How to Treat Your Skin During a Flight, According to Michelle Obama’s Facialist

The self-proclaimed "skin strategist" behind Hollywood's most radiant faces spills her tricks for maintaining a healthy complexion while 30,000 feet in the air.

December 4, 2018

By Lucy Lau / Photo: JB Skin Guru

Michelle Obama recently shared her holiday gift guide with People and, among picks like a periwinkle OPI polish and Aretha’s Jazz on vinyl, was a little love for her neighbours to the north—ahem, us—in the form of a 30-millimetre vial of pineapple-yellow oil: the Peoni L’extrait. “I’d give this to anyone because this oil does everything—good for any skin type, any time of year,” the former FLOTUS and now bestselling author wrote.

If you’re a devout follower of beauty and cult skincare goods, the inclusion of L’extrait on Obama’s list should come as no surprise. The Canadian-made face oil was developed by Montreal-based “skin strategist” and founder of JB Skin Guru Jennifer Brodeur, who’s been the preferred facialist of stars like Oprah, Ava Duvernay and the Obamas—yes, all four of them—for years. (In fact, Oprah first included Peoni’s L’extrait in her famed Favourite Things catalogue for 2016, alerting the world to the product’s skin-saving powers. She later gifted Obama a week of sessions with Brodeur for her 50th birthday.)

In addition to serving a roster of high-profile clients around the world, prepping Obama’s skin for her ongoing book tour and launching Lumi—a new line of illuminating, lingonberry-infused products designed to tackle skin pigmentation—Brodeur runs masterclasses: intimate skincare-101 crash courses in which she teaches people how to care for their complexions from the inside out.

With the holidays and all sorts of travels on the horizon for many, I asked Brodeur for her top tricks for keeping skin happy and healthy while 30,000 feet in the air. Brodeur had just hopped off her seventh flight of the week when she met with me at Vancouver’s Shangri-La, though her skin—plump, unblemished and glowy like she had just returned from a rest-filled vacation rather than a 90-minute moisture-sucking ride from the frigid winds of Calgary—certainly didn’t show it. In other words, consider these tips law.

Photo: JB Skin Guru

Apply Face Oil Liberally

Brodeur is a big fan of face oils—in fact, an entire section of the skin expert’s masterclasses is dedicated to the product, which she says helps protect, calm and repair complexions. So it’s only fitting that the 45-year-old is an advocate of applying and liberally reapplying face oils when flying—especially because they’re so multifunctional.

“I love a face oil because I can put it on my cuticles, too,” she says. “And if I don’t have access to my face oil, I’m actually putting on lip balm on my cuticles. I’m that person that’s really annoying sitting beside you who’s doing this and doing that.”

Consume Collagen

Having been diagnosed with Celiac disease at a young age, Brodeur understands the correlation between your visage and what you eat. In addition to striving for a balanced diet filled with whole foods and healthy fats, she consumes collagen—a protein that improves skin elasticity, helping it to look more radiant and youthful, among other benefits—on the daily.

You can find collagen available in capsule forms, though Brodeur prefers the powder stick packs from the Vancouver-based WithinUs, which she takes on the go and mixes with water. (And gifts to almost all her clients.) “I really like it because it’s sort of a really healthy version of Gatorade,” she explains. “It’s got a lot of the good stuff in there that you would have after a workout, like minerals and the collagen. It’s replenishing. When I travel, I always make sure to have at least one on my flight.”

Stay Very, Very Hydrated

A combination of dry air, alcohol and sodium-packed meals on a flight can zap the moisture from skin, so it’s important to knock back plenty of H2O to keep your visage quenched.

If you can, Brodeur recommends skipping the airplane snacks and bringing your own as well. “It’s about going from the inside out right?” she says. “So I’m that woman on the plane who’s drinking lots of water and has her little walnuts, almonds, fresh veggies.”

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