How Not to Feel Gross After a Long Flight

I recently wrote about some tips to make a long-haul flight less horrible, but I wanted to delve a little deeper into the topic. Have you ever gone on a long-haul flight only to feel utterly and totally disgusting upon arriving at your destination?

Woo hoo! I finally made it to Timbuktu! The only problem is, my hair is greasy, I have bags under my eyes, I smell, and I feel disgusting. 


It’s one of those inevitable realities of long-distance travel. Still, you don’t have to arrive at your destination looking and smelling like somebody who just hiked the Appalachian trail. With a little bit of strategy, you can arrive actually looking (and smelling) like a human being. You’re welcome.

With that, here are my tips:


The thing about air travel is that it dehydrates you. You can combat this by staying extra hydrated before, during, and after the flight. Before you fly, try drinking something with electrolytes like coconut water or a sports drink. Make sure to drink plenty of water on the plane. I like to bring a water bottle on board with me because they never really give out enough water in the in-flight service. You’ll most likely have to get up to pee about a million times during the flight, but the stretching and moving around will help you combat soreness and stiffness, so really it’s a win-win situation. If you hydrate properly throughout the flight, you won’t feel as tired and your skin will look better. Of course, this won’t replace the lack of sleep you’ll be dealing with, but every little bit helps.


As I said, planes dehydrate you. Just as you need to drink a lot of water, your skin might need a little extra love as well. I like to bring a little bottle of lotion on the plane with me (TSA approved size, of course) and apply liberally on my face, arms, elbows, and anywhere else I feel is getting dried out. If you really feel like giving your face a little extra love, you can exfoliate and wear a face mask the night before you fly, which will help.

Skip the Makeup

Yeah, yeah. You want to look good. But if you’re going on a long-haul flight, you might want to skip the makeup. It’s not going to look good after 14 hours in the air anyway, so don’t apply makeup until you’re about to arrive at your destination.

Wear light, airy clothing

Natural fibers like cotton and silk are more breathable and therefore will make you sweat less. Less sweat, less smell. For super long flights, I like to bring a change of clothes (and underwear) to change into as soon as I arrive at my destination, which helps me feel fresh.

I actually have a special outfit I wear when I travel that is made from a light fabric. It’s stylish and comfortable at the same time.

Don’t eat a heavy, greasy meal on the plane

Plane food can be greasy, but if you’re able to, it’s best to eat something light and healthy. Lean protein and light snacks like fruit and nuts are best. It’s also best to skip alcohol with your meal since it dehydrates you.

A quick touch up upon arrival

When you arrive, stop into the airport bathroom and wash your face, brush your teeth, and moisturize. Brush your hair and put it up into a bun or a ponytail. Now is the time to apply makeup if you want to. If you get puffy eyes, a cooling pad can be nice to hold on your eye bags for a few minutes before touchdown.

You’re going to be tired after your flight, but with these tips, you can feel a little more fresh and ready to explore your destination upon arrival.


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