This Insta-Famous Face Mask Saved My Post-Flight Skin

As a beauty writer, my skincare is precious and I refuse to let timezones and jetlag scupper an otherwise carefully crafted routine. When I travel, I arm myself with an arsenal of hydrating products, ready to take on the airplane cabin pressure that sucks the life and soul from my skin. I shed all self-consciousness in the name of a glowing complexion and liberally apply said products throughout the journey – it certainly makes my cheap-as-chips Ryanair flight feel slightly more luxurious.
My trusty Trilogy Rosehip Oil and Mario Badescu Facial Mist usually provide enough moisture to keep my skin fresh and plump for landing, but upon hearing that Summer Fridays' cult Jet Lag Mask was launching in the UK – just in time for a holiday to New York – I decided it was time to up my game.
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Most press releases about new-in beauty products include the word 'cult' and while the majority should be taken with a pinch of salt, it's fair to say this mask has such a following. The brand, founded by Lauren Gores Ireland and Marianna Hewitt, has 47.4k Instagram followers, and women like Jessica Alba and Kim Kardashian-West, who it's safe to assume spend a lot of time on private jets, are out-and-out fans.
The brand statement says that the "uber-dewy, hydrating mask soothes thirsty, stressed-out skin" and promises to "upgrade your skin to a business-class complexion". I may not have flown business class, but I've felt knackered since my flight, trying to catch up on the five-hour time difference between New York and London – so it was the perfect time to road test the product.
The white, thick, rich formula might not suit acne-prone and oilier skin types, but it melted quickly into a clear, light finish on my combination skin. I massaged a thin veil all over my freshly cleansed face, and waited 10 minutes before wiping it off with a hot washcloth. For a mask that is only on for a short amount of time, my skin felt bright and soft, rather than the typical holy trinity of jetlag: grey, dull and lifeless.
This is most likely due to the chestnut extract – a superhero ingredient, thanks to its natural exfoliation – sloughing away dead skin. The mask also contains vitamin C (about which I will wax lyrical until the cows come home), an antioxidant that brightens and acts like a moisture magnet. Niacinamide, an industry buzz ingredient, is also included. It's a compound of vitamin B3 and works hard to minimise pores as well as reduce fine lines. Finally, green tea works to bring down the puffiness you'll be familiar with post-flight – and because the brand encourages you to use the mask around your eye area, it's good for tired peepers, too.
I'm wary of Insta-famous skincare, and am growing tired of the sans-serif-font-and-pastel-hued packaging that all new beauty brands seem to have, but I was pleasantly surprised by this nifty tube. The cruelty-, sulphate- and paraben-free formula is vegan and has no synthetic fragrance, which is all good news. (Personally, I didn't like the smell; I prefer heady scents from essential oils, and it's a bit too similar to the minty tang of Colgate for my tastes.) At £42, it isn't super affordable but the tube is big so it'll certainly last, as a little goes a long way. But I won't be keeping it stashed away for my next flight – I think it'd wake up my skin after a festival or heavy night just as well.
Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, £42, available exclusively at Cult Beauty
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