Along with strict safety training, Virgin Atlantic teaches both their land- and sky-based crew grooming techniques in the name of glam globetrotting.
Curious how Virgin crews always look like they’ve stepped off a Paris fashion runway and not just a Charles De Gaulle runway, I hightailed it to London to attend the airline’s grooming class (one of the perks of being a travel writer).
My biggest takeaway from my foray into flight-fabulous is there’s everyday beauty and there’s travel beauty. In the spirit of sharing, here’s how to get gorgeous à la Virgin Atlantic in the same amount of time it takes to take off.
1. Sky-high skin prep
How do Virgin’s red-suited crew come off a 14-hour flight with dewy skin while the rest of us look as dry as a desert? Here’s how: Plump skin is more than just a dab of moisturizer and a swipe of eye cream. Virgin teaches that sky-high skincare happens round-the-clock with high-quality products and regular facials to maintain a cared-for complexion.
It doesn’t stop here. The night before your flight give the skin you’re in a good cleanse, exfoliation, and hydration boost (think: moisturizing mask)—a regime that will do wonders for your skin’s luminosity upon arrival.
2. Moisturize more
“If you spend money on only one skin-saver, buy a good moisturizer,” my grooming goddess told me. The day they fly, recruits are taught to use more than their average dollop of hydrating cream to ensure their face maintains a glow, even on the go.
3. That H2O glow
We all know the wonders of water, but its health benefits are even more important at cruising altitude. Enter the most potent potion you can consume, which bundles anti-aging and jet lag-fighting properties into one bev. For this reason, Virgin advises all staff, especially crew, to drink the equivalent of a lake (read: 8 cups of water) while flying. Basically, H2O is part of the signature Virgin glow.
Viewfinder Tip: Resist the urge to indulge in a skin-parching tipple to achieve that H2O glow.
4. High-altitude hair
One way to ensure hair stays put and full of flair while flying is wear it up in a coiffed and chic do. The bonus of this mane methodology is the dividends it pays upon landing; instead of looking like you’ve been flying for 10 hours, you look like you walked out of salon.
If your tresses are shoulder-length or shorter, bring a comb to spruce it up with a touch of backcombing and smoothing before deplaning. Oh la la.
5. Have a go-to updo
Virgin’s go-to hairstyles I was taught in grooming class add a modern take to classic dos like the chignon, the bun, and the ’60s bouffant. Again, these don’t take a heap of time or a team of experts to pull off. In just under six minutes—yes, six minutes—Virgin’s lead hair stylist coiffed my mane into a pouffy, side-swept bun as if I were about to walk the red carpet. All it took was a little backcombing know-how and haircare essentials to achieve hair lift-off.
6. Silky sleep
To ward off flyaways (pun intended) and to keep your style intact, tie a silk scarf over your head while sleeping. Also, don’t forget to pack a few dryer sheets in your carry-on. Before landing, pull them out and rub them on your hair to reduce static and keep your tresses smelling fresh.
7. The two-minute makeover
One of my favorite tips—which is equally applicable to jet-setting and real life—is Virgin’s two-minute makeover. For guys, it’s meticulous facial grooming, and for gals it’s mascara, cover-up, blush, and red lips (all of which help hide tiredness). Upgrade the look with classic Virgin shadow colors of lilac or grey, powder, and bronzer to go from bare to brilliant in five minutes flat.
8. The right red
To match that perfect shade of Virgin red, ladies sport the forever classic red lip. (Hint hint: The right shade of red is oh-so elegant no matter where you find yourself on the map.) And if you think you’re not a red lipstick kind of gal, think again. Rebecca Creer, Chief Beauty Officer at Virgin Atlantic, believes there’s a shade of red to suit every woman, and suggests starting with a blue-red hue for a bright and chic look.
9. Power down to zone out
Flight crew are always on the move and spend much of their lives at 37,000 feet, so they know the value of rest. Getting some ZZZs or zoning out in-flight is one of the best ways to unwind and mimic your at-home beauty sleep. To do this, turn out your reading light, close your window shade, don a sleep mask, put in ear plugs, and most importantly, put away your digital devices at least an hour before bedtime to reduce stimulation and prepare the mind for a solid slumber.
10. Pep it up
Finally, bring along some peppermint or fennel tea bags. This trick calms your stomach mid-flight and reduces bloating.
Et voila: a fresh-faced arrival!
What beauty tips do you swear by when cruising above the clouds?