Frequent flyers know that a lot can happen between takeoff and touchdown. Recycled air is dehydrating, sleep schedules are disrupted and getting from point A to point B on time? Sometimes impossible. Though we can’t promise zero turbulence, we can relieve your otherwise irritated and puffy skin with tailored, in-flight pampering, all TSA-approved and ready to fly.
This time, we’re headed to Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics—and to pick up some of the most innovative beauty items in the world. To mark the occasion, we’ve stockpiled our carry-on with our favorite Korean skincare brands for an in-flight redux of the infamous 10-step routine, at 35,000 feet high.
Step 1 & 2: A traditional Korean skincare routine begins with a double cleanse: first remove all traces of makeup with an oil and then use a water-based cleanser to wash the face clean. Perform this cleansing ritual before boarding using Sulwhasoo gentle cleansing oil and foam cleanser to ensure your cleanest skin at takeoff.
For those who prefer to arrive at the airport with makeup on, we suggest cleansing with a wipe at your seat while listening to the safety instructions. We packed Too Cool for School Takkoza cleansing wipes, which quickly remove even waterproof mascara to reveal clean, hydrated skin.
Step 3: This is also a good time to exfoliate with My Skin Mentor Dr. G Beauty crystal peel, which gently sloughs away dead skin. Check these TSA non-compliant products for use upon arrival.
Step 4: Next, reset your skin’s pH with a toner. Sulwhasoo’s hydro-aid mist is perfect for air travel as it comforts the skin with soothing hydration. Hold the mist a few inches away from your face and spritz yourself to relieve inflammation and dryness. Use liberally throughout the flight as needed.
Step 5: Next, slap on a hydrating sheet mask. Take 20-or-so minutes of meditative relaxation while your face absorbs the nourishing treatment. We like Saturday Skin’s quench masks for strictly moisturizing, but for this trip, we packed a 3-step pig collagen nose mask to decongest pores, applying it to our clean faces. The results? Clear skin that’s soft and moisturized.
Another trademark of Korean skincare is the cutesy packaging. It’s not uncommon to see a cheek stain with dinosaur doodles or a lip product with animal ears. It’s all to reinforce that taking care of your skin is an enjoyable process, and well-designed products are infinitely more fun to use.
You are now free to move about the cabin
Step 6: At the heart of the Korean skincare routine are essences. These lightweight potions help your skin absorb other treatments. Huxley’s grab water essence is also intensely hydrating. Apply 2-3 drops to the face with gentle patting motions before adding your next layer.
Step 7: Though not a K-beauty brand, Skin Inc. is a favorite among Korean men and women. Using patented technology from Japan, this serum (serum being the seventh step) is loaded with hyaluronic acid, which works to plump skin in seconds, leaving it replenished and better able to retain moisture, which is critical when flying.
Step 8: Dab on Saturday Skin’s brightening eye cream with your ring finger to minimize the appearance of dark circles and reduce puffiness. And while it is not explicitly part of the 10-step process, a healing lip balm is a welcome add-on.
Step 9: It’s time to moisturize. This anti-aging gel crème by AMOREPACIFIC will help you achieve optimal radiance and hydration, sealing in all eight of the preceding steps. Moisturizer—particularly at night or while traveling—should be the thickest texture of all 10 steps, and will repair your skin while you sleep.
Just before landing
Step 10: As you begin your final descent, it’s time for the final step—and the most important part of any daytime routine—sunscreen. We’ve chosen a BB cream by IPKN with SPF 45 to even our complexion while also protecting our delicate faces. It contains vitamin E to heal scars and smooth blemishes with a matte finish. You’ll be ready to jump off the plane and right into Olive Young to buy more skincare goodies.
Photography and story by Erica Lopez