016 at 11:51 am
Maxime always has the best advice. I think I would still eat the cookies on the plane though. lol
Grieta AllisonDecember 28, 2016 at 11:51 am
Linda LDecember 28, 2016 at 9:39 am
Great tips Maxime Poulin! Love those Photos Dave!! @linlett60
Barbara ChaseDecember 28, 2016 at 9:08 am
I rarely fly, however, even I noticed the tool it takes! Fascinating!!! Thank you!!!! @barbiechs
Branka StefanovicDecember 28, 2016 at 7:09 am
Wow, great advice! I will be ready for my next trip. I just wish my bladder could handle all that water. @luckyBgirl 😉