Makeup While Masking—Yes, It’s Possible to Look Good & Stay Protected

Makeup While Masking—Yes, It’s Possible to Look Good & Stay Protected

If I never hear the phrases “in these unprecedented times” or “our new normal” again it’ll be too soon. With that being said, I hate to say it, but in these unprecedented times we now have to embrace our new normal. And for a lot of women, that new normal extends to our beauty routines.

In speaking with my friends, we’ve all swapped notes on how our makeup routines have changed. Some have eschewed it all together, while one friend told me she’s wearing all the wild lipsticks and eyeshadows she was afraid to wear before because she’s done being worried about trivial things such as what other people might think of her. No matter how you’ve evolved your look (or not!) during these strange COVID times, there’s one question on everyone’s mind: How do I wear makeup while masking?

With masks covering such a large surface area of the face, a lot of the old ways we configured our faces just no longer apply. The bright red lipstick I wore to feel sophisticated and confident can still be worn underneath my mask, but nobody can see it. The no-makeup makeup look just looks like no makeup at all once a mask is thrown into the equation. So what does one do?

With masks covering such a large surface area of the face, a lot of the old ways we wore makeup just no longer apply.


Focus on the Eyes

I found myself making a lot of changes and concessions when it comes to my makeup looks and masking. With eyes being the new obvious focal point of the face, I’ve put a lot of attention on my peepers. My “bright red lipstick for confidence” is now a fierce winged liner and tons of lengthening mascara. (Shout out to Katie Jane Hughes for the life-changing hooded eye winged liner tutorial for that).



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by KATIE JANE HUGHES (@katiejanehughes) on


And since it is both summertime heat and humidity with the added misery of a mask, a good waterproof liner and mascara combo is absolutely essential for keeping things in place. Another thing: Test out your waterproof mascara and make sure it doesn’t flake! The last thing you will want while out in the world is something fluttering down your face and triggering the face-touching response. The safest thing you can do, if you can get a hold of one, is invest in a face shield. Not only does it protect you from viral droplets, it’ll stop all that face-touching temptation until you can get home and properly wash your hands.


Forgo the Foundation

The most specific and frequently asked question I’ve gotten about masking with makeup concerns foundation. How do you mask with foundation? The simple answer is, you don’t. I’ve bid a temporary farewell to foundations. It’s not that my skin is suddenly perfect, it’s just that I can achieve the same results with some strategic spot concealing. I’ve been loving pot cream concealer or light creamy liquid concealer applied just where I might need it with a small setting-type brush. Honestly I may never go back to foundation again, it just gives such a wonderful, natural look.



Pass on the Powder

And since you’re no longer masking your face in heavy foundation, you don’t really feel the need to build the dimension back up with heavy blusher or contouring, which leads me to my next point.

Another thing that I’ve completely replaced for now is powder highlighters and blushes. Now, depending on what kind of mask you’re wearing, you may not be able to wear blush at all. In fact, it’s not recommended that you wear any makeup around where the tight sealed N95 masks sit. When I’m wearing one of these types of masks, or a filter mask, I forgo the blush step all together.



But I’m also the type of glow-obsessed girl that can’t leave the house without some kind of dewy glimmer. For those times I’ve been all about skincare as highlighter. I’ll take either a pressed serum or a dry oil and give my cheek and orbital bones a good going over. The results aren’t as dramatic as a traditional highlighter, but it certainly does give off a subtle healthy sheen that I love. And you know what? I feel good knowing I’m treating my skin to something good at the same time.


Love Your Liquids

A looser fitting smaller cloth reusable mask may show a bit of cheek, but you certainly don’t want a powder blush rubbing off and staining it. Enter liquid blush, liquid lighters, a handheld paper fan, and a good quality makeup setting spray. Through trial and error I’ve found this is the best, longest lasting, least transferring face products for masking.



Some cream-to-powder blushes work OK, but a liquid that has set has by far given me the results I’m looking for. Simply apply the liquid blush using a stippling type brush and buff the ever-loving hell out of it. Then dot on and tap in a liquid highlighter along the high points sparingly. Too much highlighter and the inside of your mask will look like a glitter bomb went off; too little and it won’t even show, so find your sweet spot.

Next, open your fan (or dramatically thwap it open if you’re a drama queen like me) and fan down the area to make sure everything is completely dried down. Afterward apply a generous spritzing of setting spray and give yourself the fan treatment once again. Et voilà! You’re set to go. Strap on your mask, grab your hand sanitizer, and know that we’ll all get through this together and look great doing it.


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

This site is using software to reduce spam. Learn how our comment data is processed. Privacy Policy

%d bloggers like this: