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The Ultimate Airplane Beauty Routine

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The Violet Files

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A jet-setting makeup artist shares her tried-and-true strategy for arriving fresh-faced after a long-haul flight.

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There is a lost glamour in air travel. Train cases have been replaced with plastic sandwich bags, and the need for socks (to traipse through security) make chic shoes an impossibility. While practicality trumps luxury when it comes to pre- and post-takeoff preparations, the miracle of flight can be restored, a bit, with one small indulgence: an expert in-flight beauty routine.

“Everyone wants to walk off of a plane feeling healthy, glowing and rested — which is very hard to do after spending hours in the air!” makeup artist Mélanie Inglessis told VIOLET GREY. The in-demand artist is well-versed on the subject since she jets overseas for clients regularly. (Inglessis works with Olivia Wilde, Kate Hudson, Rosamund Pike and Cameron Diaz, to name a few.) Luckily, she has honed a no-nonsense, tried-and-true routine she performs on both herself and her clients (when scheduling permits them to fly together). This expert routine, a three-step, product- and technique-intensive labor, was developed over years of travel. While it is in-depth, it ensures an arrival suited for paparazzi flashes and straight-from-the-airport engagements.




“It takes arriving at a certain point in your career to not feel like you have to show off your skills at every single job,” makeup artist Mélanie Inglessis told VIOLET GREY. “When you’re just starting out you always want to push the envelope, but it’s not always appropriate for the situation. Sometimes I just take a step back because the dress is there or the hair is there, and I don’t feel as if I have cheated if I don’t do much.”

Not that she needs to prove her skills. The Paris-born artist’s alma mater is London College of Fashion (the school incubates top-tier talent from a variety of creative disciplines including Stella McCartney and Kate Lee), and she assisted artists like Val Garland, Charlotte Tilbury and Pat McGrath before hopping the pond to begin a successful editorial and celebrity career Stateside. And while her charmed start in makeup would suggest otherwise, she did not, in fact, have childhood aspirations or connections in the industry. Instead, her curiosity started in her early 20s, when she literally wandered into the university’s admissions office one night after work at a local bar. Enter a ravenous work ethic and fast-forward more than a decade, and Inglessis’s client roster is a who’s who of Hollywood: Olivia Wilde, Kate Hudson, Rosamund Pike and Cameron Diaz.

Of course, Inglessis still likes to go big, flexing her signature — “fresh, natural skin and a cool, rock ‘n’ roll smoky eye” — when the occasion calls for it. Her clients happily oblige her in whatever she feels is best, naturally. “I’m lucky enough to work with beautiful ladies who trust me and trust what I do,” she says.