Save the heavy stuff for later: Keeping skin hydrated is key (especially when you're in the air), but slathering on your heaviest cream can leave your face looking oily. Try a gel-based moisturizer (celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin likes aloe vera gel) that absorbs and dries quickly. To even your complexion when you're in a hurry, apply a stripe of stick concealer down the bridge of your nose and across your cheekbones, forehead and chin. Then blend all over with a bit of light lotion for sheer coverage.
Tone down a breakout: You know what a few squirts of Visine can do after a red-eye, but it also works on that blemish on your forehead. Apply a couple of drops to a cotton swab or hold the tip of the bottle directly on the pimple for a few seconds to quickly cut redness, says Martin. Then dab the area with a tissue to absorb residual moisture. If you still need more coverage, apply a light layer of concealer and gently press with a clean tissue to set it.
Stick to cream makeup: If you're putting on makeup in a dim airplane bathroom, stick with creams, which are more difficult to overdo because they melt into skin—unlike powders, which require more blending and are less forgiving, says Martin. Plus, you don't need an arsenal of brushes to apply. CoverGirl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm is one of his favorites because the sheer, shea-butter formula can be used on lips and cheeks and the small size makes it easy to fit in your purse for quick touch-ups. If you can't part with your powder blush or bronzer, use a smaller brush to give you more control and prevent color from splattering on your shirt collar, says Rebecca Creer, who covered the globe from Nigeria to Japan doing everything from manicures to massages as an in-flight beauty therapist (and currently dispenses tips and picks up new ones from flight attendants and crew members as the spas and grooming manager for Virgin Atlantic Airways). Try BareMinerals Retractable Flawless Application Brush, which comes with a protective cover so bristles don't get crushed in your carry-on.
Help makeup work overtime: Long-wear lipsticks are particularly enticing if you don't have time to constantly reapply, but Martin says these formulas leave little room for mistakes and can often be drying. To get staying power without sacrificing hydration, try Creer's go-to trick: Apply a light layer of foundation or concealer to lips, fill them in with lip liner, then swipe lipstick over the top. Extend the life of your blush and eyeshadow by dusting translucent powder over your face and lids first. "It provides an adhesive surface for pigment and prevents streaks," says Martin.
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