I don’t know if it’s fully inevitable for every woman in her late 30s to become completely consumed by an increasingly complex skincare routine that promises to keep her looking 29 — okay, I’d settle for just looking my age, not older — but it seems to be something that has settled in with permanence to me and my female friend group, at least. We spend a LOT of time talking about skin care. I have a whole Slack channel and email thread dedicated to it with friends, and I’m embarrassed to share the amount of time I spend poking around on Reddit skincare threads (though to be honest the Reddit skincare and beauty subs are like college crash courses in skincare. Those internet peeps know their stuff.)

Anyhow, there’s a lot to skincare and to taking care of aging skin. Sunscreen is number one, but there are so many cleansing balms, toners, serums, retinols, actives, acids, moisturizers, occlusives. I’ve honestly basically learned a whole new dictionary’s worth of words and terms since I started thinking intensely about this stuff and experimenting.

But nevermind all that, though I could certainly write a short book on the experimentation I’ve gone through to figure out my particular routine and what I’ve learned works for me. What I’m here to talk about today is sheetmasks. Particularly, sheet masks on a plane.

For the uninitiated, sheet masks are simply sheets of cotton or paper with cut outs for your eyes, nose, and mouth, that have been soaked in a treatment or a serum that promises a particular benefit — generally hydration of some sort. You carefully drape the sheet mask on your face, lie down, absorb all the magical benefits for 15–30 minutes, take it off, pat the extra whatever that’s still goo-ing about on your face in, and voila, glowing face, ideally. If you need some visuals, here are me and three particular sheet masks that I would recommend, though, as you can see, I wouldn’t recommend wearing them in public, or around anybody you want to impress, or anybody you hope might one day have sex with you.

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(Not me, image from TheGloss.com)

These masks are from top to bottom, (that name is not exact but it’s something like that). This mask is 100% I think the best mask I’ve ever tried. Unfortunately it is also like $25 per mask. So I use it quite sparingly and before very special events.

The creepy ass penguin mask, called . It offers some of the same ingredients and benefits as the estee lauder one — hydration and hyaluronic acid. It’s not quite as good but it wasn’t bad, and you get to terrify small children.

The third mask is actually two things. The actual mask is the , which I enthusiastically recommend. Much cheaper than the Estee Lauder one but with much of the same effects. The I like to use if I want to keep the mask on a very long time, even overnight. It’s just a silicone mask holder that hooks over your ears to hold your sheet mask in place on your face.

Here I could perhaps insert how in the pursuit of beauty you end up often looking like a homicidal maniac — not even an attractive one — and isn’t that ironic, but I think the subtext on that is pretty much clear.

Anyways, clearly I’ve become comfortable with the concept of masking at home. It’s soothing, it’s fun, your skin is all refreshed afterwards, yay. But I think I’m ready for the next adventure. And that adventure is wearing a sheet mask on a plane.

Apparently this is actually a thing. If you’ve ever read a beauty blog, you’ve read about the idea of people doing it. In fact people are quite obsessed about their skincare routines on planes. The idea is that the air on a plane is particularly gross and drying, and in order to combat looking like the crypt keeper at the end of a long haul flight, you should be patting all manner of things on your face and perhaps even sheet masking in order to stay radiant and moisturized and not crepey and disgusting and why do you even think you deserve to experience the magic of flight, you peon.

So while I’ve read it’s a thing, I’ve never done it myself, and I’ve never seen it done. I was reminded of this fact in on , and I immediately was like, I would so read a post about how to properly face mask on a plane. Because I’m going to South Africa in October, a journey that will require two 10 hour flights, and if ever there were a time to be soaking my face in rejuvenating serums while flying 35,000 feet above the Atlantic, that seems like it.

But is there a way to do it without getting dragged off the plane like so many United passengers? A way to do it without your seatmeat inching uncomfortably away from you? A way to do it without the flight attendant thinking it’s okay to skip you over for that free glass of wine?

Probably no to all of the above, but I am going to try come October. I have one friend who flies often and does sheet mask and says this way to do it is this: Xanax. Sheet mask. Eye mask. Ear plugs. Wake up 10 hours later.

Which I think seems like a smart approach. But if you have any thoughts, recommendations or general sheet mask wisdom, my ears (and pores) are open.

Teaching awakening + healing through vulnerability + self-compassion. Finding hope in a messy world. Author of the Sunday Soother.

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