At the beginning of 2020 who would have guessed that terms like lockdown, social distancing, and quarantine would become such common place?
Much of the world is currently entering, coming out of, or struggling through some stage of lockdown. While living in Covid-19 induced isolation, applying a full face of makeup seems pretty low on the list of daily priorities. There are some silver linings to this enforced home-time; revelling in a slower pace and increased family time of course. But giving your skin a break from heavy bases and spending more time applying face masks than masking the skin in foundation is perhaps another one of them.
In spite of the skincare benefits of foregoing makeup altogether, there are days when just a touch of something on the face can help lift the spirits, be it in the therapeutic practice of makeup application or the mood uplift from a bright pop of colour on the face. Then there are the Zoom and Skype meetings, where a little makeup can make you feel work-ready, even if you’re still in pyjamas below the desk.
Sidenote: While I find the uplifting benefits of makeup application notable for the wearer, I was astounded to read that employers are putting pressure on women to appear more made-up for work calls. According to The Telegraph UK, “a survey carried out by the law firm Slater and Gordon discovered that 34% of female respondents had been asked to wear more make-up (and do their hair) for video conference meetings”. There’s an interesting article on the subject at Refinery29 if you’re keen to read more but let me say this: wear makeup for you. Practice your facial massage for you. Spritz perfume for you. And if you are enjoying this moment of going bare faced – you do you. I am all for the importance of being well-groomed and carrying yourself with confidence, but if a man dared tell me to put on some lipstick I think it fair to say: I’ll show you mine when you show me yours. Other appropriate courses of action might be calling out the behaviour to HR or turning off your webcam so you can be judged on your voice, knowledge and brain rather than your appearance.
On the lock-downed days that I’ve felt like wearing a touch of makeup, I’ve been reaching for some trusty and reliable items from my collection that lift my spirits – starting with MAC’s Face and Body Foundation. Despite focusing my attention on skincare and keeping my face mostly free of base products, some days it’s nice to tone down the redness and even things out a little. This water-based foundation is so light it can feel like it’s not doing anything – but it is. It’s just enough coverage to make me feel presentable but doesn’t feel like I’m wearing foundation – no cakey face here. I wear both N1 and C1, but have been reaching for the latter to warm up the complexion following some light self-tan. Forgo brushes and sponges and blend it in gently with your fingers.
For a full – as full as it gets in lockdown – face, I pair it with the RMS Un Cover Up Concealer but am equally happy using this concealer alone. No brush necessary, simply press it into the skin with fingers so the product warms and melts in. It’s great for under the eyes – especially if you find most concealers too drying – and also perfect for foundation-free days when you just want a touch on the cheeks or areas of pigmentation. I’ve been using shade 00 which is on the yellow side of the fair spectrum but is brightening under the eyes and works well to tone down any rosiness. If I ever reach the bottom of the pot I’d try a shade deeper. Other go-to concealers have been the Clé de Peau stick (it’s on the dryer side so apply with an eye cream if using under the eyes) and Glossier’s Stretch.
Often all I want is to disguise the darkness under my eyes and add a touch of bronze to my skin. Doesn’t a hint of a tan just make you feel better? When actual outdoors time under the sun is limited, a good bronzer is essential. I’ve been enjoying a sheer and light handed application of Tom Ford’s Shade and Illuminate. The cream bronzer is a foolproof, light texture that blends in seconds. It has a sheerer feel than other cream bronzers – almost gel-like. The catch? It’s undeniably expensive. Fenty Beauty’s Cheeks Out Cream Bronzer is a more budget friendly option. The Tom Ford highlighter within this duo doesn’t get a lot of love online but I think it’s fab. It’s my ideal style of glossy, colourless dew that makes the skin appear fresh and youthful. Fans of highlighters from RMS, Makeup By Mario, and Chanel’s Baume Essentiel will love it. I have both the shades 0.5 and 1 and with the littlest of effort I feel sun kissed once more.
During lockdown eye makeup has become very low on my makeup priorities and the chore of mascara removal at the end of each day often seems more hassle than it’s worth. I’ve been loving brightening, shimmering champagne tones and the Laura Mercier eyeshadow stick in Sugar Frost has become my go-to. It’s a little glittery, a little shimmery, and great if you’re pale skinned and often find these types of sticks too warm or coppery. Application could not be simpler; scribble outward from the inner corner and blend with your finger for instant brightening. It just adds a touch of something to make me feel ready for the day without hardly any makeup effort required.
Speaking of effort, while I have found myself pulling out the occasional bold lip just for something to do in lockdown, once you strap on your face mask the careful lip brush application seems like a considerable waste of time. Instead, I’ve been combating the central heating induced dryness with lanolin based lip balms. While not vegan-friendly, nothing leaves my lips so protected and nourished as lanolin. My favourite is Lanolips 101 Ointment, a colourless, waxy balm that melts down beautifully when applied. A close second, although a touch thicker, is Dr Lipp’s Nipple Balm – questionable name, effective product.
These aren’t the most exciting of makeup favourites, but there is one product that I’ve been reaching for that feels very glamorous – Westman Atelier’s Baby Cheeks Blush in Poppet. This bright fuchsia is the perfect pop of colour for bringing life back into the complexion. The texture is creamy but not so that it’s going to slide all around the face. It’s easily blendable with just fingertips and the colour is so richly pigmented I fear this stick may last me forever. I.e, go light with the application. It’s just one of those perfect happy springtime pinks that brightens the whites of the eyes and makes you feel alive. If in times like these, putting on a little bronzer or blush can add a moment’s peace and distraction to your day, or lift your spirits for a moment – that’s the true beauty of beauty in my book.
Find MAC at Mac Cosmetics