Does flying leave you feeling run down? Can it take you days to recover from a long haul flight? Is jet lag your enemy? Do you wonder how on earth flight attendants look so fresh and perky even after fifteen hours in the air?
Kurt John is a flight attendant for an international airline based in the Middle East. There’s nothing he doesn’t know about looking and feeling your best on a plane. We asked him the questions we’ve always wanted to know about keeping on top of your in-flight beauty routine, the best ways to deal with jet lag and how to pack like a pro.
1. What’s the best way to deal with jet lag and adjust to your current time zone?
For me the best way to combat jet lag is just to sleep when you’re tired. If I land in Singapore at 8am and I’m so tired I can hardly function I’ll set the air conditioning on 20 degrees, draw the curtains and set an alarm for two to three hours. Whilst it’s hard to drag myself out of bed on such little sleep after about 20 minutes (and a hot shower) I’m ready for any adventure!
I try and set my mind on whatever country/time zone I’m in and try not to always think, “But it’s only such and such time at home”. You need to commit to the destination you are in! Try to avoid using sleeping tablets to sleep or energy drinks to stay awake.
2. What does your beauty routine consist of when flying to prevent your skin from dehydrating?
Flying constantly certainly takes its toll on your skin. I regularly fly over 100 hours per month and travel to more countries than you can imagine so I’m always on the hunt for the best skin care! My most recent discovery has been Trilogy, a NZ based company that produces amazing products that are natural, ethical and actually work. Premature aging is on every Flight Attendant’s mind and for myself I want to explore every option before I go down the Botox road!
Before a flight no matter the length I use Trilogy Ultra Hydrating Face Cream on my neck and décolletage area. It’s packed full of antioxidants, rosehip oil, coconut, manuka honey and lavender. For my face I apply Trilogy Age Proof Line Smoothing Day Cream. It gives you a wonderful almost airbrushed effect smoothing out any fine lines by stimulating and protecting collagen and elastin fibres. Throughout the flight I reapply whenever I feel the need.
3. Which beauty products should you never travel without?
I could never imagine traveling without an amazing lip balm, eye cream and hand cream! These are the first places to dry out on a long haul flight and there is nothing worse than having dry lips. It may sound cliche but sometimes the old favorites really are the best. I work with people from almost every country in the world and every single crew member in my company knows that famous red tube from Australia - Lucas Pawpaw Ointment! It’s a staple on every flight attendant’s beauty list. The great thing about pawpaw is that it doubles as an amazing ultra nourishing eye cream that so far has kept the crows feet at bay. I’m also addicted to Eyedew Dazzling eyedrops. They refresh and whiten tired eyes and are made from botanical plant extracts. I always pick up a few bottles from Boots whenever I’m in London.
4. What’s the craziest beauty routine you’ve ever seen on a flight?
Well! When you are on an ultra long haul flight and you have 17 hours left before you land cabin crew tend to get very creative! I’ve seen everything from honey and sugar scrubs washed off with leftover champagne to soften your hands, to passengers wrapping their faces in bandages that have been soaked in (I assume) moisturiser.
5. What’s the best way to prep your skin before you fly?
A great sleep, and an amazing moisturiser! Moisturise moisturise moisturise! Remember even if you have oily skin the flight will still dry you out, so make sure you apply a generous amount before, during and after.
6. Have you had any memorable celebrity guests on your flights?
Unfortunately I’m not allowed to talk about them due to privacy clauses. However! I travel with other airlines on my days off and vacation quite a bit and I have had the pleasure of meeting many celebs, my favourite being Kate Winslet who was on the same flight as I was from LA to London on her way home from winning the Academy Award. She has to be the sweetest most polite well-mannered celebrity I’ve ever encountered! (Most are not so nice).
7. Do you have any tips for packing like a pro?
If I have three or more days off I tend to jump on a flight and head somewhere so I have A LOT of packing experience. If you want to pack as much as you can in a small case or backpack I would recommend rolling up all your clothes instead of folding - not only will you have more space but your clothes will be far less wrinkled when you pull them out. And let’s face it, you don’t want to spend your holidays ironing! Always pack your shoes first and put a plastic bag or cover over them so they don’t dirty your clean clothes!
8. What’s the most versatile fashion accessory all women should pack when holidaying?
For me it has to be an amazing wide scarf that you can use to dress up or dress down an outfit, make it go from chic to urban in a second or use as a sarong to take to the beach. And if you don’t have a towel no need to worry, spread it across the sand and you can lay on top of it whilst topping up your tan.
9. What’s your strategy for staying healthy on a flight? How important is it to keep hydrated?
Hydration is the MOST important part of flying. You need to drink double the amount of water in the air than you would on ground. Try to drink water and eat food that is low in sodium so you don’t feel bloated and terrible. I try to drink at least three litres of water on any flight that’s more than seven hours. If you can, avoid drinking alcohol. It always seems like a great idea but there is nothing worse than getting a hangover mid flight! Your skin and head will thank you later!
10. What’s the one thing you wish all air travelers knew before they boarded the plane?
That the flight attendant’s priority is safety and security and that service whilst very important is secondary. Follow the rules, and don’t do anything that is going to put yourself or others in danger, and most importantly be nice to the cabin crew and the other passengers around you.
11. What are your three favourite holidays destinations?
I try and go to a new destination every holiday so this is a very tough question…
Europe in summer! This is quite broad I know but Europe really is very small and close together and if you plan your holiday correctly you can cover a lot of ground in one vacation. You could do a huge chunk of Italy or France, or spread yourself over four-five countries in a week or two using the train system, or find some great deals with European/British Airlines. A few of my favorite European destinations are Venice, Nice, Lyon, Budapest and Stockholm.
I love adventure holidays and anything outdoors so South/Central and North (Mexico) America is always on my list for vacation. In November I was in Colombia where I did a four-day trek into the jungle to find the “Lost City”. My favorite city in Colombia is Cartagena, a beautiful old walled city full of culture and amazing nightlife. I also visited Peru where I trekked to Machu Picchu over five days. Most recently I was in Mexico, which was 15 days of pure bliss mostly spent in Tulum which is about two and a half hours from Cancun by car.
Asia is always a favorite of mine for holidays! I’ve traveled extensively through Asia including Japan, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Korea but so far my favorite destination has to be the Philippines! I spent two weeks backpacking around the Philippines on my own and had one the most rewarding holidays of my life, I swam with whale sharks, I ate amazing food and met some of the friendliest locals I’ve ever encountered. It really is one of the best places I’ve been and even though I was alone and covered almost the entire country I never felt unsafe which is always a huge part of me recommending places for holidays!
Invest in great skincare. I love Ultraceuticals, a great Australian range that keeps my skin looking its best.
Flying really dries your skin out so I use a moisture mask when my skin starts to feel like it needs a good drink.
A long lasting foundation is a must for long haul flights.
I love to wear gorgeous perfume. Coco Noir by Chanel is what I am currently wearing.
Christine – Long Haul Flight Attendant
Lots of water when in the air. It is important to keep hydrated as flying dries your skin out.
Sleep for as long as I can, whenever I can. Overnight flights and different time zones take their toll on your skin.
Facial sprays are great to refresh my face and keep it moisturised.
Always have Visine eye drops on hand to use after a nap in the bunks.
Kimara – Short Haul Flight Attendant
Use a great sunscreen every day. I am based in Perth and fly to the north of Australia regularly so I am out in the sun quite a bit.
Hydration is really important as flying dries your skin out more than you know. I am obsessed with Hydra 5 B Complex from Cellex C. It has really high levels of Hyaluronic Acid to keep my skin moisturised all day.
A few age spots are starting to creep on, so I use Lancôme Blanc Expert to help fade them.
I love products with AHAs, as they help keep my skin glowing and smooth. Cellex C Beta Complex is a staple in my beauty bag.
It’s a cliché, but it’s true, drink lots of water in the air!