Skip to Content

How To Keep Your Makeup From Transferring To Your Face Mask

Wearing a face mask is necessary and somewhat of the new normal for the time being. As a result, your beauty routine may be affected, especially how you apply your makeup. The current challenge is figuring out how to keep your makeup from transferring to your face mask.

Makeup Products that do not transfer to your face mask

The pressure and friction of a mask on your face can cause makeup to transfer to your mask, which may make you question whether you should bother applying makeup under a mask in the first place. You may be glad to know that there are products and techniques to make your makeup last.

These tips, tricks, and long-wear makeup products will help mask-proof your makeup look. Incorporating one or two of these suggestions into your makeup routine may just be the thing to help make this adjustment to the new normal a little more comfortable by keeping your makeup from rubbing off onto your mask.

Let’s also not forget that we don’t want to ruin our favorite reusable face masks with makeup stains that won’t wash out. So this is even more incentive to find a way to keep makeup on your face and not on your mask.

Let’s take a look at some products and tips that you can add to your makeup routine that will help your makeup stay put and keep a makeup mess off your mask:

This post contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for additional information.

How Do You Keep Your Makeup From Getting on Your Mask?

Let’s discuss some ways to keep your makeup from transferring to your face mask. These techniques will also help keep your makeup in place after the mask comes off, which is helpful when you can’t start over or touch up your makeup.

You don’t have to follow every suggestion and rehaul your entire makeup routine, but by adding one or two products or quick tips to your current routine, you may find that your makeup adheres better to your face.

Before discussing the type of makeup products and steps you can take to keep makeup from transferring, let’s discuss your skin. It is important to support and protect your skin so that makeup will stay on your skin.

Pre-Makeup: Hydrating Your Skin and Protecting Your Skin Barrier

Makeup won’t perform well on dry, red, and irritated skin. Unfortunately, wearing a mask can cause irritation and breakouts, so your first step to prep for makeup is to address your complexion.

It is important to hydrate your skin and protect your skin barrier (your outermost layer of skin cells), which is your skin’s first line of defense against environmental aggressors, including face masks! Add in cold winter weather, and this is a recipe for dry, irritated, and inflamed skin.

Consider upping the hydration factor with a hydrating serum that contains hyaluronic acid, such as this one from The Inkey List. Hyaluronic acid may sound irritating or harsh or stripping since it contains the word “acid” in the name, but it is precisely the opposite.

Made naturally in our bodies, applying hyaluronic acid topically will aid in hydrating the skin and is generally suitable for all skin types. This humectant can hold up to 1000x its weight in water!

Applying a hydrating serum is great, but it’s also important to lock in moisture. Look for a moisturizer with ingredients that protect the skin barrier, and defend against water loss, environmental aggressors, and other irritants.

Ceramides Protect Your Skin Barrier

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

To protect your skin barrier while wearing a mask, look for moisturizers that contain ceramides. Ceramides are lipids normally found in the skin barrier (think of them like the glue that holds skin cells together) and prevent transepidermal water loss.

Products containing ceramides can be applied topically and will help maintain the skin barrier while helping the skin retain water. This can reduce redness and irritation.

Lately, I’ve been loving CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, a moisturizer that contains three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid and brightening niacinamide.

Even though this non-comedogenic cream has the word “PM” in the name, I use this during the day. It is so incredibly lightweight, non-greasy, and hydrating all at the same time.

Prime Your Skin for Makeup

Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Protective Face Primer

After completing your skincare routine (don’t forget to apply SPF during the day), take an extra step to prime your skin. This may make more difference than you realize.

Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Protective Face Primer is an oil-free liquid primer formulated with silk extracts to hydrate and smooth the skin and reduce the appearance of pores and other imperfections. It creates the ideal canvas for makeup application.

This primer is formulated with a botanically derived barrier that acts as a protective layer between your makeup and your skin. It protects your skin from environmental pollutants to support the skin barrier.

The lightweight liquid helps makeup adhere better to your skin and last longer while creating a blurred soft-focus finish.

e.l.f Poreless Putty Makeup Primer

For an inexpensive but very effective primer alternative to the pricey Tatcha primer, e.l.f Poreless Putty Primer is formulated with squalane for added moisture.

This best-selling makeup primer grips makeup for all-day wear. Like the Tatcha primer, this primer helps to minimize the appearance of pores and imperfections while creating a blurred, smooth, and radiant complexion.

Related Post: Splurge or Save? Tatcha The Silk Canvas Protective Primer vs. e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer, The Best e.l.f. Cosmetics Makeup Products

Choose a Long-Wear Foundation That Stays in Place

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup and Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer

Applying a matte long-wear foundation is one of the keys to success when it comes to preventing makeup transfer onto your mask. You want your makeup to stick to your face, not your mask.

Formulated in over 55 shades, Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup is the first foundation that comes to mind when I think of a long-wear foundation that simply stays put.

According to Estee Lauder’s website, this foundation is formulated to be sweat-resistant, humidity-resistant, heat-resistant, waterproof, and life-proof. When they say life-proof, I can’t help but think of these new circumstances we find ourselves in, like wearing face masks.

So is this foundation mask-proof? It comes pretty close to being mask-proof. This liquid foundation evens skin tone and covers imperfections. It won’t cake, streak, or settle into fine lines or pores, which is very helpful when wearing a mask.

It is a medium-to-full coverage buildable foundation that sets quickly, so I like applying it with a damp makeup sponge.

Once applied, this foundation really does stay put and does not budge all day. It feels lightweight, not like a heavy foundation. It is the ideal base for the rest of your makeup application. Follow with a highly pigmented concealer such as Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer.

TIP: Matte foundations tend to stay put better than dewy/glowy foundations.

If you have dry skin and prefer more hydrating and glowy foundations but still need your makeup to stay put under a mask, consider mixing some of this Estee Lauder foundation or another long-wear foundation with your current moisturizer or foundation.

You can always apply some products that produce a glow to the areas of your face above your mask.

Related Post: The 10 Best Drugstore Concealers for Dark Circles Under Your Eyes

Set Your Foundation with Powder to Keep Your Makeup From Rubbing Off Onto Your Mask

e.l.f. High Definition Powder - Translucent

Like primer, setting powder may be a step in your makeup routine that you overlook. But if you want to keep your makeup from transferring to your face mask, using a setting powder is a step in your makeup routine that you’ll want to take.

You can choose a shaded setting powder that matches your skin tone to add slightly more coverage, or you can choose a translucent shade to set your foundation.

Choose a lightweight setting powder such as e.l.f. High Definition Powder (shown above in the translucent shade Sheer) to avoid it making your foundation look cakey. After applying and blending foundation, you’ll want to use setting powder while your foundation is still slightly damp.

Apply a light layer with a powder puff or powder brush. Avoid applying too much powder as a thick layer might not only make your foundation look cakey but it may also make your foundation look streaking, blotchy, or uneven.

Apply A Long-Wear Lip Color

Covergirl Outlast All-Day Lip Color With Topcoat

If you leave your mask on for an extended period and don’t care if you have lip color on, you can protect your lips with a rich multi-purpose balm such as Rosebud Salve to soothe dry lips.

If you are looking for gorgeous lip color that will stay put, look for a formula that has a matte base. Covergirl Outlast All-Day Lip Color With Topcoat (shown above in Always Rosy) is sold as a two-piece lip duo.

The matte base coat provides gorgeous coverage that sticks to your lips. The topcoat adds a beautiful layer of shine to your lips. If you are wearing a mask on and off all day, this lip color will stain your lips, and all you need is to touch up with the balm-like topcoat. This all-day lip color is available in over 25 shades.

Use a Makeup Setting Spray to Keep Makeup from Getting on Your Mask

NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray

As a finishing step to your makeup routine, makeup setting spray can make all the difference. NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray is a cult-favorite affordable drugstore setting spray that creates a lightweight and shine-free finish and will help keep makeup from rubbing off your face and onto your mask.

Why pay 2x or 3x more for a high-end makeup product when this setting spray performs just as well as the expensive products?

There are a few different ways to use a makeup setting spray. To prolong the wear of your makeup and help keep it on your face and off your mask, apply this setting spray as the last step of your makeup routine. Alternately, you can spray it after each layer of makeup.

You can also spray a little on your makeup brush before applying foundation or concealer to set your base before applying your color cosmetics.

Related Post: Charlotte Tilbury Setting Spray Dupes

Emphasize Your Eyes and Brows

While you can take all the steps above to keep your makeup on your face, consider emphasizing your eyes, so there is less focus on the makeup on the rest of your face.

Whether you prefer a dramatic or natural eye makeup up look, you can draw attention to and brighten your eyes by adding a touch of highlighter to the inner corners of your eyes.

Don’t forget about your brows. Applying a brow pencil or gel will define your eye area and frame your face since your eyes and brows are the focus when wearing a mask.

Final Thoughts on How to Keep Your Makeup From Transferring to Your Face Mask

While it’s no fun wearing a mask, it is necessary. By keeping your makeup on your face and off your mask, you have one less thing to worry about. What are your tips and tricks to keep your makeup from transferring to your face mask? I’d love to know.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday 26th of January 2022

Thanks! The powder did work!


Thursday 27th of January 2022

That's great! So glad it worked for you!!


Sunday 19th of September 2021

Mehron Barrier Spray. It really works