Should Your Makeup Routine Change When You Wear A Mask?

Photo: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images.
At this point in quarantine, many of us have faced the relatable, low-stakes dilemma of whether or not to wear makeup when venturing outside the house. Whichever cosmetics camp you fall into — lash extensions and laminated brows, completely giving up on anything other than sunscreen, or somewhere in the middle (just a little mascara and concealer around the eyes) — you should know the best practices for wearing makeup with a face mask.
Ahead, makeup artist and YSL beauty educator Nour Agha takes us through her easy-to-implement tips, all of which will help you effectively avoid maskne while keeping foundation from rubbing off on your brand-new Slip silk mask. Scroll on for her pro-approved guide.

Start With Skin Prep

Any makeup artist will tell you that skin care is a vital step in your makeup routine, and Agha argues that it's even more important when you're trying to avoid maskne. "You want to have a skin-nourishing routine from start to finish," explains Agha. "That starts with taking care of your skin at night when you're not wearing a mask." Agha likes to smooth on a glycolic acid serum before bed, which makes her skin "fresh and rejuvenated" for the next day. Then, she recommends a vitamin C serum followed by a simple, non-irritating face cream during the day to prep the skin for makeup.

Set The Foundation & Concealer Around Your Mask

If you can avoid wearing foundation and concealer on skin that will be covered by your face mask — basically the lower-half of your face — definitely do that. (Dermatologists say heavy makeup formulas can interfere with the humidity under the mask and affect your skin's sebum production, leading to clogged pores and breakouts.) But if you have a chin pimple or redness around the nose that you want to cover with makeup, just make sure to set it before putting on your face mask. "I recommend going for light coverage with your makeup," says Agha. "Then use a translucent setting power or a setting spray over top as an extra protective barrier between the makeup and your mask."

Lean Into Neutral Lip Shades

Since your lips are totally hidden under a face covering, you might decide to skip lipstick altogether, but Agha offers the option of wearing something subtle. "Since wearing a mask covers your lips, there is a chance your lipstick will transfer," says Agha. "I'd avoid wearing bold lipsticks, but instead wearing light or nude-toned shades that also offer hydration. My favorite is the YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick in the shade 1, which is very subtle, doesn't dry out my lips, and still looks good when I take off my mask."

Opt For A Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

If you're going to focus on a single area, make it the one still visible when wearing a mask. "You definitely want to accentuate your eyes while wearing a mask, since this is the first area people will see when looking at you," Agha explains. "My favorite way to do this is to apply waterproof liquid eyeliner around the eye and lots of mascara on the lashes." If you're not an eyeliner person, you don't have to go with a full winged cat eye; simply line around the rim of your upper waterline for a little extra definition.

Curl, Prime, Mascara

Don't undervalue the power of a good mascara application. "I find that mascara is what truly helps make the eyes pop when I'm wearing a mask," says Agha. "You want volume and curl at the same time, so I recommend using an eyelash curler followed by a primer, and finishing with a lengthening mascara."

Invest In A Silk Mask

For your final step of actually putting on your face mask, there's a best practice when it comes to fabric: Most makeup artists agree that silk is preferable over a cotton or synthetic-blend mask. "Silk is cooling, naturally hypoallergenic, and tends to absorb less moisture than cotton, so it won't dry out your skin," Howard Sobel, MD, attending dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital and founder of Sobel Skin, tells Refinery29. A silk mask is smart to keep on hand as a general precaution against maskne, whether or not you're wearing makeup.
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