Landing Lips

On my first international trip, I worked the highly coveted upper deck of the Boeing 747 with one of the nicest ladies I’ve had the pleasure of working with. She was patient, encouraging, and gave me some of the best tips for improving myself as a flight attendant. Interestingly enough, the one tip I always remember first is the essential nature of what is coined as “landing lips.”

IMG_5149.JPG Service with a Smile!

She asked me that sort of lasting impression I would prefer to leave the passengers with as they disembarked the aircraft. Honestly, I hadn’t given it any thought. Naturally, I would love to leave a positive one, more so, if its the sort that truly makes one’s journey a success. I was then read into a tiny secret: pack a smaller secondary cosmetics bag with a lip balm, lip stick, lip gloss, a dental kit, and mints. It was a brilliant suggestion, one that reminded me of my time in Japan when I kept a secondary set of makeup and toiletry basics in my desk drawer at work to freshen up during the day.

From the time they were released, Maybelline’s Baby Lips (Maybelline) in Quench (05; SPF 20) I later purchased Twinkle (50), and had I known it was a limited edition, I would have stocked up. I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw folks listing it on Amazon for $40+ a tube for an over the counter lip balm. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love it, but my wallet would rather I drop forty dollars on a tube of Christian Dior lip balm instead. They have since rotated several of the colors in the BL line, but thankfully Quench is still available. I tried Peppermint, but I was not fond of the flavor.

Last year’s fall/winter collection included the Dr. Rescue Medicated Lip Balm, which on several occasions picked up and after milling it over, reluctantly returned to the product walls. Giving the line a second look and reading several positive reviews of them, I would be curious to give several colors a test drive: Too Cool (clear; 35), Just Peachy (45), Coral Crave (55). The Dr. Rescue line touts 12-hour moisture with eucalyptus, and it can be layered underneath lip stick.

IMG_7983.JPG I used to poke fun at my friends who had more than two tubes of lipstick in their bags.

I happened across Revlon’s ColorBurst Lip Butter in Pink Truffle & Peach Parfait while browsing the cosmetics wall in a Walgreen’s near my house well over a year ago. I’ll own up to the fact that I purchased Peach Parfait simply because I loved how it looked on Emma Stone, and at the time, I was rocking out as a redhead. Since then, I’ve burned through three tubes of Pink Truffle and two of Peach Parfait. On my more adventurous days, I’ll even slap a little Candy Apple red on. What I love about the this line is that though it fades and wears off while eating and drinking, it doesn’t leave lips looking parched and chalked with color.


Work-friendly, neutral colors that add just enough pop of color.

On a rare occasion when I am feeling particularly fancy, I might pull out the big guns. In college, I discovered MAC Cosmetics, and their Lipglass in Nymphette (A26) and Viva Glam VI are my absolute favorites. I tend to shy away from these on longer haul flights primarily because they require reapplication and I’m constantly pounding water to stay hydrated. When it comes to Lips for Landing, they really catch the eye, but one must make sure the rest of their make up is touched up as well.

When I am daring enough to rock a classic red lip, MAC’s matte-finish lipstick in Russian Red is the only true red lipstick I carry. That being said, I would love to test drive Dangerous (orangey red retro matte), Relentlessy Red (Bright pink coral retro matte), and Lady Danger (coral red), but I’m fairly certain those would be better suited for play than work. I’ve been told that with the blueish undertones, Russian Red pairs best with my fair, freckled complexion.

IMG_1375.JPG Lady in Red. Leaving Las Vegas.

The elements utterly destroy my lips in the winter time, including unsightly cold sores. It is something I’ve contended with since high school, but I cannot call out sick for having face plague. When I asked my pharmacist which over the counter medication to use, I was directed to the lip balm section and handed two jars of what I regularly use during the harsher weather months: Carmex Everyday Lip Balm and Blistex Lip Medex. These have been my mainstays for coping with fever blisters, and I always opt for the small jars. To avoid recontaminating the delicate, viral area, I always wash my hands, apply with a clean finger, and wash my hands again afterward. Though the traditional balm stick or squeezable bottle fit better in pockets, it’s too easy to forget and apply it directly to the infected area.

When I fly, the only carbonated beverage I drink is club soda with a squeeze of lemon or slice of lime, and I limit this twice a day at most. The rest of the time, I work hard trying to hit my hydration goal of 100 ounces a day. As another colleague once said, “all this flying about is drying me out like a snake in the desert!” If I down a cup of coffee or tea, I have to remember to off set it in a two to one ratio. For every dehydrating beverage I drink while flying (coffee or tea) or alcoholic beverages consumed on a layover, I need to drink double of that in water. Admittedly, I wind up taking extra trips to the lavatories and restrooms, but it helps keep my skin looking fresh.

The Art of Laviation requires proper lighting.

Carrying a space toothbrushing set can be helpful, too. Freshly shellacked Landing Lips are nice and all, but if one’s breath is kicking, it might detract from the overall effect. Finding the time to brush, floss, and potentially gargle without monopolizing the bathroom is essential. On a longer haul flight, aircrafts tend to be larger with more facilities available, but don’t make a production out of it. Additionally, if you are going to “use the lav” to primp, learn to do it efficiently and make sure you clean up when finished. Yes, this includes rinsing the sink, and wiping up with a paper towel. There is such a thing call “Lav-iating” (Lavatory + Aviating) where people (traditionally flight crew) take selfies in airplane lavatories. The only aircraft I have found this to be a lovely and not horrifying experience is the Boeing 737-900 as the lighting is a combination of blue and white. Those photo filters can only do so much work, so be patient. It takes time to score the perfect Laviator shot. Yes, you can throw on those hashtags (#laviation #landinglips #laviators), but remember to keep it classy.

When is the best time to attempt the three minute refresh? When the seatbelt sign is off, of course. Just like moving about the cabin, the only safe time to be up is when that little seatbelt light is extinguished. If you’re up while it’s on, be prepared to be reminded that it’s on and not necessarily safe to be up. Don’t sling back “Well, YOU’RE up…” to the crew because it’s insulting. They are being paid to safeguard the passengers as the number one customer service we provide is safety.

What’s that? The plane has started descending. Stay seated. Do not make a dash to “the lav.” Pop a mint, swipe on your Landing Lip of choice, and make sure that seatbelt is fastened. Need a mirror? Use that mobile phone camera and take a selfie if you like. If you have breath concerns, stop by a restroom inside the terminal and brush before you head to the arrivals lobby for that cinematic reunion full of slow motion hugs, kisses, and celebration.

Bottom Line:
– Bypass the alcohol and soft drinks
– Pack your toothbrush and some mints
– Select a lip balm and apply liberally
– Freshen up before the plane starts descending
– Make a pitstop in the airport restrooms for better lighting and more space

Wheels down.
Landing Lips on.
Smile engage.

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