Whether you’re a frequent traveler or take to the skies only occasionally, you’ve probably noticed that air travel can take a toll on your skin and hair—especially if you’re jet lagged or changing climates. Because about half the air inside a plane is drawn from the atmosphere, the cabin air has little moisture when the plane reaches higher altitudes, making our bodies prone to dehydration—and this can be felt even more acutely on mature hair and skin which already tends to be dry.
But as any flight attendant will tell you, there are ways to combat this dehydration before, during and after your flight. So we asked Connie Watson, a Delta flight attendant of 25 years, exactly how she keeps her mature skin and hair from drying out on even the longest international flights.
Editor’s Note: The product picks below were selected by our team based on Watson’s recommendations.
1. Lotion and foundation with SPF
Before heading to the airport, Watson always applies an SPF lotion on top of an SPF foundation. “It’s critical for all the different climates we travel to,” he says.
Watson prefers a light, non-greasy SPF lotion with niacinamide (a skin-loving ingredient that helps retain moisture and also protects skin from environmental factors like pollution and weather), like Glow’s Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Sunscreen Recipe with SPF 50 ($35). long-lasting SPF foundation like Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation SPF 45 ($45) that will last through travel. “I’ll switch from a light foundation in the warm weather to a creamier formula in the winter,” for added moisture, says Watson.
2. Leave-in conditioner
According to Watson, leave-in conditioner is a must before departure. “Especially when sleeping in bunks on international flights, static cling can be a real problem,” says Watson. “But a leave-in conditioner can keep static at bay every time.”
Watson especially loves leaves with natural ingredients and extracts, along with amino acids to smooth, condition and strengthen mature strands. One of our favorites that fits? Briogeo Superfoods™ Avocado + Kiwi Moisture Leave-In Conditioner ($25)
3. Lip balm
Flying can really dehydrate your lips, so Watson says she always travels with moisturizing lipstick and balm, reapplying often. “I constantly make sure I put something on my lips during the flight, and then it’s lip balm at night, every night,” she says. Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ Lip Therapy ($29) gets the seal of approval for keeping mature lips well hydrated.
4. Hand cream
This is one product you’ll want to have (literally and figuratively) “on hand” during a flight. Watson says she never flies without a tube of hand lotion in her pocket, especially since she washes her hands often. Her favorites are advanced formulas that contain humectants to draw moisture to the skin and emollients like ceramides to support the skin’s barrier and help lock in moisture, and dermatologists recommend CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream ($11) to it does just that on mature skin.
5. Antiaging night cream
Once she arrives at her destination, Watson says it’s essential to cleanse her face thoroughly before applying a rich night cream to keep post-flight dehydration at bay. She prefers products with beta-hydroxy, vitamins and aloe vera designed to nourish, soothe and replenish mature skin, as well as help fight post-travel free radical damage. Whether you’re on a flight or at home, Olay’s Beta Hydroxyl Complex & Vitamin E Night Cream ($31) is an A+ pick for mature skin, whether you’re traveling or not.
6. Water, water, water
Finally, Watson says that perhaps the biggest essential to keeping skin and hair healthy is good H20. “I can’t stress enough water, water, and more water,” says Watson. “Drinking plenty of water is essential for keeping your skin and hair as well as your lips hydrated.”
And drinking water regularly throughout your flight isn’t just good for your looks—it’ll keep your body hydrated, help fight post-travel fatigue, and make you feel ready to hit the ground running. stomp you back to the ground.
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