In the beauty blogosphere, nothing is more aspirational than an extensive (and expensive) in-flight skincare ritual. From serums and mists to facial oils and masks, the implication of these multi-step formulas is that if you let your skin go unattended on a long-haul flight, you will reach your destination in a semi-reptilian state.
Few elements of the in-flight skincare routine demand as much attention as the sheet mask. The perfect skin-deep symbol of our self-care-imbued, late-capitalist times, donning a face mask at one’s seat has become somewhat of a thing, with celebrities like Busy Philipps and Chrissy Teigen regularly posting about it on social media.
If you’re going to break out a Hannibal Lecter-like face mask in public, then a pressurized and dehumidified cabin seems like the most appropriate place for it. While Into the Gloss–level beauty routines may seem absurd to mere mortals, you can’t deny that moisturizing mid-flight makes you a happier human on the other side. And, keeping in mind the perennial debate around which forms of personal grooming are socially acceptable on an airplane—you absolutely cannot clip your toenails—smoothing a goopy yet cooling mask onto your face seems reasonable.
Of course, it helps that face-masking celebrities are most commonly flying in more premium, and thus more private, seats; a sheet mask might even afford them discretion that their bare, recognizable face doesn’t. If, like me, you are down with masking in coach, but wary of the unwanted attention, there are options. You could try an invisible mask, like K-beauty entrepreneur Christine Chang. Or, an under-eye patch mask, which is just as hydrating but less Halloween-ready.
Really, the sheet mask’s foray into the public sphere of an aircraft cabin is a welcome development. Though many are pricy, plenty cost less than an in-flight beverage, making them an everyman’s upgrade.