December 8, 2018

9 tips from Emirates crew on how to apply makeup

Emirates lipstick lesson

Emirates lippy lesson

I managed get into the Emirates Airline crew training school in Dubai and learned their secret 9 tips for make up application – and wrote it down (below) so you can look as polished as they do!


So here I am standing in the class room at Emirates Training School where 14 women and two 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.

Emirates cleansing routine

The blokes learn the cleansing routine so they don’t look 50 by the end of a year’s flying!

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 five of seven 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 two 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.

Emirates school eyeliner

The clean eyeliner sweep is harder than you think

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!


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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, says Gabi.

Emirates make up lesson

Playing with Clarins

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 alone, 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 are losing the battle, he says.

Here are 9 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.
Emirates classroom

One of these things is not like the others

If you’re off to Dubai soon, you might like my post on 6 great things to do there >>

About Megan Singleton

Megan Singleton

Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday and I write for a few newspapers and mags from time to time. I set off on this travel writing journey 19 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!

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