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Nicole Chikwe: The Skincare Travel Guide for the #IJustGotBack Ladies!

Nicole Chikwe



Nicole Chikwe - BellaNaija - December 2015

Hello beauty lovers. Let me just start off by saying I know I’m constantly teasing the good people coming back for Christmas to disturb us here in Nigeria, but honestly it’s because I am so jealous that I haven’t been an ‘I Just Got Back’ babe in 7 years! My accent now has small K-leg and I have mosquito bites all everywhere. So, It’s all love!

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to when I used to come back to Lagos from England for the holidays. December was, and still is, the highlight of my entire social calendar. I would shop so my entire wardrobe was on ‘fleek’, and I would book my hair & nail appointments for the very day I arrive in Lagos so everything would be on point. My skin loves Autumn/Winter, so it would be nice and smooth. I always looked great coming back to Nigeria. But for some reason, after I land and spend a few hours, I would invariably end up with blemishes on my face.

It took me a long while to figure out that flying had extremely negative effects on my skin. Because the re-circulated air in the cabins are moisture free, the air draws our moisture from everything it touches. Leaving me with bad skin reactions.

If you have dry skin, your skin becomes even drier and if you have oily skin, your skin becomes even oilier (oily skin glands overreact to dehydration by producing more sebum than necessary.) In the end this makes your complexion look dull, old and could lead to breakouts which may not clear up in 2 weeks when the holidays are through.

But the devil is a liar! I have some tips and tricks to help you arrive at Murtala Mohammed International Airport with your precious skin relatively protected and looking great.


1) Take your makeup off
There’s a reason why celebrities wear hats and huge sunglasses at the airport – because they aren’t wearing any makeup. Even the ones that run to the bathroom as soon as they board to take everything off. Like I mentioned earlier, because your skin is dehydrated and stressed, leaving makeup in your pores is a terrible idea, especially when your flight lasts for over 6 hours. It makes your skin a breeding ground for bacteria if you have oily skin, and if you have dry skin, it makes your skin age faster.

However, I was always too self conscious to go bare faced to the airport because I would run into at least 4 people I knew there – and I wanted to look cute. I quickly learned, that if I must stunt on them at the airport with a face full of makeup, then I have to take it all off right before take off. If there happened to be a fine boy on the flight, I would put all my makeup back on before landing, just in case I “accidentally purposefully” run into him at baggage claim. Thankfully all those struggle days are over. Now, I just use a little tinted moisturizer on my face, some Vaseline on my lips and keep it moving.

2) Fly with your toiletries
Buy travel sized bottles of your beauty products in your regimen, or buy one of those cute travel sets with the tiny bottles and pots (Muji has a really great set), and decant what you will need for the flight.

I carry my regular cleanser, toner, moisturizer, serum and eye cream with me on every long haul flight. If I am flying during the day, I take my sunscreen too because I will be much closer to the sun, and will therefore need protection from UV Rays. No one ever thinks about this but using sunscreen is very important.

3) Generously apply serum and moisturizer
I use a moisture boosting serum called Hydraluron by Indeed Labs and it’s fantastic for oily skin like mine. It is however important to note that you can use any serum of your choice as long as it’s hydrating, and you apply it generously. If you use facial oils, then that should work fine as well.

I also use a heavier dose of moisturizer to keep my skin nourished throughout the flight. If you have normal/dry skin, when you notice it’s starting to dry out, just add another layer of moisturizer. I have really oily skin, so when it starts getting shiny, I just use blotting paper, then add a thin layer of moisturizer on my face.

It is also important that you not forget your lips. I find that my lips dry out fairly quickly on flights, so I reapply as often as needed. I’m a Vaseline (the one with cocoa butter) kind of girl, but I also use EOS lip balm.

4) Constantly use hand sanitizer
Planes are a playground for bacteria, so I make sure I use hand sanitizers to avoid putting any bad particles etc on my skin. This isn’t just a skincare tip actually, lots of people catch colds on the plane. Don’t spend your first few days in ‘Naij’ trying to recover from being ill. Keep your hands as clean as possible.

5) Hydrate
This is a tough one. Drink all the water that you are offered. I usually buy a 1.5 litre bottle of water at the airport to drink alongside the water I’m given during the flight. I know we all hate using the airplane toilets. But the benefits of staying hydrated far outweigh any unsanitary looking toilet. The skin is the last organ of the body to receive any hydration when you drink. So if you don’t drink enough, your skin suffers.


And that’s it! Hope this was helpful, and I wish everyone flying in a safe journey and a fabulous Christmas with family and friends. Don’t forget to share your tips for flying back home with perfect skin.

Nicole is an ex-model, a mother of two beautiful children, and the girl Naeto C raps about in “5&6” who kidnaps all his clothes. She is also a Beauty Enthusiast and Blogger- her website- -is An Insider’s Guide to Beauty Secrets, Not-So-Secrets and Everything In-Between.


  1. Ross

    December 15, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks doll 🙂

    • Surely

      December 20, 2015 at 11:36 am

      Naijas and self hate lol
      So which accent did she have before she went to the uk ??? The k leg naija one abi… Only 4 years abroad and u want to collect britico as default accent


    December 15, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Nice one

  3. Josephine

    December 15, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Nice and practical.

  4. zoey

    December 15, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    On point!! Went back to Nigeria for the first time since i left when i was a child, I hated my skin, felt ugly, mosquitoes just loved my skin, i scratched them and it was horrible!!! Couldn’t wear makeup much because I have oily skin and I got cheated a lot. As for dressing to stunt, hair on fleek , makeup up fleek , etc …. , its just too stressful, sometimes I do succumb to it but it is stressful!!! Naija girls don’t joke at all, I felt some sort of pressure , just felt out of place, miss the UK!!
    I ‘ll make sure to be better prepared when next I go to Nigeria again 🙂

  5. DD

    December 15, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Very helpful tips.

  6. Duchess Maria

    December 15, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    I really like Nicole, she seems like such a really funny and cool chick. Love your blog too girl!

    Great tips. I am definitely guilty of wearing makeup to fly for the same reasons you mentioned above and by landing time, my skin is looking a dull, oily mess. Now these days I have learned to just bone up and go bare faced, not even even tinted moisturizer makes the cut. Not everyday on fleek, sometimes let my pores breathe. Big sunglasses always to the rescue.

    When I’m meeting someone at the airport or know I’ll run into people I know, I either apply a light coat of mac powder right before landing, or when we land I make a beeline for the ladies and do a quick and light makeup look.

  7. Angel

    December 15, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Love love this article, so real and spot on!

  8. fleur

    December 15, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    I had to ask “REALLY?” The recirculated air has impact on skin condition? Hmm. Where is the scientific evidence for that? I think the problem is makeup and sebum that has been on the skin for more than 8 hours. So your recommendation to fly free without makeup is okay.
    Finally, what is wrong with an acne bump or two? Your advisory sounds uber vain; as if life ends when one has a bump or two. Since when did we create standards that defy nature? I worry oh. Me I no care if I have a bump or two. It is life. Anyway, even if your goal for December travel was to locate a husband, no man wants a woman whose face is flawless whenever he sees her during dating but then he encounters bumps in the years of marital bliss. Just be yourself Nigerian girls and stop forming.. Who will love you and die for you will love and die for you irrespective of which creature you think you look like.

    • Bolu

      December 16, 2015 at 6:11 am

      Hian! epistle.

    • Ada_ugo

      December 16, 2015 at 9:56 am

      you’re hardly making any sense.

    • baby oku

      December 16, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      gosh if this was a respond to the article up there then ur comment is stupid… do people even reason? …cant deal abeg

  9. hmmmmm

    December 16, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Very practical advice. Thanks you so much x

  10. Amh

    December 16, 2015 at 2:04 am

    Shes gorgeous

    • Bolu

      December 16, 2015 at 6:15 am

      She sure is and seems to have a calm refreshing personality.

  11. Nuellavista

    December 16, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Don’t I just love you @ Nicole…
    I love the way you said it all leaving no pretence especially at “thank God those days are over”. Recently I came into Lagos for my sisters wedding and even though I stayed for a week, I could tell the oil on my skin was beginning to fry some hot chin chin…chai! . Ive been away for 4years and somehow my skin has forgotten what it feels like to be under the sun especially when we landed Muritala Airport and that very hot and still air greeted me.
    All through my stay in Lagos, I constantly had my bathe with cold water as I could not stand the heat, perhaps if I knew all these tips I would have prepared for both take off and landing . To my greatest surprise, I was horrified to see how my skin had degenerated after I arrived back at London city airport…
    My bestie constantly teased my new skin tone and constantly reminded me that after all Orange is the new Black!!!
    Note to Self… Touch down Lagos in the night, that way you won’t need make up or sunglasses .

  12. Abena

    December 16, 2015 at 7:04 am

    I like her…she’s cool like that and her tips resonates with most on how you always want to look like a million bucks at the airport. .,

  13. Anonymous

    December 16, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Love this!

  14. ij

    December 16, 2015 at 11:13 am

    good tips
    i almost always travel overnight when i come to Nigeria, so no need for make up, when i am sitted , i trick my body into thinking i’m at home by going through the same routine that i would before bed time , wrap my hair , cleanse , moisturize, complete with acne treatment

    When we are about to land , i just simply wash my face , moisturize and look forward to the not so pleasant baggage retreival episode at MMA, i’m usually too focused on that to bother about makeup that early in the day

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