20 Clean, Cruelty-Free In-Flight Beauty Essentials for Beauty-Conscious Jet-Setters
On Our Way to London
Flying Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy
Overseas Travel + the Long-Flight Dilemma
I am what you call a "fearful flier." I have actually walked off of flights before take-off, ruining months’ worth of planning (which drives my dad crazy)! Combine that anxiety with jet lag, poor sleep, and ultra-dry, recycled air, and you've got real-life beauty-killers to contend with. But, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve...
CBD is my secret weapon for in-flight anxiety.
Don't worry — it's allowed at LAX!
Start by choosing a well-equipped airline and upgrading your flight in any way possible. The extra cost is so worth it if you want to have any shot at staying awake until nighttime after landing in your new time zone. (Falling asleep too early on that first day is my personal downfall.)
While I usually tell myself that if we're going down, I'd at least like to do so in class, something that genuinely helps with my onboard nerves are CBD elixirs. These anti-inflammatory miracle-workers quell freak-outs like magic. Noise-cancelling headphones also help by drowning out the loud plane noises, which are like constant auditory reminders that we’re all 30,000 feet in the air.
Engine makes a weird hum? My heart rate shoots through the roof.
That's why I eliminate as much sound as possible!
I highly recommend choosing a decked-out airline, like Virgin or Emirates, for long-haul travel. Tom and I flew Virgin Atlantic — one of my favorite — this last trip to London. While I have flown First Class, Business Class, and Economy on airlines like British Airways, Delta, and Air France, the amenities offered by Virgin America for your across-the-pond travels are stand-out. Except when it comes to the fully-reclined seat — we didn’t have individual beds, but I was sitting with T and he makes a great additional pillow.
Chugging Pre-Flight Champagne Soothes Pre-Flight Anxiety
We decided to check out their Premium Economy fare to see what it's like. It is equipped like a first class ticket on a domestic flight and makes the nine- and ten-hour hauls so much more bearable. You're getting great amenities — unlimited drinks, meal service, only one person next to you — for better rates than Business Class tickets on other airlines. I also highly recommend bidding or upgrading to First Class if you can manage. Having a seat that extends into a full bed makes a lot of difference on my aching, old-lady knees.
My Silly BB Enjoying His Hot Towel
Among the perks we enjoyed: pre-boarding, complimentary champagne or orange juice before take-off (I combined mine into a mimosa on the flight back), meal services and unlimited drinks, private bathrooms shared with first class, and unlimited snacks from the galley throughout the flight. This included gluten free sour candy, popcorn, and cookies, in addition to my Gluten Free meal selections. Oh yeah — Virgin also provides soothing, purplish "mood lighting" that legitimately helps you forget you're on a plane. A fellow passenger told me, "I feel like I'm in a club!"
Our seats were worlds more spacious than the ones in Economy, and the smaller cabin is a life-saver if you're hoping to catch some shut-eye or use the bathroom without waiting. We also had unlimited access to the movies, shows, and games in our seatback entertainment centers. (No extra charges here.) Each seat receives a cute little amenity kit sponsored by Herschel, although for reference, there are airlines that will give you a full set of PJ's while on board...
Prioritizing Sleep (As Always).
Cute, right? WRONG. JK.
Then there's the lack of sleep, dehydrated airplane air, and the extra dose of worry, creating what I like to call the "Dark Circle Trifecta." To remedy your in-flight beauty woes, the guys below are perfect for travel. I know because I made use of them on my recent trip to London! I am a world-class complainer — so let's just say I took notes when it came to what was uncomfortable and what worked. As always, they are both clean and cruelty-free.
Note: My style picks are reserved for an upcoming Holiday Travel Style Guide, but as for beauty, I'm ready to report back.
In-Flight Skin Savers
Anya Hindmarch In-Flight Cosmetics Case ($195-$285)
I want one of these so badly. It is perfect for getting through security. Once in flight, you have separate compartments to keep your goodies organized; one side is for take-off, the other is for touch-down. It also comes in black patent and fluorescent yellow. #Need
P.S. I have also had my eye on the Anya Hindmarch Tooth Key Chain ($285). It's perfect for your pence, euro, or whatever coinage you'll be using... It also helps deter pickpockets since it clearly bites.
These combine toner, essence, and hydration into each pre-soaked round which saves you the need for extra bottles. The best part is, they are thoroughly saturated with skin-nutrients, streamline your routine like woah. When I pin down Tom for some skincare, I often grab these multi-tasking littles when he's not in the mood for an impromptu facial...
Go-To Beauty Lips ($12)
This clean, divinely scented lip goop is supremely hydrating. I think it's the sheep's wool-derived lanolin that makes the difference. (Don't worry — the founder, Zoe Foster Blake, is 100% animal-friendly and assures us these are cruelty-free.) I also used this line's Exceptionoil ($39) for the body during this trip because it has much more travel-friendly packaging than alternatives.
I will have an entire post on this sheet mask soon. It is clean, natural, animal-friendly, and makes zero mess. Plus, it’s not cold or slimy, and each can be re-used up to three times. It is the perfect pick-me-up for flights. Read this article for more clean, cruelty-free sheet mask rec's!
You can also use an unscented micellar water wipe or towelette by a brand like Skyn Iceland or Simple Skincare. These are infused with Argan oil and donate a percentage of sales to protect endangered polar bears. Dry skinned bb's will appreciate the nourishing Argan-effect.
I brought this linens pollution-fighting matcha and niacinamide moisturizer on my trip with me, as well as the line's clean, multi-purpose beauty balm. When dry patches popped up on my complexion post-flight, I was able to use sample sizes of Sunday Riley Good Genes and Peach & Lily Balm with my other products to tend to my skin woes. Other great beauty balms? LOLI Beauty Date Nut Brûlée ($68) for a green option, or Tula Kefir Moisture Repair Pressed Serum ($65) for some probiotic action if you aren't non-dairy. (I am dairy-free, however.)
While I opted for sample sizes of Sunday Riley Good Genes ($105-$158), I want to add that Go-To's fabulous branding includes a travel sized, reusable baggy for smaller numbers of exfoliating swipes. Applying some lactic acid and an ultra-potent hydrator are two essential steps to add for combatting post-flight dry patches.
Not only do you still need SPF on a plane, but the mineral blockers in green beauty's favorite BB cream also serve an important anti-pollution function.
RMS Beauty Un-Cover Up ($36)
This product is so versatile and low-maintenance that you can use it to touch up during landing for a noticeable difference. (In a good way.)
I've been using the brightening formula. This stuff makes your makeup last longer and look better in photos. No, I didn't apply it on the plane, but I wanted to include it because I used my Suntegrity BB cream as foundation for most of the trip and this clean AF goodie was what kept it in place. P.S. I used a fluttery-soft brush by Westmore Beauty to apply it.
Amareta Beauty Twinkle ($25)
I genuinely love this multi-purpose color. I use it on my cheeks! It's clean, green, and even pregnancy safe. Once you give your mug a once-over with your concealer-foundation hybrid by RMS, this adds the finishing touches.
Now that I've tried this clean, vegan mascara, I really like it. It's no wonder the UK-based line has won industry awards!
A nice neutral shade from this nourishing, organic line of lipsticks makes a huge difference. Liquid, not liquid — it's really your call. But for an even lower maintenance option, I adore Sun Bum Tinted Lip Balm - Beachy Nude ($6), which looks pretty enough on to be an actual lip shade.
First of all, you can now get these affordable electric toothbrushes at Target! My dad also pointed out that these low-maintenance electric toothbrushes are perfect for travel because they fit in travel toothbrush holders! He's obsessed with travel and it's the cutest.
Whish Beauty Deodorant Wipes ($20 for 30)
Ok, so I love sleeping in one of Tom's favorite long-sleeve shirts... When we got to London — before figuring out how to turn on the heat — I stole his long-sleeved shirt and giant sweats. Then I slept off my jet lag — before showering. His shirt became a little bit stinky! Since Tom is under the (rather bizarre) impression that I have a gene that makes my sweat not smell, I should have used one of these organic, cruelty-free deodorant swipes to maintain his illusion.
Hand cream is so essential and this overnight hand balm, based in Ayurvedic knowledge, seems like a good pick. This last flight felt so drying that my hands were actually stinging! I just gave away my Tula hand cream to my mom, but returned home to discover a nice, clean, cruelty-free Peter Lamas Spa Sensuals Intensive Repair Hand Cream ($24) for your mitts, as well.
Hint: I'm including a pair of foot-hydrating socks in my upcoming B+C post!
For me, these make the difference between one hour of sleep total, and intermittent one-hour naps throughout long flights. On the way to London, I let Tom borrow mine and ended up sleeping horribly.
Lunya Sleep Silk Mask ($48)
I used a silk sleep mask by Simone Pérele which I love because it is extra soft and extra large. These are essential for beauty sleep — and silk is anti-aging, soft as a cloud, and soothing, to boot.
Noise-cancelling headphones are incredibly helpful for any of you who, like me, have a sensitive startle response. Some flights will have them, but not all. I periodically wake up, loudly gasping, whenever airplane noises send my stress levels through-the-roof. Whether you grab noise-cancelling ear buds (my choice) or oversized bad boys by Bose (my dad's preference), eliminating those stressful sounds helps ensure you get your beauty sleep.
What are your in-flight skin savers? Tell me on Instagram!
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