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Are masks less effective if you wear makeup?
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Are masks less effective if you wear makeup?

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Makeup doesn’t make your mask any less effective. (Dreamstime/TNS)

There are those of us who are letting our old beauty obsessions go by the wayside in quarantine (so long bras, heels and yes, makeup). But some of us still insist on wearing full faces — including foundation and lipstick — when we leave the house, whether it’s on our weekly outings to the big box stores or just a walk around the block.

That seems odd. Who needs a full face of makeup when no one is going to see you from the nose down?

“I was raised that a lady never leaves the house without a moisturizer, earrings and lipstick,” said Danyl Patterson, an attorney who is running for Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “It makes me feel normal and beautiful. I like to make the effort. I don’t want to look the same way in the street as I do in the house.”

So, if you absolutely must wear makeup, here’s what you need to know.

DOES MAKEUP AFFECT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MY MASK?

No. Makeup — including foundation and lipstick — doesn’t make your mask any less effective, said Dr. Carrie L. Kovarik, a dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. But the combination of foundation, lipstick, perspiration, hot breath, and friction can irritate your skin. “Makeup can become occluded between your mask and your skin and push makeup into the pores,” said Kovarik who finds herself still wearing foundation under her masks these days. And not to mention when makeup transfers to the mask, it can make them extra dirty.

SO WHAT CAN I DO?

If you want to wear makeup, on more than the top-half of your face, the best thing to do is use a waterproof or matte foundation and lipstick that doesn’t smudge, said Ursula Augustine, owner of Center City’s Ursula’s About Phace. That will help your makeup stay put underneath the mask. Cindy Singer, a Jenkintown, Pennsylvania-based makeup artist and owner of Dylan Michael Cosmetics, suggested a quick spritz of a setting spray. (You can buy both at your area drug stores.) But you may still experience breakouts and irritation. The key is keeping your mask and your face clean.

Remember, you should not touch your face when you’re not at home, and you should not touch or adjust your mask when you’re wearing one. So if your makeup is going to mean you touch your mask or have to adjust it because it’s stuck to your lipstick, you should change your routine so you’re wearing a mask safely.

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT CLOGGED PORES?

It’s a good idea to wash your makeup off and reapply every time you don your mask, Singer said. When you get home, wash your hands first and then wash your face and moisturize. Once a week, use a facial mask to minimize pores, and add nourishment. Augustine suggests this natural remedy: Rub tomato juice along your jaw line (it acts as a gentle astringent) then use a bit of olive oil (a natural moisturizer). When you’re going to be outside you may also consider switching to a tinted moisturizer with an SPF, which gives you some makeup coverage and UV protection for the uncovered part of your face as well.

DO I HAVE TO GIVE UP LIPSTICK?

You don’t have to throw away all of your lipsticks, Singer said. But you might want to opt for a nude lipstick because there are few things as gross as a lipstick-stained mask. If you can’t live without your red lips, use a washable mask. (Remember, you should wash your mask after each use, anyway.)

WANT TO WEAR MAKEUP? FOCUS ON YOUR EYES

Now is an excellent time to focus on our eyes. Augustine is offering complimentary brow consultation and maintenance to clients (virtually, of course) because, she says, now more than ever brows frame the face. Or maybe experiment with lashes. Singer, who is also giving virtual makeup tutorials, suggests this easy eye: Dust on a nude or neutral eye shadow, use a liquid eyeliner to line the bottom (and the top if you like the cat-eye look) of your eyelid and finish it off with a waterproof mascara. “It’s about balancing the look,” Singer said. “Your eyes will now be the first thing people see. And that’s something to take advantage of.”

©2020 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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