The most popular celebrity beauty travel hack is a big fat lie.

Read any interview with a big celebrity and there’s at least an 82 per cent* chance they’ll share the same travel beauty trick – a face mask on the plane to keep their skin hydrated in the dry cabin conditions.

Sounds simple, right? Wrong. So wrong.

How do I know? Well I found out the hard way. I decided to take their advice and give it a go myself on a recent flight. A long-haul flight. I felt quite smug, to be honest.

I’d packed a celeb-approved sheet mask in my hand luggage, got out my book and settled into my seat. I was basically Margot Robbie.

It was about five seconds after applying it that a major flaw quickly became apparent.

Scaring children

A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on

You see, I’m willing to bet my (very paltry) savings that these celebrities are not flying economy. In economy you’re shall we say ‘cozy’ with your next-seat neighbour. In fact, you’re probably closer to them than you’ve ever been with anyone voluntarily. Which makes it, erm, quite awkward when all of a sudden they turn to you, maybe to ask you to stop hogging the arm rest, and see you wearing a sheet mask that makes you look like a serial killer.

So there I am, on what will be a 14 hour journey, doing my best horror film character impression to the poor (and bemused) man who had the misfortune to sit next to me.

Needless to say it came off quite quickly. My face was burning – and not from any of the skincare ingredients..

What these celebrities really should disclose when they share this ‘hack’ is that they’re most likely in business or first class, in their own cubicle bigger than my bedroom, where no-one can really see them. Maybe they even have the whole plane to themselves.


Because no-one, no-one, looks good in a sheet mask. It’s almost as bad as that moment when you’re at the hairdressers after having your hair washed and you look in the mirror and see an actual frog.


(Just me? Ok.)

When the flight was finally over, it was time for a five hour drive to our next destination. Bliss. My lack of face mask – and hydration generally – had left my skin feeling super dry. So feeling a little braver now I was no longer surrounded by strangers, I slapped on another face mask.

What you forget when you’re in the safety of a car is that a) there are still people around in the hundreds of cars that pass you in the surrounding lanes and b) windows are exactly that – you can see through them.

travelling beauty hacks
Why are people looking at me like I'm a serial killer? Image: Supplied.

I’m sure my innocent gazing out the window with my serial killer, I mean sheet mask on my face caused at least 12 shocked and horrified reactions from fellow car passengers. Probably not best for road safety, hey?

Fortunately there is a solution. Your skin doesn’t have to become drier than a stale chocolate cake just so you can go on holiday. Leave the sheet masks to pre-award ceremony prep (celebs) or self-care evenings (the rest of us) and instead opt for leave-on cream or gel-textured masks that you can apply and forget about without rude stares from strangers.

Alternatively, make like Miranda Kerr and Cate Blanchett and use a hydrating mist instead. Perhaps even offer your seat neighbour a spritz.

Don’t give a damn? Wear the sheet mask. Get that glowing skin.

I’ll be the woman two rows back looking on at you (and your skin) with utter jealousy and admiration. Legend..

*definitely not a completely made up number.

Plane-proof hydrating masks and creams.

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, $56

Palmers Coconut Oil Hydrating Facial Mask, $9.98

Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist, $54.99

Nip + Fab Bee Sting Deluxe Moisturising Cream, $29.99
Tatcha The Water Cream, $99

Brittany Stewart is a freelance beauty writer who is constantly looking for a face mask that will fix all her problems, skincare and otherwise. (In the comfort of her own home, of course). She’s the founder of the It’s A Beauty! Newsletter. Find her on Instagram @brittanybts