How to wear your hair and make-up with a face mask, according to beauty experts

Andrew M. Santos

For people who consider make-up to be an art form, wearing a protective face mask poses quite a problem, taking up a fair amount of facial real estate and, theoretically, removing half the canvas.

The same goes for those who enjoy experimenting with their hair, as masks threaten to alter the overall silhouette of precise cuts, flatten voluminous do’s and cause breakage. Likewise, while not touching our faces has proved essential advice during the outbreak, the temptation to move hair out of your eyes or tuck flyaway strands behind your ears will surely only heighten as coverings become the new norm.

But, despite our beauty concerns, wearing a face masks is about to become part of almost everyone’s daily routine as lockdown continues to be relaxed in the UK.

Across the country, precautionary measures are being taken to reduce the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus. The latest of which makes it mandatory for people in England to wear face coverings when using public transport and, from 24 July, visiting supermarkets and other non-essential shops.

While there is no arguing that face masks are key in helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19, there is much to be said about the impact they will have on people’s make-up habits and the wider beauty industry, given that half our face is going to be concealed for the foreseeable future.

According to Danielle Roberts, global make-up artist for Urban Decay, make-up wearers are likely to take two distinct courses over the coming months. The first will be practical with an emphasis on long-wearing products, but the second will see some turn to their beauty arsenals as an escape.

“Longevity will now come into play due to less face touching and keeping make up fresh looking while having a face mask on, with things like setting powders and sprays becoming staples for every make-up wearer,” Roberts says. “Also as the eye will be the only part of the face visible make-up bioptimizerscouponcode.com wearers may start to be more daring with their eye looks.”

She continues: “Now is the time to be more dramatic with eye make-up including colour play and different textures as our lips, which are usually the pop of colour in a look, won’t be visible.”

Jenni Middleton, director of beauty at trend forecasting company WGSN, agrees, telling The Independent that the increased use of face masks is expected to have a prolonged impact on make-up sales. She explains that while UK data shows cosmetics were less likely to be out of stock in the first two months of lockdown (dropping from 16.6 per cent in 2019 to 13.6 per cent – a shift largely driven by a fall in sales of lip and facial make-up) eye make-up is the only subcategory where demand has and continues to remain steady.

“As the eye becomes the focus of the face, it will also become the focus of the make-up bag, with mascara, eyebrow kits and pencils, eye shadows and eyeliners uptrending,” Middleton explains.

Nick Peters, style director at London’s Daniel Galvin hair salon, predicts the move towards mask wearing will also encourage people to rethink the way they wear their hair as it becomes more of a beauty focus. “I believe hair has always been important for women but it may be that people become more experimental,” he says, explaining that stylists are likely to see a rise in requests for fringes in the weeks ahead.

It is clear that, alongside everything else, the way we do our make-up and style our tresses is changing, with lipstick and unruly do’s relegated to the home. But, while you might feel sad having to wave goodbye to your go-to style, there are a host of new and creative ways to look and feel your best while wearing a face covering.

To help you navigate this new world of mask-worthy hair and make-up, we have spoken to a number of experts, including hairdressers, make-up artists and fashion stylists, for the best tips on how to switch up your style to better suit wearing a face covering, from bold liner and graphic fringes to cat-eye sunglasses.

Graphic eyeliner

Eyeliners are a super-easy way to get your eyes to stand out using just one product (Getty)
Eyeliners are a super-easy way to get your eyes to stand out using just one product (Getty)

Considering your eyes are the only part of the face that is going to be seen when wearing a face mask, make-up artists Pamela & Andrea advise that make-up wearers showcase their peepers with looks that are going to make them really stand out from the crowd, including bold eyeliner.

“Eyeliners are a super-easy way to get your eyes to stand out using just one product,” the duo says. If you aren’t a seasoned pro at application, they suggest using a pencil like Urban Decay’s Wired 24/7 Eyeliners, which will give your more margin for error and come in a range of bright neon colours.

“Apply roughly to the lash line to start with for a pop of colour, sometimes the smudgier and messier the better,” they say, adding that anyone feeling brave should smudge the liner out into an elongated wing shape.

If a slick feline flick has always been your signature look, mix it up by opting for thicker and bolder lines using a liquid liner, and drawing on two different sized wings or extending the line to the inner corner of the eye.

No eyeliner? Fear not, as Roberts says you can easily transform your favourite colourful shimmer shadow into one by spraying a fine brush with setting spray and using a shadow like a cake liner. “It’s a fun way to use product in a different way whilst giving a modern take on your favourite look,” she says.

Bright here

'As people shouldn’t be getting too close right now focus on colour,' says Ruby Hammer (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
‘As people shouldn’t be getting too close right now focus on colour,’ says Ruby Hammer (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

As far as creativity goes, Middleton predicts that there will be a surge in the trend for matching your eye make-up to your face mask and the good news is that there are plenty of multi-coloured products for you to experiment with, whether you opt for a bold liner or a statement shadow.

One of the best ways to incorporate several shades into one look is with a contemporary take on the smokey eye, which make-up artist Ruby Hammer, who has worked with the likes of Kate Moss and Miranda Kerr, says is a great go-to look that will catch people’s attention while we practice social distancing. “As people shouldn’t be getting too close right now focus on colour rather than graphic lines and make sure you blend,” she says, adding that before applying the shadow, you should always uses eye drops to make the eyes look “hydrated and sparkling”.

To nail a smokey eye like the experts, try and stick to no more than three colours and an eyeliner. Start by applying a mid-tone shadow all over the lid, followed by a darker tone along the lash line. Next, gently blend the darker shade halfway up and into the eye crease before pressing a vibrant shadow onto the middle section of the lid and blending each shade together using a fluffy brush. Finally, add a couple of layers of mascara.

Waterproof it

For anyone who wears make-up, finding products that are long-wearing and transfer-proof is a must when wearing a face mask as this will help prevent smudging your look and staining your covering.

To achieve a full impact look without the fear of smearing, Pamela & Andrea suggest investing in waterproof products in a range of categories including eyeshadow and mascara. “Waterproof mascara is going to be a must when wearing a face mask, we don’t want any flakes or smudges working their way onto your mask,” they say, citing Maybelline’s Lash Sensational Waterproof and YSL’s Volume Effet Cils Waterproof among their favourites.

Similarly, waterproof eyeshadow looks can be fully-realised using eyeshadow cream sticks, like Laura Mercier’s Caviar Sticks, rather than powders. Simply run the pen along your lash line and tap and smudge with your finger, until you have the desired effect. Finish by adding a little to the lower lash line and a few coats of waterproof mascara.

Brow power

Even if you don’t have enough time for eye make-up, keeping your brows on point is essential and, given that they are really the only form of any facial expression visible when wearing a face mask, you’re going to want to make sure they’re looking their best.

“The eyebrows are vitally important as they are the frame to your eyes,” says Hammer, adding that while salons are closed you will need to pluck to maintain your brow shape but warns not to go overboard.

Jared Bailey, Benefit Cosmetics‘s global brow expert, says you need just three products to achieve the perfect fluffy brows: a spoolie, brow pencil and brow gel. He recommends starting by brushing your brows in the direction you want them to be styled using a spoolie before using a brow pencil to lightly sketch out the base of your brow and individual hairs, applying more pressure in places you need more definition.

“Now that the end of your brow has structure, don’t forget to do the same to the front of your brow,” he says, adding that when it comes to applying a brow gel, you should choose one in a shade or two darker than your pencil as this will ensure there is texture to your brows. “Make sure to brush lightly onto the front of your brow so it sticks to your hair and not your skin.”

All that glitters

If you typically stick to strictly neutral matte tones on your lids, there’s no better time to add a pop of shimmer to the eyes, but using loose glitter can get messy.

For this reason, Pamela & Andrea suggest using a products like Stilla’s Glitter and Glow Liquid Eye Shadow, which is highly pigmented and can be applied straight from the applicator on to your lids.

“When wearing a face mask a glitter product with no fall out is important which is why we love this one,” the duo says. “Apply one coat directly onto the lash line and centre of the lid, use your finger in a tapping motion to blend and set, these can be used alone or to make other eyeshadows pop.”

Alternatively, you can try smudging a gel eyeliner onto the lids and then dabbing glitter on top with your finger. The pencil will help to give the glitter depth and because the glitter is layered on a gel, it won’t fall out all over your face and mask.

For a more simple look, ease yourself in by gilding the corner of your eyes or using a shimmery liquid eyeliner.

Lash out

Lashes are a great way to make your eyes appear bigger while wearing a mask (Getty Images)
Lashes are a great way to make your eyes appear bigger while wearing a mask (Getty Images)

As defined eyes become the focus of everyone’s beauty look, make-up artist Cassie Lomas recommends adding definition by applying individual wispy lashes on the outer corners.

Pamela & Andrea agree, adding that they predict there will be an increase in people wearing false eyelashes in the coming months. “Lashes are the perfect way to make your eyes appear bigger while wearing a mask,” they say, adding that a good tip for foolproof application is to cut your pair of lashes in half giving you two sets of corner lashes.

“Corner lashes adhere easier and are less likely to lift at the ends,” they explain. “We love Ardell’s Demi Wispies or if you have a steady hand go for Ardell’s individual lashes for an even softer look.”

If falsies aren’t your thing, Hammer recommends investing in a mascara that does it all, citing Huda Beauty’s Legit Lashes Volume Curl and Length as her go-to product of the moment.

The half-up half-down styling trick

From complaints of straps rubbing the back of hair and strands getting caught in them, it is important to know how to style your tresses for minimum irritation, especially now that failure to comply with wearing one could lead to a hefty fine.

According to Peters, you don’t have to sacrifice your normal hairstyle to wear one. Instead, he suggests mixing up the way you tie your mask to prevent it from flatting the hair. “If you are wearing a face mask that is tied behind the head and still want to wear hair down, I would recommend sectioning the hair from the temple to temple (as if you are doing a half up half down hairstyle),” he says.

“Then secure the top half of the hair into a pony tail or with a clip, tie the face mask behind the head, and let the top half of the hair down over the mask fastening.”

Meghan Markle-inspired messy bun

Meghan Markle is a fan of the messy bun and even sported the look on her wedding (Getty)
Meghan Markle is a fan of the messy bun and even sported the look on her wedding (Getty)

Wearing a face mask can create excess heat around the face which can be uncomfortable. To prevent this, Paul Percival, the co-founder of haircare brand and salon Percy & Reed, says simple updos like the messy bun are going to be key.

“You might find that you are more inclined to want your hair off your face more, especially if you have long hair. I suggest having fun with texture, a messy bun with volume and undone-fly always is always a nice style,” Percival says adding that it is important to use volumising products such to give the hair volume and texture no matter what length it is.

The look has been a favourite of the Duchess of Sussex, who has sported a messy bun on several occasions, including for her wedding reception in May 2018.

George Northwood, the hairstylist behind the look recently told Vogue that the style came off the back of “making the hair both appropriate and adhering to royal protocol, and modern at the same time.”

“We wanted it to be up, because a lot of the time it was appropriate for it to be up, but we didn’t want it to be too formal,” he said. “We always wanted it to be refined imperfection – that’s what sums her up.”

The super-high ponytail

Super-high ponytails are a favourite look among celebrities on red carpets, including Hailey Bieber and, of course, Ariana Grande. But according to Peters, they are also a great hairstyle to adopt if you want to ensure your face mask doesn’t slip.

First, figure out where your ponytail is going to go and pull it back to that point before using hairspray and a bristle brush to smooth all around it and secure with an elastic. Next put on your mask and loop the ties around your hair fastening. You can cover up the ties by taking a small section of hair from underneath the ponytail and wrapping it around the base, before securing it with some pins.

For a laidback look, keep the ponytail loose or, if you really want to stand out, opt for a bubble braid by adding another elastic every two inches down the length of your hair.

Bows, bands and barrettes

Wearing your mask all day long can cause painful rubbing and pulling on the backs of your ears but, with the help of a couple of accessories, that needn’t be the case.

South Florida-based hairstylist Olivia Smalley, recently shared an ingenious hacks that involves using hair clips to hold back the straps of the mask.

“Since going back into the salon, I’ve been wearing my mask for long periods of mine and noticed how raw the backs of my ears were getting,” she recently told Allure. “I’ve toyed with different ways to protect my ears, and it hit me to just let the barrette hold it in place for me. I’ll never leave the house without it.”

As well as helping to protect your ears, the addition of hair accessories means you can still retain your individual sense of style while wearing a face covering. “I think wearing a mask will definitely leave some wanting to show more of their personal style whether that’s fun headbands, hair bows, statement earrings or layered necklaces,” says fashion stylist Emily Sanchez. “I’ll definitely be sporting ribbons in my hair.”

For ultimate style points, look for oversized hair clips covered in pearls, pile on the gemstone pins and invest in jumbo-sized headbands in floral satin prints.

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