I love a flight. Ideally, alone (well, without a travelling companion of my own – I can easily block out the 300 or so others), when I can turn my tray table into a desk and almost get more done on a long-haul flight than a couple of days in the office.
Because I have to fly quite often for work, I’ve even mastered the art of sleeping well on an overnighter: forget those little inflatable U-shaped pillows; I smoosh my full-size down pillow into my hand luggage, in a fresh pillowcase, and so long as I have a window seat (which enables me to lean against the cabin wall), I can make myself comfy enough to get plenty of zzzzzs. (The late Evelyn Lauder – who travelled endlessly yet always looked daisy-fresh – once told me she swore by the same trick.)
Like most people, I’m seriously challenged by the ridiculously small plastic bag limit on in-flight beauty essentials, but I now decant essentials like cleanser and eye make-up remover into surprisingly stylish containers from Muji and rely on Lano Everywhere Multi-Cream Lips + Hands + All Over for slathering onto hands, feet and parched facial skin: a true multi-tasker, if ever I found one (and I’m sure, like me, you love the new Lanolips ‘vintage’-style packaging, which has further upped the pleasure factor of using the Lano range).
- I find room for these extras: cream blusher, mascara, sheer lipstick – and an amethyst crystal, which I find gives a calming energy if I hold it in my hand during take-off, landing and bumpiness. (A bit woo-woo, but it works for me.) I also like to take Flower Essences of Australia Travel Well, being a massive believer in flower essences: really rather impressive for jet-lag, I’ve found. And Annee de Mamiel Altitude Oil is an absolute must: I swear by the power of this antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic to keep germs at bay in the confines of an airliner cabin, where air just goes round and round and round.
- I loathe airline issue socks, so instead (thanks to a generous gift from my sister) like to travel with a cashmere pair that rarely gets any airing any other time, but keep my feet luxuriously toasty at 37,000 feet. A pashmina’s also a must for dealing with the hot-again-freezing-again cabin fluctuations.
- Rama Kant Mishra, an Ayurvedic physician, explains: ‘from an Ayurvedic perspective, travel creates imbalances which can result in facial breakouts, redness or skin sensitivity.’ Mishra suggests carrying a small bottle of quality massage oil for in-flight facial massage to hydrate and treat the skin – which will relax you, too.
- Follow the example of flight attendants, who take antioxidant vitamin supplements (with vitamins A, C and E), to counteract the dehydration and increased radiation at 35,000 ft. Green & Black’s 70% Dark Chocolate is another must-have for me (but of course!), working on the basis that the extra antioxidants can’t hurt.
- I always wear socks (see above) instead of tights so that I can access feet and lower legs to massage them with a stimulating/cooling gel or cream, which refreshes and keeps circulation pepped up. I take Mrs. White’s Legs in the Air with me – conveniently, it comes in a 50ml plastic bottle – and apply at least every couple of hours to combat swollen legs and feet. (Feet are then beautifully soft on arrival, too.) At a pinch, you can add a drop or two of lemongrass or rosemary essential oil to your regular body moisturiser and massage into feet as needed.
- Leading aromatherapist Danièle Ryman once advised me: ‘If you want to relax and stay stress-free, inhale a sense-soothing scent – like lavender/neroli, and focus on breathing slowly and rhythmically. I’m also a big fan of yoga,’ she advised, ‘which can help relax a traveller in in cramped, crowded spaces like planes and trains.’ I agree: I swear by in-flight stretches – even a downward dog or two at the back of the plane – which stop me feeling creaky and cranky (and I don’t care who stares, frankly).
- Humidity-challenged cabin air (it’s drier than the Sahara) can leave lips thirsty. Gloss is an option, but tends to disappear, so use a lip balm – I know I would say this but the Beauty Bible Lip Balm has become a real beauty classic, just great for in-flight slathering. (If my cuticles are really lucky, they might get a dab massaged in, too.)
- I fake the wide-away look on landing with a sweep of mascara, add and/or drop in some eye drops to brighten the whites, add a dab of blusher and a sweep of lipstick – and I’m ready to hit the tarmac running, whether that means heading straight for a sun lounger or a meeting.
And it only remains for me to say: I hope you fly safely, as well as gorgeously, this vacation season…