Supermodels like Adriana Lima and Josephine Skriver love her, and before she became the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle was a regular in her makeup chair. Grace Lee is a renowned makeup pro and lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York. And when she’s not dreaming up beauty looks for New York Fashion Week or on set working on photoshoots, Lee is probably – no, most definitely – on a flight somewhere. Just last year alone, she clocked in 50 flights (several of them were for the new season of Project Runway, which airs this March). Barely into 2019 and she’s already flown to Berlin and has returned to New York for the fall season of NYFW (plus encountered flight delays and experienced a nasty bout of food poisoning). So who better than Lee to share her tips on how to deal with travel and all the good and bad that comes with it? Here’s how she does it.
How often do you travel?
I took 50 flights in 2018. 22 flights actually happened in five weeks. A big chunk of those flights have taken me to New York City. I also flew to Montreal, Vancouver and Los Angeles multiple times. All of those trips were for work, either NYC for New York Fashion Week, or a big campaign shoot, editorial shoot, or meetings.
Since you travel so often, do have your toiletries always packed and ready to go?
I have my toiletries, brushes and makeup bag already packed and entirely separate from my everyday items as I really hate having to pack and unpack those items. The clear makeup bags from My Kit Co. are great because you can find everything quickly and they’re very durable.
What are your beauty-related travel essentials?
I don’t travel anywhere without my Maybelline Baby Lips. I use it as a lip balm, a dewy highlight and also on my cuticles! I don’t love traveling with a full face of makeup, but I will always have moisturizer on. I’ve been using serum, layered with a moisturizer from La Roche-Posay because my skin has been so sensitive lately. The brand makes make a great thermal water spray as well, but because of the size I always have to check it.
Do you prefer checking in your luggage or a carry-on?
Carry-on! No question. It’s basically torture having to wait for your luggage.
What are some other things you always travel with?
I have a little bag that I keep for the plane stacked with portable charger and earphones for the plane. A pack of Pur gum for take-off and landing. An eye mask in case I want to block people out. A pack of Wet Ones for sanitizing hands and my whole seat and tray area. A Muji pen, Advil, Emergen-C, Kiehl’s Hand Cream. I also always travel with my White + Warren cashmere travel scarf. It’s the best! Temperatures on the plane fluctuate so much that it’s amazing to have. It’s also so big that you can use it as a blanket or roll it up as a pillow.
What’s your packing strategy for a short trip versus a long one?
I really try to plan my outfits in advance so I don’t pack stuff I don’t need. But I always overpack!
What’s your secret to looking fresh-faced when you get off the plane?
Throw on a red lip! And blush! Those are instant ways of looking done and no one will notice that you were on a plane. Also, give your eyelashes a good curl as that will open them up and your eyes will look bigger. Putting a cream or white eyeliner in the waterline will also help make your eyes seem brighter.
How do you stay zen during delays and cancelled flights?
I don’t really. I try to keep myself busy with my phone, read a book or start to eat and drink my feelings.
How do you deal with flying while being sick?
I try to take as much Emergen-C before a flight. I keep hydrated and always buy a big bottle of water. You just hope for the best.
Do you sleep on the plane? If so, what’s the best way you make sure you’re well-rested on a flight?
I don’t sleep on planes unless it’s a really long flight. I don’t take anything as I like to be completely alert, just in case. Chamomile tea always makes me drowsy so that helps with me relax.
Do you have any mid-flight beauty rituals?
I actually don’t. Most of my flights are so quick that I don’t have time for that.
Are there any travel-related tips or hacks you’ve picked up from your clients?
Try to stick to one airline and be diligent with maintaining your airline miles as your status really helps with the whole flying process from check in and baggage to boarding. Nexus or Global Entry also helps with the whole travel experience. And, invest in good pieces of luggage, especially your carry-on. Make sure that it’s smooth and has four wheels – it makes all the difference when lugging your stuff through the airport. I love Rimowa because they also have great service. They will give you a loaner while they fix yours if you ever need it.