This Chemist Turned Her Travel Skin Woes Into a New Beauty Brand for Frequent Fliers
Traveling often means breaking from your everyday routine — and exposing yourself to things like changes in humidity and shifting time zones in the process. All of this can take a toll on your skin, which is why having the right facial products can become all the more essential.
Cotarde, created by chemist and pilot team Danuta Dudek and Victor Pellon, is a natural unisex skincare line dedicated to and tested by globetrotters, cabin crew, and pilots to tackle the skincare problems travelers deal with most.
Dudek, who worked as a chemist for eight years before spending 18 years in the beauty industry, launched the line back in 2017 after noticing increased dryness and blemishes on her skin following periods of frequent travel.
Studying for a pilot’s license at the time and coming from a family of pilots, Dudek began tapping into her network of frequent fliers to learn how their skin reacted during flights, finding that the biggest complaint was dehydration.
Planes can have humidity levels of less than 20 percent, but our skin is typically happiest at between 40 and 60 percent, according to Mary L. Stevenson, M.D., dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at NYU Langone Health. Skin tends to feel drier in colder temperatures due to a lack of humidity, while hotter temperatures have the opposite effect, Stevenson said.
Traveling through different time zones can also affect our circadian rhythm and lead to increased production of cortisol, the hormone known for triggering stress. All of these factors can lead to changes in the skin, which is exactly what Dudek wants to target with Cotarde.
Cotarde's DayDream Mousse Cream, created by extracts pulled from pomegranate, wintergreen leaf, madder, and black currant, also includes ingredients like sunflower oil, shea butter, and natural salicylic acid that tap aquaporins (proteins that serve as water channels throughout various parts of the body, including the skin) to provide an instant feeling of moisture and coolness.
To buy: amazon.com, $64
Dudek recommends applying the cream towards the tail end of your flight and when you find yourself in warm and humid climates, as its light coverage helps to avoid clogged pores while keeping your skin looking refreshed and blemish-free. It can also be used as a primer underneath your makeup.
The Face With a View Concentrated Cream also works to activate aquaporins with the use of ingredients that include extracts from pomegranate, caviar, maritime pine trees, and oils from sesame, avocado, olives, sunflowers, and soybean.
With a deep collagen regeneration formula, the cream is ideal for overnight flights or when you're preparing for bed. Dudek also recommends using it when you find yourself in colder environments as its thicker makeup produces a mask on your skin to fight against harsh weather and air pollution.
To buy: amazon.com, $55
“Cotarde’s products are a life saver to me,” travel blogger Laura Girard said in a testimonial. “I always have a hard time finding the best products for my sensitive skin that could answer all of its care needs, whenever I’m flying from a cold country to a warmer climate and vice versa; I love that they’re all made of natural formulas, and thus provide the best natural actives for my skin.”
Cotarde's products are free of silicone, parabens, sulfate, synthetic fragrances, colors, and alcohol to help avoid irritating already sensitive traveling skin.
"When your skin already feels dry, your skin's barrier may not be intact, so you don't want to use anything that could be a potential irritant," Stevenson told T+L.
For this reason, Stevenson recommends using simple products, in addition to making sure you eat well, stay hydrated, and apply sunscreen during flights.
While Cotarde's DayDream Mousse Cream includes natural UV filers, Dudek also recommends applying sunscreen over it to ensure protection. Those interested in testing out Cotarde's products can grab a sample size starting at just $3, or a TSA-approved travel-size kit to try the products on the go for $31.