My Essentials: Hair & Skin

Flight Attendant, Stewardess, Air Hostess.
noun – an airline employee who serves meals, attends to passengers’ comfort, etc., during a flight. – dictionary.com

I’m pretty sure you’ve guessed what it is that I do for a living.

People always ask me, “What do you have in your suitcase?” Or, “How do you pack for all the different destinations, you must be very organized.”

In my world it’s more like, “organized chaos”.

What I’ve learned in the last few months of flying is how to manage my time. What are the things I can do that will save me that extra trip to the bathroom or closet and will maximize my time in between the sheets.

So here are my essential that don’t cram my suitcase with unnecessary things. Things that save me and make my layovers that much easier – all on 4 wheels.

Starting from the top.
Head:
Round brush/ 2 medium sized rollers – for that extra oomph
Time saving tip: for those of us with long hair, side bangs or full bangs – separate the first 2-3inches of your hair. Tie the back. Shampoo and condition the front part of hair, rinse and blow dry. Set on rollers over night. And voila, as I prance downstairs for call time, I look like I’ve spent hours on my do.
Sock bun: who wants Prom Queen hair every time. This is a fantastic alternative and probably one of the greatest inventions out there. I thank YouTube for the tutorials.
This should not take more than 10 minutes.
Hair ties and bobby pins – I go through them more often than I blink.
Money saving tip: When I’m in the UK, which happens more often than desired, I stock up on essentials at Primark. Especially hair ties and bobby pins. Large quantities per package for next to nothing. No 5* quality but they get the job done.

Face:
Simple is key. Non harsh soap and warm water. I use Dove White Deep Moisture soap. I’m the last person you will find at the sink with toners and scrubs. Skin ages, grows and develops naturally, the more chemicals you use the more skin becomes irritated and sensitive.
A great rich moisturizer is a must. I grew up on Nivea, and I won’t use anything else. And if I look anything like my mom at her age, I’ll be happy. Tried a few other more expensive products with ingredience I can’t even pronounce. Just because the price is in the double or triple digits doesn’t mean we will all look like Cindy Crawford. Use what works best with your skin.
Under eye cream – unfortunately I’ve been blessed with those great dark circles under my eyes. I recently started using Elizabeth Arden Prevage Eye Moisture Cream. On the pricy side, so when my sample container runs out I will have to seriously contemplate the splurge.

Makeup removers – I find liquid makeup removers don’t always survive the trip. A few times I’ve wasted precious minutes rinsing, drying and repacking because my bottle had spilt. Not to mention cursing that my $15, 100ml bottle product evaporated into thin air. My alternative; face wipes. I use Equate Exfoliating Cleansing Towelettes. Gentle on the skin and wallet. They go with me everywhere and are always at my bed side at home and abroad. One thing I will never do is fall asleep with a full face on, especially one that has gone through two or more continents. So when exhaustion hits hard and I can’t bare to stand on my feet any longer I reach over and my wipes save me. Under 2 minutes and you can do it with your eyes closed.
Did you know? Aloe Vera isn’t only used for sunburns. I use it as a makeup remover. Works just as good if not better than all other products AND it’s made up of natural ingredients. Bonus for your skin.

Makeup – I repeat, simple is key. Too often flight attendants resemble Robin Williams’ character in ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ as he slaps on a last minute dripping “face mask” when Mrs. Sellner pops in for her appointment. Except at 40 000ft, I’m sure it would be far from tasty.
Primer – I use Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer. I find my makeup application is smoother and even. It reduces the cake look and creates a base so makeup does not sink into the creases, fine lines and wrinkles.
Followed by a little bit of concealor, mineralized powder, mascara, a bit of bronzer or blush and I’m ready for outfit …

Here are a few of my favourite things

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Drafted

Tears were bottling up in my eyes. I was furious. I could feel my ears getting hot and tingly. Surely I was beat red.

This was my first taste of “Anything can happen at any given time”

After my Reserve schedule, or in human terms, on-call, where I sacrificed my life for two months and practically lived in the UK part time… I was finally able to bid on my most desired flights. And so I bid. AVOID UK!

To my surprise, my first real flight schedule was pretty incredible for someone who just started on the line. Three layovers in Barcelona and a Rome! Rome was the one I was looking forward to the most. Main reason being, there lives a young lad who I haven’t seen in 11 years. And we’re suppose to be family. After arranging our mini reunion, all we were waiting for was the day to come.

And so it came.
Here’s the play-by-play.

Suitcase zipped, lunch ready, snacks packed, uniform on, shoes patiently waiting at the door. A quick last minute schedule check; happy to see familiar names on the crew. Twenty minutes later and I’m scanning my airport security pass and pushing past the heavy doors. My suitcase trails behind me.

Post briefing, we pick positions on the aircraft. I of course, due to my seniority (or lack there of) am last to pick. At this point I was ready to shut the aircraft doors and take off. This was a big step for me. I needed this moment, to once again unite our family. Nothing mattered, not even that I was left with a position I only knew about from what I read in my manual. Never actually having worked the Club Section, I was petrified. Word got around pretty quick and I had help within minutes. I relaxed. My destination was about to change and all within those same minutes. I hear the faint calls of my name. My supervisor rushes on board and by the time I had a chance to process the information I was no longer going to Rome, but to Manchester! For 48 hours!

I was being drafted!?!? But I had plans! In Rome, not Manchester! I was finally going to reunite with a cousin who I haven’t seen in over a decade! This was NOT happening.

Being introduced to the second crew, combined of 6 young girls, who have been travelling together the last few days, I immediately felt tension and I knew exactly why. They were all French, and I speak none of it. The theme of the flight was “forgetting” to speak to me in English. Most of the 6 hours, I spent alone. Even during our duties the only words exchanged were “Please pass the orange juice” or “Do you have ginger-ale on your side?”

I speak the truth when I say I have nothing against French or French people. I actually love the language and am learning it at the moment, but I managed to gather one nasty impression of the culture within this short time. No details shared, but I’m sure you’ve guessed that this was not my best flight. Actually, it was horrible. What made this whole thing even worse was that I realized Rome and Manchester had two very different climates. My suitcase was prepared for extreme heat not Alaska! All I had were sun dresses and flip flops. I was on the verge of a breakdown, everything was crumbling before my eyes. And this wasn’t even that bad. Would I be able to handle this? These last minute changes. Would I ever be prepared for this? Nope, you can never be prepared for this job. The trick is, and I learned it that day is to stay calm, take it for what it is. I signed up for this job knowing my life would be on the go. The routines were over, it was just an adjustment.

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Manchester wasn’t so bad after all. And the two days gave me time to rest and visit the city. Since I had no proper clothing and I was not going to spend my time sitting in the hotel, I had to go shopping. Primark saved my life and my wallet. While browsing I ran into a colleague of mine from my training class. Smiles and giggles erupted. In moments we were engulfing each other with hugs. She was flying out the next morning, so we decided on dinner that evening. Others who joined us, were also from my training class. All of a sudden I’d forgotten what I had felt just a few short hours ago. This IS what I was meant to do, this is what made feel complete. That at any given moment things could turn upside down, and just when you think the world is against you something amazing happens. This was my lesson. Who would have thought that from my miserable flight where I was sure I would have the worst two days of my life abroad with no familiar face around I ended up with not one, but two crews filled with those who I shared this change with.

So what did I learn? To be patient and calm. To appreciate what I was given, because not every person gets the opportunities I do. And what I thought was the end of the world for me was merely a small stepping stone. It could have been a lot worse.
But more importantly, I learned I needed to reorganize my suitcase!!