If you're lucky, you'll never have to sit next to me on a flight. Picture the worst flier you know, the stranger who cries, prays, and clutches your hand from their middle seat. That's me! The friendly skies terrify me so much that just looking up stock plane photos for this post made me break out in hives. Luckily, I've found the beauty equivalent of a Xanax, and now I won't travel without it.
When the MegRhythm Gentle Steam Eye Mask ($10 for seven) entered my life in October of last year, I wasn't expecting much. Its '90s packaging features a reclining model wearing the mask, which feels decidedly less exciting than its gold foil sheet masks and cute animal-shaped counterparts. I foolishly thought that the no-frills MegRhythm option couldn't hold a flame to the others. Then I, a shining beacon of maturity, thought it would be a good idea to stay out all night with friends before heading straight to JFK for a 7 a.m. flight to Denver. By the time I boarded my flight, it felt as though there was 98 percent tequila running through my veins. It was time for a mask — any mask. I ripped the Gentle Steam out of its box and popped it over my eyes. Before I knew it, the mask was steaming, adding a light pressure of heat and subtle lavender scent. The sensation transported me to exactly where I wanted to be — bundled up under my comforter, safe at home — right as my airbus was about to shoot up 40,000 feet.
Now, any time I fly (or get on a bus, plane, and, in some instances, Uber), I make sure to bring along one of these. There's probably a reason 500 million of them have sold in Japan — the 10-minute treatment destresses both your eyes and your soul. If you stare at a computer for a long period of time at work, I also recommend stashing some of these to combat that 3 p.m. slump when you just can't focus on an LED screen any more. I am no longer that anxious girl you fear sitting next to on a plane — I might still fall asleep on you though.