I suppose this post is a bit late considering that we are officially one year into pandemic life. What I, and many others, thought would just last a few weeks (maybe a month at most) turned into a completely new way of living and dealing with routine. Part of the new routine was not just acquiring a mask and standing at a 6-foot distance from others, it also meant incorporating said mask into our outfit choices. Do we get cloth or medical grade masks? What about N95s or doubling up? As a city dweller, I am no stranger to harmless shoulder presses in a crowded train or light elbow bumps as we pass by on a crowded street. For the first time ever, passersby walked across the street or waited for me to clear a space not daring to share breathing room with me. This is all fine of course given the unknowns of this virus, but the absence of a friendly smile, a sense of community and colour was really wearing on my nerves. Now don’t get me wrong, this virus is real and I believe we ought to do everything in our power to stay safe and to keep others safe, but no lipstick?! Ugh!
As life would have it, I had plenty of occasion to showcase my lip wear collection, given the ambush of Zoom and virtual meetings I suddenly had for my job, gigs, church, the occasional meetup and even those two online group dating sessions I attended (don’t ask 🙄). But I also wanted to doll up my pout for other things like an outing with someone in my bubble or just a walk in the park. I’m known to carry at least two lippies on me at all times in addition to lip care and moisturizer products; PSA: ashy hands are never cute, but skin care is someone else’s issue. These accompanying lippies are for light touch ups, and not usually public application. Given the current circumstances, I was having to choose between no lip wear or accepting the fact that most of my lip colour would be eaten off by my mask.
I’m convinced the actual problem with masks, aside from causing occasional asphyxiation, is the moisture they capture. The breathing in and out in a concentrated area creates steam on the lips and skin surrounding them. There is nothing quite like a moist upper lip, not wet, just moist. YUCK! Depending on the texture of the lippie I’m wearing (satin, creme or gloss being the most susceptible) this will cause the colour to smudge and bleed and will also transfer to my mask of choice for the day. Having a compact nearby is necessary now more than ever to prepare oneself for what lies beneath…duh duh duh. So do we dare bare it all, all the time? Most lipsticks come with good hydration or SPF or even vitamins that actually lock in moisture all day…I’m thinking of PapaCosmetics Diva lipstick (see picture below) as I write this. Without proper ventilation and the good kind of moisture, I’ve noticed my lips will turn an interesting shade of pink as if they are exhausted from a long day’s journey. Obviously I had to do something.
The solution I found was to head for matte and liquid matte lippies instead of the other textures. This may mean buying all of your favourite colours in a different finish (lucky you 😉) or seeing what is already in your make up drawer that does the job. Here are a small faithful few that I’ve found to last even after the mask has been worn and removed. Pictured below are the before and after pictures with a few mask pictures in between.
- First up is More Magenta from the new Ultimatte collection by Maybelline. It is a creamy matte that has some staying power without the dryness that usually comes with colours that are more matte or dry to the touch. This also makes the removal process easier. Unfortunately we can see my no-filter reaction after my walk was through. My mask is wearing more than I am but my lips are still covered in a nice tint of this magenta colour.
- From the same company is one of my go-to colours from the Superstay Matte Ink collection in Self Starter. I’ve noticed that this particular collection has varying degrees of staying power and consistency. For example, the brighter colours seem to be thinner requiring more layers during the application process and almost dry to a chalky feel. This colour was thicker and was easy to apply but also took a little longer to dry. Knowing that it would last a long time anyway, I took a chance and put it on. As we can see, My mask mostly ate my foundation colour and left me with a moist upper lip and my full lip colour. This one is a winner!
- This next one is a combination made up of a Black-owned, Canadian, female-owned brand named Pop of Love in the colour Sweet Talk used as a topper for another Black owned, Female-owned brand favourite of mine, ColouredRaine’s Amazing Raine for this amazing pink magic! Because both of these colours dry to a complete matte, I added a little bit of Fenty Beauty’s Gloss bomb in FU$$Y for some moisture throughout the morning while I taught. I was interested to see how the combo would fare in a mask, but I have no doubts that either of the pinks on their own would beat the mask. Unfortunately, the combo did not!
- One of my favourites from this experiment was a surprise to me. Unfortunately, I do not have the picture of the mask to show but Naked by Makeup For Melanin Girls (MFMG) is one of my perfect nude mattes. It goes one easy and dries really fast. It also feels velvety instead of chalky, which my lips appreciate. I wore it to a socially distanced gig last week and when I got there I noticed that it was still there in full force. For some nude dramatic effect and some depth, I added Mauve Wive$ by Fenty Beauty as a topper when it was time to sing. I love this combo. On the way home in the uber, where a mask is till required, I was aware that once again my mask would be eating my colour combo, but it only ate the creamy topping and left my lips fully covered! Well done, MFMG!
- And Last but certainly not least is another local company that my makeup drawer cannot do without. Also by PabaCosmetics is a beautiful liquid lipstick in 201 Pout. Another nude with peachy undertones that did not move when I wore it on my way to the post office that required a brisk walk which of course, generated the dreaded moist upper lip. The mask only stole my foundation and a hint of the lipstick, but the colour stayed! Well Done PabaCosmetics, well done!
Hopefully, this little experiment brought you some encouragement and inspired you to wear your lippies during these unprecedented times. I suggest a couple tricks such as lip liner, spraying your finished face before and after your lipstick application with your setting spray, and making sure your lip care choice has already absorbed into your lips before applying your colour to eliminate any extra slip. Find the colours that make you happy and textures that will not bow to the porous whims of your mask. Keep your head held high and your compact ready and go about your socially-distanced way with a lip colour where you can #wearitlikeyoumeanit .