How to fly in sleepwear and get away with it

We spoke with beauty expert Nikol Johnson on how to get away with wearing sleepwear on your next flight and what she never travels without.

Nikol Johnson. Image credit: Rick Gomez Photography
Nikol Johnson is a frequent flier. Image credit: Rick Gomez Photography

Fresh Beauty Studio blog founder Nikol Johnson is a master at air travel. Flying to and from her Florida base about once every five days, the former model-turned-makeup-artist has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to what to pack and how to stay looking and feeling fresh while flying.

We had a chat with Johnson about what she can’t live without and what doesn’t make the cut every time she flies.

Your favourite place to travel to…

Harbour Island in the Bahamas. It’s such a special place. It’s a little island that takes a bit to get to, but once you are there, you have pink sand beaches.

It’s just very serene, it’s the epitome of your tropical oasis, it’s very quiet. I have been going there since 2000 and it never gets old, I have got to say.

Harbour Island is known for its pink sand beaches. Image credit: Charlotte Rowley
Harbour Island is known for its pink sand beaches. Image credit: Charlotte Rowley

Any must-have apps for traveling?

There is an app for travel that I have been using and you know who told me about it? One of your Blacklane drivers. It’s called FlightAware, so if I don’t get alerts through my airline app, it will tell me if my flight is late, when it’s coming in, what is going on. It’s actually a really good resource.

What’s the first thing that goes in the bag when you travel?

More times than not I have totally forgotten bras and panties and so I have a special bag that says “wear me” and “wash me”, I always make sure I have it and I always make sure it is in my carry-on — I never check it.

I always take my favorite leather jacket in my carry-on and always my Valentino shoes.

What about gadgets?

I always make sure I have two chargers because I am always afraid that I might lose one, which has happened. I have multiple because there has been times where I am like, I cannot believe that is the one thing I forgot.

I have this zen wooden-box wake-up alarm, which chimes. It wakes you up through the beautiful sounds of chimes, I find it much more relaxing than a phone alarm, or a hotel alarm, or a wake-up call.

Image credit: Rick Gomez Photography
Nikol Johnston steps out of a Blacklane vehicle. Image credit: Rick Gomez Photography

Go-to piece of clothing when flying?

I have this cashmere Diane von Furstenberg, it is like a pashmina but it is just the best thing because it folds over your shoulders so your arms are open.

With most pashminas, you wrap yourself up and are kind of tied up in it, but this one is long and flows.

It fits perfectly and it is just so snuggly and warm and soft, I can just roll it up and pack it in my bag.  I always get cold and I don’t touch the blankets, so it’s definitely one thing I have to travel with.

What about skin care regimes while in the air?

The big key is to not wear a lot of makeup when you’re flying so when you do hydrate your skin, you are not having a lot of foundation or mascara (to remove).

If you are going to do cross-country or transatlantic flights, you really want a tinted moisturizer and lip balm. A red-eye is no makeup.

I always pack a light serum…you want a product that is going to soak into the skin and hydrate and not just sit there and then you feel like you have heavy skin care sitting on your face.

Hand cream is extremely important for me because my skin gets so dry flying so I am always putting on hand moisturizer.

Make-up artist Nikol Johnson. Image credit: Rick Gomez Photography
Make-up artist Nikol Johnson shares her secrets to a good flight. Image credit: Rick Gomez Photography

Any tips for the dreaded long-haul flights?

Red-eyes are the worst for me, I dread them, but for some reason I can’t fly back (to Florida) from Vegas without doing a red-eye so literally last year, I was like ok, I have to be comfortable, these are the worst flights ever, I always look so terrible. You know how on the runway they were showing a couple of seasons ago sleepwear for outerwear? Satin pjs as pants and a top kind of thing, so I was like, I am going to do that, no-one will ever know.

I wore a black Victoria Secret satin outfit and I threw on my Escada blazer and my Valentino pumps.

I hate wearing jeans or anything that is going to be super restrictive or uncomfortable.

I brought my little slippers in my bag and I brought them out and I had my little silk sleep mask and I was so happy and so comfortable.

How do you prep for your flight?

Definitely water. I think a lot of people don’t like to drink water because they don’t want to have to use the restroom, but you are really doing yourself a disservice.

I think, too, you have to prepare for having really good sources of snacks, like raw apples and almonds, and eating a little bit differently when you travel because you don’t want to have to be eating heavy things or junk because it is going to make you feel worse.

(When you are) eating lighter, fruits, and light fare until you get to your destination, I feel that it makes a world of difference.

Do you have a travel mantra?

Being prepared and having a routine, even if you are not a seasoned flier, will make your trip so much less stressful.

What is the first thing you do when you land?

I sanitize my room. I sanitize everything, but I am an esthetician.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.