Taking a flight messes with a lot more than your sleep pattern and nerves—it's a total skin predator. In fact, you're prone to losing one and a half liters of water on just a three-hour flight due to the relative humidity of the plane cabin, which can plummet as low as 10% to 15% (for reference, the average room in a home is 30% humidity). Think about a water bottle, for example. If you sip some of it on a plane and then descend to a lower altitude, you've probably noticed that the bottle has crumpled up.
The same thing is essentially happening to your skin, which is frightening, to say the least.
The logical thing to do internally is to drink the water you're losing—the Aerospace Medical Association suggests taking in eight ounces of water for every hour that you're airborne. However, your skin could really use some external love, especially since there's a lack of research supporting whether or not drinking water actually hydrates the largest organ in your body. We know this because of science but also from scrolling through Instagram and seeing our favorite Korean beauty experts sharing photos of themselves sheet-masking in-flight (so often, in fact, we're surprised #planesheetmask isn't a thing).
It's as if they've gotten in-flight hydration down to a regimented schedule, and given the fact these women continue to glow when they touch down in whichever city they land, we needed to know their carry-on essentials.
"I like to bring these Sally's Box Collagen Eye Patches. They don't slide down your face, and they're so hydrating. I prefer this over sheet-masking my entire face because sometimes wearing an entire sheet mask on the plane can get a bit messy!
"Lastly, I like to go hands-free with my skincare on the flight (because even washing my hands in the bathroom does not make me feel clean), so misting my skin with a moisturizing mist like the Moisture Barrier Mist from Goodal helps me to seal in some hydration for the long flight."
"[My] must-have in-flight items are great cleansing wipes to remove makeup or creams before doing an in-flight routine. Love the Ariul Stress Relieving Purefull Cleansing Tissues for that, as they're so gentle and refreshing and dissolve makeup. Then, a great toner!
"After I tone, I like to use a sheet mask. They lock in moisture and allow you to travel without missing a beat. The Peach Slices Hydrate Mask is perfect for that. I like to double-layer with the Peach Slices Aqua Jelly Lip Mask and the Elisha Coy Snail Hydrogel Eye Patch and do the sheet mask over it all.
"My final travel step is to seal all the skincare in with a very hydrating moisturizer. The Peach Slices Citrus Honey Aqua Glow is TSA-friendly and locks in moisture but is comfortable and light on."
"Airplane air is 50% fresh and 50% recirculated air and has a humidity of around 12% to 15%," says Chang, co-founder of Glow Recipe. This humidity level is drier than many deserts and will sap essential moisture from your skin, leaving it looking dry and rough." Before boarding the plane, she likes to wash her face with a powder cleanser: "Leak-proof, easy to slip in your carry-on and with the versatility to be used as an exfoliator if needed." Afterward, she applies an emollient eye cream, and then a hydrating serum with nourishing ingredients and humectants such as hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate.
Finally, in lieu of a cream, she uses a sleeping mask—you can layer them on a little thicker than usual since you'll need the extra hydration in-flight.
"We also like to keep a refreshing mist handy to keep rehydrating the face throughout the flight as needed and a nourishing lip balm," says Lee, the other co-founder of Glow Recipe. About 45 minutes before landing, she likes to spritz her face generously with the mist, and then wipe it off gently with a tissue or cotton pad to rehydrate and prep skin. She then applies a hydro-gel sheet mask for 10 to 15 minutes to intensively infuse hydrating and nourishing ingredients into her skin, which will help leave it looking dewier.
"After removing the mask, reapply eye cream, serum, and moisturizer so that skin is hydrated and luminous," she says.