It’s finally summer and where I live, in the UAE, it basically means that it’s officially oven time! (
Hooray!) So I thought the timing was perfect to talk about my tips for a long-lasting makeup!
Today, my thermometer tells me it’s 46 °C (115 °F), and it’s only the beginning! This heat will last for the next 3 or 4 months and because I’m in my third year in the Emirates, I thought it was about time I share my tips for a heat-proof makeup, that doesn’t move, even when it’s hot and humid (yes, it’s very humid during summer in Dubai, who knew?). I’ve done all the crash tests possible and I’m now definitely able to tell if a product will last or not! wink
Before starting this post, I need to tell you that I have an oily to combination skin, and my skin gets shiny mainly on the T zone, especially on the nose and I also have very oily eyelids.
You add the heat and normally my makeup should melt in 2 hours maximum. But because I choose the right products and the right techniques, it lasts all day.
Here are some tips for those who want a long-wearing makeup, heat and sweat-proof! smile
Prep the skin with makeup primers:
Makeup primers are often considered as must-haves to provide a long-lasting makeup. For me, it really depends.
Makeup primers or makeup bases are made with absorbent and/or smoothing ingredients to create, as the name suggests, a base for makeup to help it to stick better to the skin and last longer.
For this, primers absorb skin secretions that are responsible for the “disintegration” of the makeup so to speak, namely the sebum (= skin natural oil) but also the sweat (they’re usually waterproof).
Some examples of the ingredients that are often found in makeup primers:
– glycerin, which allows the makeup to adhere better to the skin, and for a long time,
– silica to absorb and for it sebum regulating effect,
– silicones to fill the pores and for a smoothing effect (the “perfect skin” effect)
– colored pigments for a color correcting effect (for exemple green for redness, purple for brightness, yellow for the dark spots…).
Are they really necessary?
– For the face:
I confess that I’m not a fan of primers with a composition that matches my oily skin. They are usually very thick and full of silicones, and also, even if I find them effective to blur my pores and reduce the shine, I always end up with a lot of blackheads if I use them more than 2 days in a row.
So I usually don’t use a lot of face primers most of the time but I still manage to keep my makeup by choosing the right products and techniques (I’ll explain it in the following paragraphs;) ).
The only two I use sometimes are those that have a cleaner composition:
Step 1 Matifying primer by Make Up For Ever: without silicones, it contains some absorbent silica to regulate sebum secretions. A little goes a very long way, and I apply it only on my T zone simply because it tends to emphasize drier areas. And you really need to “work” it on the skin because it tends to be patchy if you don’t blend it perfectly. I only use it occasionally because it’s not the most practical to apply but it’s true that it absorbs sebum really well.
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water: it’s a very light mist, it really looks like water and you can spray it on the face before or after makeup. It’s silicone free, alcohol-free, oil-free and enriched with electrolytes which are supposed to revitalize and moisturize the skin.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen a big difference in the lasting power of my makeup with or without it but I find it refreshing, so I like to use it before my makeup because it’s nice to use.
Now, I did a little bit of digging, and I realized that the formula of the Smashbox mist is exactly the same as the MAC Mineralize Charged Water that retails for $24 (the Smashbox is $32). So I’ll let you guess which one I’ll be buying next time! wink
– For the eyes:
For me, eye makeup primers are absolutely essential. They make a huge difference in the lasting power of my makeup. In fact, when I discovered their existence, they totally revolutionized my makeup routine! And I’m hardly exaggerating.
Before, any makeup that I had on my eyes invariably ended up migrating into my crease in 3-4 hours max. Now, I can keep my eye makeup all day and even much of the evening without having to touch it up. I can finally keep my eye makeup despite my super oily eyelids!
The composition of these eye makeup primers is far from natural (hello silicones!), but for the eyes, I don’t mind because no risk of black heads in the area! wink
Stay Don’t Stray by Benefit: my concealer primer. Yes, it seems a bit excessive but honestly, I always do a lot to conceal my dark circles (with the application of a corrector, a concealer and powder on top, I don’t want it to crease in less than 2 hours!) so I applied it before my other products. I tried it on the eyelids, it wasn’t bad but not as effective as the other bases I use.
Mac Paint Pot (in the shade Painterly): I used it as a primer for a very long time although technically it’s actually a cream eyeshadow. It is long-lasting enough to be used as a primer (especially if you choose a flesh color like Painterly for example for my skin tone) because it unifies the eyelid and sets the makeup applied above. I use it less often now because with the heat we have here and my oily eyelids, I need something more long-lasting but for a more temperate climate and drier eyelids than mine, I would 100 % recommend it.
Pep+ Prime 24-hour extend eye base by MAC and the Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base by NARS: my two favorites primers for the eyelids! I find them equally effective, they are great. They make sure that my eye makeup doesn’t move during the day, even when it’s very hot. If I had to choose between the 2, I have a slight preference for the packaging of the MAC one that I find easier to use (the NARS one has an applicator that I do not find very hygienic or practical). And besides, the MAC one is a little less expensive … wink
I apply them either with my fingertips or with a brush with synthetic bristles (I use the 142 Concealer Buffer by ZOEVA) and I set it with a little loose powder or a flesh tone eyeshadow. The powder also helps to blend the eyeshadows easily on the primer because it can be a little sticky if it’s not set with powder.
Use some long-lasting makeup products:
The big secret behind a long-lasting makeup is to always favor makeup products with a long-lasting formula. In other words, oil-free products and powders are you best friends.
The application technique is also important: in general, if you want your makeup to last, it’s better to apply all liquid or creamy makeup products first and then to apply the powders after to set everything.
For example, a powder blush applied directly on top of your non-powdered foundation will fade easily and also be more difficult to blend (if you were wondering why your blush made you look like a clown sometimes, this is a possible explanation ;P ). Same for a cream blush applied on top of a powder. First, it won’t last as well and in addition, it can move the foundation and the powder you just applied.
Finally, the way you apply your products is important: you want to tap them with your brush or your sponge, not swipe them. Doing light tapping motions, you’re sure to really apply your product onto your skin and it will really help them to last longer.
– My favorite long-lasting base products:
I prefer the oil-free and matifying foundations like the Perfection Lumière Velvet by CHANEL or the Velvet Skin Matte Tint by NARS, both with a very light texture and perfect to be applied with your fingertips.
Same thing for the concealers, I usually choose a dryer, not too creamy formula, oil-free and waterproof like the Secret Camouflage by Laura Mercier (I use the shade SC-3) or the Full Cover by Make Up For Ever (I use the shade 6 Ivory). I applied them with a fine brush with synthetic hair (I love the Laura Mercier one) or directly with my fingertips.
And if I want my base to look perfect for more than 12 hours, I have a secret weapon: the Double Wear by Estée Lauder.
An oldie but a goodie, this foundation is a best-seller for the brand and has been for ages. And for very good reasons!
I discovered it super late (last summer) but since, it has been my favorite foundation for those days when the thermometer exceeds 30 degrees and I still want a flawless complexion. The coverage is quite heavy but if I apply it in small quantities and using a damp Beauty Blender, it doesn’t give me a mask and it covers all my imperfections in one glance. It’s fragrance-free, oil-free, waterproof, hypoallergenic, non-acnegenic and the lasting power is supposed to be 15 hours. I can confirm that it really lasts 15h. I did some crash-tests when I spent some days in Qatar or Kuwait for work and I was flying super early in the morning (understand in the middle of the night) and coming back super late at night the same day and my foundation was still on my face, looking pretty decent!
– The setting face powders:
Face powders help to set makeup and mattify the skin. Through their texture, they ‘re absorbent and avoid the makeup to melt in a few hours.
Personally, I prefer loose powders for my makeup in the morning because they’re thinner and more natural than pressed powder, which I usually reserve for touch-ups throughout the day.
I usually apply them with a brush for a more natural effect. For the application technique, I don’t swipe it with my brush on my face, I prefer to gently press the powder onto the skin with my brush using a small amount of loose powder to really set the makeup. In doing this application technique, the makeup stays in place so much longer.
Another tip, if I really want a super long-lasting makeup, that doesn’t budge, I use my damp Beauty Blender to apply my powder. With this technique, the result is a little less natural but it will stay put for hours.
My two favorite loose powders (both transparent):
Laura Mercier Transparent Loose Setting Powder : very fine and super natural, this powder sets all the makeup, even the under eye concealer, without being heavy and drying the skin. It’s imperceptible, smooths the skin texture, reduces visible pores and controls the shine for hours. It’s considered one of the best loose powders by makeup artists around the world and its reputation is well deserved! However, it’s not cheap at all ($38 for 11g).
RCMA No Colour Powder: my favorite at the moment, I’m obsessed! The same quality as the Laura Mercier one: ultra finely mild, non-drying, totally imperceptible, with a smoothing/perfecting effect on the skin and mattifying. And, the icing on the cake: not expensive at all: $12 for 85g. It’s such a bargain!
Makeup setting sprays: do they really work?
The makeup setting sprays are a plus to help the makeup last longer, but to be honest, I don’t think they make a huge difference. Let’s say that I personally don’t rely only on them to maintain my makeup.
They’re often compared to hairspray and the concept is quite similar because they actually form a film on the surface of the makeup to protect it from pollution, sweat, heat, dust in order to make it last longer. They also sometimes incorporate skincare effects like moisturizer, anti-pollution, or soothing ingredients…
For me, since I use a lot of powder, it allows me to freshen up my makeup and remove the excess of powder if I was a bit heavy handed.
I use these makeup setting sprays at the end of my makeup application: I spray several spritz from about 20 cm of my face and I let the product dry without touching my face to allow the makeup to remain intact.
I tried some of them:
All Nighter and De-Slik by Urban Decay: they are both quite effective to set the makeup but I must admit a slight preference for All Nighter which gives more radiance to the complexion. De-Slik is a little bit more drying. However, they are both heavy in alcohol in the formula, so probably not recommended for sensitive skin.
Fix’ Makeup by Clarins: I adore this spray for the very cool and soft effect. Super soft, enriched with soothing allantoin, moisturizing aloe vera and an anti-pollution complex, it’s very skincare oriented. It brightens the complexion and helps to set the makeup.
Mist & Fix by MUFE and Fix + by Mac: these two, I prefer to use them before my makeup or to wet my brush or my sponges. I don’t think they have a real setting power on makeup, at least on me. However, they are very cool and moisturizing, so quite pleasant to use. They are both alcohol free.
Do some touch-ups throughout the day:
Even if you used all the previous tips to make your makeup last longer, sometimes you need to do touch-ups during the day because your skin may shine after a few hours, especially when it’s oily like mine.
So, I always have blotting papers and a pressed powder compact ready to use in my bag!
– Blotting papers:
There are different kinds: those, very fine, which look like cigarette paper and the others, my favorite by far, those that have a very soft plastic texture. I much prefer these because they are much more absorbent.
To use them, simply apply a blotting paper on the greasy areas and press gently without rubbing: it will soak the excess sebum like a sponge.
My favorites are the Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets, which I have use for years (at least 15). In Dubai, they’re impossible to find (while the brand Clean & Clear is available here, which is even more frustrating).
They are sold throughout Asia, so I made huge stash for myself ups 2-3 years ago when I went there but I saw they were available on Amazon: yayyy!
– Pressed powder compact:
I don’t use them all the time because usually, I just use a blotting paper and it refresh my makeup enough. But sometimes, especially if I want it to last a little longer, use a little bit of powder is the best option! smile
I usually start with using a blotting paper on greasy areas to create a “clean” base and don’t apply the product directly on the sebum (gross).
Usually, I use the powder puff which comes with the compact because it’s more convenient to carry than a brush (a tip: if you have acne, remember to clean the puff regularly, and same thing goes for your makeup brushes. Nothing worse for acne than a dirty makeup tool that will only spread more germs on your skin).
My favorite pressed powder compact:
MAC Blot Pressed Powder (I use the shade Medium): I used a lot when I was younger because I used to apply very light coverage foundation and this powder adds a little bit more coverage. It’s very fine, with a very matte finish and it reduces the visible pores effect.
Laura Mercier Smooth Focus Pressed Setting Powder Shine Control: my favorite because it’s completely transparent and doesn’t add any coverage. It gives a matte finish to the skin and blurs the pores appearance. It’s the one which is in my purse right at the moment.
And you, what are your tips for a long-wearing makeup? Feel free to leave me a comment, I’m very curious to know if you have some great tips to share!
Photo credits: bonnie-garner.com