Face masks will be a part of everyday life for the foreseeable future. And with everyday wear, many people are experiencing skin irritation and makeup frustrations they’ve never faced before. Whether you’re a victim of mask-induced breakouts or your makeup seems to always find its way onto your mask, here are some mask-care tips from the pros.
Face masks are now a lifestyle norm, and they have created a discouraging scenario for many: maskne. Alexia Wambua, local esthetician and founder of clean skincare line Native Atlas, has seen an uptick in the last few months in clients seeking help for skin irritation.
“Most people are not asking why they’re breaking out—they are very aware that it’s from wearing a mask,” she says.
Wambua says the environment between your mouth and a mask can be irritating to skin—breathing air into the enclosed space builds a hot and humid environment, creating a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to acne or rash.
The cardinal rule to prevent this, Wambua says, is to use a gentle skincare routine. “Skincare is about consistency,” she says. If you are experiencing skin irritation from wearing a mask, now might not be the time to experiment with new products, ingredients or synthetic fragrances.
Another tip for reducing maskne is to make sure that all makeup comes completely off when you’re cleansing your face. Also, use masks made of breathable fabrics—like lightweight cotton or a performance wicking fabric—and switch it out with a clean one every day or two.
“It’s good to have a couple masks and swap them out so that you can wash them frequently,” Wambua says. “That way you’re not constantly putting on a mask that has oils, bacteria, grime or makeup already on it.”
With masks now an essential part of our getup, beauty routines may need some adjustments.
Professional bridal makeup artist Shani Overfelt says that when it comes to face makeup, now is not the time to go heavy. Try to stick with a lighter foundation formula and buff it into the skin with a brush instead of just coating the surface. When applying foundation, Overfelt suggests “avoiding the tip and bridge of your nose because it will most likely rub off.” She says to also be sure that foundation color is almost identical to your skin tone—that way if it does rub off on a mask, it’s not noticeable on your face.
Masks can make it hard to detect emotions, hence why “smizing”—smiling with your eyes—has become an everyday phrase. To help accentuate your eyes with makeup, Overfelt recommends using eyeshadow colors that complement your eye color.
“Think about the color wheel,” she says. “The opposite of the color you want to emphasize is what you should look at. For example, with my bluish-green eyes, I find the biggest impact in purples, like plums and burgundy colors.”
And as for creamy lipsticks and sticky lip glosses? Since they’ll likely rub off on your mask, avoid those for now. Instead, Overfelt recommends a matte lipstick formula, lip stain or lip pencil—all of which won’t budge under a mask—paired with a blot to eliminate excess oil on the lips.