How to Look Fresh after an Overnight Flight

Written by: Brianna Peters


Published on: February 8, 2024


Emerging bedraggled and exhausted-looking from an overnight plane ride definitely puts a damper on day one of any trip. But it doesn’t have to be that way: Even if you don’t get much sleep during your flight, this routine for skin and hair really leaves you looking fresh, glowy, and ready for anything.



The day my flight is scheduled to leave, I work out (to exhaust myself so I’m more likely to sleep). Then I do an “everything shower” and give myself a full blowout. It may seem like a lot, but you’ll feel clean on the long plane ride, and your hair is set up to look amazing.




Since your hair is already clean and styled, you’re a step ahead. Keep it in shape with the following routine and you’re pretty much guaranteed to start your trip with a good hair day.

Before settling in for your flight, spritz this dry shampoo into your roots: It’s the key to maintaining your blowout. It absorbs excess oil, and the scent—bergamot, yuzu, and lemongrass—smells uplifting and fresh. After the dry shampoo, try a trick from hair pro Mark Townsend: Put a few drops of this hair serum on your ends. It’ll condition the whole way over and leave this great subtle shine the next day. (If you wake up and need a little extra, go for it.)

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  2. goop Beauty
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After I’ve put the serum on my ends, I put my hair up in a topknot with a silk scrunchie (it never leaves a crease) or twist it up in one of these brilliant clips. Either way, when I take it down, my blowout is still in place for the most part, with a great lived-in, tousled vibe.

Right before landing, reapply the dry shampoo for a refresh and a boost of volume.

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Once you’re on the plane, moisturize thoroughly and often, with multiple layers. Even in the most comfortable seat, dry cabin air can cause irritation, breakouts, and dryness. (If you doubt the dryness of airplane air, break open the roll from your onboard meal and watch how quickly it becomes stale.)

I start with this mist, which I go through bottles and bottles of because I love it so much. It’s truly the antidote to dry, dull skin. I spritz it on first thing onboard and respritz throughout the flight—it’s a skin-reviving blast that refreshes and energizes my skin. (It also smells subtly of flowers.)

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These eye masks are an airplane essential, a 10-minute fix that hydrates, calms, smooths, and depuffs to leave skin supple and glowy. They’re soaked in a nourishing milky serum; apply them before you land for the ultimate in-air pick-me-up. This eye cream moisturizes, brightens, and delivers a dose of antioxidants and caffeine—dab it on delicate skin underneath and around the eyes before you fall asleep and again when you wake up. You’ll look well-rested, even if there’s turbulence.

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I’m obsessed with this silky, weightless-but-ultramoisturizing oil, especially on a plane. I pat it on throughout the flight—it smells so good and leaves my skin totally nourished. I wait a few minutes after the oil sinks in to layer on this super soothing balm to seal everything in. It melts right in, moisturizing and revitalizing even the driest skin—and it feels incredible. And this French, do-it-all salve is magic for cuticles, lips, hands, and anywhere else I need a little moisture bomb. (I also put some under my nostrils to help keep my nose from drying out.)

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This device is so sleek and portable—do a combination of the vibrating face massage and therapeutic warmth right when you wake up (I especially love it over the eye masks). It feels so good and lifts and sculpts your whole face, leaving it totally refreshed. For a moisturizing emergency, this 20-minute sheet mask is the ultimate fix: It drenches skin in marine collagen, seaweed and edelweiss extracts, and hyaluronic acid.

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Right before we land, I do this no-makeup makeup routine to pull it all together. It’s so quick and simple, and the results—dewy, fresh, luminous skin—wake up anyone’s face.

I smooth on this miracle tinted SPF to protect my skin and give it a beautiful glowy sheen at the same time. (Note: If I’m not on an overnight flight, I apply it before I fly, too, and reapply during the flight. Altitude significantly increases your sun exposure, so sunscreen is critical on a plane.)

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I dab this cream on my cheeks and lips for a pretty, healthy-looking flush in seconds. It glides on like velvet and feels smooth and weightless on skin. Venus is my favorite—it looks like such a bright fuchsia in the pot, but it’s subtle, buildable, and really flattering.

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When my brows look good, my entire face looks brighter, smoother, and more lifted. This gel coats every individual hair and holds it in place. (Bonus: It works double duty to tamp down flyaways in my hair.)

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Your lips have no oil glands—and these balms are the richest, cushiest way to keep them moisturized. The clear shade is perfect overnight; I like the subtle Peony if I’ve slept, and the more dramatic Tomato if I really need to wake up my face.

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Of course, there are the basics: Drink lots of water (bring a reusable water bottle), avoid alcohol, and get up and stretch your legs (and wear compression socks).

Deputy editor Aura Davies swears by mouth tape. “I’ve used it on four different flights now, and it’s like magic,” she says. “I feel like it keeps my sinuses from uncomfortably drying out, and it keeps me from waking up repeatedly because my mouth doesn’t fall open and get dry and wake me up.” Tip: If you’re not bold enough to wear mouth tape in public, Davies has a solution: “I hide mine under a mask.”

Executive beauty director Jean Godfrey-June packs this brilliant concoction by acupuncturist and aromatherapist Annee de Mamiel whenever she travels. “I smooth a few drops between my hands, then inhale deeply three times,” she says. “I feel like it keeps me feeling healthy and sort of connected to the earth, which I find comforting. It’s made with lavender, pine, peppermint, lemon myrtle, and other herbs, so it smells absolutely incredible.”

Jet lag really affects me, so I use the Timeshifter app. You input your sleep, caffeine, and supplement habits and it customizes a plan to help adjust your circadian rhythm to the new time zone you’re in—it tells you when to get natural light, take a nap, have caffeine, and more.

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