Flight attendants are not only required to carry out their jobs efficiently but also look highly presentable while serving plane customers.
They have to follow numerous rules regarding their appearance and some of them date back to the heyday of travel.
Female cabin crew have to wear lipstick and blusher “as a minimum,” according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
This has not changed since the 1960’s, as a former flight attendant revealed in an interview with British Airways.
Wendy Barlow, who served with the forerunner to British Airways, BOAC, explained that during training they had a visit from Elizabeth Arden who taught them how to apply makeup.
British Airways remains stringent with its cabin crew requirements even today in order for its staff to fit their “corporate image”.
The British Airways Uniform Wearers Guide even details which shades of lipstick are required. The colours are required to “compliment the colours of the uniform”.
Three example shades shown in the guide include nude, a red with blue undertones and dark pink.
Female cabin crew are required to use a face powder in order to set their make-up for the day and use blusher.
Clear skin is also demanded. “Obvious blemishes should be concealed wherever possible,” the guide states.
They even mandate how make-up should be applied: “When choosing a foundation use a base to suit your skin type and blend evenly.”
Mascara and eyeliner are also non-negotiable. “Complete the eyes with eyeliner and mascara to achieve a natural look,” says the guide.
Heavy eyeliner is not permitted and only a complimentary shade of eye shadow is allowed.
Eyebrows are expected to be “well-groomed and maintained” and if false eyelashes are worn they should “be a natural length and compliment the wearer’s hair colour.” Teeth are required to be clean and not stained.
British Airways’ beauty rules extend beyond the face of the female cabin crew.
Much attention is expected to be paid to hand care. “This is where we can show our attention to detail,” says the guide.
Hands are to be kept “clean, well-cared for and manicured”. Just as with lipstick, colours of nail-varnish are strictly regulated.
The guide provides just four types of varnish allowed: “Clear natural shade, French manicure, shades of pink, shades of red (including red noir and other deep shades of red).” Nail art is not permissible.
While women are undeniably given the most beauty rules to follow in BA’s guide, there are still some regulations in place for male flight attendants.
“Obvious blemishes and skin conditions should be concealed wherever possible with concealer only,” BA instructs. They also caution against getting make-up on the shirt and tie.
The guide also states: “Orange skin tones are not permitted,” which doesn’t feature in the female section of the guide.
Men are not allowed to wear false eyelashes but they are expected to keep their hands “well-cared for and manicured.”
However, beauty rules are also in place on budget airlines. A spokeswoman from Thomas Cook Airlines told Express.co.uk that, for their female cabin crew, “a minimum of tinted moisturiser/foundation, lipstick, mascara, blusher/bronzer which complements both skin tone and the overall look of the uniform must be applied”.
They must “ensure that a professional business-like appearance is achieved. Make-up containing glitter, bright or gaudy colours must not be used. Professionally applied and natural looking lashes are permitted.”
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