DIY Airplane Facial Kit: Pamper your Skin on a Long Flight

DIY Airplane Facial Kit: Pamper your Skin on a Long Flight

In this post I share the steps I took and the products I used to make a DIY airplane facial kit that provided a nice distraction and a little pampering on an overseas flight to Europe.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

On our last trip to Europe, I thought a mini airplane facial would be fun to do during the long, overseas flight. Not only would it kill some time, but it would also be good for my skin. And who doesn’t love a little pampering? Especially if you are stuck sitting in the same place for 7+ hours.

I assumed I would be able to purchase an airplane facial kit somewhere. But everything I found was either too expensive, too many ounces or too limited in what the kit contained. I concluded that if I wanted my ideal airplane facial kit, I was going to have to make it myself.

My DIY airplane facial kit began with research. A lot of research.

First off, I had to decide what steps to include in my facial. A steam machine was obviously out. But how many other steps and products did I actually want? Since I am no expert when it comes to facials (sadly), I did a lot of reading and research. Turns out, there is no such thing as a “standard” facial. There are typical steps, but no one-size-fits-all option. So in true DIY fashion, I got to choose my own adventure.

If you get facials regularly, you probably already have an idea of what you want to include. But I was not even sure which order to go in. So after a lot of reading, I finally settled on the following steps for my DIY airplane facial kit:

  1. Exfoliate
  2. Cleanse
  3. Tone
  4. Under-eye gels
  5. Mask
  6. Oil
  7. Moisturize
  8. Relax

Honestly, there are no right or wrong steps. Just create a kit that makes you (and your face) feel good.

Choosing the right products for your DIY airplane facial kit

Once I knew what I was going to do to my face, I needed to find the right products to put on my face. Again, I probably could have chosen a ready-made kit and simply repackaged the products into smaller containers. But by this point, I was having fun with my DIY project and learning a lot at the same time.

A good option for choosing facial products is to simply use products you already own. After all, you will know how your skin reacts to them and it is cheaper. I did do this with a few products. But I really wanted to try some of the different products that I had been reading about. For example, the name Kiehl’s showed up time and time again in my searches. Apparently, it is the unofficial face cream of flight attendants. It got enough rave reviews that I wanted to give it a try. Then on a trip to Portland, Oregon, I discovered a Kiehl’s store right in PDX. That made picking some up easy.

The most difficult product to settle on for me was the mask. I went back and forth about even including a mask. Many travelers swear by sheet masks, but others say they just dry you out. Then there is the embarrassment factor. Although you will never see any of the people on the plane again, I was worried my friends and I would feel too self conscious to try a sheet mask. After spending way more time than I care to admit in Sephora, I found a mask product that could be rubbed in or wiped off easily. I went with it, rather than a sheet mask, and it ended up being my favorite product in my DIY airplane facial kit. It smelled SO good.

Below are all of the products I used in my DIY airplane facial kits:

Thayers face toner, Shea Moisture face oil, Origins face mask, Kiehl's face cream products for DIY airplane facial kit
Some of the face products used in my DIY airplane facial kit.

Overall, I was pleased with the products I chose. But I would probably go with an exfoliating/cleansing combination pad or wipe next time around. The loofah was a bit rough and hard to hold onto.

Getting your facial products onto the plane

Packaging was next on my DIY agenda. I am a sucker for cute packaging. I have been known to make purchases based on packaging alone. So it was important for me that my DIY airplane facial kits were cute. I also needed them to be small. Really small. I was planning on surprising the girls on the airplane with their airplane facial kits. So that meant I needed to be able to get all three kits through security, along with my usual toiletries.

You may think your travel toiletry containers are small, but they actually carry a lot of product and go a lot further than you think. Since I only needed two applications of each product (one for the way there and one for the way home), I went looking for one and two ml containers. Let me tell you, it is a lot harder to find small containers than you would think. Even the local craft stores did not carry such small containers. So I headed to old reliable: Amazon. There, I was able to purchase the perfect-sized containers for all of my products. Of course, the quantity was usually more than I needed, but I know I will use these little guys for future projects:

2 ml bottle with face oil for a diy airplane facial kit
A tiny bottle with face oil. Just the right size for two airplane facials.

Finding the perfect pouch for a mini facial kit

Finding the right-sized pouch to hold my facial kits was another challenge. Most everything I found was either too big, too small or too ugly. Once again, Amazon to the rescue. Well, Amazon and my mother. I picked up these simple but cute canvas pouches with red zippers from Amazon. My mother then made customized labels to put onto the pouches. I LOVE how they turned out. Small, simple and customized.

Canvas pouch, custom leather label, printed instructions are all part of a DIY airplane facial kit
A cute pouch with a cute label.

Of course, a cute pouch is not necessary–a plastic baggie will do the trick–but it will feel more like pampering if it is cute.

Written instructions for your DIY airplane facial kit

If you do not write down the steps for your facial, there is a good chance you will forget what they are. I may have spent a little too much time on this step. But again, I love a good presentation. I put together a little tri-fold that outlined the facial steps and described the products. I also made numbered labels for the mini containers. A sharpie would have done the job, but would not have looked as cute. Just do what works for you.

tri-fold for a diy airplane facial kit
The outside of the tri-fold instructions.
Instructions for a diy airplane facial kit
The inside of the tri-fold instructions.

Here are what my instructions said (based on all my research and the products I chose):

  1. Exfoliate: Contrary to popular opinion, it is recommended that you exfoliate first, and then cleanse. Exfoliation removes the top layer of dead skin cells, leaving behind a fresh layer that is better able to absorb other products, and thus results in a more effective cleansing.
  2. Cleanse: The next step is to cleanse, which helps get rid of everything that you have loosened up by exfoliating. Cleansing allows you to take the initial airplane and airport grime off your face and create a nice, clean base.
  3. Tone: This toner mist helps soothe irritated skin, rid the skin of excess impurities and oil, and prevent premature aging. It is also a primer that will set the stage for your hydrating mask.
  4. Gel: Gel eye patches help hydrate and bring circulation to under-eye bags, which are always worsened on long-haul flights. Peel off each patch from the plastic liner. Apply to the skin underneath your eyes with the shiny side facing the skin. Leave for 30 minutes. Remove the masks by peeling slowly from the edges.
  5. Mask: This avocado mask works wonders for deep hydrating, healing and calming. Gently massage onto skin and keep it on for about 15-20 minutes. Rub excess treatment into your skin or tissue off.
  6. Oil: Take two to three drops of this oil on your palm and pat it into your face. Oil is extra incredible on flights because of how nourishing and hydrating it is.
  7. Moisturize: Give your skin an extra moisture boost with this quick-absorbing cream by Kiehl’s (the unofficial sponsor of flight attendant skin). It helps hydrate and repair any damage to the skin barrier. Be sure to massage it in. Facial massages stimulate the skin and encourage blood flow.
  8. Relax: Sit back and enjoy the rest of your flight with happy, hydrated skin.

Again, there is no right or wrong answer to what you include and how you include it. This is a DIY project. So do it however you would like it done.

Giving yourself a facial in the sky

It was very fun having a little facial in the sky. It helped pass the time and my skin was definitely not as dry as it usually is when I arrive.

three friends, eye masks, airplane facials from a DIY airplane facial kit
Eye masks on a long-flight help kill time and prevent dark circles.

The project itself was also a lot of fun. I do love a good DIY project. Yes, it would have been easier to purchase mini facial kits. But since I couldn’t find any that met my needs and my budget, DIY was the best option for me. I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot about skincare in the process. And I will definitely be taking my airplane facial kit on any future overseas adventures.


If an airplane facial sounds like just the trick to make a long flight a little more enjoyable, I recommend you make one. You just have to decide what steps and products to bring. Your skin doesn’t care whether you throw everything in a plastic baggie and mark it with a sharpie, or you create a more custom kit. Either way, a DIY airplane facial kit will be a welcome addition on your next overseas flight.

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DIY airplane facial kit Pinterest
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