Yes, You Can Do Full-Face Makeup in an Airport Bathroom — Here's How

Arrive refreshed and camera ready.

No matter how cute you look at the start of a long-haul flight, there’s a good chance you’re going to look a little disheveled by the end of it — assuming you’re a real human and all.

“Unless you spend your entire flight drinking water and misting yourself with thermal water, your face is just not going to look fresh by the time your redeye lands,” shares Kaffe Cosmetics beauty director, Liora Asaf. “During the flight you need to make sure you’re drinking, sleeping, and relaxing — at least give your skin the basics it needs to be able to get back into beauty-shape after the flight. If you spend six hours watching movies and drinking wine, you’re asking for flaky, dull skin by the time you hit land again.”

After you’ve landed at your glamorous final destination, the key is to make a beeline for the bight lights of the public bathrooms just beyond the gate. Makeup artists agree that if you have to choose the lighting of either the airplane bathroom or the one near your gate, the gate always wins.

“There’s open air and usually a lot of fluorescent lighting at the gate, and while that’s not ideal for makeup, it’s about a thousand times better than trying to put your face on while rocking and rolling 30,000 feet above the ground, and in dim lighting to boot.”

Mastering your five-minute-or-less (because honestly, how long can you stand hanging out in a public bathroom?) gate-ready beauty game comes down to packing just the right essentials in your carryon.

Professional makeup artist Jessika Bekteshi helped narrow down the list of what you’ll really need to do to make yourself glow like a pro after a long flight.

1Carry face wipes — they're a must.

It’s not a big deal to keep a little package of refresher wipes in your bag, and they’ll do wonders to add a slight degree or moisture. Also, who wants raccoon circles under their eyes after a long flight? No one. One to try: Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Cleansing Wipes, $7.99.

2Try a hydrating mist or spritz to bring back moisture into parched skin.

Mists also don’t require any germy airport hand contact, so you’ll be able to do your best Howard Hughes beauty impression. One to try: Avene Thermal Spring Water, 50 ml size, $9.

3Try an eye cream or serum with caffeine.


Caffeine gently encourages blood flow and reduces swelling so puffy, tired eyes can get a quick boost. One to try: Kaffe Cosmetics Extraordinary Effective Eye Serum, $79.

4Groom your brows with gel.


Your brows have the potential to be the cornerstone of your fresh face, and gel is the way to keep them bold, and in place for hours. One to try: Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel, $22. 

5Carry a stick of universal tint to serve both cheeks and lips.


Adding just a dab of deep, rosy pink to cheeks and lips instantly breathes new life into a tired, just-off-a-plane face. Skip the foundations and heavy contouring for now. Try a formula that’s TSA-friendly, easy to maneuver, and doesn’t require brushes or additional tools in the airport bathroom. One to try: Votre Vu Rouge Color Accent for Lips and Face, $29.

6Mascara will always be your friend — always.


Don’t pack a big bulky wand. Instead opt for a slim-designed wand that’ll take up no more space than a pen in your bag, and act as a tightliner for the insides of your lids, too. You’ll get the dramatic effect of both a lengthening mascara and the eye-brightening definition of an inner lid liner. One to try: It Cosmetics Tight Line Mascara, $24.

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