The Discreet Inflight Skincare Routine

Words by Alex Falconer

Photography by Cristina Gareau

You’ve seen the photos: women around the world wearing sheet masks while travelling. As much as I’d love to be part of this uninhibited group, the thought of wearing a sheet on my face while a stranger sits next to me on a plane is just too much for my introverted soul to bear. So instead, I’ve rounded up a simple yet effective inflight skincare routine that you can go about without all the stares.

Steam or Cleanse

Our CEO Sara Panton taught me that you can ask a flight attendant for a warm, damp towel. Once you have it, just add 2 drops of Grapefruit and 2 drops of Geranium essential oil to the fabric. Hold it up close to your face and breathe deeply—it will help cleanse the skin and open the pores. The Grapefruit is especially great for reducing any excess oil your skin is producing, while the Geranium is balancing. Plus, it smells heavenly. This also works as a cleansing wipe if you can only get your hands on a cool, damp towel.


Misting yourself on a plane feels GOOD. I find that on top of feeling dry, my skin can also become red and extra sensitive when I’m flying. That’s why I opt for a spritz of cooling, non-alcoholic witch hazel—it’s super cheap (a 12-ounce bottle costs around $14) and buying a bigger bottle means you can refill your travel size mist bottle as you go. Pick your scent and you’re good to go.


Once you’ve toned, it’s super important to restore the moisture in your skin. Just bringing along your current moisturizer will do, but I love to use an extra-hydrating one when flying, like Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer Rich, Avène’s Skin Recovery Cream, or Tata Harper’s Repairative Moisturizer.


You don’t need to forget the plane mask completely—perhaps you just need a more subtle one. I love the eye and lip masks from KNC Beauty. With cute little patterns and a fairly neutral colour palette, these are way more discreet than a full-faced sheet mask. Just maybe don’t wear them at the same time if you’re still wanting to go incognito.


The last step in my routine is hydrating my lips. I’ve found that Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask does a great job of keeping my lips moisturized. It has just the right consistency (thick, but still creamy and spreadable) and feels incredibly soothing. Since it’s a mask, you can apply it at takeoff and don’t need to worry about reapplying throughout your flight.

And most importantly, stay hydrated. None of this is worth anything unless you’re downing at least one litre of water on a short-haul flight. I like to buy Smartwater because the bottle is skinny enough to fit inside the seat pocket in front of you (the more you know).