While Phase Two is here and we're being released back out into the world, we still need to mask up outside of home. But hey, at least we don't have to throw on a full-face of makeup, which can only help our skin look better when the masks finally do come off, right?
Unfortunately, no. While this protective equipment helps ward off infection, it comes with its own beauty and style pitfalls.
No, we didn't just make up that term. 'Maskne' is a name coined by media outlets such as the New York Post or the Tatler, to describe the acne caused by constant mask-wearing. It's actually a form of 'acne mechanica' - or acne observed after repeated friction on the skin - and is something helmet-wearing athletes have been suffering from for ages. With masks though, the situation is a little worse, because breathing for hours with the mask on creates an extra-cosy, humid home for acne bacteria, to say nothing of the sweat and oils that get trapped on the mask itself. This means that you might find some surprises in the mirror after de-masking at the end of the day.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent this localised pimple growth. First of all, wash your reusable masks daily; and if you're using disposable masks, change them regularly. Also, look for safe opportunities when you are far from other people to take the mask off and let the trapped moist air out from under it, like when you are in your car for example.
For more detailed skincare tips on how to prevent maskne, read what our aestheticians in Singapore have to say!
Singapore isn't the shadiest of cities. People can get tan lines under their tank tops after walking in the sun to their lunch break, so imagine what sort of funky facial patterns you could get from being out with a mask on all day.
To prevent this, dermatologists recommend putting on sunscreen with at least SPF 30 across your entire face - that's right, even under the mask - to evenly prevent UV damage. And since sunscreen is likely to rub off from the friction under your mask - especially at the border where the mask fits your face most tightly - it's best to diligently reapply SPF with handy sunscreen sticks and sprays, more often than in the pre-Covid era. Still worried about the Singapore sun tinting your face unevenly? Break out the hats and visors to keep your face in the shade.
You might have heard of hat hair or helmet hair. Well, now there's also mask hair, or hair that creases in weird places because it's being squished under the mask straps all day.
To avoid this, make sure that your hair is completely dry before you tie on those mask straps. When wet or damp hair dries as it is being constricted into a shape, it tends to take on that shape for a long time, which is not what you want.
Of course, one of the best solutions to avoiding those hair creases is to wear a mask with ear loops, instead of one that is tied behind your head. That way, minimal hair will be affected by the mask.
Now that we're heading out for more than essential grocery runs, we might want to think about recalling those pre-Covid dress codes. Your colleagues might not be able to see that you have no makeup on from the eyes down, but they can see that hair grease from you not washing it all week, and bits of your lash extensions threatening to fall out.
Bella Hadid and Gwyneth Paltrow demonstrate going the extra mile: Both about to go to sleep on a plane, but their lashes are done so they still look instagram-worthy. Bella has even has her brows on fleek, and while her hair is probably not done, she has a funky hat on to hide it.
The fact is, even with a mask on, styling up still makes a significant difference in professional and social settings - you just need to amp up the emphasis on enhancing those parts of you that the rest of the world can see.
For the rest of us who aren't superstars (and won't be on a plane anytime soon), just remember to keep taking pride in your appearance when you're out and about. Styling your hair can still make you look like a proper babe.
And some among us are cleverly capitalising on the extra attention our eyes are getting to continue looking insta-worthy:
For ideas on how to take awesome maskies (or mask selfies), read on here.
Of course, you may have noticed that your slightly scrunched-up powder-blue surgical mask doesn't quite complete an otherwise perfect outfit.
Those free government masks are great, but if you want to incorporate your mask into your ensemble, check out the increasing mask designs out there that fulfil the dual functions of health and beauty. If you like the airy thinness of surgical masks, consider opting for the black ones favoured by K-Pop stars.
Photo courtesy of Rakuten
Or if you're big on design, you can get beautiful reusable cloth masks from designers such as Rey Lee or Theresa Chan, at instagram accounts @reymin_masks and @thecostumesg - you'll also be helping out costume designers whose livelihood in the events industry has otherwise been devastated during this time.
The designers at www.madebypotatoes.com even gift a reusable mask to a migrant worker for every mask purchased. And if you prefer the increased safety of surgical masks over reusable masks, no problem! @Thecostumesg makes designer mask covers that you can slot your surgical masks into, for both protection and prettiness.
Okay, this is not strictly a health and beauty concern, but getting your photo on Stomp is never a good look. The fact is that with the recent worldwide mask shortage, some surgical masks we've managed to get hold of have relatively flimsy straps or ear loops. Agent JT almost broke the law twice when one end of the ear loop on her mask snapped off, after she tried to put it back on after finishing a jog. Her desperate quick fix was to use her keys to poke a hole in the edge of the mask fabric, thread the trailing end of the loop through it and secure it with a knot, to make sure her nose and mouth were still covered.
A better idea is to always have a spare mask with you. After all, masks get stained or dirty from eating or drinking, and regular mask-changes are better for your skin anyway.