So there I am standing in the class room at Emirates Training School in Dubai where 14 women and 2 men are about to learn about skin care and makeup.
I’m introduced to the class as the travel blogger and Gabi, the instructor has done a fine job of stalking me the day before and proceeds to launch a welcome slide show with a collection of images of me! Some I haven’t seen for about 10 years. I fear he may be a better stalker than me, and that’s saying something.
They wiggle around the U-shaped table and make room for me to sit down and learn a trick or two about the effects of flying on the skin and how to combat it.
These eager young things are on week 5 of 7 to join the other 16,000 Emirates crew in the skies wearing coffee coloured eyes and Emirates hot red lips. The blokes, thinking they can switch their brains off for the makeup lesson, are instructed to pay close attention because in 2 years when they are managers on the plane and the next pretty girl comes through without the correct application of eyeliner or blusher, they’ll need to tell them how to apply it.
They sit up, already having been challenged to adopt an 8-step cleansing, toning, oil, shaving, moisturising, aftershave regime which has left them reeling. The biggest tip seems to be applying oil to the face before shaving to avoid a rash.
But the terrifying fact I learned was that every night you fall into bed with your makeup on, you age your skin 14 days! That’s enough to send one screaming into the nearest department store for a bottle of cleanser right there. And when you moisturise, warm it up in your hands like a good cognac and press it into the face.
Gabi Khairallah, from Lebanon, has been flying for 18 years and is a part time trainer in skin care. He’s probably in his 50s but looks about 36, so he must be doing something right. In fact he confided he spends almost all his salary on products. Flying dehydrates the skin and then when you land in Moscow at -2˚, then back to Dubai at 45˚, then off to London at 10˚ it plays havoc on the little cells trying to regenerate but losing the battle.
I’m sold. In my Duty Free I now have a bottle of cleanser and a spendy day cream that promises to reverse me into a youth.
11 Emirates tips for applying makeup:
- Start with concealer to get rid of those dark circles and other blemishes
- Foundation – “you can’t build a building without a foundation”, says Gabi. Apply your liquid foundation with a sponge, brush or your fingers
- Powder – this is all I do actually!
- Eyebrows – “we want to see two eyebrows”. Monos are unacceptable on Emirates, FYI.
- Eye shadow – Emirates colours are all about coffee. “If we get confused, think Costa”, Gabi helpfully reminded them.
- The Costa staff café covers all the colours from latte to mocha.
- Eyeliner or kohl in Arabic. You can apply this on top and bottom or just one.
- Mascara – compulsory make up item!
- Blusher – only use pink or peach. “Bronze will make you look like a mummy.”
- Lip pencil/lipstick. This must be “Emirates red” but the brand is up to each individual. They’re advised to take their scrunchy with them when trying on as the same red on one girl will look different than on another.