My pre-travel skin care routine for dry skin

My pre-travel skin care routine for dry skin

Airplanes make dry skin more dry.

Humidity is lower when you’re flying, and the lower humidity dries out our skin (you can read more here). When our skin gets too dry, not only can it get patchy but it can also develop a bunch of ugly oil to make up for the dryness!

That’s why I always do an extra moisturizing skincare routine before heading to the airport. To be fair, I used to work for a skincare company. I’m a little obsessed with doing skincare routines. I have one for most situations.

And tonight… I’m getting ready to head to the Philippines! Which is why I wanted to share my skincare routine before I leave for the airport!

Note: These aren’t the products that I’m actually bringing to The Philippines, since the high humidity there is what my skin loves, and I won’t need the extra moisture. I’ll share my carry-on ready skincare routine for humid, sunny places later. But for the plane ride, this skincare routine is needed.

This is a total mix of products at all kinds of price points, from luxury to drug store (yes, I have a weird collection. Hey, I just like getting stuff that works). Sometimes money does play a factor in quality, but since I know not everyone is interested in getting, like, $40 oils, I also tried to add comparable affordable alternatives to the more expensive items when I could think of them.

Dry skincare products

Optional: Night time moisture

Some masks are exfoliating and some masks are anti aging, but in this case for dry skin, I would suggest an overnight moisturizing mask or oil. Using these overnight treatments is a great way to help your skin rejuvenate overnight (and you can read more about how and why here).

If my skin is feeling extra dry or if I have a few extra minutes, I’ll add a little moisture as part of my airplane skin routine the night before my flight.

I’ve been experimenting with Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil. Just calling it an oil doesn’t do it justice, because they add so many strong ingredients that it not only moisturizes but also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Seriously, the morning after using this, I look like I spent a lot of time and effort to make my skin look awesome (which I didn’t!)


For dry skin, you’ll want something that doesn’t foam or exfoliate. These types of cleansers will dry out your skin even more- what you really need is something that gently cleanses and moisturizes. You can read a little more about dry skin cleansing needs here.

Many people on a budget use and swear by Cetaphil, but for me personally, it makes me break out and doesn’t do anything to make my skin look nicer (only cleaner). If you’re on a budget too, you can try this out- you might be in the majority!

I personally swear by Paula’s Choice Moisture Boost for my cleanser. Like the oil, it not only leaves my skin soft and smooth after washing, but any fine lines I have are always gone after using this, and my skin is somehow glowing! That’s because it also contains a lot of great antioxidants and other ingredients to make your skin happier.


Exfoliation is important to remove dead skin cells that dull your skin and clog your pores as they build up. Your skin does this a bit normally, but it slows down as we age, and chemicals can help with that.

You may not need to exfoliate every time you wash your face, but I like to do it before hitting the airport to really prepare my skin to better absorb the moisture (and because I’m lazy and this may be the only time I’ll make to exfoliate my skin when on a tight travel schedule).

I got this randomly on a cruise, but I am obsessed with La Therapie Facial Polish. It’s not drying at all and it leaves my skin glowing afterwards. Many popular exfoliants feel like they tighten my skin too much or dry it out- not sure if you’ve experienced that before, but it’s not true for this one for me! For a cheaper exfoliant, I also like Skinfood Black Sugar Mask. It smells really nice, and it leaves my skin glowing and soft!


Toners exist to help settle the pH of your skin after washing it and some say it helps your moisturizers better absorb into your skin. You may have heard to skip toners, because they’re “just water” but that’s only true if you’re buying bad ones! Good toners come with lots of ingredients that can help add moisture, shrink your pores, and overall make your skin happier.

For dry skin, I recommend a toner that’s on the moisturizing side, like Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner. I was so surprised when I first used this toner by how moisturizing it was and how much it calmed down my skin. This is probably one of my favorite products because it totally changed my mind about toners and doesn’t cost a fortune!

Optional: Serum / Essence

If you have specific skin care needs- like getting rid of dark spots, or specific wrinkles, this is where you’d add something in! I personally don’t have a targeted need like this, so I usually skip this step. But adding it here so you don’t forget as you follow along!


After all that moisture, sometimes my skin is okay with a lighter moisturizer but sometimes it’s not. Depending on how your skin is feeling now, here are three options that I typically cycle through:

Pond’s Dry Skin Cream. My cousin showed me this moisturizer, and I fell in love. This is ultra moisturizing. On lazy days where I’m just at home, I can totally get away with just washing my face and adding this moisturizer and any dryness is gone.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. This is usually what I use. Compared to Pond’s it’s not as moisturizing, but Pond’s is like next level. Kiehl’s is still incredibly moisturizing.


You should always, always wear sunscreen when you go outside, if you’re worried about aging and especially if you’re putting on exfoliants or other things that make your skin sun sensitive. Also, if you’re going to sit by the window seat of the plane. Sun rays can age you through the windows, and you’re at a much higher altitude on a plane, which means the sun’s rays are stronger (you can read more here).

I prefer sunscreens without oxybenzone since it can be damaging to corals and leaves a white caste on your face. Like Black Girl Sunscreen! Another option I’m in love with is Arbonne’s men’s sunscreen. Even though it says “for men”, this is one of the most moisturizing sunscreens I as a woman have ever used and also doesn’t leave a white caste on your face!


I had constantly chapped lips until I found Paula’s Choice Lip and Body Treatment Balm. Literally nothing was moisturizing enough. Not Carmex, not EOS, not even Vaseline, and definitely not Burt’s Bees or Chapstick. Those all failed me and left my lips dry and chapped or with a weird residue. The Paula’s Choice balm is on the pricier side compared to those other lip balms, but it actually helps really chapped lips!

One last tip: stay hydrated and eat well!

I personally don’t do a good job of this, and it’s not like drinking water and eating kale will magically make all of your dry skin moisturized again. But it is important to stay healthy- make sure you’re not dehydrated and eat well!

dry skincare routine pinterest image

I hope sharing my skin care routine helps you find some great products for your dry skin! Just remember that everyone’s skin reacts differently to products, and if something’s not working for you, don’t be discouraged. It took me YEARS to find what works best for me, so keep experimenting and trying new things!


Traveler. Foodie. Student debt haver. I love finding the best things to do and eat when traveling, and sharing them with everyone else who likes experiencing local culture or exploring the outdoors too! You can read more about me in my about page.

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