Editor’s Picks: In-Flight Essentials

My in-flight kit combines small multi-use products that pack a punch while taking up minimum space.


Skin Saturator

Taking a mask in your carry-on instantly elevates the budget-airline experience. My skin feels fresh and plump on arrival and if it’s a sheet mask, I often get away without counting it towards my liquid allowance. This recent offering from Garnier is soaked in 32 mL non-greasy hyaluronic-acid-packed serum, which also contains antioxidant rich pomegranate extract, and delivers a “bomb” of moisture to skin. (That part might not be airplane appropriate conversation.) It is easy to apply, is not strong-smelling so nobody will complain when you pop it on 15 minutes before you land and disembark with moisturized and refreshed skin. (What red-eye?) 

Garnier Skin Active Moisture Bomb The Super Hydrating Mask, $4, at mass-market retailers.

Bottle Message

I’m a massive fan of the Memo Bottle because it lets you carry 750 mL of water without misshaping your bag or creating wasted space. I am constantly thirsty when I’m travelling so I take this through security empty, have it filled at Starbucks on the other side and then refill it again from the fountain at the departure gate. In my mind, the more I drink before I get on the plane, the more I can afford to lose while I’m on it. 

A5 Memo Bottle, $30 USD, memobottle.com.

Printed Pack

This sturdy backpack from Toms is an upgrade on your high-school Jansport, and not just because for every one sold the company vows to stop the bullying of one child worldwide. It has easy-access front and side pockets, a laptop pouch and earphone holders. Plus, the “birds of paradise” print makes me feel like I’m going somewhere a bit more adventurous than home to the U.K. 

High Road Backpack, $42, toms.ca

Dry Style

Batiste is the king of dry shampoos and when I was last in London. I picked up this XXL powder version, which is the most travel-friendly aerosol-free iteration of the fan fave. The tiny pot is like a miniature talc shaker and it weighs only 5 g, but a little goes a long way. Just sprinkle in and massage at the roots to refresh your blow-dry or to create volume for a cool messy pony. It’s not available in Canada yet, but Tweet me @cosmeticsmag and I’ll pick one up for you next time I’m in town. Promise!

(Alternatively, try Bumble and Bumble’s Prêt-à-Powder, which also does the trick expertly for $15.50 at sephora.ca.)

Wild Rose Beauty Balm.jpg

Wonder Balm

I remember when Neal’s Yard Remedies was just a store in cobblestoned Covent Garden and growing up it was the kind of thing you’d get a gift set of from your cool aunt for your birthday. I was delighted to be reminded of it when a friend who knows how much I travel gave me this multi-purpose balm for Christmas. Emulsify a little in your hands and apply as a nourishing balm, massage in with fingertips to remove makeup or use it with a cloth to exfoliate the skin. It’s packed with anti-oxidizing rosehip oil — it firms and soothes the skin and is super calming to the senses — and also benefits from geranium, starflower, hemp and rosemary oil which have decongestive properties and restore skin’s natural radiance. Just the ammunition you need for a long-haul flight.

Wild Rose Beauty Balm, $72, Nealsyardremedies.ca

Firm Foundations

When flying with carry-on only, a radiance-boosting foundation stick with SPF is a great space saver because you can use it to spot treat, as well also all over the face, and it doesn’t count towards your liquids. This gem from Clé de Peau contains moisturizing jojoba esters, is cooling on application and sinks right into the skin giving it a dewy, even-toned texture. 

Clé de Peau Radiant Stick Foundation, $128, at Nordstrom, Saks and Holt Renfrew

Solid Sound

When it comes to blocking out the guy snoring next to you or kids screaming a few rows back, good-quality headphones are a lifesaver. These ones from Urban ears are designed to stay in your ears, and they click together which means they are easier to find even when you’re not using them (you just wear them like a necklace) but it also makes them easier to store, which as a naturally messy traveller, I appreciate.

Urban Ears Kranzen headphones, $60, urbanears.com

Handy Lotion

Another of my top in-flight multi-taskers is this must-have from Saje. A nourishing lotion which helps prevent your hands from drying out, it’s also a microbial, which makes it a gentler alternative to anti-bacterial gels. It contains naturally cleansing tea tree oil, calming lavender and patchouli which reduces inflammation but also gives a sense of overall relaxation. I like to apply it a couple of times throughout the flight, put my hands over my face and breathe deeply for a few seconds. (Then I order a glass of red wine and put on a movie for full relaxation.)

Saje Safe Hands Lotion, $10, 40 mL, saje.com

Heather Marrin