Your go-to move may be packing a cream-based moisturizer, but these oils and serums are our new favorite way to protect our skin during long (and dry) plane rides.
We spend a lot of time planning travel — booking the right airfare and accommodations, packing, learning about our destination, maybe studying a new language. But one thing that often slips through the cracks? Skincare.
And speaking of cracks, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from taking a handful of long winter plane rides, it's that your face doesn’t always fare well in the air. It’s often left dry or itchy after being in the dehydrating climate of an airplane. Enter skin oils, which have been a lifesaver for my skin this winter.
I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone ever put oil back on their skin? Isn’t that what many people try to avoid? Trust me — as someone who is prone to having oily skin, I was skeptical at first. But after spending the past four months testing out dozens of oil-based moisturizers, cleansers, and a few serums, not only have I completely abandoned my cream-based moisturizers (that was a difficult goodbye), I feel like I’ve totally re-vamped my skincare routine, both on and off the plane.
I spoke with Adina Grigore, founder of S.W. Basics (one of my favorite companies that uses fewer, simpler ingredients for gentle products). She explained that natural oils are not only extremely hydrating, but they’re also soothing, especially for a dry, rash-prone face. They also remove dirt, and believe it or not, oil actually absorbs oil, leaving your skin hydrated and plump.
“Oils provide skin with potent hydration, lots of essential vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants, which can do things like promote collagen production, fight free radicals, and fight inflammation," she said. "[Oils] can help penetrate pores to de-clog and remove dirt, and in many cases, can actually prevent oil over-production."
When it comes to deciding what kind of oil is right for your skin type, Grigore recommends experimenting.
“So, there's an argument that acne-prone types should opt for oils that are higher in linoleic fatty acid and those that are drier should select oils high in oleic fatty acid," she said. “Ultimately, I tell everyone to experiment and find what works best for them."
For the uninitiated, Grigore explained that linoleic acid oils are "lighter and faster absorbing and they include oils like safflower oil, grapeseed oil, and rosehip seed oil," while oleic acid oils are "thicker, weightier oils like avocado oil and olive oil."
And when it comes to those extra-dry airplane climates, Grigore recommends jojoba oil (my personal favorite, too). “Something super hydrating, like avocado oil or argan oil is a great choice. I also love jojoba because it is chemically similar to the skin's sebum, helping to clean pores while balancing out your natural acid mantle. My ‘take it to the moon’ oil is probably jojoba oil — so I'd certainly take it on an airplane!”
Below, I’ve selected my favorites that have shown me the best results. Most of these oils and serums come in travel-friendly sizes, so they’re easy to slip into your carry-on and apply once or twice during your flight. My overall advice: When you can, choose natural products — while not all of the below items are organic or all-natural, the majority of them are. Our skin is extremely absorbent, and (as is the case with any type of product) it’s important to know what you’re about to put in your body.
And one note about serums: While they are definitely reparative (wait until you try Estee Lauder’s Overnight Repair) they are not meant to be a substitute for moisturizer, so always follow with an oil. I also recommend priming your face with a toner or leave-on cleanser, like this Thank You Farmer Back to Iceland Cleansing Water. Another simple and great toner is the classic Thayer’s Witch Hazel.
Pack a couple of these products below, and bring them with you wherever you go. They will likely leave your face soft, glowing, and refreshed as you step off the plane. Keep in mind where you are traveling to and from — colder climates warrant a few extra applications.