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Having an in-flight skincare routine is not just for beauty junkies. It can be an oasis of self-care as your body slowly turns into a desert over hours of travelling.

Besides sucking moisture from your being with its low humidity, flight life messes with you in other ways. Tomato juice, for instance, is generally a quirky choice of beverage. But the drink is strangely popular in the air, according to a 2010 survey commissioned by Lufthansa airline.

The umami notes in tomato juice are more pronounced on board a plane, while the sweet and salty receptors in your tastebuds are reduced. And if you find yourself unaccountably blubbering while watching Wonder Woman on the plane, don’t despair. Someone else is probably sniffing away under that thin, standard-issue blanket too. Pundits theorise that feeling vulnerable and far from home adds to the phenomenon of crying on planes, which is strong in anecdotal evidence. Last year, Virgin Atlantic issued “emotional warnings” before in-flight movies that might leave its passengers weeping. When you can’t trust your senses and feelings at high altitude, what can you trust?

Photo: Instagram / sonia chew

Well, tending to your skin is something positive you can do for yourself, at least. I plump for solid basics with a touch of perkiness. Staying cheerful helps, especially when your mind strays to that old Twilight Zone episode, where no one believes the man who saw a Creature sitting on the wing of the plane. Besides, there is no point going the luxe route when the guy in front is reclining his seat back into your face. (Elites of business class and beyond, carry on swigging your champers and dotting on your travel-sized La Mer, see if I care.) But which flight-friendly 100ml bottles make the cut?

Clinique 3 Step Introduction Kit (above, $39, available at Sephora) is a fuss-free way to cleanse, tone and moisturise your face, whether on board an A380 or after you land. Suitable for combination skin types, it comprises Liquid Facial Soap (50ml); Clarifying Lotion 3 (100ml), which is said to strip off residual grime efficiently; and Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel (30ml), the last a fan favourite that is justifiably adored. My skin laps it up like it’s parched, even on ground level.

If you crave a hit of product mid-flight – perhaps when artificial night descends in the cabin with lights out – try Fresh Sugar Chocolate Hydrating Lip Balm (above, $27, available at Sephora). Moisture seems to sink into your lips with this lip mask, unlike other lip balms that simply sit on the surface. What I like best is how it looks like that square of chocolate mousse you had for your ridiculously late, in-flight meal. If cocoa is not your thing, there are four other faux dessert flavours to choose from, including coconut and peach.

Next, apply some Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream (above, $36, available at Sephora), a night cream that comes in a squeezable 35ml tube. Although it’s best applied after a serum for greater absorbency, if you can’t be bothered to faff about with yet another fiddly container, it’s comforting and hydrating just as it is.

Make sure your pre-departure prep includes a good body lotion like Citron & Coriander body lotion (above, 50ml) from Crabtree & Evelyn’s affordable, travel-friendly collection. Apply liberally, aiming for the reassuring impression that the velvety ointment seals your body against the dry cabin air. Its orangey scent is calming yet refreshing.

Citron & Coriander 60 Second Fix for Hands (above, $23, available at Crabtree & Evelyn stores) encases an invigorating scrub and a soothing lotion. It’s like a spa for your hands and a promise of the good times you’ll have, just a few hours later when you land.


This article first appeared in The Straits Times.


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