Many of us will no doubt brave never-ending lines and security checks in the coming days, and contrary to the retro-glamorous Jet Age of Pan Am, we will wear tinted moisturizer, top knots, and sweatpants with pride. It’s okay to take your in-flight routine a notch down on the glamour scale, but airline travel doesn’t mean a total beauty copout. If you think five hours of dry cabin pressure and too-close-for-comfort UV rays are bad—how about the flight attendants who face it every day?
We wanted to learn more about keeping your skin and hair in check during the busy, stressful travel season, and who better to ask than Virgin America’s flight attendants—the most gorgeous frequent flyers of them all? From dress code to the best travel tips, VA in-flight team members Jenna and Hilary let us in on their sky-high tips for glowing skin.
B: Do flight attendants often go for a more natural or dramatic look? Is there an airline beauty dress code?
Jenna: I think many flight attendants go for a more natural look. We also get up for work at really odd hours, so we tend to keep our makeup routine on the simpler side. At Virgin America, we do have hair and makeup standards. For makeup, Virgin America’s look is a fresh face with lipstick, blush, and mascara. We do love to wear red lipstick, so that is our dramatic pop. For hair, if it’s longer than your shoulders we wear it up—a high stylish ponytail is quite popular.
Hilary: Agreed, most of us keep it relatively simple and tasteful to our uniform, which looks fabulous with red lipstick and many of our girls rock it! For hair, sock buns have also become very popular—they look chic and elaborate but are so simple to do.
B: Tell us about your beauty routine before a flight?
Jenna: My routine starts with my skin. I have dry skin so I used a really heavy moisturizer first. It also helps with the dryness on the plane. I then apply sunscreen, and always use a primer to help keep my foundation and concealer in place. [Concealer] hides those dark circles after a long day. I like to use a little peachy blush and apply a bronzer on my cheekbones, then a little peachy lipstick and voilà.
Hilary: My main goal is to look great from the moment I walk out of my hotel room in the morning until I get into my next one that night. I usually avoid heavy eye shadow as I know at some point I'm going to rub it off during the day without realizing it, and instead stick to a great long-wear eye liner in a fun color—and a waterproof mascara.
B: And what about your hair and hands?
Jenna: For my hair, I also like products that replenish moisture as well as protect the color, and I use coconut oil on my hair in the winter to keep my scalp hydrated. A great hand cream is a necessity and last but not least a facial sunscreen!
Hilary: I use a cucumber face wash for sensitive skin, facial towelettes, and daily moisturizer—it’s hydrating and extremely gentle. I also couldn't fly without my lip repair, I use it on my lips constantly to keep them hydrated. Extra volume mascara has been a favorite for a long time now as well- I love a great dramatic lash look.
B: Airline snacks are notoriously salty—any tips on how to combat this?
Jenna: We actually have some really healthy options onboard Virgin America, and drinking lots and lots of water will help your skin as well!
B: When you're flying and staying in different hotels, how do you deal with different water quality for your skin and hair?
Hilary: I tend to bring my own shampoo, conditioner and soap so my skin and hair aren't being completely overwhelmed by new products and water.
B: Does that add extra weight to your carry-on? How do you both pack for constant travel?
Jenna: I put all of my liquids in a clear plastic bag that I keep in the outermost part of my luggage for easy access.
Hilary: I always fill up small bottles with my own shampoo and conditioner, but I think hotels are also stepping it up with the in-room beauty products they provide. You can usually find out what products are offered beforehand by calling your hotel directly.
B: Any general beauty tips or advice for passengers traveling in air this season?
Jenna: A good night’s sleep and lots of water before a long flight is helpful. A light diet to also combat the bloat. And of course, a good moisturizer to hydrate your skin.
Hilary: Stay hydrated! At our home base at SFO’s Terminal 2 we’ve got hydration stations post-security, so you can even bring your own water bottles and fill up before you board. Your skin will thank you for it on the other end.