The French Facialist’s fresh-faced travel tips!

September 24 2015

Your trip has been planned for months, your bags are packed and your passport is ready – you’re all set! One aspect of travel you may not have considered is the stressful impact airplane travel can have on your skin. The low humidity in airplane cabins coupled with the recycled air-conditioning can wreak havoc on the skin, making dry skin drier and oily skin even oilier.

Skin dehydration and breakouts are often an unwelcome guest once you arrive at your destination, but they needn’t be with these expert tips for all phases of your trip from Christine Clais, aka The French Facialist. Tried and tested over several years of flying back to Paris, coupled with her specialist skincare knowledge, your skin will have never looked better after touchdown!


The three days preceding your flight.

Tip 1: Drink extra water.

Leaving for your trip with a well-hydrated body will counteract some of the water loss caused by the lack of humidity inside the aircraft. It also promotes optimum functioning of your body’s internal systems, including digestion. What works for me is drinking an extra litre of water during the three days prior to traveling, on top of the eight glasses recommended by health professionals.

Tip 2: Eat extra fruits and vegetables.

Plant foods do wonders for our skin and body: they’re excellent for hydration (thanks to their high water content) and packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants that promote skin repair and slow ageing. A delicious way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to have green smoothies: combine coconut milk or water with your greens as well as a little fruit and voilà! Of course, you don’t have to wait till your next trip to enjoy the health benefits of a green smoothie – why not make it a daily ritual?

The day before your flight.

Tip 3: Have a hydrating facial.

Book a professional facial or do some DIY pampering. Treating yourself to a hydrating facial will condition your skin by binding extra moisture to it. Here are my recommended steps for a home facial: cleanse; exfoliate; apply a ‘hydrating’ or ‘nourishing’ face mask and leave on for 15 to 30 minutes; rinse with lukewarm water; and apply a creamy moisturiser.

Tip 4: Pack a hydrating mist in your hand luggage. 

An excellent way to keep skin hydrated en route is to use a moisturising spray that contains hyaluronic acid (an active skincare ingredient with strong moisture-binding capability). My personal favourite is Molecular Mist by Sircuit Skin Cosmeceuticals. This product acts like a moisturiser without leaving a greasy residue on your skin. It comes in a 60ml plastic spray bottle that can fit easily in your handbag.

Tip 5: Go to bed early.

Getting extra beauty sleep before your trip will help alleviate some of the stress and fatigue associated with travelling. It also allows extra time for your skin to rejuvenate – night is when our body focuses on repair and growth (when it’s resting and not busy moving). To help calm your mind and encourage deep sleep, put a few drops of mandarin or lavender (or both) pure essential oils on a tissue, place close to your pillow and let these work their wonders on your brain via your olfactory system. Bonne nuit!

During your flight.

Tip 6: Drink plenty of water. 

Ask the flight attendants for extra glasses of water each time they offer refreshments and take regular trips to the galley to refill your glass (moving will also boost your skin by stimulating blood and lymph circulation as well as lower the risk of deep vein thrombosis). Aim for a minimum of two-to-three glasses of water per hour. Oh, and another thing, consider reserving an aisle seat prior to your trip to avoid having to climb over fellow passengers as you’re making your way to the water station … or bathroom.

Tip 7: Spritz, spritz, spritz!

I seriously could not fly without a good hydrating spray (see tip 4 above). It’s the most effective way to arrive looking fresh and dewy at your destination. Think of your hydrating mist as a ‘liquid moisturiser’ with a plus: if you are wearing make-up, it’s much easier to spritz than take off your foundation to re-apply moisturiser. And if you make friends with your neighbours, share the love and spritz their face too!

Tip 8: Eat and drink to boost your skin.

It’s best to eat light when flying. By ‘light’ I mean not eating too much: stop before you are full and avoid sugar and fat-laden snacks. Opt for meals that are relatively easy to digest. For long haul flights, I request vegetarian special meals (there are quite a few plant-based options available – vegan, oriental, Indian, etc – which are tasty, but if you want a breakfast with eggs, make sure to select ‘vegetarian lacto ovo’). I also try to abstain from caffeine-based drinks, such as coffee, tea and cola, as well as alcohol, because they have a dehydrating effect. Having said that, as a Champagne lover, I allow myself one celebratory piccolo of bubbly!

Straight after your flight.

Tip 9: Get some fresh air. 

As soon as you arrive at your destination, drop your luggage, have a shower, cleanse and moisturise your skin, put on some fresh clothes and, if time permits, go for a 20 to 30 minute walk. If you are in an urban environment, go to a park with lots of trees (think Central Park in New York, les Jardins du Luxembourg in Paris or the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne). Walk around, take long deep breaths and gently stretch your body. This will invigorate your skin.

The two days following your flight.

Tip 10: Have extra nutritious meals.  

To counteract inflight dehydration and prevent sluggishness and a sallow complexion, limit your food intake to healthy meal options. For instance, have a large bowl of miso or vegetable soup. For added protein, have some fish or poultry accompanied with lots of vegetables and a side salad. This is the type of meals Maman prepares for me when I finally get home after a 30-plus hour flight/train journey to the north of France. Despite a longing for delicious French cheeses, I usually wait a couple of days to eat richer foods.