This Is What 125 Euros Worth of In-Flight Duty Free Beauty Products Looks Like

This Is What 125 Euros Worth of In-Flight Duty Free Beauty Products Looks Like

Truth: I get pretty excited about the beverage service cart on an airplane — even the food cart despite the fact that I actually rarely eat the meal (I am big into packing healthy goodies and not-so into overly cooked pasta and mystery meat.) But one rolling in-flight feature I could never get on board with is the duty free boutique. I think I can count on one hand the times I actually saw someone purchase something. Seriously, who buys that stuff? Well, on my Aer Lingus flight from Paris to Dublin, I was the sucker who raised my hand when the stewardesses quietly repeated “gifts, cosmetics, fragrance…”

Even worse, I strategically planned what I was going to purchase before they even made it halfway down the aisle. The good news is that I got a lot of loot for a little under 130 euros. The bad news is that not everything was on-point—my decision-making must have been influenced by my Bloody Mary. Whether you have a weak shopping moment in the friendly skies, the department store, or online, here are the products that I think are worth the splurge (and which you should skip.) Editor’s note: the prices listed are what I paid Duty Free and the exact same kits may not be available online or in stores.

Clinique All About Moisture Kit (32)

Photo courtesy of Clinique

I wasn’t one of those teens who learned the importance of a skin care routine via Clinique’s famed three-step system. In fact, I think the only time I purchased anything was when it was Bonus Week back in my high school years (Black Honey lipstick forever!). As an avid traveler, I’m constantly battling a dehydrated complexion, so I am naturally drawn to any product that promises a serious moisture surge. For €32, I thought the box would be comprised of all travel sizes, but much to my surprise, there was a generously sized (75 ml) Moisture Surge and 15 ml All About Eyes Serum. The Moisture Surge Spray came in at 30 ml. It’s convenient for in-flight misting and the active aloe in the formula kept my skin from feeling tight. The moisturizer promises 72 hours of continuous hydration and while that’s really difficult to judge because I religiously slather on product morning and night, I can say that it instantaneously gave my skin a wonderful dewy glow—yet I was still able to wear makeup without it sliding off. I particularly enjoyed the cooling sensation upon contact (especially in-flight) and the addition of caffeine helped fade signs of fatigue associated with jet-lag. Verdict: I’d definitely repurchase any of the products in this kit, if not the entire kit itself amidst another weak in-flight moment.

Nip + Fab Lip Contour Kit (24)

Photo courtesy of Nip + Fab

I really wanted to love this one, but the “universally flattering shades” (nude, petal pink, and mauve) made me look more tired than I actually was, so I prefer to stick with my go-to red lippie. I even tried their suggestion for layering…nope. This is not to say these hues wouldn’t look great on someone with a different skin tone or hair color—the formula is really nice; non-sticky and long-lasting. I DID love the espresso lip liner because it was easy to create great definition and it helped my own lipstick stay put for hours. Verdict: As someone who handles copy for top beauty brands, I give this brand props for the product description as it reeled me in hook, line, and sinker. However, it’s not a repurchase for me as the hues made me look like I had the blues.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold (€25)

Photo courtesy of Alpha-H

Mechanical exfoliants (scrubs) and gommages rarely remove all of my dead skin cells, so I like something with more of a punch. I was under the impression that this product was going to be more of a viscous consistency because it’s described as an “acid toner, exfoliator, serum, and moisturizer in one.” Well, it’s a straight-up liquid comprised of 5 percent glycolic acid, licorice extract, and silk proteins. I tried the product on its own by found it too drying—anything but moisturizing—so I followed up with a serum and moisturizer as suggested. It did, however, dissolve the dead skin cells on my forehead after just one use. This is definitely a product that requires a patch test before starting as it’s quite strong and could potentially overly stimulate sensitive skin. With long-term use, the product promises to reduce wrinkle depth and skin roughness while boosting moisture levels. I am only using it about two times a week for now until my skin gets used to the level of acid. Verdict: I had to pull back on this one because I went through an uncomfortable bout of eczema, but I’ll give it another try as it’s recognized as a “cult favorite” and beauty award winner.

Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops (€26)

Photo courtesy of Tan-Luxe

I am not a sun bunny and while that’s helped me hold onto somewhat of a smooth and even complexion (the sun breaks down the collagen in the skin) at 40 years of age, there are periods throughout the year where my skin looks downright pasty. I used to spritz on an aerosol self-tanner, but along with color, I would gain dryness and occasionally, breakouts. These self-tan drops alleviate all of those concerns because the product hydrates while delivering a natural looking tanned face and neck. Simply mix 2-12 drops with your serum or moisturizer (depending on how deep of a tan you want to achieve) and apply as usual. The color gradually fades evenly, just like a summer tan. Verdict: I will 100 percent repurchase this product. It’s without a doubt the best face self-tanner I’ve ever tried. The results are natural and my skin is left soft and supple. What’s not to like?

Instant Effects Instant Eye Lift (2 for €40 — with below)

Photo courtesy of Instant Effects

I was lured into this product (and its pout plumping sister) due to the fact that it touted a “Best Beauty” honor. That and the fact that flying, a good French Bordeaux, and erratic sleeping patterns aren’t doing my peepers any favors. This product says it’s been “proven” to reduce under eye circles and puffiness within 15 minutes of application. I can’t say I noticed any real dramatic change. Perhaps for me, the results will be more progressive—clinical trials have shown an improvement in skin elasticity and a reduction of fine wrinkles after six weeks. Verdict: This one is a pass for me. I’ve seen more instantaneous results with Obagi’s ELASTIderm Eye Cream.

Instant Effects 3D Lip Plumping Treatment (2 for €40 — with above)

Photo courtesy of Instant Effects

While I did achieve an immediate plumping effect and improved hydration level, the effects definitely didn’t last four days. It’s a nice little pucker pick-me-up, however. Verdict: I will most likely not repurchase this product as plumpers of any kind tend to dry out my lips, thus eventually leading to a counterproductive result.

Did you ever purchase in-flight beauty products? Which ones did you love? 

16 In-Flight Essentials Every Traveler Should Own

16 In-Flight Essentials Every Traveler Should Own

Flying today is a far cry from the Golden Age of Travel when meals such as prime rib and lobster where served upon a white table cloth (on real china no less), every seat had copious leg room, and there was a free bar to keep passengers entertained. We don’t need to remind you of how things have changed (though in-flight entertainment sure is an improvement), so here are 16 essentials that have the power to make every flight as pleasurable and comfortable as possible. Read my entire story on TripExpert, a really cool resource for getting unbiased reviews from experts. I’ll be contributing pieces on Paris (and France in general), as well as other wonderful destinations around the globe.


Afraid To Fly? Read This

Afraid To Fly? Read This

Fear of flying? You’re not alone. But the reality is, all the Xanax, meditation music, aromatherapy, and in-flight cocktails in the world are only going to mask your problem, not solve it. That’s where FlyHome comes in. The savvy service offers online courses (ranging from $99 to $795 depending on the duration) that cover everything from the physics behind a flying plane to how pilots avoid collision to those ominous sounds that you immediately translate as trouble.

The programs—designed and taught by experienced pilots—are geared toward business and leisure travelers alike, so you’re covered regardless of the frequency or the distance. Truthfully, I don’t have a regular fear of flying, but there are definitely times when I feel a bit unsettled (who doesn’t?), and I’ve definitely either sat next to or traveled with someone who wouldn’t be comfortable until wheels are down. So after chatting with Captain Tim Griffin, I gained a better understanding of the technical specifics that support any fear in the book.

When did FlyHome officially launch?
“FlyHome officially launched in 2013, after I worked one-on-one with a series of test groups.”

Tell me a little bit about the FlyHome team? How did the group of pilots get involved?
“Many of the pilots of FlyHome are actually one family, ranging from my grandfather, who was a Pan American Captain, to my Aunt, who was the first Female pilot for Pan American. Other members of the team are pilots that I met throughout my career who have an extensive background in aviation.”

What’s the difference between the vacation and business traveler packages, and why are these two categorized differently?
“The difference between the Vacation Traveler Course and the Business Traveler Course is not just the number of sessions; however, the business traveler course offers more ‘Pre-Flight Briefings,’ which is when the client will speak with their instructor on the day of their flight to discuss weather, routing, airline, aircraft type, and, most importantly, turbulence locations. Since Business Travelers fly more often, increasing the number of pre-flight briefings was a great incentive for them to use.”

Do you happen to notice that your business increases/peaks depending on the news, what’s happening in the world—e.g., ISIS, etc.?
“Activity does, in fact, increase when there is more media exposure on commercial aviation events.”

What are the biggest questions and concerns you receive, and what are some tips you offer to get through these situations?
“Hands down, turbulence is the biggest fear. Most clients feel as if they’re dropping hundreds, or even thousands, of feet while flying in turbulence, so we take them behind the scenes via video footage from the cockpit to show what the plane is actually doing—and it is nowhere near where you think it would be (for the better!). From wing design to pilot activity, we prove how the effects of turbulence can be minimized.”

“The second most popular questions are the ‘what if?’ scenarios that occur either before or during the flight. ‘What if the engine fails?’ ‘What if the pilot has a heart attack?’ ‘What if the electrical system fails?’ While these are just a few examples, the Pilots at FlyHome teach clients the training that they receive as well as about the systems that are in place on board to prevent total failures.”

The average consumer can’t afford to fly first class, but there are a lot of claustrophobic people out there. How can this flyer get through—especially if that end seat isn’t available?
“Open that window shade and the air vents; tell the flight attendants you’re anxious; get up and stretch out when the ‘fasten seatbelt’ light is off—little things can make a plane feel more comfortable!”

When we’re stuck on the tarmac for “technical issues,” what’s generally going on? Personally, I’m terrified that there’s anything from a gas leak to a broken wing!
“The truth of the matter is, when flying on the airlines, the FAA strictly regulates everything—which is good! However, when something isn’t working, even if it is a small and not-so-essential item, many things have to be done to receive clearance to take off with an inoperative item. However, if it is a larger item, then a mechanic might have to come on board to replace or repair it. After that is done, it will need to be signed off on before the plane can depart— this can be very time consuming.”

“There is a book for every plane, called an MEL (Minimum Equipment List), which will tell you what needs to be operative; what can be inoperative to fly with; and, if it can be flown with ‘inoperative,’ what measures have to be met to do so. We worked with a client who was delayed for three hours because of a broken tray table. It doesn’t seem so big, but believe it or not, it had to be fixed before takeoff was allowed.”

How does the purchaser know that they are “ready to fly” after taking one of your programs?  
“Many clients actually enroll in the course to give them the courage to book the ticket—when they are at that point, the motivation will be there to get on board. The pre-flight briefings are great because the client becomes very comfortable with their assigned instructor/pilot—being able to talk with them beforehand is a huge hit.”

What are the top items every fearful flyer should carry in his/her onboard bag?
“An iPad, iPhone, computer, headphones, book—whatever will distract them from their personal fear.”

Fore more information, visit FlyHome or My Flight Forecast.