Creativity comes alive on Halloween night and across Halloween events. From DIY costumes with best friends to intricate makeup looks, Halloween provides an opportunity to get out of our comfort zones, be bold, and become someone (or something) else for the evening. However, layers of sparkly eyeshadows, face paint, or costume makeup can wreak havoc on our skin, and even those of us with durable skin have experienced the negative impacts crazy makeup can have. This doesn’t mean Halloween has to end in skincare nightmares! With some strategies and skincare essentials, your skin will stay calm through all of your Halloween antics.
1. Prep skin before applying Halloween makeup
Take some time before you recreate that Pinterest makeup look to examine the makeup you’ve chosen. Using old products? You might want to reconsider—unused makeup sitting stagnant can be a breeding ground for bacteria, especially if multiple people shared the makeup or many brushes were used and reused the year before. Dermatologist Dr. Jessica J. Krant told The Gloss that “unfortunately there is absolutely no regulation on this, so there is no way to know if last year’s makeup stays safe until the next year”. Don’t mess around with old makeup.
Also, don’t forget to do a spot test on your skin to make sure nothing irritates you. Allergens and chemicals are prevalent in costume makeup products, and applying a small amount to a patch of skin not on your face can help prevent a severe negative reaction.
Finally, do your normal skincare routine just before applying makeup. Add an extra layer of a gentle moisturizer to give your skin extra protection and another barrier against irritants and pollutants.
2. Use gentle products, not harsh chemical makeup removers.
To remove your makeup, don’t start with chemical removers and harsh products, and avoid aggressively rubbing makeup off with a washcloth. Three main categories of cleansers are good for first removing makeup: micellar water, cold cream cleansers, and cleansing oils. Start with micellar water on a cotton pad and go section by section around your face, starting with your face and moving on to your eyes with a clean pad.
Face wipes are a good beginning step as well. They don’t remove every last bit of makeup, but they start the process. Jennifer Garner shared a video last Halloween of her using Neutrogena face wipes to remove her Halloween makeup. Face wipes, especially gentle ones, can kickstart your Halloween skincare and make sure a decent portion of your makeup is removed fairly quickly.
A cold cream cleanser like this one from Pond’s provides nourishing, creamy makeup removal without being irritating. If you’ve never tried a cold cream cleanser, they work really well on tough-to-remove makeup and melt it away easily. They’re very gentle, hydrating, and smoothing—trust us, your skin will be baby soft after using this.
A cleansing oil also works wonders for removing tough makeup naturally. There are definitely good quality drugstore options for cleansing oils, but higher end skincare brands like Julep or Tata Harper also have great cleansing oils. Natural ingredients like essential oils, rice, and shea butters help keep skin rejuvenated and clean while melting away stubborn makeup. For a more natural and DIY option, try coconut oil. It’s easy and you might already have it on hand!
3. Triple cleanse!
Whether you use a micellar water, cold cream cleanser, or cleansing oil (or any combination of the three), your skincare routine shouldn’t end there. Follow up with your daily cleanser, whether it’s targeted toward acne or just a gentle everyday cleanser. Getting your skin free of makeup is important, but clearing out your pores and making sure all traces of irritants are gone is even more important. You can exfoliate after you wash you face for even more of a deep clean.
It can seem tedious to do so many steps just to cleanse the skin, but according to Joshua Zeichner the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City in an article for Allure, "Makeup may contain heavy oils that can cause breakouts, preservatives and fragrances that can causes allergies or irritation, or even heavy metals that can be harmful to the skin." If you want your skin smooth, soft, happy and clear after a long night of wearing intense Halloween makeup, it’s important to cleanse your skin as much and as gently as possible.
After all of this, finish up with moisturizer. Your everyday moisturizer is fine, but if you want, add a heavier or thicker night cream to seal in all of the goodness you’ve used on your face. Basically, we’re reversing any adverse effects of layer after layer of costume or theater makeup. If you’re feeling tight or irritated, use a lightweight gel moisturizer to add some bounciness and hydration back to your skin.
Face mask and chill
Ah, face masks. There’s nothing quite like sitting back and relaxing for a spa-like experience on your skin. For Halloween, have nourishing, replenishing face masks ready. Whether you do them the day after you have on your bold makeup look or you manage to do it the night of, face masks are an easy way to completely rejuvenate your skin. The makeup can have chemical irritants that strip skin of its natural moisture and protective layers, and all of the necessary cleansing can of course strip skin, too. Two of the best ingredients for nourishing skin? Oats and almond milk. We’ve rounded up the best nourishing face masks for after Halloween makeup removal here. No matter your favorite kinds, there’s a sheet mask perfect for you this Halloween!
For a sheet mask, we love the St. Ives Soothing Oatmeal Sheet Mask. This mask is inexpensive but so nourishing and hydrating. The smell and ingredients are luxurious and such a softening formula.
Lush’s fresh face masks, particularly the Oatifix mask, are best right out of the fridge. Cooling, refreshing, nourishing, and made with wholesome and fresh ingredients, these masks are life after a tiring skin day. Oatifix has oats and bananas, smells like banana bread and happiness, and is the most calming, gently exfoliating, and softening mask ever.
If you’re ready to splurge for a more lasting product, The Body Shop’s Mediterranean Almond Milk with Oats Instant Soothing Mask is perfect for sensitive skin and nourishment without any harsh ingredients. Slightly exfoliating, this mask soothes and replenishes skin’s moisture and protects it against future damage. All of the ingredients are made to be safe on sensitive skin, so don’t worry about this one causing any irritation.
Regardless of how you choose to express yourself this Halloween, make sure to give your skin some serious TLC after putting it through the works. Just because you love the holiday doesn’t mean you have to deal with skincare nightmares. By taking the time to learn about the ingredients in your makeup and your makeup removers, you’ll avoid all of the consequences of heavy and irritating makeup while keeping your skin happy.