Flight Attendant Makeup Tips And Beauty Tricks

Flight Attendant Makeup Tips And Beauty Tricks
Iantha Yu

Beauty Writer

Jan 29, 2024

How do flight attendants look their best even at 30,000 feet in the air?

I don’t know about you, but I always go sans-makeup when it comes to boarding long-haul flights. However, I’ve always admired the flight staff that have to look their best on the job, no matter what time of the day it is.

I spoke with Margaret Lai, Flight Purser (read: head flight attendant) of Cathay Pacific for her best beauty tips. If there’s anyone that knows about flying, it’s her – she’s been part of the in-flight crew for 7 years, and flies mainly the Hong Kong to New York/Toronto route, which takes about 16 hours.

Step 1: Start with a base.

“I have really dry skin, so I often tackle this with a rich moisturiser or hydrating mask before I board,” explains Lai. “I also wear SPF at all times, even on board, because being in-flight doesn’t make you less prone to the effects of the UV rays.”

“We’re encouraged to wear loose powder on top of liquid foundation so it stays on longer. We also have to wear blush at all times, and are encouraged to wear colours that flatter our skin-tones and uniforms.” 

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Step 2: Add eye makeup.

“Eyeshadow must be applied at all times,” continues Lai. “The colours we use must comply with the grooming standards laid out by Cathay Pacific, such as black or brown mascara or eyeliner. Natural looking false eyelashes may be used. For nails, we can have colours ranging from red, pink, nude, to traditional French manicure.”

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Step 3: Pucker up with lippie.

“As per our grooming standards, lipstick must be worn at all times. Lip gloss may be used on top of the lipstick but must not be used alone. Pale colours such as nude as well as extreme colours such as dark purple are not acceptable.”

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Step 4: Style your hair.

Long hair must be tied back neatly into a bun or secured at the nape of the neck. If you have short hair, it must be kept well-maintained, neat and tidy at all times. Natural curly hair is allowed but any hairstyle that is spiky, frizzy, shaggy, tight spiral perms, ragged and uneven ends are not acceptable.”

“We also have strict rules on hair colour. It must be natural hair colour ranging from dark brown to black. Dyed hair must be kept in the same even colour tone, meaning no highlights and ombre style. Hair colour that has turned to grey naturally can be kept as grey or dyed back to the original colour.”
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Margaret’s top beauty tips…

Waterproof is the way. “I always use an eye primer and waterproof products to ensure my eye makeup lasts the distance.”

Forget about glitter. “Any cosmetics we use, such as blush, eye makeup or lip colours, can’t contain glitter or sparkles.”

Prep your lips for a long-lasting colour. “I always prep my lips with a moisturising lip stain and then outline lips with a lip liner, slowly drawing into the centre of the lips. Then, apply lipstick evenly with a lip brush and blot lips for the first time. My tip is to top lips with a thin layer of translucent powder using a sponge, before applying a second layer of lipstick with a lip brush. You then blot the lips for the second time and apply a final layer.”


By Iantha Yu

Beauty Writer

Iantha Yu is a journalist who specialises in writing and styling beauty, health and lifestyle content. She firmly believes that good skincare, a bright lippie, or good quality false eyelashes can change your life (or at least your mood for the day). Iantha is also the founder of PicStudio, a boutique marketing agency. Iantha's first role as Beauty Editor was at The Carousel, followed by Beauty Editor of BEAUTYcrew and Acting Beauty Editor of marieclaire Australia.



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