Wearing a face mask comes with some necessary rethinking in the beauty department. If this isn't the very definition of the "modern problems require modern solutions" meme, we don't know what is. If you've not seen your entire face of foundation imprinted on your face mask already, then you may have succumbed to a case of cheek-to-chin dryness.
Either way, we've got some solutions for you. As face masks, skincare and makeup all need to coexist, we asked the experts for their top tips on how to wear makeup with a mask.
Before you ask if you actually need to make any changes to your skincare routine in particular, yes you do, and here's why. Hamilton says, "The moist environment provided by breathing into a tightly sealed mask is perfect for bacteria to thrive. This along with a build-up of sweat that clogs your pores can lead to worsening of acne in the distribution of your face mask."
While it's important to switch up your skincare, making sure that your mask hygiene game is on point is just as important. "Definitely don’t ditch the mask, as by wearing one, you’re actively helping to limit the spread of COVID-19. For fabric masks, make sure you wash it daily at 40º to 60ºC. Single-use masks should be single-use; it may be better to buy a few cotton masks so that you always have a clean one to hand," Hamilton adds. Duly noted.
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2. Cleanse, Ceanse, Cleanse
There's so much joy to be had from cleansing your face at the end of the day, and our skin is always endlessly grateful for it. The right cleanser can be a game changer for your routine, and Hamilton explains why cleansing is so crucial right now:
"Always cleanse twice a day using lukewarm water to get rid of grime and dead skin cells. If your skin has become quite sensitive, use a gentle cleanser that’s non-foaming and preferably fragrance-free, as that can exacerbate already irritated skin. You may benefit from a double cleanse in the evening if you’ve been wearing makeup."
If both you and your skin are feeling the stress right now, this balm is filled with soothing essential oils to calm everything down.
3. Ease Up on Exfoliation and Actives
If exfoliation is a major part of your routine, fear not—you can still get in on the action, but you might need a few subtle tweaks. Ayodele says, "The skin barrier is already under stress, so further exfoliation can cause increased trauma. Gentle exfoliation can be achieved by swapping AHA cleansers for enzyme cleansers. Avoid scrubs to prevent further irritation and sensitivity."
Keep an eye out for fruit enzymes in ingredient lists, but you can also have "salicylic acid in your cleanser or as an acid exfoliant, as it helps to combat acne, but be mindful not to over-exfoliate, as this will further exacerbate any irritation," Hamilton advises.
It might also be time to put your beloved active ingredients on pause so your skin has a moment to chill. "Cutting back on AHAs, vitamin C and retinoids will help to reduce skin sensitivity and give the skin time to repair itself effectively without any additional irritation," Ayodele says.
The good news? You can still plan ahead, as "when you're considering longer-term products to introduce into your skincare routine once your skin has settled, an antioxidant like vitamin C would be good. It will protect against extrinsic factors like air pollution and UV rays that damage our skin," Hamilton says.
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4. Prioritise Hydration
Whether you're wearing makeup or not, moisture is all-important for combatting mask-induced dryness. "Keeping the skin moisturised is key for comfort and to encourage wound healing and skin repair. Barrier-supporting ingredients such as gluconolactone, panthenol, ceramides, glycerin and niacinamide will boost hydration and encourage healing of the skin," Ayodele says.
Everyone's skin will react differently to wearing a mask, so check in on a daily basis to see what your skin needs. "If your skin is feeling irritated, reach for soothing ingredients such as aloe vera or colloidal oatmeal, which forms a protective barrier over your skin," Hamilton says.
With aloe vera, cucumber and colloidal oatmeal, this cream has everything you need for soothing and calming irritated skin.
5. Switch Your Foundation
To wear foundation or not to wear foundation? That is the question. "As your mask will cover the majority of your face, you could skip foundation altogether, but if you still want a little coverage, use something sheer all over, then a touch of a full-coverage concealer in places you will see, like under your eyes and on any blemishes you may have on your forehead or temple," says Todd.
Luckily, there are so many formulas on the market focusing on longevity that you'll be able to find something that won't end up all over your mask.
You won't even miss wearing foundation with this concealer on, as it packs in lots of coverage without weighing down the skin or wearing off.
6. It's in the Eyes
Missing your favourite highlighter and blusher? Shift all of that energy to your eyes. Your eyes are the main focus when you're in a mask, and the eye smile is the alternative to the teeth grin.
Todd has some top tips: "It’s best to ditch full-coverage formulas and focus on being kind to your skin and having more fun with eye makeup instead, so now you can experiment with colour or texture. There are no rules whatsoever, so if you feel inclined to wear glitter or a neon liner, go for it. If bold colour is too far out of your comfort zone, try perfecting a classic bronze eye, which can be dialled up or down to suit you."
Of course, you can't forget the brows. We've seen our fair share of brow trends over the past few years, and it seems like it was all preparing us for this moment. "I always like to keep brows looking fluffy and natural by using a tinted brow gel or soap on the brows, then fill in any sparse areas with brow-like strokes," says Todd.
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7. Keep It Fresh
You've probably experienced just how hot it can get under a mask when you're walking, jumping on the train or driving. Don't sweat it (literally), as Todd has a fab tip for keeping cool.
"To refresh your makeup throughout the day, take a small bottle of toner or setting spray out with you. Start by removing any excess oil with a blotting paper. Then, take a clean finger and lightly blend any makeup that may have creased under your eyes or around your hairline. Then, spritz your face. This will cool you down and relax you. You could reapply a little concealer if you feel you need to, but I would avoid adding a powder to keep your skin feeling as fresh as possible. Reapply your lip balm, and you are good to go."