Face value: masking up our problem areas

Abigail Higginbotham

Face masks are now a lifestyle norm. However, masks have created an annoying scenario for many who now suffer from botched makeup and mask acne. With masks being an essential part of life for now, beauty routines have had to change for many. 

Susan Saskin, a local professional makeup artist, has been doing makeup for weddings, events and photoshoots for 15 years. She worked as an artist for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics then transitioned to freelance work as a makeup artist.

Saskin has a few tips and tricks up her sleeves to avoid the embarrassing breakouts and bad foundation lines caused by masks. With the mask mandate, she has had to change how she does makeup on herself and clients.

“Now is not the time to go heavy,” Saskin said. 


Masks are usually not made of the most breathable material, to prevent the spread of germs. However, this can result in blemishes around the mouth and nose area.

“Clients don’t come in asking why they’re breaking out now. It’s pretty self-explanatory,” Saskin said. “The breakouts result from the skin not breathing, which is why if you don’t have to wear face makeup, take advantage of the break.”

Besides telling clients to let their skin breathe, Saskin sticks to the same advice she has always given people: never go to sleep with makeup on. She warns how harmful this can be, because it ages the skin. 

Since wearing a mask all day can worsen skin condition, Saskin said moisturizer is a must. She also recommends “an amino acid exfoliating peel pad to get rid of dead skin that could clog your pores under the mask.”

However, Saskin said one thing that is more important than all of these tips is to “wash your masks as often as you can, keep a couple masks around that you can switch out.” This way, people aren’t continually putting on a mask that’s already dirty with oils, bacteria, grime, or makeup. 


When it comes to applying makeup, Saskin said she now goes with a more natural look or the bare minimum, and recommends the same to her clients.

She advises not applying makeup anywhere a mask would lay on the face, but instead focusing on the eyes.

“I’ve always felt you should notice how beautiful the eyes are,” Saskin said. “Masks are helping with that.”

When wearing a mask, it’s hard to show emotions, which is why “smizing,” visibly smiling with one’s eyes, is becoming more popular. With that, Saskin says to accentuate features around the eyes. She says to stick to neutral eye colors, and people will notice your eyes more than ever before. 

Despite her recommendation to not wear any makeup under a mask, Saskin understands some lipstick fanatics would never walk out of the house without some plump, pink lips. However, creamy lipsticks and sticky lip glosses need to be set aside for the time being, as a mask will likely rub them off. Instead, Saskin recommends a matte lipstick formula, lip stain, or a lip pencil – all which will not budge under a mask.  

Saskin has had to learn quickly and adapt to the new world around her, especially when it comes to her business and how she does clients’ makeup. She now does virtual lessons for her clients, where she gives step by step instructions over Zoom. 
For more advice and tips, you can contact Saskin via email at [email protected] or on Instagram @ssaskinmakeupartistry.

[email protected]