Now that COVID-19 cases are on the rise again and the haze is back, it’s time to put on those masks again for our own health and safety. Having half of our faces are covered when we’re out and about means revisiting the way we do our makeup once again.
But don’t you just hate it when your foundation rubs off or your lip colour smears when you’re wearing your mask? Fret not. We’ve got expert-approved skincare and makeup tips and tricks to help you effectively prevent maskne, while keeping your makeup firmly in place. Here’s what you have to do:
Makeup artist Larry Yeo reminds us that wearing a face mask creates a barrier between our skin and the mask. This occlusive effect actually traps the moist and hot air build-up within the mask from our breath, talking and sweat, which in turn can increase bacteria growth, leading to skin irritation, inflammation and breakouts. So instead of doing your whole 10-step K-beauty skincare routine with multiple serums, consider paring it down and keeping it simple.
Larry recommends hydrating toners or serums that double as moisturisers, while makeup artist Melissa Yeo suggests moisturisers with SPF to keep skin hydrated and protected. It is important to keep your skin hydrated even with mask-wear, say both Larry and Melissa. This is because while it might be humid under the mask, your skin is still losing moisture, which can leave it dry.
In addition, the constant abrasion from the mask causes friction that can further irritate the skin. So applying a lightweight hydrator not only keeps skin moisturised, but can also protect against friction from the mask. “And don’t forget to massage your product in, especially on areas where there might be flakiness, to keep skin soft and supple,” says Larry.
Its unique Pro Retinal 11X active ingredient not only keeps early signs of ageing at bay, but has also been clinically proven to improve skin’s hydration and texture in 14 days. Plus, it has soothing actives like centella asiatica to keep skin comfortable even with a mask on.
Available at Watsons
The use of its iconic Miracle Broth, along with kelp and soy, helps strengthen and renew skin. Plus, it keeps skin well-hydrated even with a lightweight fluid texture –perfect for mask wear.
Available at La Mer and Sephora
This has antioxidant-rich vanilla planifolia water and hyaluronic acid to hydrate, smooth and protect skin. Best bit? It can be used as a moisturiser, makeup primer, or even as a glow enhancer when applied to specific areas. It also contains fine, skin-perfecting pearly particles to give the complexion an instant glow.
Available at Chanel Fragrance & Beauty
Even without mandatory mask-wear, the most important thing to do to keep your skin healthy and happy is to keep it clean. This means washing your face when you get home immediately, especially if you’ve spent all day outside with your mask on. Gently cleanse your face with a pH-balanced, non-comedogenic cleanser to remove oil, dirt, makeup and bacteria.
A gentle yet effective cleanser infused with salicylic acid to remove dead skin cells, dirt and excess sebum, while unclogging pores to keep breakouts at bay. Skin feels clean and never tight.
Available at Sephora
A multitasking cleanser that cleans, tones and even lightly hydrates skin in one fuss-free step. Plus, it removes traces of makeup while deeply cleaning out pores at the same time. Also includes meadowfoam seed oil extract to condition the skin.
Available at Sephora
A gentle pH-balanced gel-to-foam cleanser that contains Jeju king cherry leaf extracts and betaine to remove impurities with ease. The result: soft and supple skin.
Available at Innisfree
Maskne is real and is caused by a few things: the constant rubbing of the mask against skin, the warm and moist air trapped underneath thus creating an ideal environment for bacteria to flourish, and increased sebum production.
So it’s common to find your skin feeling rough and pores clogged with regular and prolonged mask-wear. To keep skin smooth, Melissa recommends using glycolic or salicylic acid-infused products at night to slough off dead skin cells and clear out debris from clogged pores.
Made with 98per cent natural origin actives like Himalayan bamboo charcoal and hibiscus flower extract, it works while you sleep
to clarify skin, revealing a smoother and more radiant complexion when you wake. All you need is two to three drops on dry, cleansed skin three times a week.
Available at The Body Shop
A lightweight serum infused with skin-clarifying acids– lactic, citric and salicylic –and botanicals from Australia to refine skin’s texture and tone, while decongesting pores.
Available at Rationale
Both Larry and Melissa recommend using lighter formulations when it comes to base makeup. Skip the heavier textures and try tinted moisturisers or serum-type foundations instead. In this instance, “less is better,” says Larry.
If you still want something with more coverage, consider switching to a foundation with transfer-resistant formulations.
This easy-to-blend formula offers sheer to medium coverage and contains vitamin E to protect against free radical damage, along with hyaluronic acid and a hydrating fruit blend (watermelon, litchi seed and apple extracts) to keep skin soft and supple. Plus, it keeps oil in check for up to 12 hours. Comes in 13 shades.
Available at Estee Lauder
Clinically tested to last up to 48 hours, this lightweight formula is also sweat-resistant, and reduces redness and the appearance of pores to give you a flawless finish. In addition to protecting against UV and blue light, it’s also infused with Amorepacific’s electro-filter to protect against fine dust, pollution and fumes. Comes in seven shades.
Available at Laneige
An oil-free foundation enriched with skin-loving ingredients – like hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid and vitamin C –that not only delivers buildable coverage, but also works to visibly reduce dark spots over time. Skin is supple and glowing with each use. Comes in six Asia-exclusive shades.
Available at Clinique and Sephora
Want your lip colour to stay on without budging? Try matte or tinted lipstick formulas, say both Larry and Melissa. And what to avoid? Gloss or cream textures, because these tend to migrate under your mask.
Larry’s top pick would be lip stains. “The colour pigments stay on the skin, leaving a tint behind, so it doesn’t get onto your mask,” he adds.
And if you’re worried that your lip colour might smear under your mask and leave you looking like a deranged woman – not a good look if you’re on a date – Melissa suggests choosing a neutral lip colour instead of bold or dark hues because “even if it smudges under the mask, it would look less obvious”.
Imparts vibrant colour with a matte finish in just one stroke. The long-lasting formula also contains hyaluronic acid to keep lips soft for up to 24 hours, while promising to stay budge-proof for up to eight hours. Comes in 20 shades.
Available at Burberry Beauty and Sephora
Applies like an ink but dries down to lock in the colour for a smudge-resistant, budge-proof finish. Comes in 19 shades.
Available at Nars
Delivers a long-lasting semi-matte colour in one swipe for an alluring pout. Infused with nourishing oils, it feels creamy and comfortable on the lips, but doesn’t bleed or migrate, making it the ideal companion for mask-wear. Comes in 11 shades.
Available at Yves Saint Laurent Beauty
Brushing on loose powder helps set foundation and concealer so that they last longer, even with mask-wear. Larry advises using a powder puff to press the loose powder in gentle press-and-roll motions across the face to secure the foundation and prevent any transfer. Alternatively, you can also use a large powder brush to dust loose powder lightly over the face.
A skincare and makeup hybrid, it contains an exclusive diamond-inspired light-empowering enhancer that gives complexion a glowy finish. At the same time, the lasting control foundation addresses the major factors that reduce makeup longevity – dullness, shine and fading – ensuring that makeup is locked in. Comes in two universal shades.
Available at Cle de Peau Beaute and Sephora
A luminosity-boosting version of the brand’s iconic Translucent Loose Setting Powder, this weightless powder contains a multi-dimensional pearl blend to deliver a soft glow. It’s also enriched with silky botanical blurring powders and amino acid skin-conditioning powders that blur out imperfections and improve skin’s softness.
Available at Laura Mercier and Sephora
Combining a unique breathable makeup technology with Sulwhasoo’s skincare hybrid formula, this finishing powder creates a smooth veil over the skin to keep makeup in place.
Available at Sulwhasoo
If you don’t want smudging, budging or flaking, Melissa highly recommends spritzing your face as the final step of your makeup routine before putting on your mask.
Spritz the face from about 20cm away – you can choose to lightly mist in a zigzag manner starting from the forehead, or in circular motions. Consider going over with a second round of misting, focusing on areas like your nose bridge, cheeks and jawline, where your mask rests on your face.
Made with a blend of vitamins and minerals, this lightweight multitasker not only soothes and refreshes skin, but also primes and sets makeup. Best bit? It can also be used in a variety of ways: to sheer out foundation, intensify colour and refresh tired skin. Comes in a range of options: Scents, Shimmer and Matte.
Available at M.A.C
Keeps makeup in place for up to 16 hours, and blurs out pores with its skin-smoothing powders. Plus, the mess-free applicator ensures an even, microfine mist each time.
Available at Sephora
Text: Vanessa Chew/HerWorld. Updated by The Singapore Women’s Weekly on 10 Oct 2023.