Over the years, I've come to enjoy the routine of flying. I go to the same restaurant in JFK (an Italian spot) and order a glass of wine with pasta, catch up on my latest Netflix show (currently, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), and amble over to the gate just in time to board the plane (I'm in no rush to get on first). The one thing I've always hated about flying, though, is that no matter what I do—shower before heading to the airport, wear my comfiest athleisure—I always feel icky the second I land.
I don't know if it's the cabin pressure or germy tray tables that are to blame, but stepping on the plane without some extra backup leaves my skin feeling sluggish and in some instances, smelly. So I decided to adopt a new routine: a lineup of products to keep my skin bright and fresh no matter how many hours I'm stuck in the air.
The team here at Food52 travels a lot, so I polled my colleagues to find out what they always keep in their carry-on. From rejuvenating sheet masks to a hand sanitizer that kills germs and moisturizes, here are 10 of our favorite in-flight essentials:
"I always bring a travel sized toothpaste, face lotion, and facial mist like this Mario Badescu Facial Spray with aloe, herbs, and rosewater in order to keep my skin hydrated," says Megan Güntaş, Food52's digital designer.
This recommendation from Laura Wolfgang, our senior product manager, is an ultra-rich moisturizing option (it is called "skin food," after all) for anyone whose skin gets a little dried-out after flying. Plus, the formula's been around for almost 100 years, so you know it's good.
Your hands need moisture too! This luscious vanilla hand cream from L'Occitane (another favorite of Güntaş) is made with shea butter, which means it will nourish even the most parched palms.
I have been buying Rosebud Salve for as long as I can remember, and swear by it to treat anything from chapped lips to rough elbows. I prefer the original formula, but it also comes in sweet-smelling flavors like mocha rose and strawberry.
Every dermatologist and aesthetician will tell you never to fall asleep with your makeup on, so why would you do it on a flight? These gentle makeup-removing wipes from Bioderma (a French pharmacy favorite) not only get rid of makeup, but also any grease or grime you may have picked up schlepping around the airport.
"Lavender body wipes for the win," says Liz Andrew, a senior retoucher at Food52. These individually packed wipes (they come in a pack of 24) are perfect for stepping off an overnight or long-haul flight smelling fresh as a daisy—actually, lavender.
"I'm a big plane sleeper, so I always have this Manta Sleep Mask, a Muji neck pillow (which can open up and double as a back pillow!), and Sennheiser Momentum headphones with me when I travel," says Wolfgang.
The second I wipe my face clean with one of those makeup-removing wipes, I always put some moisture back into my skin with a sheet mask. These ones from Dr. Jart+ come in a variety of options, depending on your skin type, but I'm partial to the Water Replenishment and Brightening Infusion masks. Sure, you might look a little silly, but a fresh face is worth it in my book.
"I always have this fancy Aesop hand sanitizer and their travel essential oils on hand when I fly," says Victoria Maynard, Food52's director of finance.
"I don't travel anywhere without Nuun," says Sarah Yaffa, our data analyst. These little drink tablets, which come in pocket-sized packs, are loaded with hydrating electrolytes and vitamins that'll replenish you after a long flight.
What items do you always pack in your carry-on? Tell us in the comments below!