The intersection of travel and wellness


Virgin Australia's Cabin Crew Reveals a Simple Secret to Looking Polished

Want to know a secret for looking more awake in five seconds? Put on some red lipstick.

I’ve been relying on this trick lately when 6 a.m. flights have me leaving the house at 4 a.m., which is plain too early to be doing anything, let alone thinking about makeup. 

Women in Virgin Australia’s cabin crew have mastered the art of looking polished. During a flight from LAX to Brisbane Airport last December, I remember each of the women looking completely camera-ready, even coming off a 13-hour overnight flight. 

Besides the cherry-red uniforms perfectly tailored to flatter each body type, and the airy amethyst scarves tied just so around their necks, each woman wore gorgeous matte red lipstick that pulled together their entire look. 

I had to ask: Can you share the brand and color of your lipstick, stat? (Please.) 

This was very important information I was after.

“It’s no particular brand, but needs to be a shade of red and complement their skin tone,” shares Mel Ward, public affairs manager with Virgin Australia.

Two favorites among the crew are MAC’s Ruby Woo and Russian Red, Ward says—an affordable choice, at $17.50 per tube. Aboard my flight, a crew member said she also swears by Shu Uemura’s red lipstick. The Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte (slightly pricier at $24) in Ambush Love looks strikingly close.

Talk about saving face.