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Opt for lightweight, serum foundations that double as skincare and swipe on a bold lip that won't budge.

By Erica Sloan
January 25, 2021
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
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selection of hydrating serums
Credit: YASU + JUNKO

If the allure of makeup-free days (and nights, for that matter) has lost its luster, you might feel the itch to dust off your bag of products to attempt a look. Here's the thing: The formulas you have, especially on the face and lip front, might not work under a mask. Too-heavy foundations suffocate covered skin (leading to irritation and breakouts) or transfer onto fabric—as do most lipsticks. That's why now's the time to upgrade your coverage with a silky, stay-put foundation that doubles as a skin treatment and wear a lip color that won't wind up on your mask (we promise—we tested 20!).

The secret to smoother coverage? A serum foundation, which sinks into skin without detection (rather than just sitting on the surface) and conceals discoloration. "Similar to tinted moisturizers, these liquids even out tone, but they offer the benefits of a serum," says Knoxville, Tennessee, makeup artist Claire Balest. Tap into ingredients like line-softening niacinamide in Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 ($46, iliabeauty.com), or soothing chia-seed extract in Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue SPF 45 Moisturizing Makeup ($45, esteelauder.com). For a tall drink of moisture, try Kevyn Aucoin Stripped Nude Skin Tint ($42, kevynaucoinbeauty.com) or Exa High Fidelity Foundation ($38, credobeauty.com); both contain antioxidants. To apply, use a densely packed foundation brush, says Los Angeles makeup artist Amber Amos: "Build it up gradually, focusing on areas that need a little extra oomph."

armani lip gloss
Credit: Courtesy of Armani Beauty

Finding a transfer-free lip color might seem like a bigger challenge—but it was one we were up for. And after a series of trial and error, we landed on two formulas, with different finishes to boot. "When restaurants in my area reopened (albeit outdoors), I was more fired up to sport a bold lip again than to dig into my favorite burrata. After testing a tumble of tubes, I've found two buttery formulas that impart rich color without marking up my mask," says associate editor Claire Sullivan. "For subtle shine, I like highly pigmented Armani Ecstasy Mirror lip gloss ($37, giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com); and for a punchy, matte look, my go-to is Revlon ColorStay Satin Ink Liquid Lipstick ($7.97, walmart.com). Blot either with a tissue, and your smile's here to stay."

Styling by Elizabeth Press

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