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Being a flight attendant isn’t easy: you typically work long hours and on holidays like Christmas, and you also have to often deal with rude and uncooperating passengers. But that’s not all. There’s also a great emphasis put on how you look and dress. Even in the 21st Century.
So, if you think you can get away with half-painted nails to visible tattoos, you better think again. The travel industry is a harsh one, and airlines all over the world have strict rules on appearance set in place for their cabin crew.
But don’t fret! If you really do want to follow a career as a flight attendant, we’ve got all the tips and tricks you need for creating the perfect look. Here’s everything you need to know about flight attendant uniforms in order to stay on top of your game, from styling to beauty and skincare.
When it comes to cosmetics, the same rules have applied for many years – women should cake their face in makeup while men are only permitted to wear a small amount of concealer (to hide those panda eyes). To make sure your makeup doesn’t melt during your long-haul flights, incorporate the below advice into your regime!
To guarantee your makeup stays in place all day, you need a solid base for your canvas, and this comes in the form of a primer. Depending on your skin type, there are different ones to suit your needs. For example, if you have oily skin, e.l.f's Poreless Putty Primer (paid link) will keep your oil at bay and minimise those unwanted crater pores.
A lightweight and natural foundation is essential for your flight – it doesn’t only hide imperfections and blemishes, but also acts as a protecting barrier for your skin. Be sure to find a good colour match and the right consistency for you. For example, if you have dry skin, you don’t want to look patchy and oily with a mattifying fluid. Instead, choose a luminous foundation that will give you a natural glow, like Giorgio Armani’s luminous silk foundation (paid link).
Concealer is an essential item in any air hostess’s beauty bag. You can use it to hide the bags under your eyes and brighten your face to appear more alert or to hide any unwanted blemishes and scars. Opt for something that’s creamy and which can be easily applied for full coverage, such as the Maybelline instant age rewind concealer (paid link).
Although waterproof mascaras are great when we’re on the ground, at 34,000 feet in the sky it’s probably your worst enemy. The air is much drier on a plane, which means that a waterproof mascara will just dry out your lashes. Instead, choose a long-lasting mascara that won’t run or be too difficult to take off like the Maybelline Volum’ Express falsies mascara (paid link).
Bronzer and Blusher
You need to be careful with a bronzer, as you don’t want it to make you look tired – however, when applied properly, in the shape of the number three, you can give your face a warm and natural glow. Top up with a hint of blush for the ultimate rosy cheek and a swish of rose gold highlighter (if it’s permitted). The Benefit blush bar (paid link) is perfect for this.
Red lipstick is the colour of choice amongst most airlines, most likely because it brightens smiles and makes teeth appear whiter. Airlines such as Emirates, Singapore Airlines, American Airlines and Aegean all swear by the perfect shade of red. FIND's lip kit (paid link) is a great choice.
If you’re used to ‘baking’ your face with a finishing powder once your makeup is neatly applied, you should skip this step. Instead, reach for a killer setting spray like Milani's (paid link) to make sure your makeup is locked in for over 24 hours!
Ever noticed the air stewardess glow? You can get it too, with a simple and effective skincare regime. The following items will save your skin through the harshest flights to make sure it’s getting the TLC it deserves.
You shouldn’t ditch the SPF just because you’ll be locked in a cabin for hours on end; after all, the sunrays that beam through the windows are harsher than those on the ground. To be prepared for all circumstances, be sure to use an oil-free sun cream, like the Neutrogena age shield sunscreen (paid link), after your moisturiser.
Due to the lack of air in the cabin, a hydrating cream can be a lifesaver. Use it to soften your hands and elbows, to keep stray hairs at bay and for any dry patches that you can see forming. Simple’s water boost hydrating gel cream (paid link) is a good all-rounder.
If you’re on a long-haul flight and have a few hours to get some shut-eye, it’s important to remove your make up and cleanse your skin to allow it to breathe for a while. Micellar water works well with even the harshest of makeup, allowing you to easily and effectively remove any dirt with one swoosh. A go-to product is Garnier’s SkinActive micellar water (paid link).
Facial sprays can really give your thirsty skin the boost it needs while you’re in air. Evian (paid link) and Mario Badescu’s facial spray (paid link) are among the favourites to give your skin a hydrating boost. It will also help keep your makeup intact.
A good lip balm, like Carmex (paid link), will keep your lips hydrated and prevent them from cracking and appearing dry. This will also allow for an easier and smoother lipstick application.
Vitamin C Products
Vitamin C products are great for revitalising your skin cells and giving your skin a hydrating boost. You can use a vitamin C night cream in your regular regime and reach out for a PIXI sheet mask (paid link) on your off days.
As you may already know, every airline has their own strict guidelines about hairstyles, colours and length. But these general tips will help you nail the aircraft look!
- The soft bun: If you’re going for a bun look, ditch the overdone doughnut and opt for a softer looking low bun. You can achieve this look by tying your hair in a ponytail, wrapping it round and securing it with a selection of bobby pins. Secure any flyways with some L’Oréal Elnett Satin hairspray (paid link).
- The mid pony: Many airlines have specific rules when it comes to ponytails, but a safe bet is a tight mid pony that sits just above the shoulders. You can also use some dry shampoo (Batiste (paid link) is a popular choice) to add extra volume and to ensure that your hair doesn’t look like a fried egg.
- The cropped bob: If you have short hair, a loose, sleek bun is generally acceptable. Be sure to run a pair of straighteners through your hair and to use a serum that will keep the frizz at bay, like John Freda’s Frizz Ease serum (paid link).
Facial hair is not permitted if you’re a man; it’s essential to have neat and short haircuts that are presentable. So, if you’re sporting extra-long sideburn or a nicely trimmed beard, you’ll have to part with it before your first job interview!
Tattoos and Piercings
Most, if not all, airlines don’t allow any visible tattoos or piercings, especially on the ankle or wrist. If you happen to have tattoos that are visible beneath your undergarments, you should ensure you wear the appropriate clothing to cover them.
If, on the other hand, you have visible piercings, like on your nose or tongue, you’ll be required to take them out. You’ll only generally be allowed to wear a small pair of earrings like studs or pearls.
Nails should be kept short and tidy with a natural colour. If you’re into your nail art and designs, you might want to think of another career path! United Airlines, for example, have a strict policy for fingernails, which ‘may be no longer than ½ inch measured from the fingertip and should be even in length and shape’.
Many airlines don’t allow any accessories whatsoever, while others permit two rings per hand and dainty jewellery that doesn’t clash with the uniform. You’ll need to think practically when it comes to your accessory choices: you don’t want it to catch on anything or be something valuable that you may lose.
The general rule for shoes, for women, is that they should be court style, which leaves the top of the foot exposed, making it appear longer. Men can opt for leather loafers or Oxfords to match their outfit and look smart and professional.
With these tips, you’ll be prepared for any interviews, on-duty calls and long-haul flights, ensuring that you’re dressed to impress at any time of the day or night.
Are you a flight attendant with a few secret tips up your sleeve? If so, join in on the conversation in the comments section below and let us know what they are!