Airport Reunion? 10 Ways to Look Your Best After a Long Flight

Travel can be exhausting, even when you’re so excited to be visiting your partner. Messy hair, dry skin and general tiredness are all things you might be dealing with when you step off the plane.

I wrote before about how to make your partner feel amazing after a long-haul flight. But when you’re the person on the plane, you might also want to know how to look your best for your airport reunion!

Here are 10 ways you can look fresh-faced and awake, even after 10+ hours in the air.

1. Set yourself up for sleep (but don’t feel bad if you can’t)

Sleeping on a plane is unpredictable: sometimes it happens and sometimes it just doesn’t. This will also depend on things slightly outside your control, such as whether your seat goes back and whether there’s turbulence during the flight.

However, you can give yourself the best chance of getting to sleep by being organised.

If you’re planning a long-haul flight, you should never go without a neck pillow. I own this one from Amazon (which comes with an eye mask and earplugs too), but you can get inflatable ones too if you want to maximise space (tip: don’t wait until you’re in the airport to buy your neck pillow – you’ll pay way more than you should! Buy one in advance).

Second, download a playlist of calming music or white noise before you get on the plane. You could even bring some temple balm to help you sleep.

2. Skip the espressos (but don’t go cold turkey)

Everyone knows that caffeine can disrupt your sleep, so don’t have more than you normally would just because you’re travelling.

However, there’s a reason I don’t recommend going completely ‘cold turkey’ from coffee, especially not on the day you travel: it’s horrible and can make you really irritable. You don’t need that when you’re already stressed from travel!

If you’re a real coffee addict, consider cutting down gradually in the days before the flight, to give yourself the best chance of getting good sleep.

3. Hydrate inside and out

I’m not a doctor or any kind of healthcare professional, but my own doctor recommended staying hydrated during a flight to avoid blood clots. So, as much as I hate public bathrooms, when travelling I make sure to drink as much as I would on a normal day.

There are numerous health benefits, but it will also help your skin look better (remember that when you’re squeezing past the other passengers in your row to get to the bathroom 🙂 ).

As for hydrating on the outside, this is simple: moisturise!

4. Go for bright shades that complement your skintone

Bright colours can really lift your entire face and outfit and make you look more awake – but only if they’re the right shades for you.

If you’ve never ‘had your colours done’, spend some time getting to know which shades suit you (I personally love this video from Alexandrasgirlytalk on YouTube). The best ones will brighten your complexion and the worst ones will make you look dull and tired.

This is such a great tip in general that has helped me every time I need to pick a colour, whether that’s for my hair, jewellery, make-up or clothes.

Once you know your colours, go for a bright lipstick and/or and wear your best colour close to your face, such as on a scarf or top.

5. Do a little facial massage

When you’re sitting still for hours on end, your circulation isn’t the best and you can end up with a blotchy, puffy face.

Getting up and doing a few stretches can help, of course, but as far as your looks go, facial massage can really do wonders to even out skintone and reduce puffiness.

Bring a serum with you and look up some facial massage techniques. You could even use a face roller.

6. Comfort is king

The key to looking good when you land is to be comfortable throughout the flight.

My favourite items:

  • A big scarf that can double up as a blanket
  • A loose cardigan or comfortable jacket
  • Trousers with a soft waistband (jeans are unlikely to be comfortable, as they’re made of such stiff material, but if you have a pair of dependable well-worn jeans, go for it 🙂 )
  • Loafers, pumps or lace-ups that are easy to take off (if you really want to wear heels, you could keep them in your cabin bag and slip into them after the flight)

Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester, as these can make you sweat.

7. Bring some brightening eye drops

Did you know that there are brightening eye drops that can make you look more awake?

These can be a game-changer when you need to look more rested and generally brighter over all – and the good thing is that it’s a non-obvious way to enhance your look. You’ll just look better, but nobody will really know why!

8. Use dry shampoo, or put your hair up

One way that travel wrecks your hair is that you’re sitting down for hours with your hair crushed against a headrest.

If you have long hair, put it up during the flight and then either brush it into a simple ponytail or braid, or let it down, shake it out and give it a spray of dry shampoo just before you land.

If you have short hair that you normally style with wax or gel, bring that with you.

9. Apply these products before you land (and avoid this one!)

If you wear make-up, keeping it simple is probably going to be easiest. Here’s what I’d bring:

  • Concealer or foundation
  • Bright lipstick in peach, red or pink (can double as a blush)
  • Eyebrow pencil
  • Mascara
  • Cream eyeshadow in a neutral shade

If you find you’re always getting panda eyes, you could use an eyelash tint a few days before the flight, or my favourite: Wax-free mascara. This site has a great run-down of wax-free mascaras if you’re not sure where to start.

In my experience, it’s best to avoid makeup in blueish or lavender shades that will bring out dark circles and shadows on your face.

10. Bring a breath spray or mints

If you want the best reunion kiss, make sure you have fresh breath when you land!


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