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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Review: FaceCradle Travel Pillow

Okay, I know there are tons of travel pillows on the market. You know that I don't just bring you any old thing, because I need to believe in it. When I first saw the FaceCradle before the Travel Goods Show I was intrigued, because while I don't have issues sleeping just about anywhere, I'd love to sleep on the plane without getting an ache in my neck, shoulders or back. I can sleep on Eric's shoulder, but that's not comfortable for him, plus I can't just sleep on a stranger when traveling alone. 


I asked FaceCradle to demo their product for me and took one home to try it. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to take pics of it when I used it on the plane, because the lights were out and I didn't want to be "that person", plus I'd had a long day and didn't use it with the strap. I just wanted to chill out for an hour with my eyes closed. Luckily, the FaceCradle can be used pretty much anywhere, including the car and the train, so I wandered out to my car with it to give it a go. 


Unlike other travel pillows, FaceCradle has a unique two-part system, so you don't just shove it behind your head and hope for the best. You'll see they have two spring loaded buttons. You push these to adjust the FaceCradle the way you like it and it snaps into place when you release the buttons. 


There are two buckles that fit into the ports on either side. This allows you to keep the strap from your body, so it doesn't choke you and you don't get tangled up in it. 

This strap is easily adjustable as well, so you aren't struggling to get it fixed while you're cramped in that tiny airplane seat. Nothing's worse than flailing around and practically hitting your seatmates. Also, when you're tired, you want to fuss about as little as possible before getting to sleep. I'm no expert like the lovelies who helped show me all the great way to use this at the show, but within 5 minutes, I was able to adjust it quickly to my liking. 


In the car, I used the strap around the headrest to secure my FaceCradle. On the plane, you'll use the winged seatback instead. FaceCradle knows that people want as little confrontation as possible, so you aren't looping your strap around your seat and possibly in the way of the person sitting behind you. This would be inconvenient as well, so it's not designed that way. The majority of airplane seats have a winged headrest. If they don't, then the flight is probably super short and you won't have time to get to sleep anyway.

Above you'll see how I adjusted the strap to get my FaceCradle into position for deep sleep.   


You flip it open as much as possible, brace it against your chest and then lean forward. This lets you just rely on FaceCradle to hold your body, gives you the ability to breathe better, because the massage table-like surface opens your sinuses, and doesn't hurt your back or neck, because you aren't sitting at a weird angle. Adjust the strap to your liking, so if you want to lean more forward or less forward, it's up to you. 

Not only is this sleep position more natural, but you don't have to recline your seat...and if the person in front of you chooses to recline theirs, you aren't in the way and getting smacked in the face. Since the strap is around your headrest and not the whole chair, it also has more stability and decreases the chance of you getting jostled when someone behind you gets up and tries to gain their balance by holding onto the back of your chair.

Maybe you don't even want to sleep, but you want to relax more than you're able to in the small space you have on the plane. You can still use your FaceCradle in this mode and read a book or play a game on your phone/tablet. 


That's just one way to use it. Are you a side sleeper? I am sometimes. I was able to adjust the FaceCradle to work for me there, too. Make the strap shorter, bring the halves a bit closer together and put your ear in the hole. The bottom half fits against your shoulder and gives you more stability. Of course, you can keep it the same as you had it to begin with and just turn your head, but I find that I end up with a crick in my neck when I sleep that way. 

I often just snooze when I'm traveling. FaceCradle is great in that way as well. Detach the strap and slide the pillow around your neck, slightly open, lean your cheek on it and just relax. I used mine this way on the way home from Vegas. The flight was short, but when I arrived, my neck and back didn't hurt and I was more refreshed than normal. The cover of FaceCradle is soft and feels very nice against your skin. The inside is made of hypoallergenic memory foam, so it's not picking up all the funky airborne germs when you travel to make your allergies worse or make you sick. (Yay!) And when you're finished using it? Remove the cover and toss it in the washer and dryer so it's clean for your next trip.
FaceCradle is not super lightweight and it can be bulky, so you probably aren't taking it with you on short flights. The inventor acknowledges this. In fact, he designed it so he and his team could sleep on those many-houred flights from Australia to just about anywhere not in Australia. Ever tried to sleep on a Transatlantic flight? Well, it can suck. 

Unless you have a large carry-on with extra space, this thing isn't going to fit in it, but FaceCradle has a solution for that, too. Keep the strap on it and use it as a shoulder strap...or slip the small section over the handle of your wheeled bag and you're good to go. Once you see what a good sleep you can get using FaceCradle, you'll not feel like it's an obligation to carry it with you. The strap is a plus, because almost all neck pillows you buy at the airport (because you realized you either don't have one or you left yours at home) are unwieldy and can't really be attached to anything. Above I've fixed it like a crossbody, which is definitely how I will carry it through the airport for my next long flight. 

I have a friend who has a husband who is very tall. He uses a FaceCradle in order to stay in his seat and be able to actually sleep on the plane. Because it's so versatile, you can adjust it to suit you, that way you aren't flopping into the aisle or onto your neighbor. If you have someone in your life who's a frequent traveler or has a lot of issues sleeping when the do travel, this makes a fantastic gift. Mother's Day, Graduation and Father's Day are fast approaching.

Other Specs
Where to buy: On FaceCradle website
How much: $49.50
Colors: Black | Violet | Royal Blue | Gray (shown)
More Details: Plush velour cover, soft feel harness, 5+ ways to adjust sleeping positions, including using as a table napper.

Loving FaceCradle's innovation? Learn more and new ways to use it by following them online: 

Disclosure: I was provided with the FaceCradle for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
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