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I had coffee last week with a dear friend of mine who was flying to Stockholm the following day. She told me she was absolutely dreading that flight. Not because of the terrible events of last week, but just for the thought of having to sit, cramped up in economy for 22 hours, and arriving feeling dirty, tired and clogged up.

I told her I had just been re-stocking my in-flight bag and I was actually looking forwards to the next flight so that I could try some of the goodies I’ve put in it. She was intrigued, so we did a little shop together to help get her in the mood.

Firstly, here in Sydney, we almost always have a relative humidity above 75%. That means that a little moisturiser goes a long way. Europe is not the same. In fact I’m always amazed because I usually have fairly oily skin and hair and so the first few times I packed for Europe my toiletries were all oil-free, dry-shampoos and so on… I’ve since learnt that 22 hours on a plane will completely dry me out, and I’ll be in desperate need of moisturising products when I arrive.

So the first stop for me is always Aesop. A few years ago my husband bought me one of their travel packs — I think mine was the London one, filled with little travel sized versions of their products. Some of the products I absolutely loved and have re-purchased, others, not so much… but the thing I most like about Aesop is that they’re very generous with their free samples. And they’re what I take on-board with me. The rest of the kit goes in my luggage.

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Either before I board or as soon we reach altitude and the seat-belt sign is off I take all my make up off, using Aesop’s Parsley Seed Oil Cleanser. Its gorgeous ~ but beware: it’s not a particularly viscous oil. The first time I ripped open the little sachet I spilt the entire contents onto my leather handbag. I thought it would stain the leather, but it didn’t. Fortunately it smells lovely and they’d given me several.

Then I apply their Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum, or their Parsley Seed Facial Treatment. I love everything about both of these products, especially the smell. They always makes me feel calm and relaxed and ready to sit back and read my book. These are actually products that I would buy and carry with me ~ and trust me, I won’t carry anything that I don’t have to ~ but one of these is worth carrying. The Treatment comes in a tiny 15ml bottle, so no need to decant, but my preference is for the Serum. I’ll almost always carry their tiny tube of moisturiser on board with me too.

They’re very clever offering these little sachets… I’ve tried various products and returned and bought the ones I like, and each time I buy something, they give me more sachets to try, and I usually find something else to come back and buy… so I always seem to have a little stash of sachets to take on a flight with me. Gotta love that!

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But getting back to my flight list… There are a few other things I cannot fly without. Lip balm would be one. I love the Burts Bees ones, specially the tinted ones, as they have a slight minty fragrance. I know it sounds stupid, but I almost always find that I chip or break a nail when I’m handling my luggage, so I have to have a nail file with me. I buy a cheap pack of those disposable nail files before I leave and keep one or two in my clear plastic baggy.

The other must-haves for me are eye lubricating drops and nose lubricating spray. I have terrible sinuses, and almost always find I end up with a sinus headache and puffy eyes from dry blocked sinuses. Yes, it’s a bit hard to do discretely, but not impossible, and believe me, it makes a difference to how you feel on arrival. A mini hairbrush, my own toothbrush and toothpaste is essential… and I always carry an eye patch and ear-plugs too, in the hope that I might get some sleep… and I do find they help. I might also take a mini deodorant too, particularly if I’m transiting through a hot city like Singapore.

I wear the bare minimum of make up when I fly, but I always take a BB cream, mascara and one lipstick to apply before I arrive. My current fav BB cream is Uvidea XL by La Roche Posay because I like the texture & coverage, and that it comes in a flight-friendly 30ml tube. I almost always take a concealer too, usually Touche Éclat by YSL. Those are my makeup absolute minimums. Except for the hairbrush I can actually fit all of these things into one of those little clear plastic baggies, which double as insurance against spillage. Bonus!

But, to be honest, I think the most important things that really make a difference to how you feel when you arrive can’t be bought or packaged. They would be to drink as little alcohol as possible, but as much water as you can manage, and to get as much sleep as you possibly can. And when you’re in the airport, don’t take the travelator, get up and walk as much as possible. Stretch your muscles and move. Knowing exactly where you have to go to get into town or wherever you’re going can ease your anxieties about arriving, so ALWAYS have printed out and ready the address and directions for your next destination.

If you can arrive with a smile in your mind you’ll always look your best.

Anything I’ve forgotten? What do you take with you on-board?

  • Parsley Seed Oil Cleanser
  • Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum or Treatment
  • Lip Balm
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Lubricating nose spray
  • Mini hair brush, nail file, toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Eye Patch & ear plugs
  • BB Cream
  • Mascara, lipstick & concealer
  • mini deodorant