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Struggling to keep your makeup in check now that face masks are mandatory in indoor spaces? There’s no reason to frown! Here at Harley Street Skin we have come up with 7 top tips to look your very best while masked up...

The Skin Clinic's Guide to: Face Mask Makeup


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...

Face Mask Makeup
TIP 1: Choose a well-fitting mask

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.

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.'

Choose a Well-Fitting Face Mask



TIP 2: Opt For a Long Lasting Moisturiser

'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.

Opt For a Longlasting Moisturiser



TIP 3: Powder and Primer is a Must

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

Apply Setting Powder and Primer



TIP 4: Mineral Foundations ONLY

‘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.’

Mineral Foundation Only



TIP 5: Accentuate The Upper Third

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'.

Accentuate THe Upper Third



TIP 6: Mascara in place of Eyeliner

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.'

Wash Hair Regularly



TIP 7: Avoid Lip Smudging with a Tinted Balm

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.'

Opt For a Tinted Balm


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!