Mile-High Beauty: A flight attendant's secrets to looking great on the job

I used to joke that flight attendants might be sourcing their beauty knowledge not just from other countries, but from another world altogether. I mean seriously, isn’t it fascinating how FAs can go on long haul flights and still look well-rested and gorgeous around the clock? To think that the extremely drying atmosphere inside planes is a recipe for skin and hair disaster! When I sleep in planes, I wake up with the worst FOTD ever. 

So I thought, why not try to decode the secret and share it with you guys! We reached out to Angela Mae Reyes, a lovely international flight attendant serving the Middle East route for 10 years now. We wanted to know: how do FAs keep pretty while traveling for work?

Let’s get the most important question out of the way. How do you manage to look fresh all throughout the flight?

Makeup is a requirement for the job. We are very busy and active in flights and the reality is that we don't really have much time to retouch, so we need a solid makeup routine. I start by priming with the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm which perks up my skin and gives it an instant glow, especially if I feel like I look tired or jet-lagged. I discovered it (and I'm glad I did) because one makeup artist was using it for his clients and they looked blooming and radiant. It’s a great primer that makes my makeup adhere and look flawless for hours.

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For my actual makeup, I normally prefer to use long wearing products: foundation from Estée Lauder or Revlon, liquid eyeliner from L'Oreal, my favorite mascara from Lancome, and Urban Decay's Afterglow blush. I set everything with Urban Decay's All Nighter Setting Spray, which seals my makeup and makes it stay in place even in ultra long haul flights. I also keep oil-control sheets handy, and lightly pat my face with powder foundation when needed.

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The atmosphere inside the plane can be extremely drying. What’s the secret to combat dry skin?

Good ol' hydration! I chug down a lot of water, and apply lip balm and hand cream frequently.

How do you keep your hair sleek and frizz-free hour after hour?

At work, my hair is always in a bun but I have never been a fan of hairspray or gel products. I’ve been using Bench Fix's Styling Stick to tame my baby hair, and then put them in place with black snap clips. This product is gentle on the hair, it has an amazing scent, and one stick lasts forever.

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What country or countries have the best beauty products and best makeup deals? Where do you frequently buy your makeup?

When I'm in the US, I normally buy my makeup at Sephora (I have a VIB card) and CVS Pharmacy. Our flight attendant ID cards also have a special power: we usually get a 10 to 20% discount on cosmetics and perfumes at any airport Duty Free! So I do a lot of my shopping there.

Which nationality has the best skin in the world?

I guess Asians in general. Due to the tropical climate, our skin tends to have more moisture and look more youthful. But then again it also depends on other factors such as genes, skincare routine, and a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Do you bring your whole kikay kit to every flight? If no, what beauty essentials would you not fly without?

No. I normally just carry a powder foundation for emergency touch-ups, a lip balm, and a couple of different shades of lipsticks because I like changing my lip color and look.

What’s your go-to makeup brands?

Urban Decay and MAC.

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What’s one specific makeup item that you can’t live without?

I have been using my ever reliable Covermark concealer since I was 15! I got this beauty secret weapon from my mom who used to be a flight attendant, too. It's the best concealer for the under eye area and dark spots, and even works as an overall foundation. It’s waterproof and sweatproof. It's available in Singapore and Japan. 

Personally, what’s your biggest beauty secret?

Drink a lot of water, do cardio, meditate, and take your vitamins and antioxidants. Most importantly though, be kind, generous, gentle, and loving. Act like a lady and love being a woman.

Did you pick up a beauty tip or two from Angela? Personally, I’d be sure to hunt down for that Covermark concealer! If you're also a flight attendent with your own beauty tips, we can't wait to hear them in the comments below!