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Meet the makeup that helps to protect skin from pollution

Rachel Lapidos

Rachel LapidosApril 17, 2020

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Photo: Stocksy/ SERGEY FILIMONOV

As we’ve transitioned our lives to be mindful of social distancing, many of us are now upping our time spent in the great indoors, a glorious place where pants are optional and foliage comes in pretty terra-cotta pots. The retreat inwards changes our day-to-days in many ways, the least of which is that our lives are now primarily illuminated by the glow of a MacBook Pro, as opposed to the sun. For our skin’s sake, we need a little something-something to help protect our complexions from the extra hours spent in front of our devices. Enter: Antioxidants. You know them as ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, and resveratrol on skin-care labels, and in good news for all the multitaskers out there, these skin saviors are now in makeup as well.

Antioxidants protect the skin by reducing and counteracting free radical pollution,” Lian Mack, MD, a board-certified dermatologist has previously told Well+Good. When spending time indoors this is important for two reasons. The first is that research has shown that exposure to blue light, produced from devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers can create oxidative species (also known as free radicals) that speed the aging of skin in wide-ranging ways, including fine lines and hyperpigmentation. The second is that the indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, and pollution can also cause those oxidative species to take aim at your complexion, as well.

“These makeup products have become more timely than ever as we spend more and more time in front of screens as we continue to navigate our new WFH reality” —Katey Denno

Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals, stopping damage before it happens. “While we typically think of skin care as containing antioxidant-rich ingredients to help counter the negative effects of oxidants, now that makeup-as-skin care is becoming the new norm, skin is getting an extra boost of oxidant-fighting ingredients,” says Katey Denno, Credo brand ambassador and lead makeup artist. “These makeup products have become more timely than ever as we spend more and more time in front of screens as we continue to navigate our new WFH reality.” (TBH, now that works consists of many, many Zoom calls taken in video mode, we’re extra glad these exist.)

Generally, antioxidants are most helpful within the foundation category, because they’ll cover your entire face, but you’re bound to find them in concealers, lip products, and blushes, as well (“really you’ll see these in any kind of product that touches the skin,” says Denno). While most of us know the big three antioxidants (the ones that we mentioned above), Denno says that in makeup, you’re likely to see an even more cosmetically elegant lot of these skin superstars, including green tea, elderberry fruit extract, pomegranate, passionfruit, lingonberry extract, argan powder, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, grapeseed oil, and cloudberry (phew!). Want them on your skin, stat? Keep scrolling to shop antioxidants in makeup.

1. Vapour Gentle Illuminating Primer, $60

This primer, which is works well for all skin types, is chock-full of antioxidants, including prickly pear, pomegranate seed, elderberry, and camellia seed oils—all of which work together to even out your complexion as it fights off any chance of uneven skin tone in the future.

2. Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Makeup SPF 45, $45

This breathable, buildable skin-boosting makeup covers any marks on your complexion as it protects against daily environmental damage from pollution with an antioxidant complex containing Vitamin E. Apply with fingertips or a brush ahead of an afternoon full of Google Hangout and Houseparty calls and expect your-skin-looks-so-glowy compliments to roll in.

3. Kosas Color + Light High Intensity: Creme, $34

Kosas has an entire line of skin care-meets-makeup products, one of them being this cream blush palette. You get two gorgeous colors to wear on your lips, cheeks, eyes, and reap the benefits of antioxidants green tea, grapeseed, and marula oils. We like to tap the darker color onto the apples of cheeks to give the most beautiful sun-dappled effect, while we await actual sunnier days ahead.

Also good for your skin are these moisturizing primers, and these hydrating foundations, which are all A+ beauty multitaskers.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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