HOW TO STAY HYDRATED AT 30,000 FEET
It’s no secret that to fly is to dehydrate. While you’re up in the stratosphere, cabin humidity can be as low as 10 to 20 per cent – three times drier than the Sahara desert – and as the mile-high hours limp along moisture is leached from your body at a terrifying rate.
On a 10-hour flight men can lose around two litres of water from their bodies, while women say goodbye to 1.6 litres. This means that on a long-haul trip to Europe you could lose 8 per cent of all your bodily water.
Drinking bucket loads of H2O while minimising your alcohol and salt intake is the obvious antidote to internal water loss, but sadly it’s not enough to counter the parching toll that flying takes on your skin, nose and throat.
As a beauty writer with a passion for travel, I’ve spent many years interrogating flight attendants, celebrities and fabulous jetsetting ‘it’ girls for their best in-flight fixes and, while responses vary, the unanimous view is that you need to be prepared with your full skincare routine in travel sizes – then layer them on fastidiously during the flight. High maintenance? Sure, but you’ll reap the benefits when you reach your destination. And let’s face it, you’re going to have time.
Start by removing any makeup
– a lovely hydrating oil cleanser like Dermalogica PreCleanse rinsed off in the bathroom will nourish your skin from the get-go – that’s if you can be bothered to get up. If you’d rather stay in your seat, just use a micellar water with cotton pads like Bioderma Sensibio. But whatever you do make sure you steer clear of makeup wipes, as they’re too drying.
Next, to prepare skin and start the layering process, spritz on a facial spray like Eve Lom Radiance Facial Mist. Keep it in your seat pocket and top up every couple of hours or whenever you remember – it’s meant to replace 80 per cent of lost skin moisture.
Next apply a hydrating gel mask. While tissue masks are great at maintaining moisture, they can look pretty ridiculous. If you don’t fancy looking like Hannibal Lecter, transparent gel masks are a much more user- and neighbour-friendly alternative. Simply slather on the clear gel (like Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask), pop on your headphones, cue movie and marinate. You’ll most likely find that two hours later there’s barely anything left to tissue off. That’s good – it means it’s working.
If you’re not into masking, a hydrating serum (like Hyalamide Booster) followed by moisturiser
(like The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA) that are both pumped with Hyaluronic Acid (a whiz-skingredient that holds 1000 times its own weight in water) are the best way to supercharge your skin and quench its thirst. Cleanse again at the end of the flight and repeat your serum and moisturiser application before disembarking.
So that’s it – LOTS of layers.
And, just like when you’re dressing for cold weather, it’s all about multiple lightweight sheaths. The Koreans and Japanese have known this for years, and finally their skin wisdom is catching on in the West.
One final issue to address … the moisture loss from your airways. When your mucus membranes dry out, you are left much more susceptible to airborne infections, which is why so many of us wind up with the dreaded lurgy a few days after a long flight. High-profile Sydney facialist and Chanel Australia’s skincare expert Melanie Grant swears by a device called the HumidiFlyer™ that recycles your own moisture in your breath and supposedly prevents much of this dehydration.
However – much like the Hannibal Lecter situation – if you don’t fancy looking like Darth Vadar, there are nasal sprays like Fess Frequent Flyer that can lubricate your air passages. Keep a bottle in your seat pocket with your facial spray and spritz regularly.
If anyone looks at you strangely just point your atomiser in their direction. They may enjoy some moisture, too.
Sigourney Cantelo is a regular flyer and founder of online beauty hub Beauticate.com