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Face masks: fabulous for public safety, nightmare for makeup.
With masks now mandatory in many public spaces - from the tube to the supermarket - many of us are having a particularly hard time keeping our makeup in check.
Not only that, but sweat, friction and product build up on mask fabric is wreaking havoc on our normally well-controlled skin.
With many of our makeup and skincare rituals no longer cutting it thanks to the need for these facial accessories, we’ve compiled a list of top tips for keeping our skin adequately cleansed and makeup mask-resilient...
First things first, fit is everything.
(We all know how clothes tend to chafe when they are too big. Similarly, shoes rub if they're too small.)
Here, we are looking for a mask that cups the face and leaves little room for shifting.
Loose masks tend to rub up and down on the nose, shift around the jawline, and are more likely to whittle away at foundations throughout the day. Ensuring that your face mask fits well is essential for your safety during the pandemic too. Thus, choosing a well-fitting mask works well for your safety and comfort.
A cotton face mask is not only snug - but breathable and washable, ensuring we can be rid of the bacteria from product build-up and sweat.
We also suggest staying away from masks made from moisture-absorbing material on the inside. Soft jersey cotton is a clinic favourite which has proved far more comfortable than standard cotton masks.
'It's essential that we keep our masks clean, too' Lesley reminds us. 'We should be washing material-based masks daily to avoid bacteria buildup which can lead to pimples. If we clean our pillowcases weekly, simply for contact with our faces, just imagine how much more bacteria can be retained by a face mask.'
'Building a moisture barrier is key for long lasting makeup - mask or no mask,' explains Lesley, Harley Street Skin Clinic co-founder.
‘Hydration will keep the complexion looking refreshed and alert under the eyes,’ says Lesley, 'It also has the benefit of ensuring your concealer goes on and stays on'.
Lesley suggests we should be looking for a product which binds water to the skin and locks in moisture for a long-lasting effect which will see you through multiple changes in environment, as well as the taking on and off of your mask.
But, there are many products in the market; which one do you choose? The first thing to consider is your skin type. If your skin is oily, it's best to opt for gel-based moisturizers. For sensitive skin, choose one that's hypoallergenic to prevent breakouts. Also, before applying makeup, use a moisturizing product that’s suitable for the weather you’ll be facing. Just because it's hot outside doesn’t mean your skin won't need hydration – you just need to choose a product that works for the climate you live in.
Here is where things get a little different
Once skincare is complete, before delving straight for the foundation, mist the face with a setting spray and then lightly dust the face with a loose, translucent powder as a protective barrier.
Once dry, rummage for your stickiest primer, and pat this firmly onto the face using your ring finger.
'Primer will help adhere the foundation to the skin, and encourage that it stays in place throughout the day,' says Lesley
‘It’s important to remember that while fuller coverage foundations may last longer under your face mask, they will not allow the skin to breath,’ says Lesley, 'They are also much more likely to cause patchiness where product is picked up the mask'
'Ventilation is even more important when the face is covered by an extra layer.'
Use a non-comedogenic foundation to prevent smudging and transfer onto the face mask. She suggests a mineral powder foundation, as this will prevent mask-related breakouts from a buildup of bacteria, and can be lightly dusted across the face throughout the day if necessary.
Lesley also reminds us to 'focus on the nose as this is a major point of contact with your mask.’
According to celebrity makeup artist Max May, there are seven different eye shapes - and knowing yours is key to formulating a face mask-ready strategy.
'Paying more attention to eye makeup and brow definition will help you feel a touch more glamourous. Frame the face by defining your eyebrows and add structure by applying a light bronzer on either side of brow just before the hair line.
Of course, a fantastic way of long lasting precision brows can be achieved by opting for semi-permanent makeup. 'Lightly tattooing the brow area is the perfect way to define them without the need for product' says Lesley.
'Also, conceal only where you need to - but pay special attention to the hollows under the eyes. Using a light, preferably waterproof concealer is key here'.
On a mildly different note, the eyes are delicate organs and should be properly cared for. The symptoms of COVID-19 infection will vary with every individual, so there's nothing wrong with heeding caution if you experience any discomfort, itching, or inflammation in the eye area. Do remember to change your face masks regularly to avoid eye infections. If you use contact lenses or eyeglasses, you know how difficult it is to wear face masks without fidgeting with your eyewear; thus, you may want to look into SMILE vs LASIK options.
Eyeliner, when applied too heavily along the bottom lashline, will make the eyes appear much smaller.
Experts advise skipping eyeliner and going straight for curling your lashes before applying coats of a dark, volumising mascara.
‘A top trick is to focus more on applying mascara to the outer lashes to have an eye-widening effect. This makes them appear larger and draws the eye upward,' explains Lesley.
'If you're especially worried about makeup smudging, Lash lifts can do wonders for forgoing mascara altogether - they use chemical agents to fix the lashes into a lifted position which makes them appear longer and fuller.'
Do remember to keep track of the expiration date of your mascara, which is between three to six months. Monitoring the shelf life of cosmetics is crucial for enjoying the full efficacy of the products, as well as keeping your skin clean and healthy.
For those of us that love a bold lipstick, face masks are an accident waiting to happen. Lesley suggests we swap out our usual bright lipsticks for a tinted balm.
By opting for balm instead of lipstick, not only do we avoid inevitable smudging, but we also provide better longer-lasting protection from dryness and irritation that may arise from friction against the face mask.
‘Use a lip balm containing occlusive agents to provide protection to your lips against dryness,’ says Lesley. 'these help build a barrier to prevent epidermal water loss.'
We know it can be tempting to limit trips out or even forego makeup entirely, but with these top tips you can stay looking your sharpest whilst doing your bit to prevent the spread. You can still mask up without dressing down.
Just remember to: apply diligently, set your base and use the right combination of products. If you're in need of a few product suggestions, specific to your skin type, we'd be happy to help - simply give us a call on 0207 436 4441 for a spot of professional insight, today!