Lipstick, step aside. This is a job for eyeliner. And shadow. And mascara. Masks might cover up half of our face, but that hasn’t stopped us from getting experimental. We asked a few of our favorites—makeup artists, influencers, and stylists—to show us their best take. By incorporating masks into their look and playing up the features that are visible, they prove this new, necessary accessory can actually be an excuse to push boundaries. Nothing can stop self-expression. Here, find seven colorful, bold, and unexpected ways to pair eye looks with your mask.
Makeup artist William Scott’s brows are already dreamy. So when they took things to the next level with a teal stripe through each arch, and paired it with a hot pink bandana mask, they created some serious mask makeup magic. “I decided to bleach a streak in each brow and add color with mascara, ‘cause, why not?,” Scott explains. “I like makeup that is bright, minimal, and that I can forget about while I wear it, and this hit all of those marks.” Scott used MAC’s Pigment and Lash Mixing Medium to blend a custom mascara hue, but you can recreate this look with a richly tinted mascara like ColourPop BFF Mascara in Kiss N’ Teal.
Want to jazz up a simple mask? Add color! Makeup artist and writer Khera Alexander’s rainbow lids and dramatic lashes perfectly balance out the simplicity of a solid black mask. To get the look, she started with bright teal on her lids, then swept on orange and purple shades to create a tropical-sky-at-dusk vibe. “I like to have fun and play around with my eye makeup,” she says. All of the shadows she used are from Juvia’s Place. Also worth noting: Alexander’s meticulous, brushed-up brows. To keep yours in place, try a quick coat of Milk Makeup’s Kush Clear Brow Gel.
Mix & Match
Designer and vintage curator Sarah Durini, likes to think outside the box. For example, three masks are better than one, and eye makeup doesn’t need to be symmetrical. “These masks were given to me by Masha Maria and I was very inspired by them,” she explains of her unique, layered look. To recreate her gingham masterpiece, use cream-based shadows (like this rainbow palette from Revolution Beauty) and paint on the pattern freehand with a flat eyeliner or concealer brush. Don’t worry if it’s not a literal recreation of the fabric. Durini joked that her gingham eyes look like a little kid drew them. “I like imperfections,” she says.
If you aren’t very comfortable with loud eye makeup, a stroke of colored liner is a great way to ease yourself into it. “Normally, I’m a lip person,” says beauty writer and influencer, Marcela Alcala. “I love lipstick, lip gloss, balms, etc. I like a natural look with a pop of color on the lips.” But since lip color is temporarily on hold (aside from when we’re home on Zoom calls), she’s been trying to play up her eyes with eyeliner in colors that match or compliment her masks. “In this picture, I’m using Glossier’s Colorside in Fuzz Club.”
“I’m normally an eye-makeup minimalist when it comes to my own face,” says makeup artist Alana Wright. “But the pandemic has pushed me to dig deeper when it comes to my own creative expression!” Case in point: This tricolor cat eye that includes a black layer closest to the lashes (for definition), a pastel pink stripe, and a deeper purple stripe, all playing off of the rich shade of her mask. The look came about spontaneously. “I found myself playing with colorful graphic lines using pencils from Make Up For Ever to match my face mask.”
Makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes thinks we should all have a little more fun with our eye makeup, especially now. “I created this look by fluke! I just kind of threw the colors on, gradually saw what was happening, and went with the flow,” she says of this mosaic creation. “I walked around the streets for a good half an hour with this makeup on. A few people gave me a look, but I actually loved it because it was hopefully a pleasant distraction from the crazy time we are in.” Hughes used a mixture of Depixym Emulsions and Danessa Myricks Beauty Colorfix Cream Color.
If an electric neon mask is your vibe, then why not bring that same vibrant energy up to your eyes? NYX Professional Makeup PRO Artist, Alexandria Cervantes’s negative space, two-tone, graphic liner plays so well with that eclectic starry fabric. To get the look, she used NYX Professional Makeup Epic Wear Liner Sticks in Turquoise Storm, Blue Trip, and Silver Lining, plus a touch of mascara.
Moshoodot Sanni is a stylist and costume designer, and her mask game is on a whole other level. (Check out more of her incredible floral and African print face coverings here.) To balance out such a statement-making mask, Sanni adds definition with liquid liner and a strip of bold lashes. Even if you aren’t decked out in daisies, this classic liner-and-lashes combo flatters all eye shapes, mask designs, and is relatively easy to recreate. We like Fenty Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner and Ace Beauty Lashes in Aria. If mascara is more your thing, a few coats of Beauty Bakerie’s Waterproof Eyelash Icing will make an impact without smudging onto your mask in the heat.