The world is adapting to the normalcy of face masks—here’s how your beauty routine can too.

By Hana Hong
May 14, 2020
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While putting on makeup right now might seem unnecessary to some people, it can make a huge difference in creating a sense of normal and navigating these overwhelming circumstances. For essential workers and people starting to integrate back into society, adjusting your beauty routine to incorporate a giant chunk of cloth covering half your face can pose a new challenge. So we chatted with three pro makeup artists—Glamsquad Artistic Makeup Director Kelli J. Bartlett, Sephora Collection National Artist Helen Phillips, and LORAC Artistry Advisor Kelsey Deenihan—to get the top expert tips on beautifying yourself while wearing a face mask (aka, the new normal).

1

Because of the induced friction, wearing your face mask for extended periods of time can cause skin irritation. To counteract this, use a heavier moisturizer before you start your makeup routine to create a barrier and avoid chafing. This will form a slip so that the edges of the mask don’t irritate your skin throughout the day. Bartlett’s top pick is SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore ($128; dermstore.com).

2

Sunscreen is a must, but you’ll want to keep your face makeup as light as possible since foundations can smudge and transfer onto your face mask. Bartlett recommends a lightweight BB cream with an SPF already built in. “If you can, wear less, and if you have to, wear long wear!” adds Phillips. “I love Sephora’s 10-Hour Wear Foundation ($20; sephora.com) because it can adapt to your desired coverage and is non-comedogenic.”

After that, conceal only where needed, paying special attention right under the eyes in the most hollow part of the eye socket. Use a light but buildable concealer (bonus points if it’s waterproof!) and press the formula into the skin for a more natural effect, advises Bartlett. 

3

A good primer and powder can keep your makeup from smudging under a face mask throughout the day, says Deenihan. “Use a mattifying primer, like Lorac Pro Mattifying Primer ($35; ulta.com), that really grips the makeup and set with a loose or pressed translucent powder.”

4

If you want your makeup to have the full impact, the key is to play up the eyes, especially since your mouth is covered. “Draw attention to the eye using a shimmery shade that’s easy to apply, like eye glosses. This draws in light and dries down to a metallic finish so that the attention immediately goes to the eyes,” says Deenihan. Phillips’ hack is applying some shadow underneath your eyes: “Drop the undereye eyeshadow pretty low—it opens up your eyes like you wouldn’t believe!” Finish off with a touch of highlighter, like Glamsquad Enlightened Highlighter in Luminous Rose ($26; qvc.com with more product coming soon), in your inner corners to reflect light.

5

Unruly brows can stand out even more when half your face is covered. Take a few minutes to groom your brows to secure a more put-together appearance. After plucking the stray hairs, groom and gel brows into place with a tinted brow gel and then fill in any sparse spots with a brow pencil, says Bartlett. 

6

Heavy eyeliner is a quick way to close your eyes up. The goal is to open up your eyes when wearing a face mask, so makeup artists advise skipping the liner entirely and opting for mascara instead. Always make sure to start with curling your lashes. Then, apply several coats of a dark black mascara. “Take care to build up the lash line and the root of the lash,” says Bartlett. “This will give the eyes definition and open them up without wearing eyeliner.” Phillips recommends using a buildable mascara, like LashCraft Big Volume Mascara ($14; sephora.com) and adding an additional layer only on the center lashes to further enhance the eye.

7

Opt for balm instead of lipstick to keep your lips hydrated. According to Marnie Nussbaum, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, the friction against the face mask is extremely irritating, resulting in the constant licking of lips, which can damage the epidermal skin barrier. “Using a lip balm containing humectants and occlusive agents, such as shea butter, provides a protective barrier to keep lips from drying during your face mask.”