By now you’ve almost certainly sorted out your mask situation. But what does that mean for your make-up?

For those of us experiencing lipstick smudgery on a whole new level, and whose foundation is fading faster than ever before, Broadsheet spoke with James Boehmer, global artistic director for Japanese brand Shiseido – which has just launched in Mecca stores – about a few small changes we can make to recalibrate our regimens to work with face masks.

Laying the foundations
If you’re living somewhere masks are recommended in public and while travelling, you’ll know the feeling of arriving at your destination and immediately racing to a mirror to see how much of your foundation has survived the journey.

To minimise this, Boehmer reckons that a lighter touch is the way to go – whether you wear cream, liquid or powder foundation.

“One way to avoid having to constantly touch up your complexion product is to use formulas that are a bit more sheer in coverage, or more of a hybrid make-up-skincare product – like a BB cream, tinted moisturiser or tinted sunscreen,” he says.

If you want more coverage, look for products that are long-wearing, crease-resistant and transfer-proof.

“Shiseido’s Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation resists humidity, oil and facial movement so that your make-up finish looks freshly applied for up to 24 hours,” Boehmer says. “A foundation formula like this is great, as the mouth area will be exposed to more humidity while wearing a mask.”

And consider adding blotting paper to your routine. Gently patted onto skin after applying foundation, a blotter absorbs excess moisture and oil, and can be used again throughout the day. See it as an alternative to powder that’ll help your foundation last longer.

Now also might be a good time to trial going foundation-free – it means less make-up to maintain, and your skin gets a break from products too.

The eyes have it
Pandemic or no, make-up is all about striking a balance. A successful look will typically focus on one feature – eyes or mouth – and minimise the other. Wearing a mask means the decision of what to highlight has been made for you.

“Focus on the details surrounding the eyes,” Boehmer says. “I love adding a bit more sparkle and texture for evening or a formal event – I use our Aura Dew highlighter. This would work really well if you’re wearing a simple or solid colour mask.”

Now’s the time to let loose and experiment with new colours, which might also help improve your mood. Or lean right in and match your eyes to the mask itself.

If your mask of choice is a statement in itself, treat the rest of your face as if you’re wearing a bold lip. That means well-groomed brows and a clean approach overall.

“Keep the eyes more structured with defined brows and a little eyeliner,” Boehmer says. “Keep it balanced.”

Here are three looks he recommends trying out.

Lip logistics
Wearing lipstick under a mask might seem counterintuitive, but if you don’t have the opportunity to apply it after you arrive at an event, or if you’re only travelling for a short time, there are ways to minimise mask-induced smudgery.

Long-wear lip products that don’t smudge or move around will definitely give a better wear than textures like gloss. Our VisionAiry Gel lipstick is incredibly lightweight and transfer-resistant, so it does a pretty good job when worn under a mask,” Boehmer says.

Adding a lipliner to your routine can help, too. Boehmer recommends Shiseido’s LipLiner Ink Duo. Or you can eschew colour altogether and go for a subtle tint instead.

“If you’re putting more emphasis on your eye look when wearing a mask, keep the lip look more subdued. A clear or tinted lip balm won’t deposit as much colour on the lip, limiting the amount of colour that transfers to your mask.”

The matter of the mask
“I’ve been having a lot of fun using my masks as another opportunity to accessorise,” Boehmer says.

“Something I found fascinating when I first started visiting Japan many years ago, where wearing masks to prevent the spread of illness is commonplace, was seeing all the varieties of mask options available and the opportunity for self-expression.”

We’re loving Kloke’s floral masks and these bright, bold ones by Obus.

“Think about the mask you’re wearing when coordinating the texture and colours in your look,” says Boehmer.

Finding a mask that’s comfortable and breathable is critical, especially if you’re wearing it all day. Uniqlo’s clean and simple Airism masks are made with light, flexible fabric, which will help avoid a mouth-breath sauna on your skin.

And keeping your mask clean will help avoid the dreaded maskne.

The “new normal” beauty rules
According to Boehmer, there aren’t any. A welcome relief, considering all the new restrictions we’re dealing with elsewhere in our lives.

“Make-up is a choice – we don’t have to wear it. I think the only ‘rule’ to follow is to wear what makes you feel good, and what makes sense with your lifestyle,” he says. “This seems to resonate now more than ever.”

He does think the pandemic may change when and where we see make-up as appropriate, at least temporarily.

“We typically wear more make-up when going out versus staying in,” he says. “Why not reverse it? Put on a bold lipstick or expressive eye colour when joining a Zoom meeting or a video conference, and keep make-up more utilitarian when going outside.”

Check out the Shiseido mask make-up tips here.