How to Make Your Makeup Last Under a Mask, According to Top Makeup Artists

Hint: It's a 10-step guide to long-lasting perfection.

bride with mask

Photo by Alexandra Michele Photography

Let’s face it: Masks and makeup make terrible bed partners. Friction and sweat can result in makeup smudges on your skin and mask—but take heart! We put together a group of top makeup artists and challenged them to create a step-by-step, long-lasting makeup routine that will outsmart any mask

Meet the Expert

First, a few words about finding the perfect bridal mask: Experts agree there isn’t one mask—silk, cotton, linen, or paper—that works best with makeup. They suggest going with the mask that feels most comfortable on your skin and interferes least with your breathing as a rise in body temperature will affect your makeup.

“Finding the perfect face mask is like finding the perfect pair of jeans—you’ll have to try on a few until you discover the one you love," notes Mone’t Howard, a makeup artist for Glamsquad.

Below, a 10-step guide to creating a long-lasting look that'll stick—even under your mask!

Step 1: Primer

You’ll need a matte face primer.

  • Kelsey: “Primers blur imperfections, seal in moisturize, help foundation adhere better to the skin, and control oil and sweat. I like to say they give makeup an extra hug.”
  • Luis: “Apply primer with a sponge to clean and moisturized skin, concentrating in the areas where your makeup tends to disappear, then blending it out to the rest of your face. Allow at least one minute for the primer to dry before applying foundation.” 

Their picks? L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Matte Lock Primer ($10), BECCA Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector ($39), Smashbox Photo Finish Smooth & Blur Oil-Free Primer ($37)

bride with mask
Photo by Alexandra Michele Photography 

Step 2: Foundation

You’ll need a long-lasting liquid and powder foundation.

  • Sir John: “Here’s a great long-lasting trick—apply a liquid foundation, then follow it up with a powder foundation for enduring coverage. Apply both using a foundation brush—a sponge distributes too much product—holding the handle close to the bristles to prevent a heavy application.”
  • Vincent: “There are many water-resistant and smudge-proof long-lasting foundations—oily, dry, sensitive, and acne-prone—choose the one that best suits your skin type.”

Their picks? LORAC PRO Soft Focus Longwear Foundation ($38), Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Foundation ($47), Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder ($48), Bare Minerals Original Loose Powder Foundation SPF 15 ($32)

Step 3: Face Powder/Setting Powder

You’ll need a lightweight loose or translucent powder.

  • Luis: “A translucent powder will match any skin tone and set your foundation. If you’re oily, apply the powder with a puff and then use a brush to dust away from the excess. If your skin is normal, use a large powder brush with a ‘press and roll’ motion, followed up by circular motions to blend.”
  • Sir John: “The key is not using a lot of powder, simply brush some loose powder or translucent powder over the face, with the focus on the T-Zone area, to absorb any oil from the foundation.”

Their picks? MAC Mineralize Skinfinish ($36), Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Pressed Powder ($45), Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Invisimatte Blotting Paper ($16)

Step 4: Blush

You’ll need a cream and powder blush.

  • Kelsey: “The secret to long-lasting blush is to start with a cream and then set it with a powder, pressing the color into your skin with a wet blender sponge.”
  • Vincent: “Apply the cream blush directly above the apple of the cheek and sweep it towards the hairline. Follow up with a powder blush on that little sweet spot in-between the apple and the hollow of your cheek. It’s a subtle look that will allow the blush to peek out from under your mask.” 
  • Sir John: “Choose a taupe shade of blush, which looks good on all skin tones, to create a sense of depth.”

Try: Kjaer Weis Cream Blush ($56), Chantecaille Philanthropy Cheek Shade ($40), Mary Kay Chromafusion Blush ($14), L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Blush in Innocent Flush ($8)

Step 5: Highlighter

You’ll need a powder highlighter. 

  • Luis: “Choose a powder over a cream or liquid highlighter as you don’t want the highlighter to ‘steal the show’—it shouldn’t give off a too glittery or wet-looking sheen.”
  • Vincent: “Always apply highlighter in a circular motion on the area above the hollow of your cheek at the top of your ear, where it meets the end of your eyebrow.”

Their picks? Urban Decay Stoned Vibes Highlighter ($36), LORAC LUX Diamond Golden Hour Face Palette ($35), Christian Dior Diorskin Nude Luminizer Shimmering Glow Powder Highlighter ($48)

bride with mask
Photo by Alexandra Michele Photography 

Step 6: Eyeshadow and Liner

You’ll need a primer, cream shadow, and waterproof gel liner.

  • Sir John: “For long-lasting eye makeup, apply a primer, followed by a cream shadow and gel liner, then set everything in place with a translucent powder. The primer and powder will reduce excess oils on the lids and increase the wear of your shadow.” 
  • Luis: “Have fun with eyeshadow by incorporating a few different textures, like combining a long-lasting matte with a shimmery shadow to keep your look fresh and modern.” 

Their picks? Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner ($28), Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize Cream Eyeshadow ($32), NYX Professional Makeup Gel Eye Liner & Smudger ($9), IT Cosmetics Superhero No-Tug Waterproof Gel Eyeliner ($22)

Step 7: Brows

You’ll need a brow gel.

  • Sir John: “A tinted eyebrow gel in a color matching shade will build up your brows, keep them in place, and give off natural-looking color.” 
  • Mone’t: “If you don’t have a brow gel, spritz a little bit of hair spray on a spoolie to set your brows.”

Their picks? Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel ($22), L’Oréal Paris Unbelieva-Brow Longwear Waterproof Brow Gel ($14), Hourglass Cosmetics Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel ($28), Glossier Boy Brow ($16)

Step 8: Mascara

You’ll need waterproof mascara.

  • Mone’t: “Prep lashes by curling and coating them with a primer for an extra boost of volume, then apply two coats of a long-lasting, waterproof mascara.”
  • Luis: “Layer a waterproof formula over your favorite lengthening or volumizing mascara for the best long-lasting results.” 
  • Sir John: “To apply, wiggle a lengthening waterproof mascara into the roots of your top lashes and pull through, then apply a waterproof volumizing mascara on the outer lashes for an eye-opening effect.”

Their picks? DiorShow Waterproof Mascara by Christian Dior ($29), Lancôme Cils Booster XL Enhancing Lash Primer ($26), Tom Ford Emotionproof Mascara ($46) 

Step 9: Lips

You’ll need a matte lipstick/lip stain and a long-wear lip liner.

  • Sir John: “Exfoliate your lips by applying a DIY brown sugar and honey mask, let dry, then coat lips in a long-lasting matte lip stain that won’t end up on your mask when you take it off.”
  • Luis: “The shinier the lipstick, the greater potential for transfer. Lightly dust exfoliated lips with powder to give the color something to hold onto, then apply a lip liner all over—preferably a nude one that is very close to the shade of your own lips—and follow up with two layers of a semi-matte lipstick and a final dusting of powder.”
  • Kelsey: “Shade in your whole lip with a long-wear liner, then apply a matte lipstick and re-line your lips to blend the edges. Press a 1-ply tissue lightly over your lips to absorb any emollients in the lip color, then with the tissue still in place, dust a little powder over the lips.”  

Their picks? L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Lightweight Matte Lip Stain ($12), Maybelline New York SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid ($9), Chanel Rouge Allure Ink Fusion ($38)

bride with mask
Photo by Alexandra Michele Photography

Step 10: Full Face

You’ll need a setting spray.

  • Mone’t: “A finishing spray contains flexible polymers to prevent smudging, creasing, and fading under a mask. There are sprays for different skin types—including oily, dry, and sensitive.” 
  • Luis: “Always end your makeup application with a lightweight and fine mist finishing spray, applying it in an 'X' and then a 'T' shape across the face to assure you get maximum coverage.”

Their picks? MAC’s Prep + Prime Fix+ Primer and Setting Spray ($29), Laura Geller Spackle Mist Restore with Coconut Water ($32), Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Setting Spray ($33), Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist ($48)

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