Hydrating sprays, dry shampoos, moisturizing face masks.

By Melissa Locker
September 03, 2016
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Beauty Hacks For Travelers In the Air or On the Ground
Credit: Yamada Taro/Getty Images

Travel may be good for the soul, but between moisture-zapping airplane air and aggressive sun exposure, travel has the potential to be downright awful for your hair and skin. Luckily, there are lots of tips and tricks to keep your skin glowing and your hair, well, cooperative. Read on for hacks for looking (really, ridiculously) good while on the go.

In the Air:

Eyebrow maintenance

Airplane bathroom lights are notoriously horrifying, revealing every single line, hair, and pore. Instead of picking at your skin (don’t do it!), use that light to your advantage to give your eyebrows some love. That light will make every misplaced hair obvious. Give yourself a time limit—if you spend more than three or four minutes, not only are you probably over-plucking, you’re also hogging the facilities.

Foot spa

Use your time in the sky to take care of your feet (which will surely be working overtime as soon as you land). Slather on a rich foot cream, like Eucerin Plus or Bliss Foot Patrol, and then slip on a pair of aloe-infused or moisturizing gel socks (Dr. Scholl’s, Ulta, and many other brands sell them). Leave them on for the duration of the flight and step off the plane with feet that feel ready to walk across Dubrovnik or the Great Wall. While you’re at it, give your eyes and lips some special treatment with a hydrating lip balm and a dose of a rich eye cream like Caudalíe S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue.


Air travel can be a nightmare for skin, no matter what skin type you have. If you can handle being that person on the plane, it’s smart to use a sheet facemask like the SK II Facial Treatment Mask or the Innisfree It's Real Facial Mask Sheets. Simply slap one of the papery masks on your face, ignore any one staring at you (it’s a good time for a cat nap), and let the mask hydrate, clarify, and tone your skin while you fly. For something subtler, apply a gel mask that goes on like a thick cream. Sephora has travel-ready options for most skin concerns, which are easy to surreptitiously slather on.

Hydrating Water Spray

Fight dry air by packing in your own water mister. These tiny spritzers offer moisture after a long flight, and can help you wake up after an overnight haul. Evian and Avène both make great travel-sized options. Don’t forget to hydrate the rest of you, too, by drinking plenty of water while you fly.

On the Ground:

Dry shampoo

If you’re rushing out the door of your hotel to grab a ferry to Estonia or an early morning tour of the Tate Modern, you may not have time for a full shower. Enter the minor miracle that is dry shampoo, which soaks up grease, volumizes limp strands, and leaves hair smelling fresh. Even better, if you want your blowout or your color to last for the duration of your trip, dry shampoo can help by cutting out the deleterious effects of water and shampoo on your style.

Multi-use products

Space is a premium when you travel, so make your cosmetics do double duty by filling your makeup kit with beauty balms that provide serious sunscreen as well as skin perfecting, two-in-one lip and cheek color, like Nars’s The Multiple. Another multi-tasker, Korres Milk Protein 3-in-1 Cleansing Emulsion, can remove makeup, cleanse, and tone skin, and Smith’s Rosebud Salve can be used on lips, cuticles, split ends, and more. And don’t forget to use what’s already in your kit like lipstick as blush and eyeliner smudged into eye shadow.

Silk or satin pillowcase

Packing your own pillowcase can radically alter your traveling lifestyle. Beauty sleep is real, and you’ll probably get a better night’s sleep knowing you are sleeping on your own soft pillowcase, and not whatever much-used one the hotel supplies. Second, satin and silk are both good for your hair and your skin, that can help prevent wrinkles, alleviate hair frizz, and keep skin and hair, because they don’t draw out moisture like cotton. Plus, satin pillowcases can make an adult hostel feel like a five-star hotel.

Colorful lipstick

The right tube of lipstick can take an outfit from average to glamorous jetsetter with a single swipe. Throw on some red or bright pink lipstick and even your favorite beat-up jeans and t-shirt combo can look downright chic, quickly taking outfits from day to night.

Cleansing wipes

When you’re too tired from sight-seeing to give your face a proper wash, opt for cleansing wipes like Pixl’s Makeup Melting Cleansing Cloths and the Body Shop’s Tea Tree Oil Cleansing Wipes.