Wait, Did I Just Solve the Lipstick-and-Mask Equation? Do This for Less Transfer
Going into year two of the pandemic (yikes), you’d think that by now, we would have solved the lipstick-and-mask problem, right? Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. Every time I want to wear a bright, bold lip, I find myself doing a bit of mental calculus. How long will I be wearing a mask over this? If I take off my mask, will I end up with a clown nose? Is it even worth it to put on lipstick?
It’s become abundantly clear that even as the pandemic ebbs and flows, we’ll likely be masking in public places for a while longer. On the other hand, bright lipstick is back in full force—it’s evident that we’ve all been aching for a lip moment.
A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Instagram, and came across a hack from one of my favorite Instagram makeup artists, Rose Siard. In a video, Siard put a makeup sealant over one of her favorite (but transfer-happy) lipsticks, and transformed it into a smear-resistant formula. Intrigued, I reached out to Siard to learn more about this trick so I could try it for myself.
Siard explains that while many people probably haven’t heard of a makeup sealant, they’ve been in artists’ toolkits forever: “What it basically does is create a light liquid film that upon drying or setting, water or transfer proofs the makeup.”
When using a makeup sealant, Siard recommends using a small, dense brush to tap it on evenly. “It applies the product more evenly and precisely than a fingertip,” she says. Be sure to cover every inch of the lipstick, and don’t apply too much. “Too thick of a layer can create problems like crumbling and peeling,” says Siard.
Since I famously find myself looking like I’m on my way to a circus after attempting to put a mask over my lipstick, I decided to test Siard’s hack for myself. Keep reading to see how well this lipstick trick holds up—you might be inclined to try it for yourself too.
I decided to try this hack with YSL Beauty’s Rouge Pur Couture Slim Velvet Radical Matte Lipstick (which is a formula I absolutely love, but always turns my face into a crime scene when I wear a mask over it). See below for how the formula in the shade Fiery Spice wears alone with a mask on for around 20 minutes—it’s smeary, far less pigmented, and somehow also ended up above my lip and on my neck. Not just that, but the inside of my mask looks like a massacre.
I tried the makeup sealant trick with the YSL shade Red Urge, which is a rich, true red with neutral undertones.
I applied Aqua Seal on top of the lipstick using a small brush, as Siard suggested. It took a few minutes to dry, so this definitely isn’t a last-minute hack. You should give the sealant time to fully dry, which took about ten minutes for me. I also found that it slightly changed the way the lipstick wears. With Aqua Seal, the velvety, creamy formula became slightly more similar to a matte lipstick, but I found it still kept its sheen, so I didn’t think it made too much of a difference.
If you live in New York, you know that the only true way to put something like this to the test is to wear it on the subway, where masks are required and things can get a little sweaty. And that’s exactly what I did. I wore it for around 40 minutes, both riding the subway and walking through the city. Before leaving, I’d had the lipstick on for about an hour and a half.
When I got home, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the lipstick held up, all things considered. There’s a bit of feathering around the edges and some smearing in one corner (which I attribute to my application skills more than anything else), but the lipstick is still highly pigmented and easy to fix. None of it transferred onto my face, and if you look at my mask, you can see that my foundation transferred more than the lipstick did.
I decided to try this trick again and put it to the ultimate New York test: a masked Uber trip, a long dinner featuring spaghetti carbonara and red wine, and a masked subway ride all the way uptown. This time, I used Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Extrême Intense Matte Lip Colour in Pivoine Noir.
Normally, I would expect to be left with little-to-no lipstick on after dinner, but my lip color was still going strong after eating an oily dinner and masking twice, so I didn’t feel the need to reapply.
Don’t expect this hack to give you tattooed-on lipstick (you can’t get that with any product). That being said, I would recommend this for nights out when you know you’ll have to take your mask on and off, or if you want a lip color to last through dinner without smearing or blotting off when you use a napkin. It worked a little better for matte lipstick than velvet, but I think that’s to be expected. I’ll continue to do this hack whenever I have a bit of extra time and want to extend the life of my lipstick, so meet my new Saturday-night lip routine.
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