How To Look Fresh-Faced After A Long-Haul Flight

The battle for optimal post-flight handsomeness starts with hydration, both internal and external.

how to look good on a long flight
how to look good after a long flight
Drink. Sleep. Breathe.

Some dreams are blatantly unachievable. You will never get a six-pack on an ice cream diet or earn a PhD in quantum physics without cracking a book.

You fantasise about stepping off a plane looking as handsome as you did getting onto it, yet time and time again, you arrive at baggage claim feeling like the monster from a Stephen King movie.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way. This dream is actually achievable, and not just for genetically blessed celebrities getting papped in the airport.

If you’re ready to learn how to look good after a long flight, your crash course awaits below. Don’t let jet lag and recycled air win.

Create An In-Flight Skincare Regime

You’ve looked in your girlfriend’s bathroom and scoffed. Who could possibly need so many products? A person on a long-haul flight, that’s who. Airplanes are grimy and deeply dehydrating, neither of which are conducive to post-travel handsomeness. The right batch of products can do wonders for rehabbing your starved skin during and after a flight.

Consider packing a face wash or cleansing wipes to start with a clean canvas. Most importantly, moisturise regularly – slather on a layer of your preferred moisturiser (or even a mask if gender norms aren’t your jam) and repeat as often as necessary to keep your skin supple. Bring a lip balm to give your lips the same TLC. If you want to get more complicated, you could throw in a hand cream or an eye cream.


Hydrating topically is only half the battle. If you really want to fight dry eyes and skin in the ultra-low humidity environment of an aircraft, you have to start from the inside. Drink water. A lot of it. All the water you can handle. Not only will it keep your face looking fresh, it will also help lessen the effects of jet lag. You may also want to avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can increase dehydration.


Fatigue looks good on no one. Sleep is essential for both your skin and your overall health, so do your best to get your snooze on (especially if it’s a red eye flight). If you struggle to sleep on planes, bring helpful accessories like ear plugs, noise-canceling headphones, an eye mask, and melatonin.

Pack Pick-Me-Ups In Your Carry-On

After your flight but before you’ve faced the real world, perform a quick pick-me-up. Brush your teeth or use mouthwash. Rinse the flight grime off your face. Spruce up your hair with a shot of dry shampoo or whatever sculpting product you prefer. Apply a last round of moisturiser and lip balm – or even a dash of male cosmetics if you’re into that type of thing.

Kick Back (And Up)

When you’ve arrived home or checked into your hotel, immediately kick back (and by “back” we mean “up”) and relax. Lay on your back with your feet elevated against a wall, headboard, or piece of furniture for 5-10 minutes. This will help reduce the swelling in your legs and ankles caused by the inactivity, pressure, and dehydration during a flight.

Stick To A Sleep Schedule

Getting adequate sleep (at the right hours) is key to recovering from a long-haul flight. Resist the urge to nap during broad daylight. Make yourself stay awake until a normal bedtime in your destination’s time zone, and don’t let yourself sleep in past a reasonable hour the next day. You may feel a little sluggish at first, but it will fast-track the process to resetting your internal clock and alleviating jet lag.

Breathe Deep

Say it with us one more time: cabin air is dry and dehydrating. Those lower oxygen levels play a major role in the fatigue you feel after a flight, so to wake up your brain and body, you need to give it an oxygen injection. Take a walk outside, even if it’s just a short jaunt around the block, to feel revived and energised.