Relatively inexpensive air travel has given most of us fast access to the "global village." Air travel was once strictly for the jet set, but now that it is no longer exclusive, no one pretends (not even the first-class passengers) that they feel glamorous after a U-hour flight. Even though the in-flight wellbeing programs give tips on how to exercise (isn't sitting with your knees under your chin exercise?) and avoid dehydration, they never mention how to keep your hair looking as good on arrival as it did at departure.
The air pressure in the cabin and the high altitude encourage dehydration, which leaves the skin and hair dull and lacking in radiance. This can only be prevented by drinking copious amounts of water and soft drinks, while avoiding tea, coffee and alcohol, all of which have a diuretic effect that will compound the problem. Drinking carrot and apple juice before a flight will also help to keep hair hydrated.
The dry, air-conditioned cabin atmosphere could not be better for static, nor worse for flyaway hair (the wispy rather than the jet-set sort). If you have ever tried brushing or combing your hair while sitting in your seat, you will know that you can hear the crackle of static over the noise of the engines.
Dehydration on board means an increased chance of developing a flaky scalp. If this happens to you, tie back your hair to avoid dandruff-like flakes on your shoulders. Once you are settled at your destination, a vigorous, but gentle, brushing will loosen any flakes. Follow with a thorough scalp massage to increase the blood flow, and therefore nutrients and oxygen, to the scalp, as well as to release tension from the flight (see page 26). Finally, a shampoo and deep- conditioning treatment will remove any lingering flakes and restore moisture, bounce and shine.
Air-hair dos and don'ts Don't fly with your hair weighed down with products or your face caked with heavy foundation.
Fly with clean hair and a touch of lipstick, if you like.
Do spritz your face regularly with a hydrating mister to keep the skin soft and supple. Use it to refresh stale, dry hair, too.
Do drink plenty of uncarbonated mineral water.
Don't drink coffee, tea or alcohol.
Do always pack your skincare and haircare products in waterproof bags so there's nochance of them spilling their contents over your favorite silk dress.
Do tie your hair back to help prevent static building up. If you do get static hair, spray some hairspray onto your brush or comb and lightly run it through the hair.
Do pack a gentle, restorative shampoo and super-rich conditioner to revive your travel-stressed hair on arrival.
Do not despair. If you still look less-than-perfect on arrival — despite plenty of water and a first-class seat — simply act like a film star and wear a pair of dark "Jackie 0" sunglasses, a smart hat, some red lipstick and a disenchanted air.