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Keep It Plane and Simple With These Six Travel Beauty Tips

Keep It Plane and Simple With These Six Travel Beauty Tips

Beauty and traveling aren’t really two peas in a pod, but if you’re like the majority of makeup and skincare lovers, leaving behind your coveted travel beauty case is not an option. And, luckily, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re someone who’s always on a mission to disguise jetlag when stepping off a plane, minimalizing your travel makeup essentials is a must, while also doing a bit of pre-travel and mid-travel self-care. 

Here are a few of our favorite travel beauty tips to have you landing at your destination feeling and looking ultra-refreshed:

Be Mindful of What You Eat Before Traveling

Did you know that what you put into your body in the 24 hours leading up to your flight can impede your beauty rest while traveling? Dr. Shelby Harris, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist, says, “Alcohol and caffeine can significantly disrupt the quality of your sleep, so be mindful of your intake and try to avoid it as best as possible before a long trip.”

Dr. Harris also mentions that staying away from heavy, fatty, and spicy meals ahead of your departure can hinder the quality of your rest. Before boarding the plane, she recommends eating lighter meals, like greek yogurt or low-fat cheese. If your flight is during the night, though, complex carbohydrates and protein-rich foods can help increase your sleepiness. 

If you’ve fueled your body enough before your trip, opting out of the microwaved in-flight meals and the salty snacks often offered is a good idea (aka intermittent fasting). Dr. Harris mentions that this could aid in detoxification, stabilize your metabolism, and help fight jet lag. It can also ensure that you don't deal with the dreaded jet bloat.

Jet bloat often occurs because the air pressure increases during a flight, which leads to the expansion of gastrointestinal gases. Peter Hackett, MD, explains that “gas in the intestines will expand about 30% with a cabin altitude of 7000 feet.” He recommends taking a small walk or two while traveling to help ease jet bloat.

Book a Pre-Travel Facial for Some Extra Skin-Loving TLC

If maintaining your skin’s radiance while traveling is at the top of your to-do list, try booking a thorough facial before your departure. After all, who doesn’t love a good facial? Los Angeles aesthetician, Mila Moursi, says to schedule it a couple of days before your trip to oxygenate your skin and cleanse your pores.

By getting a facial before traveling, your skin will be in the best condition possible. Also, before leaving your house to board the plane (or in the airport bathroom: we don’t judge here), try washing your face with a gentle cleanser. Then, layer on your favorite toner and serum to keep your skin’s natural barrier in tip-top shape. Finish by sealing everything in with a moisturizer.

In addition, you can do ayurveda before traveling to center yourself and keep your skin looking flawless. Eleni Tsikrikas, an ayurvedic practitioner, says that a self-massage with body oil before leaving the airport is an amazing beauty traveling secret. “Oil is soothing, lubricating, nourishing, and will seal the body from the dry air that's pumped out during the flight,” she explains. 

Hydration Is Always Key (Even When Traveling)

Did you know that traveling on a plane can have a serious impact on your hydration levels? According to the Center for Family Medicine, “Airplanes are controlled environments typically kept at only 10-20% humidity. This is far lower than the 35-65% humidity of normal environments. Lower humidity in the air can lead to quicker dehydration.”

Due to the low humidity of the plane, your skin can become dry, cracked, dull, uneven, and wrinkled while traveling. However, you can detect dehydration through your skin by pinching a small area of your cheek or neck. If the skin wrinkles beneath your fingers or doesn’t bounce back immediately when you let go, you are likely dehydrated.

The Aerospace Medical Association recommends that you drink eight ounces of water for every hour that you’re in the air to prevent dehydration. Upping your water intake pre-travel will also help your body stay hydrated. If you’re not one to guzzle water with ease, try water-drinking apps like Aqualert or Hydro Coach to help remind you when to take a few sips. 

It’s no secret that airplanes usually have frigid cabin conditions, but you can balance that out by drinking warm beverages like herbal tea. “Ginger is warming and soothing to the tummy, as well as helps with peripheral circulation, such as cold fingers and toes,” Tsikrikas says. Worried about bathroom breaks? No big deal! They’ll keep your body up and moving.

Get Your Beauty Sleep Before and While Traveling

You probably don’t need me to tell you the importance of beauty sleep, especially to avoid jet lag. Mark Rosekind, former director of NASA's Fatigue Countermeasures Program, mentions that “sleeping any less than six hours can hinder a person's performance. So by not sleeping enough the night before a flight, travelers are going into their trip at a disadvantage.”

Getting rest on a plane can be difficult. With the right sleep accessories, though, catching some beauty rest Zs while traveling can be easy. Noise-blocking headphones, a silk sleep mask, reading a book, and popping a melatonin or two can go a long way while traveling. 

PROTIP: Use an online calculator to determine how much melatonin is needed while hopping time zones. 

Before resting, don’t forget to opt out of your smart devices due to the pesky blue light they emit, which can decrease your body’s natural melatonin production. If you do need your phone while traveling, try putting it on night mode so you can still listen to your favorite podcasts or beauty sleep-friendly apps like Calm or Headspace

SPF Is Your BFF No Matter Your Travel Destination

Look at SPF as your other half; it’s always needed and should be used whether your travel destination is the ultra-sunny Bahamas or the always-rainy England. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that the daily use of SPF-15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40%, and lower your melanoma risk by 50%.

With an SPF in your travel beauty case, you can board the plane knowing that your skin will be safe from all kinds of environmental factors. If you need to pick up an SPF for your trip, look for “broad spectrum” on the packaging. This means that the product’s formula can protect against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has approved sunscreen for your carry-on (or travel beauty case) as long as it doesn’t exceed 3.4 ounces in volume, so it may be best to go with a travel-sized SPF; just make sure it’s enough to last the entirety of your trip and it’s no lower than an SPF-15. 

Don’t Forget to Pack Your Travel-Friendly Subtl Beauty Stack

Whether you're running to a meeting or just wanting to step off the plane Kim K. style, makeup convenience is so needed. Thankfully, Subtl Beauty has you covered with the perfect travel beauty kit! Simply pack a Subtl Beauty Stack and you’re good for all of your traveling adventures, even those club nights when you want to look extra glam.

Our Subtl Beauty Stacks can replace your entire travel beauty case carry-on, making traveling in style easier than ever. The small but mighty Subtl Beauty Stack comes with 3.5g of formula in each layer (enough for three months of daily use!), along with a lid and makeup applicator. Each Subtle Beauty Stack is fully customizable and features only high-quality ingredients. 

Want to build a stack and enjoy the portability of Subtl Beauty? Take the quiz to find the products perfect for you and your skin. Need a quick beauty fix before traveling? You can grab one of these premade stacks. Either way, happy traveling, and remember: the Subtl Beauty Stack always has your back. 


  1. https://www.vogue.com/article/travel-beauty-long-haul-flight-sleep-skin-hydration-tips-body-face-massage-intermittent-fasting
  2. https://www.frommers.com/tips/airfare/how-can-you-fall-asleep-on-a-long-flight
  3. https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/travel/how-to-stay-hydrated-long-flights#:~:text=%E2%80%9CWhile%20plain%20water%20is%20best,herbal%20tea%20bags%20while%20flying.
  4. https://parade.com/1307292/bobbidempsey/what-to-eat-before-flying/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CEat%20lean%20protein%20such%20as,whole%20grains%2C%E2%80%9D%20says%20Bowerman.
  5. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/travel-and-sleep
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/aircrew/jetlag.html
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7551461/
  8. https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/#:~:text=Decrease%20your%20risk%20of%20skin,wrinkles%2C%20sagging%20and%20age%20spots.
  9. https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-pre-flight-beauty-routine.html

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