how to wear makeup with a mask

Wearing masks in public spaces is now the new normal, but what does this mean for your makeup? I have put together my top tips for how to wear makeup with a mask for you. 

*this blog contains affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission if you purchase any of the recommended products. Thank you!

Even if we are wearing masks, we will still want to put our best face forward. The simple act of applying makeup can immediately boost confidence and make you feel ready to take on the world. During lockdown, I have been regularly doing my makeup. It makes me feel so much better about myself and puts me in a better frame of mind. Now we must think about how to wear makeup with a mask!

white face mask on purple background

My top makeup tips for wearing makeup with masks:

  1. You will want your skin to look absolutely flawless. I recommend using a long-wearing foundation with a matte formula so your base will stay perfect. Dewy, moisturising formulas are more likely to rub off during the day, especially if you are wearing a mask. Matte formulas absorb excess oil so your foundation will not go shiny or have any patchiness break through. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish foundation gives fabulously long wearing coverage. After you’ve applied your skincare routine, allow 20 minutes or so for the products to sink in. I then recommend that you prime your skin so your foundation has something to grab on to and so that it goes on smoothly and evenly. Primers not only make your foundation last longer, they make your skin look smoother, younger, and more even toned.  Use a brush or damp beauty sponge to apply your foundation. Don’t use your fingers because this will add excess oils and affect the longevity of the product. Full coverage concealers like NYX HD Photogenic Concealer are longer wearing, but be careful not to apply with a heavy hand. These high coverage formulas may crease under the eyes or sit in fine lines, so apply with a brush in thin layers. Set your base with powder to make it even longer lasting. I prefer to use loose powders like Ben Nye Neutral Set because you can really pack the product on, especially in areas where makeup might disappear or go shiny during the day. You can also use a powder compact or blotting papers to touch up any areas that need it throughout the day.
  1. Be sure to look after your skin as wearing masks can cause breakouts. Double cleanse after you’ve removed your makeup to be sure that your pores have been properly cleansed. Don’t overstrip the skin with alcohol based toners. Instead, opt for calming formulations containing lavender or rosewater which will soothe and replenish the skin such as Mario Badescu toning mists. Using a facial oil such as The Ordinary rosehip seed at night will help the skin to repair and lock in hydration without making the skin greasy. Follow with your favourite cream, and don’t forget to hydrate under your eyes with an eye cream. Many people who wear masks have experienced irritation around their mouth and chin, so be especially gentle with the skin in that area. Being behind a mask creates a damp environment which can cause redness and irritation. Your skin will need some extra TLC. I adore Charlotte Tilbury’s Multi-Miracle Glow which multi-tasks as a mask, cleanser, and deep moisture balm. 
how to wear makeup with a mask
  1. The best top tips for how to wear makeup with a mask is to focus on your eyes by wearing bold colours or strong eyeliner. Now is the time to really play up your eyes as they will stand out more than ever when you are wearing a mask. Try a block of colour such as purple or gold across your eyelid and use a gel based eyeliner to create a flick which will feel very modern.  You also can’t go wrong with classically defined eyes. I like to use a taupe brown shade across the lid, and blend a deeper brown into the socket line to make eyes look bigger. I then use a small shadow brush with the deeper brown and smudge along the bottom lashline to create a smokey line. I use a soft brown kohl like Charlotte Tilbury Rock n Kohl pencil in Barberella Brown to line the top lash line for extra definition. Keeping eyebrows groomed and filled in will frame your face nicely. Pluck away obvious strays with tweezers, but don’t over do it! I like the NYX Micro Brow Pencils. They make it easy to fill in any sparse areas. 
  1. Try wearing strip or cluster lashes for added emphasis on your eyes. I begin with applying mascara to top and bottom lashes. Make sure that it isn’t too thick or clumpy. Apply a thin layer of glue along the band of the lash and leave for 30 seconds or until the glue is nearly dry. Using tweezers, drop the lashes onto the center of your lash line, and then attach each corner. It takes some practice, but lashes really do finish off a gorgeous eye look. You can watch my video tutorial on a blog post I wrote earlier for guidance. If needed, apply more mascara to blend the false lashes into your natural lashes. You may also need to add more eyeliner to hide the band of the lashes. Cluster lashes are applied with tweezers and take much more time than strip lashes. Dip the end in the glue and pop the cluster on to the lash and not the skin. Go from left to right so that you apply them evenly. Build them up until you are happy with the look. You can gently apply mascara afterwards if necessary. I love these cluster lashes from Eyelure.

Not keen on applying lashes everyday? Try semi-permanent eyelash extensions or a lash lift and tint! Available again in my new beauty room at Matt Cox Hair, Woolton Road, Childwall

  1. Highlighting makes your face look more defined and gives radiance to your skin. You look like you are well lit when it is applied correctly. Wearing makeup with masks, you will want your skin to glow.I suggest applying to the tops of your cheekbones towards your temples and also along your brow bone to lift your face. Pop a little highlighter in the inner corners of your eyes. This instantly brightens up your eyes and makes you look younger and more awake. I would recommend using a powder highlighter like Illamasqua Beyond Powder, which will have better staying power while you are wearing a mask. Buff on to your skin using a small brush so you can control where the light reflects, make sure to hit high points of the face. Think of where you would like the light to hit your face in a photograph and go for those areas. Choose powders that are more luminous rather than glittery as this will give you a glowing from within effect. 
  1. If you are wearing lipstick, choose a long wearing liquid lipstick that won’t rub off on your mask. Your lips will need to be lovely and smooth before applying this type of lipstick. Exfoliate them with a wet flannel or soft child’s toothbrush to remove any dry flaky skin. Do not apply lip balm immediately before your lip colour as it will not set to a long wearing finish. I always pop some lip balm on my clients at the beginning of their makeup so that it has time to soak in before we get to their lips. My favourite longwear liquid lipsticks are the Jouer Liquid Lipsticks, they last really well and don’t dry your lips. As we get older, we lose definition on our lip line, so you may want to use a lip pencil to redefine that shape. Then apply the long wearing liquid lipstick and allow to dry before eating, drinking, or wearing your mask. To remove long wearing lipsticks, I recommend using an oil based makeup remover like SVR Topialyse Cleansing Oil or good old vaseline. This will get the colour off of your lips and also hydrate them. You will want to apply lip balm afterwards to keep the skin supple.
woman wearing a face mask showing how to wear makeup with a mask
  1. When wearing makeup with a mask to work you will need your makeup to be bulletproof. Setting spray will be essential to stop your makeup from sweating off beneath your mask. It is my secret weapon for weddings and other events where makeup needs to last 12 hours or longer. There are many types of setting sprays, choose one that best suits your skin type. NYX Matte Setting Spray is my go-to product, it works amazingly and it is a great price. I sometimes spray a makeup sponge with setting spray and blot over areas of the face where makeup tends to disappear, like the nose and chin. This will give it extra staying power. Whatever you do, do not use hairspray! I cannot even begin to tell you how bad that is for your skin. The chemicals in hairspray will dry your face and cause further irritation. It is a very bad idea! Go for the setting spray instead, they are made to be used on delicate facial skin.
  1. Are you a glasses wearer like me? Waterproof mascara and eyeliner will be a life saver when wearing makeup with a mask. Humidity will build up behind your glasses from the mask and cause your eyes to water or your eye makeup to smudge. I have experienced this, and it isn’t fun, especially when you can’t immediately pull the mask off to remedy the situation. You will want a smudge-proof mascara formula like Glossier Lash Slick, which is a tubing mascara. Gel liner pencils like Charlotte Tilbury’s Rock n Kohl are amazingly waterproof. And you will definitely need to prime your lids, Urban Decay Primer Potion has never failed me on the waterproof front.

Wearing makeup with a mask is going to be a case of trial and error. You will need to have a play with your makeup and skincare and find what works best for you. I hope these top tips for how to wear makeup with a mask will be a good starting point for you. Please share your experiences with me! Comment on this blog post or get in touch with me on my social media Instagram and Facebook. I would love to hear from you!

8 top tips for how to wear makeup with a mask
8 top tips for how to wear makeup with a
 mask infographic