Never Spray Water On Your Face!

By Minji

  • Many of us intuitively think that spraying water on our face should add moisture to dry skin - unfortunately, it’s exactly the opposite
  • If you must use facial mists, it’s important to make sure it’s not just water and also contains hydrating ingredients to lock in moisture 
  • For travel, instead of facial mists, try carrying hydrating eye masks!  

Back in the day, if you were lucky enough to get on the right KoreanAir flight, as a special treat, you would get a little spray bottle filled with mineral water from Jeju Island.  I hate flying but I loved those little sprays.  On long flights from New York to Seoul and back, where my skin would often feel dried out and tired, I would reach for the bottle and constantly spray water mist all over my face hoping for a pick me up.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen those spray bottles on flights though – they seem to have disappeared entirely.  I wonder if it’s because airline executives finally learned that spraying water on your face in-flight can actually dry it out even more. 

Many of us intuitively think that spraying water on our face should add moisture to our dry skin.  Unfortunately, it’s exactly the opposite.  Dr. Yoon explains it’s the same reason your body feels moist after taking a shower, but after the water evaporates, it gets drier. Similarly, spraying or misting water on your face will only hydrate your skin temporarily and ultimately make it dry out, especially in-flight where the air is particularly dry and stale. 

If you must use facial mists, it’s important to make sure it’s not just water and also contains hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or aloe vera, which help lock in moisture.  My skincare advice when it comes to travel is actually to stay away from facial mists in general and use something more robust and soothing to combat the extremely dry and stale environment you’ll find on most flights.

Taking a step back, the first tip for travel and skincare is to try to fly makeup free if you can.  If your skin ever needs help breathing, in-flight is probably the time and clogging pores with makeup is not ideal.  Hopefully you’re boarding your flight with a freshly washed makeup free face and rich moisturizer on already.  If you happen to be travelling in the daytime, remember to use sunscreen too. UV rays are much harsher at higher altitudes and can lead to greater skin damage during flights.  If I’m scheduled to land during the day, I also always make sure to have sunscreen in my carryon bag and apply right before I deplane. 

Second, instead of facial mists, try carrying moisturizing single-use eye masks with you for longer journeys.  For the longest time, I would see advice to do a full face mask on flights and this would irritate me.  Honestly, how many of us would actually do that?  Even if you’re super thick-skinned and don’t care about everyone staring at you, it’s hugely inconvenient.  Sheet face masks are typically drenched in fluids and can get really messy.  You also probably need a mirror to put it on.  Then you need to get up again to take it off, throw it away, put on your other skincare products, etc.  Way too much of a hassle even for skincare junkies like me. 

That’s where these tiny eye masks really shine – I put a couple under my eyes and also anywhere that needs a moisture boost like my forehead, cheeks or neck even.  These are great not just for flights, but anytime you need a hydration boost but feel too lazy to do a proper maskitation session.    

In addition, you should also ensure that you drink enough water and carry moisturizer, hand cream and lip balm with you always.  Make sure the skincare products you choose to carry on board come in convenient packaging so you’re not having to scoop cream out of a jar with dirty fingers.  With the recent social-distancing measures I know it seems like travel is a faint distant memory, but sure enough we'll be back at it again so make sure you're well prepared!