Look Good

HLN’s guide to mask-friendly beauty

If you’re suffering from maskne or wondering which make-up is best to wear with a face covering, we’ve got you…

Written by High Life North
Published 06.10.2020

By Jenny Brownlees

If you’re suffering from maskne or wondering which make-up is best to wear with a face covering, we’ve got you…

Face masks have quickly become an integral part of our everyday lives, with wear compulsory in many shops and indoor venues in response to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic. Masks are now a necessity in our handbags, joining the essential trio of keys, purse, phone. They have swiftly been made available in an array of patterns and styles and were even a focal point at the recent scaled-back New York Fashion Week shows. Masks were made to match manicures at Rebecca Minkoff, twinned outfits at Zero + Maria Cornejo and many designers adorned the coverings with embellishments for a fashion-forward look. Backstage, with a large proportion of the face covered, eye make-up was the main focus of runway looks this season. Whichever way you’re wearing them, it’s clear they’re changing up our beauty routines this year and beyond.

We’ll be showing you how to swerve pesky maskne, (that’s acne caused by wearing a mask) and all the ways you can switch up your make up routine to shine a spotlight on the eyes.

Face masks’ effects on the skin

Whilst vital to keep up to stop the spread of this pandemic, regular mask wearing can be troublesome for the skin. Long-wear can trigger breakouts or leave skin feeling itchy and irritated. If this is happening to you you’re not alone; searches for ‘maskne’ are up 811% right now. This new skin complaint is due in part to the friction of the mask rubbing on the skin after each wear. This damages the skin’s barrier, allowing bacteria to get into the pores, clogging them and in turn causing spots. The hot environment caused by breathing under a mask further complicates things — sweat can become trapped, blocking pores with excess sebum which can lead to pimples. But fear not, there’s steps you can take to help counteract these effects. Firstly, ensure your mask’s fabric is soft and breathable — cotton is perfect for this. Your mask also needs to be washed thoroughly after every use, so consider buying multiple packs so as not to get caught short.

When it comes to skincare, you’ll get the best results by sticking vigilantly to a pared-back version of your usual routine. A morning cleanse, hydrating protective barrier cream and sunscreen is an ideal combo for the daytime and sure to keep your skin healthy and glowing. In the evening, a thorough double cleanse will ensure there’s no dirt or bacteria left on the skin after a long day. Further to this, skin will benefit from gentle exfoliation, a blemish-fighting product, hydrating mask and finally a rich night cream to soothe and restore.

Mask-friendly skincare:


La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser | £12.50

Cleansing thoroughly twice a day will remove impurities from the skin — vital when it comes to fighting potential maskne. This pick from La Roche-Posay is a winner as it’s ultra-sensitive, so though it will cleanse deeply — it won’t strip the skin of much needed moisture.

Buy Now

Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream | £8

You may think any old moisturiser will do right now, but in a time when we’re wearing face coverings daily, you need a cream that is ultra-hydrating yet non-comedogenic — meaning it won’t clog the pores. This pick from Avène will not only nourish the skin without causing spots, but as the name suggests it will add a protective barrier to shield against that pesky friction we discussed earlier. Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream is packed with antibacterial agents, yet is so gentle it can be used on babies and adults alike. It also contains innovative active-ingredient [C+ Restore]™ to replenish the skin with deep hydration.

Buy Now


Rituals The Ritual Of Namaste SPF 50 | £29.90

Enriched with saffron flower and holy lotus, this lighter-than-light SPF provides hard-working protection against UV rays and urban pollution. It’s suitable for all skin types and is fragrance and oil-free, oil-free — ideal for under-mask wear.

Buy Now

ESPA Skin Rescue Balm | £29

If your skin suffers from dryness, this could be further exasperated by a face covering. Consider this nourishing balm a soothing rescue for the skin. Naturally calming ingredients including Blackcurrant Seed Oil, Balloon Vine Extract, Manuka and Tamanu Oils add moisture, whilst antioxidant Sea Fennel restores and protects. It’s also possible to use ESPA’s balm on the lips, which shouldn’t be neglected when treating face-mask-induced dryness.

Buy Now

Evening skincare:

Wishful Thirst Trap Mask | £8

This sumptuous sheet mask from Huda Beauty’s skincare range is ideal for injecting some moisture back into the skin. It’s infused with conditioning althaea rosea flower extract, aloe vera and sodium hyaluronate (a water-soluble form of hyaluronic acid that absorbs easily) which helps to boost hydration. Goodbye dryness, hello glowing plumped-up skin.

Buy Now

Science of Skin Rescue No. One | £18.99

Developed by two leading medics — Professor Ardeshir Bayat and Mr Douglas McGeorge MBE — Rescue No. One is the moisturiser for acne-prone skin. This clever cream is proven to reduce redness caused by spots and improve the appearance of the scars that they leave behind. Magnolia Bark, a natural anti-inflammatory that soothes and heals works alongside Vitamin E, an antioxidant that repairs and protect. Together they ensure mask-wearing skin issues are kept at bay. Even the most sensitive, sore skin will love this vegan, paraben, alcohol and fragrance free hero buy.

Buy Now

Clarins Multi-Active Night Cream, Normal / Dry Skin | £38.25

A rich night cream like Multi-Active from Clarins will work as you sleep to restore and re-energise — returning radiance to the skin after a long day of mask-induced dryness. You’ll wake looking refreshed, due in part to the cream’s Teasel Extract which targets the fibroblast cell that’s responsible for a youthful-looking glow.

Buy Now

C-50 Blemish Night Treatment | £12.99

If you have oily, acne-prone skin or are developing breakouts, make The Inkey List’s Blemish Night Treatment your go-to evening face cream. C-50 is particularly effective as it’s a stable vitamin C derivative, meaning it will brighten and even the skin’s tone while diminishing the appearance of blemishes. The salicylic acid in the treatment will work deep in the skins layers to exfoliate, ridding it of dead skin cells and regulating your skin’s oil production. Whilst you sleep peacefully, this cream works hard.

Buy Now

Mask-friendly make up

Ideally foundation, concealers, powers, blushers and bronzers should be skipped whilst wearing a mask, however if you do wish to wear foundation it’s best avoid long-wearing styles — opt instead for a mineral base. Lipstick is bound to get messy, so avoid if possible and setting sprays are a no-go at the mo. The reason being the all aforementioned products sitting on the skin, paired with the friction caused by the mask and the hot environment is what can lead to the very problems we’re trying to remedy. This is particularly important if you have a long commute wearing a face covering, or have to wear a mask for long hours at work. However, we have some great mask-friendly alternatives. Plus, with one third of the face covered, this is the eyes time to shine…

Bare Minerals Original Mineral Foundation | £29

Bare Minerals specifically created their make up so that it won’t clog pores — it’s non-comedogenic, free of talc and fillers and promotes clearer skin over time. There’s a reason their tag line is Makeup So Pure And Clean You Can Sleep In It™.  We are huge fans of celebrity make-up artist Katie Jane Hughes here at HLN @katiejanehughes — she is a self-confessed lover of liquid formulas, but has made the switch during lockdown. Katie shares, “Powder foundations are brilliant right now, especially if you’re wearing a mask. You will find that a powder foundation will transfer less than a creamy textured formula might. This applies for bronzers, highlighters and blushers too. Bare Minerals Original Foundation is a great option.”

Buy Now

BECCA Mineral Blush, Flowerchild | £24

If skipping blush is a no-no for you, try BECCA’s delicate powder in the warm peachy pink shade, Flowerchild.

Buy Now

Inika Loose Mineral Bronzer in Sunkissed | £23

Australian brand Inika has been making waves on the beauty scene for its lust-after organic, mineral-based products. You may thinking mineral make up products are lesser than — but no more. This gorgeous bronzer will help you achieve a perfect golden glow year-round. Especially helpful if you’re not heading on holiday anytime soon.

Buy Now

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Mascara | £23

The new Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk mascara has been praised by industry insiders for its ability to add instant length and volume to lashes, ensuring eyes look defined and flutter-tastic. The clever precision brush means lashes are easily coated for an amplifying effect. Lash-lifting polymers give a defined, glossy look, whilst the keratin-infused formula builds healthier lashes long-term.

Buy Now

Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eye Shadow Palette | £46

This suit-all palette is ideal for accentuating the eyes when wearing a mask. The choice of fourteen shades, from neutrals to metallic can be used to create a subtle or bold look, depending on your mood. With this palette in your beauty bank you’ll never be stuck for a complimentary shade. Whether you stick to soft browns or create a shimmering look, there’s never been a better time to work an on-trend shadow.

Buy Now

Elf’s Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow | £5.

If you have limited time and are looking a one-swipe-and-go product, Elf’s Glitter Eyeshadow seriously shines — plus the handy wand makes for super quick and easy application. Flirty Birdy is a gorgeous shade that accentuates all eye colours. Plus, the gel-based formula is long-lasting, quick-drying and shimmers beautifully. A true bargain buy.

Buy Now

Eyeko Black Magic Liquid Eyeliner | £16

The ultimate liner for creating a sharp wing in one easy swipe. This is Eyeko’s darkest liquid eyeliner yet. It applies is smooth fluid strokes and stays all day without smudging or fading. Ideal.

Buy Now

Stila Sketch & Sculpt Brow Pencil | £18

New from Stila’s Autumn/Winter make-up collection is this stay all day high precision pencil. We love a dual-ended brow product — ideal for creating that perfect shape. Mimic hairs with soft strokes to achieve a fluffy brow that’s completely smudge-proof. When lippy and blush are a masking no-go, let your perfect arches do the talking.

Buy Now

Silly George Black LinerBond™ Lash Adhesive Eyeliner | £23.99

We recently tried Silly George’s LinerBond and can confirm the smudge-proof liner applies easily, and lasts all day long. No more faffing around with eyelash glue, pairing this with the Girl Next Door Lashes £15.99, made our peepers really pop, yet was subtle enough for daytime.

Buy Now

Glossier Boy Brow Gel in Clear | £14

We can’t get enough of the trend for youthful, brushed-up brows — and when better to make them the statement than when wearing a face mask? There’s a reason Glossier’s Boy Brow has become a cult favourite  —  it gives an expert soft, flexible hold without stiffening or flaking. Nourished, conditioned brows all-round.

Buy Now

Other stories by High Life North
The Crown: Shop the style of Princess Diana’s iconic looks

The Crown: Shop the style of Princess Diana’s iconic looks

High Life North
Laura Kingston editor High Life North autumn style staples

The autumn staples our editor is buying right now

High Life North
The Watcher Naomi Watts fashion style

The Watcher: Shop the style of Naomi Watts as Nora Brannock

High Life North

How flowers are being used to tell stories of inspirational women and Durham’s history

High Life North

Touch the rainbow, wear the rainbow! Colourful outfits perfect for holidays

High Life North

Looking for summer nails ideas? Check out these six Newcastle nail salons (and beyond) for some inspo

High Life North