A Food Mask for a Food Traveler

sour cream face mask recipeNo matter what, food factors into everything I do.

Travel, work, play, politics, religion, health, business, family, love–you name it, my perspective is influenced by my relationship with food. No matter how distant the matter may be from food, some how I’ll work a tasty morsel into the subject line.

Even my pre-trip beauty regime is centered around food.

So before I leave for a trip to New Orleans* I thought I’d share with you a couple of food-based tricks I’ve found for keeping my skin happy and healthy before a long flight.

As you probably already know, taking a long flight can really dehydrate your skin. Drinking water is an obvious way to fight the affects of several hours in a pressurized cabin but moisturizing your skin before, during and after the flight is key.  So now that I’m getting older and my face is prone to drying out rather easily, I make sure to do a super-moisturizing mask before I arrive at the airport.

So before you hop that flight, be sure to open up your fridge and grab a few key ingredients to make a moisturizing mask.

What you’ll need:

  1. Water
  2. Herbs (if you like an aromatic steam)
  3. Honey (crystalized honey is even better)
  4. Sour Cream

Now I’m no beauty expert and I don’t have an aesthetician’s license, so take my advice accordingly. But I will tell you that since I have a limited budget, I’ve been trying out these techniques on myself for quite some time, and they really do work.

Wash Your Face
Using facial soap, remove all make up and beauty products from your face. Make sure your pores are free to release any impurities without built-up dirt or makeup getting in the way.

chamomile facial steam
Boil water and add your favorite herbs

Steam your face

Boil some water in a saucepan and, if you want an aromatic steam, add some fresh herbs. If you happen to have chamomile, mint, lavender, rosemary, or eucalyptus hanging around your refrigerator, then add a bit of it to the hot water.

According to some beauty experts, herbs don’t actually affect the quality of steam, it only gives a pleasing scent. Others say herbs add to the relaxation and soothing aspect of a facial steam, so believe what you want. But as a foodie, I believe an aromatic facial steam creates a much more pleasant and soothing environment for me–so I do it.

Tie your hair back, take the saucepan off the stove, and–being careful not to put your face too close to the steaming hot water (about 6-12 inches)–use a towel as a tent for both the hot water and your head. Steam your face with a towel draped over your head for five to ten minutes.

Bring a jar of honey and sour cream with you to the bathroom sink to get going on the next steps.

honey facial mask
Apply the honey in circular motions

If you happen to have a jar of honey that has somehow succumb to a bit of crystalization, you’re in luck. You can use the sugar crystals as a facial scrub. Or, if you don’t have crystalized honey, then heat the honey on the stove in a double boiler until it is just warm. DON’T LET THE HONEY BOIL! YOU’LL BURN YOURSELF!

Honey is a natural humectant, which means it will attract and keep moisture inside your skin. Honey also contains anti-oxidants (the darker the honey, the more antioxidants it contains) which help protect your skin against UV damage.

For the mask, take a couple of tablespoons (one at a time) of the honey and smooth it onto your face. Using a gentle circular motion, rub the crystalized honey onto your face to gently exfoliate your skin. The honey will warm with the heat of your skin. Do not wash off the honey, it is an excellent hydrator and can stay on your face as you move onto the next tasty step.


sour cream beauty treatment

Using small amount at a time, add the sour cream to your face. Cover your face with the sour cream and, depending on how much sour cream you have, keep adding more and more until you have a nice creamy (and sweet) mask that covers your face.

I like to add a little bit extra cold sour cream to the area around my eyes for a little extra moisturizing. This area of the face is especially sensitive, so be careful if you have extra sensitive skin.

Let the mask stay on your face for 10-20 minutes. Rinse off with a damp face cloth. Use warm water. Splash you face with cold water. Then moisturize as you normally would.

Drink a couple glasses of water before getting to the airport, and when you get through security, get a bottle of water for the plane.

I hope you enjoy my recipe for happy and healthy skin!

Do you have any food-based beauty tips you’d care to share?

*Thanks to the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board who have graciously invited me to join in on this year’s Louisiana Seafood Food Blog Masters.


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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.


  1. June 10

    Love honey for anything and everything – my hair stylist swears by it as a way of promoting a healthy scalp, so perhaps you could do face and hair at the same time? Safe travels – enjoy New Orleans.

  2. Brooke, I am loving the beauty diversion here! Food on the face, applied as a mask is soothing, fabulous & budget friendly all rolled into one. Perhaps now I can have glowing skin like yours??

  3. Love this idea! We are heading to France on Thursday and I will definitely try it! Except I will use avocado instead of sour cream since I don’t buy dairy any more. I love using the oil-cleansing method for my skin as well… so much less expensive than buying all those products and my skin has never looked better! Have fun in NOLA!

  4. June 11

    My sister and I had similar ritual before any trips, and it involved steaming, cleansing, masks, and hydration. The whole process just added to the excitement, and our skin was thankful, I am sure:)
    My girls and I are leaving for Europe in a month, and some home pampering is on the agenda. It’s not only beneficial to the skin, it is a great bonding event. Thanks for reminding me:)

  5. I have used honey to exfoliate, but never the sour cream. This is definitely one to try!

  6. Foodie Fanatic
    June 15

    food face mask? seems like you’d dominate on that new show Extreme Chef – I hear they have to use food in really bizarre situations but it’s not on til the 30th so idk!!

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