Fashion / Beauty

Beauty in the Age of Coronavirus — With Face Masks, It’s All About the Eyes

Houston Beauty Experts Share Their Best Tips

BY // 05.28.20

First came the realization that wearing lipstick beneath the all-important pandemic face mask was a loser’s gambit. The mask either smears or wipes off lip color. And no one can see your lips anyway. Then came the recognition that our eyes hold center stage when a mask covers our mouth.

Such has been that realization that, according to COVID-19 Commerce Insight, mascara sales are up 275 percent compared to last year while eyelash extensions are up 195 percent. With the emphasis on the eyes, except during Zoom meetings of course, we checked in with two makeup experts for their take on how best to emphasize the eyes.

Aubrie Layne, considered by many as Houston’s queen of eye lashes and eyebrows, notes that the eyes today “are the best way to express yourself.” From her Lucky Cat Beauty salon in Decorative Center Houston she is beginning to see a steady flow of returning customers but many are forgoing lash extensions in favor of faux lashes. And that, she says, is not a problem.

“The best look for today is a subtle eye shadow, artfully applied eye liner, a good mascara and tinted brows,” she says.

Craig McLemore, beauty expert at Kuhl-Linscomb, agrees. “The eyes are more important today as well as a good well-groomed brow to open up the eye,” he notes.

When dressing the eye for center stage, both Layne and McLemore stress the need for well-crafted lining of the eyes and both recommend getting as close to the lash root as possible. McLemore’s choice is a long-wearing pencil such as Kevyn Aucoin‘s or Surratt’s Auto-Graphique Liner.

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Layne recommends applying eyeliner at the root line of the lash in the center of the eye, top and bottom, to achieve a wider eye appearance. For a brighter look, she recommends a flesh tone liner just inside the eye at what is called the water line.

koch non medical face mask
Much Love Sophie has teamed up with Nicole Musselman’s KOCH to offer free non-medical face masks. Every masks hides the smile.(courtesy)

During the shutdown, lash extensions went the way of dinner reservations and after five or more weeks without a refill appointment, most women were left with few, if any, extensions. As application is an up-close-and-personal situation, Layne recommends faux lashes including mink. There is a tutorial for applying faux lashes on her website.

McLemore believes that a pretty mascara should do the trick. When it comes to brows, Layne suggests tinting which gives the brows a fuller look and lasts longer than the one-use application.

They both laugh at the sight of women’s lipstick smeared across the face thanks to the pandemic mask. As a solution, Layne favors her brand of Lucky Cat Eye & Lip Primer followed by her signature long-wearing matt lipstick. Interestingly, the colors are named after Houston’s leading ladies: a coral neutral labeled Joanne (King Herring), a dreamy fuschia called Margaret (Alkek Williams), a bold red known as Lynn (Wyatt) and Janet (Gurwitch) inspired by that beauty mogul’s penchant for pinky brown lipsticks.

For his clients, McLemore recommends a sheer lip tint that is not inclined to smear and adds that many of his clients are opting merely for lip balm beneath their masks.

He also notes that beauty purchases have seen a dramatic change since onset of the COVID-19 quarantine. Goodbye contouring and highlighting products and goodbye heavy foundations as women are choosing light-weight tinted moisturizers to wear under their masks.

And as noted throughout the beauty industry skin care and body products have seen the most gains as a result of the coronavirus-induced changing lifestyles.

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