You’ve seen the photos; jet setters in first class donning sheet masks before catching some beauty winks. Something about doing the most self-care-wise whilst traveling the world feels not only very luxe, but borderline necessary. After all, flying is incredibly dehydrating. But how much does masking on a plane really help?
First, let’s address why we get so dehydrated when we fly. Planes do their best to be a sterile environment (thank you very much) so their filtration systems operate with very low humidity in the cabin. This means that the water in your skin evaporates quicker, leaving you thirsty from the inside out.
I think it goes without saying that you should probably never, ever do a clay mask on a plane. You’re already losing so much water through your skin, you don’t need the powerful drawing properties of clay sucking out any more moisture from your pretty little face. But what you might not know is that misting is counterintuitive too.
“Save your hydrating mask for the hotel.”
Due to the low humidity, water evaporates quickly from the surface of your skin. When you mist, you’re inviting that moisture on your face to evaporate just as quickly, often drawing more of the moisture from inside the dermis outward. This ultimately leaves you more dehydrated than if you had skipped the mist, even if you feel damp to the touch immediately after.
We promise you’re not doomed to dehydration! Many sheet masks are soaked in serums with a thicker viscosity than a spray. If you’re trying to truly hydrate in-flight, the best course of action is to mist and then immediately put on a sheet mask to lock in that moisture. But don’t stop there! Get a silicone sheet mask cover to layer over your mask so that precious moisture doesn’t evaporate. These covers are washable and reusable, so you can rinse it in the sink after use and pack it away for next time. They’ll prevent evaporation of not only the product, but of your own skin moisture. We don’t recommend using them against bare skin though — you will likely just trap dirt and bacteria against your skin if you’re not cleansed and moisturizing.
As for timing? It’s best to do this in the last 30 minutes of your flight to prevent evaporation after the fact, and follow up with an emollient moisturizer. If you’re just hoping to stash a single sheet mask in your carry-on and call it a day, we say just skip it all together and save your hydrating mask for the hotel.