In Flight Beauty

Airline Barbie

Earplugs, socks, sickbag… luxury Elemis cream? Raiding goodie bags is the new in-flight entertainment, finds Debra Brock.


I am lucky enough to be taking a long haul flight in a few weeks time, and like any proper card-carrying beauty obsessive I’m already plotting which products to pack. I have no problem with packing the full toiletry bag (and then some) for the hold luggage, but never seem to get the carry on quite right.  This time round, however, I am determined to get off the plane looking a bit more private jetter and a bit less, well, crumpled panda. My challenge is to put together an in flight kit that will get me through several hours of watching movies and snacking (known in parenting circles as ‘quality time’), in an environment so dry that even my oily / combination skin feels parched.


The airlines, of course, provide such goodie bags to those who board and turn left, so I thought looking at their offering would be a good place to start for inspiration. The bags are known as ‘amenity kits’, and a quick Google revealed that not only are there others as obsessed as me (more so in fact: there are websites devoted purely to this subject), they even have their own awards ceremony.


I’m flying with British Airways, so I asked them how they chose what to put into their kits. Jag Sihra, Design Executive at BA told me, “When selecting products for our amenity kits we aim to provide the best support for wellbeing in the air. Comfortable socks, eyeshades and earplugs help customers settle down for a good rest if they wish.’


‘When it comes to skincare we like to cherry pick from experts in the industry. In First, we have cult classics from REN who are renowned for their ‘Clean Skin Care’. REN’s Vita-Mineral Day Cream and Grapefruit and Neroli Hand / Body Cream ensure hydration throughout the journey. Radiant Active Eye Gel keeps eyes refreshed and Biomimetic Lip Balm protects lips from drying out. Finally, the bespoke dental products from D R Harris, of St. James’ and Piccadilly provide a truly British flourish.’


‘In our Club cabin, we provide hero products such as the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream from British spa brand, Elemis. Nourishing Hand and Body Lotion, Lip Revive and a lavender facial wipe all help to calm, soothe and refresh.”


So that‘s what the airlines pack – what about the frequent flyers? Nicky Kinnaird, the Space NK founder, makes regular transatlantic trips, so I asked her what’s in her survival kit. She told me that she likes to use Eve Lom’s Rescue Mask around the eyes and Bakel’s P-Lipic serum to hydrate her skin. She also recommends drinking green tea, a David Kirsch protein shake, and water during the flight and is a firm believer that exercise on arrival helps ground you in the different time zone.


Armed with all this advice, then, what will I be taking on board? Well, I’ve rifled through the drawer of sample sizes that I’ve acquired from approximately one million Gifts With Purchase and made my own kit, in its very own executive Tesco sandwich bag*. I pulled out samples based on whether they met two criteria: they were highly nourishing and they smelled nice (if I’m stuck in a seat for several hours I want to surround myself with as many pleasant smells as possible). Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Gel, Origins Plantscription Anti Aging Eye Cream, Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist and By Terry Baume de Rose balm, with a couple of wipes and some toothpaste chucked in for good measure, will be making their way with me across the Atlantic come July. I also have a small sample of Jo Malone’s Lime, Basil and Mandarin scent that I’ll use on the return journey to try and wake myself up before landing.  I’ll be staying off the alcohol, kicking off my shoes and swigging water like it’s going out of fashion. Hopefully this forethought will pay off, and when I arrive at my destination I’ll be looking sleeker and less rumpled.  And, if not, at least I’ll smell nice and have had the fun of shopping in Boots for dinky travel size toothpaste. Bon voyage.



*Remember to check hand luggage restrictions for your journey. For the UK, these can be found here



Debra Brock

Debra Brock is co-founder of and a contributing writer.

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