My Carry-On Beauty Products + Tips for Long Flights

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm leaving for Taiwan in a few hours so I thought I'd take the opportunity to share the contents of my plastic carry-on bag. Normally, if I'm just flying from New York to somewhere in Western Europe (meaning if the flight is around 10 hours or less), I won't bring too many beauty products with me. However, anytime I'll be sitting on a plane for roughly 20 hours--like today--the contents of my Ziploc plastic bag completely change. This one contains even more as I'm traveling with three of my cousins, and I tend to be the beauty product supplier, for obvious reasons!

My biggest beauty concern is (you guessed it) dryness. My oily skin doesn't really get dry, but my lips, under-eyes, and hands really get the moisture sucked out of them. On a slightly different level, sitting on 20 hour flights makes me crabby and irritated, so I also like to bring little mood boosting products to keep me going. You'll see that I carry a bit of everything, but with an emphasis on hydration and little things that just pick me up!

Skincare: For long flights, I take my contacts out, put on my glasses and don't wear a stitch of makeup (though I will curl my eyelashes). I'm never seated next to the hot guy on airplanes, as my life is not a Mary Kate and Ashley movie, so I don't really care how tired I look. Before I leave, though, I'll give my face a little extra TLC--a proper cleanse, tone, scrub, and one of my more expensive moisturizers. (At the moment, I'm really loving the Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial--review to come!) Every now and then, to keep the hydration going, I'll pull out one of these miniatures:

*You'll notice that I use more high-end things than I normally would. A lot of them are simply samples and convenient to use, but I also like to save my fancier items for long trips. When you're crammed into coach for 20 hours on a stuffy airplane, a little luxury goes a long way! But you should absolutely use whatever you like. Sometimes it's the idea of the product that I'm recommending, and not the specific product itself!


  • Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen: My cousin gave me a whole little Skyn kit ages ago, and I like to save small items for travel, so out they come! The brand is famous for this eye cream, and while I love the convenience of the pen, the product itself is just okay. It's not very moisturizing and has a light, moussy consistency, but there's a bit of coolness to it which is great for tired eyes.
  • Shu Uemura Intensive Moisturizing Concentrate: To top off any dryness I might feel due to that nasty recycled cabin air. Haven't tried it yet, but generally speaking, I really enjoy Shu skincare.
  • Skyn Iceland Arctic Face Mist: Yes, I know, I'm one of those girls who brings a spray for their face. It's insipid and maybe even obnoxious, but it really does work. Dryness isn't a huge concern for me, so a lot of moisturizing sprays can be too much, but this one delivers a nice dosage of fresh coolness and even a bit of tingle that I just love. It's great for hot weather as well, but for airplanes, this is purely a pick-me-up product. (The reason I use Skyn products when I'm traveling, by the way, is because their whole range is geared towards stressed skin and are jam-packed with oxygen and antioxidants. Much underrated line, so try it out if you can!)
  • Neutrogena Face Wipes: Not my favorite face wipes in the world, but they're the only ones that come in a small pack, so here they are.
  • C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm: Again, my lips get incredibly dry, so I like to bring my thickest balm that I don't have to dip my fingers into.
  • Fresh Brown Sugar Body Cream: A thick cream with a lovely fresh scent. If it wasn't so expensive, this would be in my purse on a daily basis.
  • Sheet Masks: Yes, I actually do these in-flight and I swear, nothing feels better on tired, dull faces! It's very common in Asia, especially for girls with dry skin. When the lights go off and everyone's asleep/reading, no one even looks at you. I'm bringing one for each of my cousins!
  • Eye Masks: If you're too self-conscious to do a full-on face mask, try cooling ones for your eyes. These are particularly great if you get bags, and I imagine they feel incredible after getting little to no sleep. 

Makeup: Shortly before we land, I'll pull out a face wipe and go over my face and neck. Typically, if I'm just going home or something straight from the airport, I wouldn't bother with makeup. But it'll be morning when we arrive and with a busy schedule, it'll be some time before I'll get a chance to get cleaned up. Not to mention the distant relatives I'll be seeing, so I'll use the following to look a bit more presentable. 


  • Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream: Is anyone surprised? I use this so often at home, and the easy application makes it perfect for travel. Taiwan is super humid (when is it not?) so I'll definitely be setting with powder. 
  • Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer: Review to come! I'm liking this so far, but it made it into the Ziploc because the shade is a bit lighter than I usually use for under the eyes so it's extra brightening.
  • Revlon Eyelash Curler: Like I'm risking my Shu getting crushed or taken away by a paranoid TSA agent! It's nothing, absolutely nothing next to my Shu Uemura, of course, but it'll still get the job done. 
  • Shu Uemura Ultimate Natural Mascara: Won't go anywhere without it. 
  • Tarte Emphaseyes Inner Rim Brightener: I probably won't wear eyeliner on that first day, but I could never leave this pencil at home. A quick swipe on the waterline, and I instantly look more rested. They don't call it the red-eye for nothing!
  • Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Stain in Swank: Nothing is easier or longer-wearing than a stain, so although this shade may be a bit much for some, a quick blot takes off the intensity but still keeps the color going all day. 

Miscellaneous: Just some odds and ends I couldn't fly without. 


  • Colgate Wisps: An absolute godsend. They're ridiculously overpriced in the smaller packaging of four, so just buy a bigger bag and break them off as you need. 
  • L'Occitane Cherry Princess Solid Perfume: Perfume tops the list of worthwhile pick-me-ups, and if you don't like spraying into recycled air, a solid one is perfect (your fellow passengers will thank you!). You could also use a rollerball, if you prefer, but using a solid makes it more of a ritual, which I always welcome on long flights. 
  • Hand sanitizer: No need to be excessive, folks. Use before eating and using fingers to apply makeup--that's really all you need.
  • Contact solution/case: I fought the urge to wear glasses on planes for years, and always wound up with irritated eyes. Don't even try it. Seriously, your eyes will thank you.
  • Hair ties: I really don't think I would last a entire flight with my hair down. It makes me feel so drab and run down, so I just pull it all up into a bun high on top of my head. Remember, it has to be high enough so it won't interfere with resting your head on the back of the seat.
  • Socks: I wear flats while flying but often slip my feet out of them. Aside from keeping your toes warm, socks allow you to step all over the questionably hygienic airplane floor.
  • Kindle/that book you've been meaning to read, but never got around to: I'm flying Eva Air, which basically guarantees a crappy in-flight movie selection. But if you get tired of reading after a while, try an audiobook. The guy who reads the Harry Potter ones does the best voices =).


General Tips!

    • Hydrate before you get on the plane. Everyone tells you to drink lots of water while flying, but have these people ever experienced climbing out of your seat in coach to use the bathroom every 5 minutes? God help you if you're in the window seat! In the air, I drink the same amount of water that I normally would at home, only I start crazy hydration about a day before I fly. This means increasing my water intake as much as I can (within reason), but I don't do any specific measurements. 
    • Frequently rotate your joints. Obviously, you should get up and stretch as often as possible, but these little "exercises" you can do while seated. I particularly like to do this for my ankles, as it keeps the blood circulation going and stops my feet from falling asleep. 
    • Bring your own food/snacks. Airplane food is terrible, of course, and being able to eat the food that I prefer is just another little thing that keeps me going. Try to avoid salty things like chips, especially if you get easily dehydrated. For equally addictive snacking, bring some dried fruit or granola (the French Vanilla at Whole Foods is delicious!)--or generally anything light that won't make you feel bloated. (Full disclosure: I'm bringing Sprinkles cupcakes in honor of my cousin's birthday, but we'll share!)

    Phew!

    This was a post and a half!

    I know this sounds like a lot, but again, it's a long flight and I'm not just packing for me! 

    I'll only be gone for a few days (not a happy trip, I'm afraid) and I've got some posts on back burner, so the blog won't be neglected.

    Wishing you all safe and pleasant travels!

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