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Travel industry news

09 Jul 2014

BY TTG Staff


Virgin Atlantic's experts show TTG how to look good after a 10-hour flight

The airline’s elite styling team gave us a makeover – and we grilled them for their tips on looking good in the air


The experts

  • Helen Kavanagh, hairdressing training instructor
  • Mim Allgood, salon training instructor
  • Nichola Sherriff, uniforms standards manager


How long does hair need to be to make a bun?

It’s hard to give an ideal length. Here at Virgin Atlantic we like to be creative with our hair and don’t limit ourselves with just a bun. We do use faux hair if needed to give us the extra length but nothing is impossible.


How many practice buns on average before a crew member is proficient?

The aim of our styling classes is to show quick and achievable hairstyles of course practice is key but our crew amaze me with what they can do with their hair.


Is long hair encouraged?

We have no preference with hair length. We like to see well-groomed hair regardless of length. You can wear your hair as short as you like to as long as you like however once it’s past the base of your collar we ask that it is dressed up for work.


Do crew sleep with their hair still up?

On longer flights crew do get a period of rest. Most crew tend to sleep with their hair up and tidy it up when they wake.


What’s your hairspray of choice?

I am privileged to work with great brands like Bumble & Bumble & Philip Kingsley. However we show professional ranges & like for like off the high street. Off the high street I love good old Elnett it’s a firm classic when it comes to hairspray. It’s a personal choice and very much down to the individual.


Hair products are forever changing at the moment. I really like hair powders – they are great for adding softness and texture to the hair making it easy when dressing hair for work.


How do you avoid onboard hair frizz?

Pack a silk scarf in your hand luggage and pop it over your headrest or pillow it’s a great for holding your style in place and works as a great antistatic. Another great tip is pop a tumble drier sheet in your handbag and stroke downwards on your hair shaft. It works great as an antistatic & has a lovely fresh smell.


What’s Virgin Atlantic’s beard policy – are men allowed stubble?

No, stubble isn’t allowed. Research has shown that some passengers perceive stubble as being untidy. Therefore we ask that gentlemen have a clean-shaven face or their chosen beard design for work. Facial hair is very welcome, we just ask that facial hair whatever their design may be - beard, goatee, anchor or moustache etc - is grown on their days off.


Are there any banned hair colours or styles?

Male and female crew may colour their hair as long as it looks professional in appearance. We still need to remain approachable and welcoming to our customers so ask that primary colours and pastel colours are avoided.


How do crew keep their make-up looking so fresh after a 10-hour flight?

Preparation is key! The night before we recommend you exfoliate the skin and hydrate with a moisturising mask, lots of water and a good night’s sleep this will ensure that the next day your skin looks glowing, your make-up looks fresh and lasts longer.


Mineral based make-up is the best choice for a long flight so that not only do you get great coverage but also helps heal and protect. During the flight use Dr Haushka facial toner. This is a hydrating spritz that smells divine and also freshens tired skin and make-up.


“Everyone wears a red that suits their skin tone and they are confident wearing”


Do crew reapply make-up throughout flight or just once?

On long flights crew tend to go for a rest during the flight so this is a great opportunity for a quick touch up. They tend to apply Bareminerals Mineral Veil to help get rid of any shine and they always keep red lipstick nearby to refresh throughout the flight.


Does everyone wear the same shade of red?

No, everyone wears a red that suits their skin tone and they are confident wearing. During a styling class we show the crew lots of different shades of red and give them a chance to try them on and find the perfect red. They can wear balms, lip tints or stains as long as it is red so everybody feels confident and comfortable.


Are men encouraged to wear make-up?

No, men are encouraged to look well groomed this includes trimming nasal and ear hair but no make-up is required.


How big is the average flight attendant’s make-up bag?

Crew are always great packers so they can travel very lightly! We often have sample sizes of products and can also double up on our product uses to keep bags as light as possible. For example a bronzer can also be used as an eye shadow.


What would be a crewmember’s advice to a regular passenger about wearing make-up on a flight?

We recommend wearing the minimal amount – mineral base or BB cream, blusher and tinted lip balm and ideally remove it after take-off and apply a hydrating moisturiser and then reapply make-up before landing.


How many sets of uniform does a crewmember have?

A full time uniformed employee would receive two sets of suiting with an allocation of 4-5 blouses / shirts.


What happens if wine / coffee is spilt on white blouse / red skirt? Any tips for stain removal?

Our new uniform has actually had a nano finish applied which means any liquid spills should be repelled and easy [to remove]. There are a few tips for removing red wine, however onboard an aircraft you can sometimes be limited – first would to always be to dab the stain – not to rub. Then apply salt to the stain and this should absorb most of the wine. You can also neutralise with white wine.


“Our new uniform has actually had a nano finish applied which means any liquid spills should be repelled”


What’s the tights policy?

15 denier skin tone tights/stockings are to be worn in uniform. Support tights are fantastic when you fly.


How many shoes does a crewmember have?

A female crewmember is given two pairs of shoe – ‘Ground shoes’ and ‘Cabin shoes’. The ground shoes are the heeled shoes and are worn to and from the aircraft and once they board the aircraft they change into the flat cabin shoes. The shoes we supply are always leather and like all leather shoes, they soften over time. We would always advise our new cabin crew to wear them around the house with thick socks while on training to soften the leather.


Any tips for eliminating foot odour?

Place fresh orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime peel into the shoes. Fresh citrus peel has a great smell because of its essential oils.


Do hygiene factors come into play when preparing food?

Yes, of course. We don’t want hair hanging down when crew are serving food or bracelets dipping in food so many of our restrictions are put in place for this reason.

Virgin’s style rules

Do all cabin classes have same grooming rules?

Yes, everyone that wears a uniform has the same styling class and follows the same regulations.


Do all crew get ready together in a central area or in their own houses?

Crew get ready at home and travel to the airport in full uniform. We do have a crew lounges at Gatwick and Heathrow for any last minutes touch-ups.


How is styling enforced?

All crew attend a styling class when they start and are given a copy of Runway Magazine, which goes through all the regulations. The styling team are also always on the end of the phone or email to help with any questions or advice. The onboard managers always do a quick check of their team in the pre-light briefings to ensure everyone is up to styling standards.


What are the rules regarding fragrances, jewellery, visible tattoos and piercings?

Perfumes are permitted but there are some jewellery regulations. One pair of silver studs to be worn by females, bracelets can be worn but should be a link style chain that would break if caught and can’t have any hanging charms. Only two rings are allowed but no necklaces. All tattoos need to be covered by a plaster or make-up.

Quick tips: coping with make-up emergencies

  • Q-tips are great at cleaning any make-up accidents.
  • ‘Less is more’ mascara, blusher and red lips is the perfect look and you can never go wrong with this combination.
  • Use eyebrow shadow on the eyebrows rather than a pencil to get a softer more natural look.
  • If you have a fake tan disaster use bicarbonate of soda to strip the ‘orange’ away.
  • If red lipstick feels to strong, then mix with your favourite lip balm to soften the colour.
  • What are your top tips for keeping up appearances when flying long-haul? Let us know in the comment box below.
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