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Beauty Look to try: statement eyes for mask-wearing

Aug. 17, 2020
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Wow, life is strange, right? Imagine if six months ago you’d told me a future beauty column of mine would revolve around wearing medically protective face masks because of a deadly pandemic. Truly apocalyptic stuff. But as covering our noses and mouths is now normal, we might as well make the best of it, right? If your eyes have to do all the work for your entire makeup look, you have free reign to make them as exciting as possible. And hey, as an extra bonus, you don’t have to apply any makeup from the nose down.

Many of us are finding that masks accentuate our hormonal jawline breakouts, so starting with a clean and acne-treated base is key. I’ve been loving the Tula Acne Foam Cleanser, which combines 2% of pore-clearing salicylic acid with antibacterial tea tree oil. It’s somehow remarkably non-drying, too. I’ve also been enjoying the Breakout Start Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer from the same brand. Usually, an oil-free moisturizer fills me with dread, but this one is super nourishing thanks to the aloe and also helps brighten up old acne marks with azelaic acid and niacinamide. It also provides a pleasantly smooth and supple base for makeup. 

If you’re wearing a mask, it’s likely you’re going out—and if you’re going out, you know you need to be wearing SPF. And if, like me, you really don’t enjoy layering multiple products on your skin, a base product with high sun protection is ideal. The It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream claims an SPF of 50—which is unlikely to hold up due to the smaller amount you’re applying. But even a thin layer smushed on with fingers can offer enough protection from the sun for your brief sojourn in the outside world.

When going for something a little outlandish on the eyes, a brightened under-eye is essential. A small dot of something high-coverage but radiant, like the old faithful Tarte Shape Tape, dotted on the inner corner and dabbed in with fingers or a damp beauty sponge, will cover up all your sins while still looking fairly natural.

And with that, your base makeup is...done! Masks mitigate the need for any contour, blush, bronzer, or highlighter. In some ways, it’s a little sad, but in another way—what a relief! Let’s just focus on the eyes and chill out.

To frame your glittery masterpiece, you’re going to want some nicely structured brows. Fill in with a waxy pencil (the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer is perfect for this) then set with a gel to keep them looking fluffy.

You’ll next want to prime your lids. The Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Eyeshadow Primer is a great option, but I also love the ELF Glitter Primer for (you guessed it) more glittery looks like this. It feels almost like a lightweight glue, which helps stick down your shiny particles and minimize any fallout. Although, with a mask on, who cares?

There are four different glittery elements to this look. First, I recommend a Lemonhead Spacejam Glitter Blam—the shade “Crystal Tokyo” is my favorite. These work best when pressed on with fingers, so apply in a crescent moon shape on the outer corner of one eye. 

On the inner corner of that eye, you’ll want a more finely milled, iridescent glitter with a slightly bluish shift. The Colourpop Pressed Glitter in “Lightshow” is ideal—again, mimic that crescent moon shape and use a finger.

On the inner corner of the other eye, you’ll want a glitter with a similar texture but more of a warm lime green reflect. The Colourpop Pressed Glitter in “Hungry Ghost” is a great option. Mirror the shape of the glitter on your opposite inner corner.

On your other outer corner, things are a little more complicated. A holographic silver glitter is drawn in more of a wiggly line, rather than the smudgy crescent shape of the other glitters. The Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow in “Diamond Dust” works perfectly. Simply dab out a little onto your hand, then take an angled brush and sketch out a curly line on your outer corner with a break in the middle. You want to fill in this line break with a tiny black heart drawn in kohl liner. Glossier’s Colorslide in “Brack” is a great waxy formula to minimize smudging.

Take your same black kohl liner and wiggle it into your upper lash line to make lashes appear fuller and help give the eye some definition. You can use a small eyeshadow brush to wing it out slightly. Add a slick of black mascara (not to be a broken record, but Glossier’s Lash Slick is fantastic) and you’re good to go. Let your eyes do the talking—because nothing else is going to right now!