Babes on a Plane: How to Do Your In-Flight Skincare While on Mom Duty
Screen time limits, snack options, nap schedules — a lot of normalcies get thrown out the window when it comes to flying with children. Skincare should not be one of those things. Here’s how to quickly, effectively take care of your skin when flying with your cutest (and craziest) travel companions.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. But where’s that village when you’re flying with said child? Because that’s when you could really use a village. To entertain your tot while you take a nap. To watch your little one while you use the restroom. And, of course, to keep your babe busy while you go through your in-flight skincare routine.
By now we’re familiar with the dangers that flights pose on our skin. The dry, stale air constantly circulating throughout the cabin dries out our skin, while the UV radiation at such high altitude wreaks free radical and sun damage havoc. Not to mention the germs and bacteria floating around that transform your skin into a ripe breeding ground for breakouts.
Let’s face it: If you’re a mom traveling solo with a child, kicking back with a sheet mask just isn’t going to happen — unless all the stars align and your child falls asleep in a position that doesn’t require you to stay crazy still and actually stays down long enough for you to clean your skin, apply a sheet mask, and keep it on for the recommended time.
But a mom can dream. Or … she can resort to some of the quick, easy, survival-mode methods below to balance baby and in-flight skincare, all without leaving her seat.
Do your homework
If you want skincare to be part of your flight itinerary, the key is to prep some of the legwork at home.
Soak some high-quality cotton pads in cleansing oil, cleansing water, and toner and store each in separate ziploc bags or clean TSA-friendly containers you can carry on. So cotton pads with cleansing oil in one bag, cotton pads with cleansing water in another bag, and so on.
Pre-soaked cotton pads don’t sound like a big deal, but they go a long way. For starters, they come in handy when you don’t have travel-sized products. They also save you the time and hassle of pulling out three different bottles and pouring precious liquid onto cotton pads with only the tray table as your working space. Best of all, they eliminate the need to step into the dreaded, dirty lavatory. You can simply stay at your seat, whip out the pads, swipe away, and discard.
The first order of skincare-related business once you and your mini travel companions have all settled in is to get clean. This is obviously a lot easier if you board with a bare face — all you’d have to do is remove your sunscreen.
Either way, you’ll want to bust out your convenient cotton pads that you diligently worked on at home and use the ones infused with cleansing oil to wipe away makeup, sunscreen, and other impurities. Then use the pads soaked in cleansing water to wipe away the remaining cleansing oil and undesirables.
This express lane through the double cleanse leaves skin clean and refreshed while not stripping it of moisture, which is so crucial on the plane. It also lands you several steps ahead of the “routine,” and you haven’t even left your seat.
When it comes to flights, hypoallergenic, multi-tasking products are the way to go. Packed with minerals, nutrients, anti-inflammatories, and antioxidants, Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil goes above and beyond an oil cleanser’s duty by moisturizing and protecting skin as it cleanses.
Innisfree Blueberry Rebalancing Cleansing Water cleans, refreshes, and feeds your skin a nutrient-dense meal of blueberry extract, while its low pH keeps skin healthy and comfy.
To tone or not to tone is never a question — even 30,000 feet up in the air — especially when you have DIY toner pads at your beck and call!
Sweep the toner-soaked cotton pad across your face and neck to simultaneously wipe away any dirt and dead skin lurking around and to moisturize skin. If you have the time, repeat this step with a new toner pad for good measure.
If you have a travel-size bottle of toner you can carry on, the 7-skin method is super useful for times like these. With just one product, you can secure clean and deeply hydrated skin all while keeping your seatbelt secured.
You can cut down this short step even further by opting for Purito Centella Green Level Calming Toner. Formulated with 10% Centella asiatica extract, it deeply hydrates, relieves, and soothes skin. Plus its natural botanical scent helps calm the senses, a selling point for any traveling-with-child mama!
The lack of moisture on a plane is no joke, particularly if you’re seated next to someone who loves to keep the air blasting. Facial oils are a great way to quickly hydrate skin and keep it protected from moisture loss. Massage a thin layer of a hydrating facial oil into skin and feel free to reapply whenever skin feels dry.
Some oils like tea tree, squalane, and jojoba can even kill acne-causing bacteria and exfoliate away dead skin cells, which is ideal for long plane rides. Lighter oils like these are also compatible with oily skin types, so they’re great for those whose skin tends to get slick in the air.
Mamonde Enriched Nutri Oil is infused with a blend of 99.7% natural ingredients like jojoba, Camellia japonica, and sunflower seed oils that intensely nourishes and moisturizes skin with a non-sticky finish — a necessity for flights when you have enough messes to take care of other than your own.
Another pro with facial oils is that they usually come packaged with droppers, which is a hygienic option for flights. If you don’t have a carry-on size available, you can store facial oil in a clean and sterilized contact lens case.
Put your skin to sleep
While putting your child to sleep on a plane may be challenging, you can easily trick your skin into sleeping, so to speak. Just make a beeline to an overnight mask.
Graveyard shift products also work faithfully on flights, and thicker, richer sleeping masks can serve as a moisturizer and sheet mask-in-one to hydrate skin, protect its natural barrier, and prevent moisture loss. Plus, leave-on sleep masks usually set with a transparent finish, unlike very obvious sheet masks, saving you from embarrassment if you’re the shy type.
Luxe and creamy without being overbearing, Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask EX makes for a flight-friendly pick. Powerful antioxidants work hard to moisturize and strengthen skin’s defense against free radical damage.
Sun-proof your skin
Now that your skin thinks it’s sleeping, it’s time to fend off the nightmares of free radical and sun damage with a protective layer of SPF. Waterproof SPF, that is.
While you’re soaring through the skies, you’re that much closer to the sun and its threatening UV rays, so a good sunscreen is in order.
Missha All Around Safe Block Waterproof Sun is a mineral UV filter sunscreen that offers SPF 50+/PA++++ protection and antioxidant properties for anti-aging benefits. To top it off, it leaves no white cast.
OK, the need for sunscreen on a plane is not really news to anyone. But why waterproof sunscreen? Cue the last step.
Misting is not necessarily the last step, but a to-do throughout the flight. Whenever skin feels dry or dull, simply spritz on a facial mist for a quick boost of hydration and freshness. A serum mist or one infused with oil can deliver longer-lasting moisture than watery mists, since plane air can cause the water to evaporate faster.
Let’s be real. It takes effort to commit to even these fast-pass steps when you throw in the kid companion card. Unpredictable circumstances (ear aches and tantrums, anyone?) can really throw a wrench in your skin-pampering ambitions. But keeping this cheat sheet in mind and the products tucked away in your stowaway puts you ahead of the game and ready for maximum gain with minimal effort.
Any other in-flight skincare tips for moms and anyone else who may have their hands tied during a flight? Let’s share below!