18 Travel Beauty Tips -- to Go

Be it by plane, train, bus, or car, traveling can take its toll on your appearance.

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on February 22, 2008

Whether you're driving to a family reunion, taking the train for a weekend getaway, or jetting halfway around the world, there's no question that traveling is stressful. Trying to look good while you're traveling is pretty much on the top of the stress-o-meter.

The good news: experts say beauty and travel aren't mutually exclusive. With just a few travel beauty survival tips you can face your next vacation, business trip, family homecoming, or even that weekend getaway with a smile -- and the confidence of knowing you could run smack into George Clooney in the coffee shop and not have to hide.

From flight attendants to travel-show stars, WebMD talked to the pros for advice on looking your best when you're on the go.

(What do you do to stay beautiful and fresh while traveling? Talk with others on WebMD's Skin Care: Share Your Tips board.)

Read on for all 18 travel beauty tips.

1. Moisturize

Apply intense moisturizer the night before you are going to fly. This will help increase hydration in your skin before you're exposed to the dehydrating effects of cabin pressure, says Risi-Leanne Baranza, editor in chief of, a beauty and spa industry publication.

2. Forgo the Foundation

Skip foundation on the day of your trip, and instead wear only moisturizer. Before you land, add a tinted moisturizer for a fresh, healthy look, says Baranza. If you just can't leave the house without some foundation, celebrity makeup artist A.J. Crimson says be sure to put on a primer first -- a silicone-based liquid or cream that puts a layer of protection between skin and makeup. It will help foundation and blush last longer and help keep your skin from becoming dehydrated.

3. Mist With Mineral Water

To refresh makeup while traveling, never glob on more foundation or blush. Instead, use a mister of mineral water and add a dab of moisturizer, says Los Angeles makeup artist Beth Binder.

4. Blot Out Oily Skin

To keep oily skin from getting out of control while traveling, bring blotting papers or rice papers and dab the "T" zone as often as necessary, says Crimson. "You'll dab up the shine and excess oil without stripping out the moisture, so you'll arrive looking fresher," he says.

5. Add Some Shimmer

Does traveling leave you feeling a bit green in the gills? Perk up a tired or sallow complexion with a soft shimmer powder or cream, says Joyce Carboni, founder and director of Skinsational Skin and Body Spa in San Diego. Stroke it lightly on the tops of cheeks, bridge of the nose, and lips for an instant pick-me-up no matter how tired (or queasy) you feel. Or use a combination of cream blush and lip balm to add color and moisture without dehydrating skin.

6. Skip Long-Lasting Lipsticks

To give lips color that will last through your trip, skip the long-lasting lipsticks -- they'll only dehydrate and parch your mouth. Instead, Crimson says, color your lips with several coats of a lip stain, let dry, then top with a clear gloss. Reapply the gloss throughout the trip and your lips will look "just-made-up" fresh.

7. Apply Lip Treatment Liberally

You can further protect your kisser by packing a lip treatment in your carry-on bag and using it liberally while traveling, says Silverjet Airlines flight attendant Danielle Easton. Her one flying "must have": "A medicated lip balm, because it won't rub your lipstick off and it keeps lips hydrated while flying," she says. It also works on bus and train rides, she says, when high heat or air conditioning can also cause lips to feel dehydrated.

8. Chill Out Puffy Eyes

To reduce under-eye puffiness after a long trip, Pam Inman, American Hotel Lodging Association vice president and chief operating officer, says to put crushed ice in a washcloth and apply it under the eyes. "It's an automatic wake-up call that makes you look and feel immediately fresher."

9. Perk Up Your Peepers

Watching back-to-back in-flight movies, or reading that paperback novel cover to cover, can also cause you to arrive at your destination with red, watery, not-so-attractive eyes. To avoid it, Los Angeles image consultant Allison Dickson, founder of, says don't forget to bring eyedrops. "They will lubricate and soothe eyes if you're reading or watching a movie, and refresh and wake up your eyes if you nap," she says.

10. Love Your Naked Lashes

Avoid wearing mascara while traveling, says the Travel Channel's Samantha Brown, star of the Passport To ... series. "If I take a little nap, I wake up and find the mascara has left a migratory trail down to my cheeks." She also suggests skipping cream eye shadows, which have a tendency to move around on your face as you snooze.

11. Banish Bright Nail Polish

Skip the brightly colored nail polish when traveling. It chips too easily and leaves you looking unfinished, says Carboni. She recommends buffing and polishing nails to a natural sheen for a clean, crisp look, or applying a neutral, sheer color that won't call attention if it does chip.

12. Keep Your Hands Off Your Face

To minimize breakouts while you're on vacation, dermatologist Erin Welch, MD, says to avoid touching your skin while you travel. "You can pick up any number of unknown bacteria that can result in any number of skin problems after you arrive," says Welch, a professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. If you're going to apply makeup while you're in transit, Welch says use an antibacterial hand wash on your hands first to further protect your skin.

13. Take Your Cleanser With You

If you can only take one skin care item from home, let it be your cleanser. "An abrupt change in cleansers can disrupt skin's acid balance and cause a vacation breakout," Welch says.

14. Get Your Beauty Rest

If you're going to nap on the plane, dab some super-rich night cream around your eyes and don a sleep mask, says dermatologist Jeannie Downie, MD, co-author of Beautiful Skin of Color. Both will help you look fresher and more relaxed when you wake.

15. Slather on the Hand Cream

Never leave home without a tube of your favorite hand cream in your tote bag, and use it liberally throughout the trip, says esthetician Maxine Siegel. This will not only keep your hands from drying out, says Siegel, but in the event you do need to wash them, it can help counter the effects of harsh commercial-grade soaps found in public restrooms.

16. Pack Your Beauty Products

If you're traveling outside the country, bring your high-end facial products along, says Brown, because most are much more expensive abroad. Safe buys overseas usually include body lotions, shower gels and soaps, talcum powders, and fragrances.

17. Tame Your Tresses

To keep hair looking good without igniting a firestorm of static electricity, Brown keeps a natural boar bristle brush in her carry-on. And, she says, never underestimate the power of a great beret or cloche hat to hide the sins of plane hair. "I also find that a big European scarf wrapped around my neck makes the whole disheveled hair look more chic. Sometimes you just have to go with it!"

18. Get the Grease Out

To help cope with greasy hair that often took an hour or more to wash and dry, beauty expert Jayne Polan invented Shampowder, a dry shampoo that cleans and deodorizes hair and adds volume. It comes in shades to match or blend with your own hair color, and it's packaged in a small, travel-friendly plastic container with an attached hairbrush.

Show Sources


Risi-Leanne Baranza, editor in chief,

A.J. Crimson, celebrity makeup artist, Los Angeles.

Beth Bender, makeup artist; director, Bettes Boutique, Los Angeles.

Liz Earle, director, Liz Earle Skin Care, London.

Danielle Enstone, flight attendant, Silverjet Airlines.

Samantha Brown, star of the Travel Channel's Passport to … series.

Joyce Carboni, director and founder, Skinsational Skin and Body Spa, San Diego.

Pam Inman, vice president and chief operating officer, American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Allison Dickson, stylist; founder,, Los Angeles.

Erin Welch, MD, professor of dermatology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

Jeannie Downie, MD, dermatologist, Montclair, N.J.

Maxine Siegel, esthetician; skin care expert for AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories.

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