How To Wear Eye Makeup With A Face Mask, The Next Big Beauty Trend

How to maximize the impact of your eyes during the coronavirus pandemic with eye shadow, brows, mascara, lashes, liner and more.

With protective face masks here to stay until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, it’s safe to say that the way we wear makeup will change. This means gravitating away from statement lips and contoured cheekbones and shifting toward creative eye and brow makeup looks.

Mask-friendly eye makeup looks have already seen an uptick in popularity on social media ― “eye” searches during April on the popular makeup subreddit r/makeupaddiction were up 36% from March. And makeup-obsessed redditors like Chloe Richmond have shared their own personal looks on the channel, signifying a clear trend on the rise.

Chloe Richmond shows off her mask-friendly eye makeup look.
Chloe Richmond shows off her mask-friendly eye makeup look.

Richmond told HuffPost that her eyes served as the main focal point of her look.

“I noticed I got way more compliments on my makeup, as the mask caused people to look directly in my eyes,” Richmond said. “I also made sure to pack a highlighter around my eye to really help the look pop.”

Makeup artist Shureice Dawn posted an eye look that became a viral success: a crystal mask and matching eye makeup look. She thinks it’s an indicator of where makeup looks are going in the near future.

“Eye makeup will become the way many people choose to express themselves,” Dawn said. “We will soon have to smile only with our eyes, and this is why eye makeup will become more important than ever.”

As mask-friendly eye makeup looks continue to rise in popularity in the beauty space, we tapped social media pros and beauty vets to break down how to create safe and colorful looks on your own. From eye makeup products to choose, to helpful application tips to bookmark, read this before you start combing through Pinterest for DIY makeup ideas.

Coordinate your eye shadow shades to complement your face mask

Makeup artist Jordan Artistry suggested selecting eyeshadow shades that enhance and flatter your mask and your eye color. You’ll see in the photo atop this article that Richmond chose a shade of red that complements the red ladybugs on her mask, but still contrasts with the green background.

Or you can choose a color on the opposite side of the color wheel as your mask.

“If you would like to create a much bolder eye look, I suggest using a colorful eyeshadow that is different from the shade of the mask,” Artistry said. “A great example would be pairing a pink shadow with a yellow face mask in order to create some eye-catching contrast.”

Keep your brows in good shape

While classic nude or neon eyeshadow shades definitely bring some excitement to your eyelids, Claudia Soare, president of Anastasia Beverly Hills, advised that you’ll want to pay equal attention to your brows, as your arches add oomph to any eye makeup look.

“Brows frame our face, and help to bring balance and harmony to the features, so it’s always a good idea to add definition to the brows,” Soare said. “Just be sure that your application doesn’t end up too low under the eye when creating a more elaborate look, as it could be easily rubbed away by the mask.”

And yes, keeping your brows in good shape also means tweezing and plucking them regularly, especially if your go-to waxing studio or salon hasn’t reopened yet. However, you won’t have to spend a fortune in keeping those arches full, as Dawn explained that you can shape them on your own by using tools like a brow pencil.

“I recommend keeping brows manicured by using a brown brow pencil, and drawing in your ideal brow shape,” she said. “You can then pluck or wax any hairs outside of your drawn shape.”

Choose mascara, lashes and liners carefully

Mascara, eyeliner and false lashes can be integral parts to any makeup look. When you are wearing makeup alongside a mask, Dawn suggested using darker mascara products, as they immediately draw attention to the eyes and make them look more pronounced.

False lashes are another option to consider, but you’ll always want to opt for styles that allow you to keep your hands away from your hands and face, she added. With this in mind, Dawn recommended avoiding fussy products that constantly need to be reapplied or adjusted.

“I recommend choosing flared lash styles, as they give you lift at the outer corners of your eyes, creating younger looking eyes as a result,” she said. “You’ll also want to grab a lash glue that has great staying power, as it prevents you from constantly touching or rubbing your eyes.”

Eyeliner should also be applied carefully. Makeup artist Jenny Patinkin suggested tightlining the eyes before you leave the house in order to help them stand out.

“Use a tightlining technique to apply navy blue, dark brown or black liner underneath the roots of your upper lashes,” Patinkin said. “This helps to define the shape of the eyes, makes lashes look thicker and make the whites of the eyes appear much whiter and brighter.”

Apply foundation products with caution

Wearing foundation can be pretty tricky when wearing a mask, and you should try to avoid applying it under the area that’ll be covered by your face covering to decrease your chance of breakouts, makeup artist Courtney Summers said.

With this in mind, she advised reserving your makeup for the skin outside the mask, and adopting good skin care habits going forward.

“Don’t forget to wash your face and apply a light moisturizer after removing your mask,” Summers said. “If your skin is drier, you can always opt for a heavier cream. However, if you have any raw areas from wearing your mask, you can always apply a hydrating ointment (like Aquaphor) while it is off.”

In the areas where you do apply foundation, it’s important to select a long-wear product if you can while avoiding those that require frequent touch-ups.

“Long-wearing foundation that will not smudge or stain your mask is a must,” she said. “You’ll also want to utilize a setting spray (or setting powder) to create a long-lasting look that won’t budge all day.”

While foundation coverage varies depending on individual preferences, Richmond suggested that lighter foundation was key to achieving her mask look. Heavier foundation looks also can spell trouble for your skin.

Makeup has always been about personal expression and in times like these, that concept remains unchanged. Just ensure that any makeup look you create is comfortable and doesn’t require you to fidget around with your face mask, which could increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.


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