Beauty basics with SHAHNAZ HUSAIN
Fuelled by the Omicron variant, India has been witnessing a sharp rise in Covid cases for the last couple of days. The government has announced new guidelines as part of the “yellow alert” that looks like the beginning of the third wave.
As face masks, sanitisers and gloves become our go-to accessories, our basic skincare and makeup regime have also changed. But being stuck at home does come with a silver lining. You will have more time for beauty care. Makeup is known not only to enhance our external features but also give us a lot of confidence and positivity from within. For women, makeup is art. It is a therapy and allows women to express themselves freely.
The constant wearing of masks can lead to skin irritation, due to collection of stale air, carbon dioxide, even saliva and mucus inside the masks. As a result, those with more sensitive/oily skin have been facing the skin-related complications, like acne breakouts, flare-ups of eczema or rosacea, or general skin irritation.
Frequently washing hands and using sanitizers have caused several skin issues, like making the skin of the hands really dry, even leading to flaking and peeling of the skin.
The high alcohol content in hand sanitizers can cause excessive dryness. Even the nails become dry and brittle, breaking or chipping easily.
Massage a cream daily on the hands, nails and the skin around the nails. Massage the hands at night also. For dryness of the hands, add one teaspoon of pure glycerine to 50 ml rose water. Apply on the hands and leave on for half an hour. Then, wash it off with plain water.
Lack of oxygen flow can also lead to discoloured skin or even red and purple inflamed patches on the skin, toes and around the nails.
With masks on, our basic skincare and makeup regime have also changed. Women now rely on their eyes to communicate. Colourful lashes and graphic liners can match or complement the natural eye colour and even coordinate with facial coverings.
You can still apply light cosmetic products above the mask line, but any skin that is covered by the mask should be left free from any makeup or at least the lower face as much as possible. Since our skin needs a little breathing space too, therefore, try to switch to a cloth mask with cotton, bamboo, or natural silk earloops which won’t cause skin burns or irritation.
Make sure to wash your cloth mask regularly and sanitize it appropriately. Face coverings properly fashioned out of these materials might be an effective barrier to aerosol particles and other harmful pollutants in the environment.
Many multinational companies are selling attractive synthetic fibres like polyester/spandex as well as wool. Most of these synthetic fabric blends are treated with chemicals and regular use of such masks can lead to excess oil, dirt, and sweat, leading to breakouts around the chin, jaw, cheeks or mouth area.
The skin is influenced by many external factors, like dirt, chemical pollutants, bacteria and viruses. By daily washing, bathing and cleaning, we can remove impurities and keep ourselves free from infections. A daily bath, or shower, is a must, especially on returning home. I will suggest to take mask breaks and spray some moisture mist onto your face before putting the mask back on again.
Apply gentle moisturiser, serums and creams rich in hyaluronic acid that is effective enough to combat skin flaking on areas covered by masks. Hydrate your skin by drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water, juice, soup, coconut water, lassi, water-rich foods etc in 24 hours as hydrated skin doesn’t produce much oil which helps keep your skin clean healthy and fresh looking.
With a mask on, a foundation can make matters worse, by making it feel heavy under the mask, and making it more difficult to breathe. Many have stopped using foundation and use a powder compact or a highlighter on certain areas of the face, like the cheekbones. If you must use foundation, make it a light, water-based one. Oil-free formulations would be preferable to the usual creamy products so that it is not too heavy under the mask. Waterproof and smudge-proof products would be more suitable to wear under a mask.
Another major change is that there is less emphasis on lipstick and more emphasis on eye make-up. The trend is now to accentuate eye make-up. Kajal, eyeliner and eye shadows are becoming more popular. In fact, the prediction is that various shades of eyeshadow will become the trend.
Since the emphasis is on eyes, one must pay more attention to grooming the eyebrows on one’s own, by plucking and shaping them. According to an expert, “Smoky eyes, glitter and pastel hues are 2021s best picks for eyeshadows. Be playful and experiment. Coloured mascaras and eyeliners should make a comeback.”
Many are also predicting that transparent masks will become the trend so that women can wear bright lipstick, which will be visible under the mask. With masks on and suffocation inside the mask, make sure you give good care to your lips. Invest in hydrating lip balms and lip masks to keep them supple and plump.
You may not be wearing your lipstick, but continue taking care of the skin on the lips, so that the skin of the lips does not suffer under the mask. Apply lip balm. Or, apply almond oil on the lips at night and leave it on overnight.
Wearing a mask for long hours, while being outdoors in the sun can lead to partial tanning of the skin, with the area outside the mask becoming tanned. So, carry out treatments that help to produce an even colour tone.
Apply a sunblock cream on the exposed area before going out in the sun. If your skin is oily, use a sunscreen gel. Anti-tan sunscreens are available. All said and done, make-up will never go out of fashion. Make-up not only makes one look good but also feel good. It is said that wearing lipstick actually lifts the look immediately and also lifts the mood. Therefore, we are all looking forward to the time when the pandemic will end and make-up will be popular again.