May 21, 2024

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Traveling Around the World

10 Flight Attendant Toiletry Bag Travel Essentials

When you’re getting ready for a trip — particularly if you’re trying to pack light — no one knows how to fine-tune a packing list better than a flight attendant. After all, they need to be prepared for the flight and the layovers, delays, and overnight stays that come with the job. Odds are, the items that they pack work just as hard as they do, which is why we turn to them for the best recommendations. And today, we’re taking a peek into what’s inside of their toiletry bags. 

Whether it’s your first flight or your 500th, you can trust that flight attendants know a thing or two about what you can add to your bag to make your trip even better. Here, you’ll find some of the personal care items that they’ve deemed must-packs for their toiletry bags, ranging from full-coverage sunscreen to ultra-hydrating moisturizers. Caution: You’ll most likely want to add these to your cart immediately (or at least, before your next trip).

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion With SPF


Like we mentioned before, cabin crew members rely on multitasking products to streamline their packing lists. So, it’s no surprise that Quinn Hanneken, who has been a flight attendant for eight years, uses CeraVe’s AM Facial Moisture to save precious toiletry bag space. The two-in-one skincare product doubles as your moisturizer and sunscreen with its ceramide-rich formula and SPF 30 protection. In fact, the moisturizer combines three types of ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide (which possesses excellent redness-reducing and skin tone-balancing benefits). 

Skin Aesthetics Ultra Hydrating Facial Moisturizer 


For Crystal Romo, who has been a flight attendant for five years, her go-to face moisturizer is an Amazon-favorite: the Skin Aesthetics Ultra Hydrating Facial Moisturizer, a K-beauty product that is designed to not only hydrate the skin, but also infuse it with brightening vitamin C, wrinkle-reducing collagen, line-plumping hyaluronic acid, soothing aloe vera, and moisturizing argan oil. “This under-$10 moisturizer is amazing,” she raves. “It is super hydrating, comforting, and so inexpensive. Flying around constantly really dries out the skin, and [applying] this moisturizer in the morning or end of day feels like heaven. I have purchased it six times so far.”  

Black Girl Magic Sunscreen


Not every sunscreen is made equally, and it’s not uncommon for some formulas to leave an unflattering and hard-to-rub-in white cast on darker skin tones. Enter: Black Girl Magic Sunscreen, which comes recommended by Lea McIntyre, who has been a flight attendant for six years. “I use Black Girl Magic Sunscreen because flying at 30,000 feet in the sky gives you an equivalent to about 20 minutes in a UVA tanning bed,” she says. Designed with melanin-rich skin in mind, the formula offers robust, long-lasting protection against UVA and UVB rays without a dreaded white cast — all while blanketing the skin in a hydrating blend of jojoba, cacao, and avocado oils. 

Aquaphor Healing Ointment 


“Flying is incredibly dehydrating and my lips (including everything else) get very dried out,” flight attendant of seven years Paige Carabello explains. “Aquaphor seems to be the only thing that really helps.” Luckily, the healing ointment comes in a travel-friendly tube and can be used from head-to-toe to combat dryness. In addition to her trusty Aquaphor, Carabello also always packs a shower cap and dry shampoo because “you’d be surprised how damaging washing your hair in different hotels can be.”

La Roche Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen for Face and Body Sunscreen SPF 100


“My most essential product that I never leave without, my holy grail, is SPF,” Candace Keeton, who has been a flight attendant for almost two years, says. She also notes, “Unfortunately, compared to the general public, flight attendants and pilots are more at risk for melanoma and other skin cancers due to UV radiation from sun exposure.” So, to keep her face and body protected from the sun’s UV rays, she turns to the La Roche Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen SPF 100, a two-in-one formula that ensures full-body coverage from UVA/UVB rays while also infusing the skin with antioxidants to help reverse already-present sun damage.

Pacifica Beauty Glow Baby Hydrodew Moisture Gel


Does flying always leave you with an oily complexion? Flight attendant Teeara Ida can relate. In fact, she tells Travel + Leisure, “I used to have oily skin, but once I became a flight attendant, I noticed the altitude began to dry out my skin, causing my skin to need more moisture.” Thankfully, she discovered the Pacifica Beauty Glow Baby Hydrodew Moisture Gel, which locks in hydration while giving the skin a radiance-boosting dose of vitamin C, niacinamide, and other brightening and smoothing ingredients. She adds that she’ll pair it with the Sweet July Irie Power Face Oil, noting that the combo “gives my skin a glow without the product feeling heavy on the skin.” 

Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch for Tired Eyes 


Being a passenger on a plane is tiring enough — and we can only imagine how grueling the experience must be for the cabin crew. That’s why Jasmine Khadija, who has been a flight attendant for two years, always prioritizes self-care. “After checking into our layovers, it’s important to take care of yourself,” she shares. “My routine is: eat, shower, skincare, pack, get ready for the next day, and unwind.” Hero Cosmetics’ Might Patches for Tired Eyes “are vital” during her skincare phase, and she even quips that they turn “the bags under my eyes from black garbage bags to designer bags” with their brightening, refreshing, and hydrating ingredients. 

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Hair Product


A good hair day isn’t always guaranteed when you’re staying in a hotel, which is why flight attendant of 10 years Marie Harvis arrives at her destination prepared with her go-to It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in. Whether she’s using her own shampoo or the hotel’s shampoo, the product “helps keep my hair looking healthier and keep it looking good when I have limited hair tool options on my layovers,” she explains, adding that “the [hotel] blow dryers are usually pretty awful, and it really helps to protect it and keep some life in it when I’m rushing to get ready in a new city.” The all-in-one product acts as detangler, frizz-fighter, shine-booster, softness-enhancer, color-preserver, heat protectant, split end-delayer, and strand-strengthener — so it’s basically like a hair salon in a bottle. 

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream


Flight attendants like Elise Tucker, who has been a cabin crew member for eight years, hope that “hydration, hydration, hydration” will be your main travel beauty takeaway. When it comes to quenching and preventing dryness on the go, she relies on Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, which is available in a variety of travel-friendly sizes. “Because the air is so dry on the plane, sometimes when I pack my skin with too many skincare products, my makeup will either separate or move on the plane,” she explains. “It took a while to find the right products for my skin, especially as I’m getting older. So when I’m flying, I try to keep it as simple as possible.” 

This Kiehl’s moisturizer is an all-star because it’s intended to keep your skin hydrated for up to 72 hours, and it’s packed with skin barrier-strengthening ceramides, squalene, and the brand’s intensely conditioning glacial glycoprotein that works overtime to lock in hydration. Plus, it leaves the skin looking balanced and brighter, so it takes the place of your serum if you’re limited on space.

Goop 15% Glycolic Acid Peel Pack 


After being a flight attendant for 18 years, Julie Ongaro can confidently say that her “absolute pet peeve [when] traveling is my skin drying out.” Because she “could not possibly drink enough water with our flight schedule,” she turns to Goop’s Overnight Glycolic Acid Peel (a travel-friendly, leave-on treatment that reduces the look of pores, fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration while you sleep) to keep her skin “glowing and hydrated” after long travel days. For extra hydration, she follows up with the Goop All-In-One Super Nutrient Face Oil and notes that “after each face wash, I use Biologique Recherche P50 1970 toner, it makes such a difference and then apply your serum and creams after.”

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