It's that time again. From New York to Los Angeles, the streets to the beach, it's getting hot in hurr and ice cream cones aren't the only things melting this summer. Cosmetics don't really stand a chance unless you know these five foolproof ways to get your makeup to stay while sweating all summer long.
I've been wearing makeup on the daily since age 12. That means for over half my life, I've been battling the east coast heat and humidity that personally attacks me each and every year. It causes my naturally oily skin to freak the eff out. At this point, I've tried every tip and trick in the book on myself and others to get makeup to stay in place. So I can truly tell you what works for the majority of human beings.
But here's the thing: making makeup truly last does take a few extra steps. Makeup can work some miracles, but it's not magic. There's no single step process that will withstand heat and sweat and other grossness. For an entire sweltering, 90-degree NYC week, I went the extra mile to really put my life-proofing makeup process to the test.
Here was my makeup at the beginning of one of those days when I applied it first thing in the morning.
Here's my makeup nearly 11 hours later.
And here's my makeup 13 hours after first applying it, right before I washed off my face off for the night.
Not too shabby if I do say so myself. I worked for eight hours and then ran some errands before going to watch The Bachelorette at my best friend's apartment. The subway stations themselves have been sweltering and caused me to sweat an ungodly amount. Yet, I only had to powder just slightly around my nostrils maybe twice throughout the day and reapply my super glossy lipstick.
Here are the five top tried-and-true tips I swear by, so you too can love your makeup so much that you won't even want to wash it off at the end of the day.
1. Skincare Will Save You
Always start with moisturizer. Always. For summer, opt for one that's gel-based or super lightweight, whether you're dry or oily. You don't want to suffocate the surface of the skin, but want it to be hydrated enough so the skin doesn't overproduce oil throughout the day or literally eat your foundation out of desperation if you're dry.
Lately, I've been digging Glamglow Glowstarter™ Mega Illuminating Moisturizer in Pearl Glow. It's miraculously good for all skin types (I'm exceedingly oily and my skin doesn't feel overwhelmed even though it's rich). It contains hylauronic acid and green tea, which help energize and flood the skin with hydration. It also contains dimethicone as its second ingredient, which allows it to act like a primer, filling in pores and allowing foundation to glide across without creating texture. If you're trying to reduce the amount of products you're using during the sweltering summer months, this one is definitely the way to go. It also comes in Nude Glow and Sun Glow to better fit a wider variety of skin tones.
Glamglow Moisturizer, $49, Sephora
No matter what moisturizer you're using, make sure to use only a dime size amount and pat the product onto the skin using the finger pads. This will help the moisturizer to absorb quickly and will prevent you from using too much. Too much, and you're makeup won't stick. You'll know you're properly hydrated if you can easily drag your finger across your skin and its tacky to the touch. This will hold on your makeup like double-sided sticky tape instead of letting it slip and slide.
2. Prime For Extra Time
If you're not using a moisturizer with dimethicone (and even if you are), primers will only help to improve the longevity of your foundation. Some, like Hourglass's Veil Mineral Primer, even help to make your makeup water-resistant, which comes in handy if you're prone to sweating (like me) or live in a stupidly humid climate (also like me).
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, $54, Sephora
For face primers, use about a pea size amount, and pat or smooth it in with your finger pads, starting at the center (or wherever your makeup is more likely to move), and working outward. My pores have been gigantic since birth, so lately I've been opting for Urban Decay's Optical Illusion Complexion Primer, which is like photoshop in a bottle. It blurs the texture of my skin, but has a slight matte finish that helps to fight my oil before it even tries to peep through my makeup. It will definitely be my best buddy for the remainder of the summer.
Urban Decay Optical Illusion Complexion Primer, $34, Sephora
If you want to be extra locked-and-loaded from the inside out, spray your setting spray before you even apply your foundation. Again, the tacky nature of the formula will grip to your foundation like I grasp to my last bits of dignity while on the smelly, sweltering steps of the New York City subway system.
If you plan on wearing any eye makeup, even if it's just liner or mascara, using an eye shadow primer will make that look stay in place. I truly owe my awe-inspiring eye works of art to Urban Decay's Primer Potion. I hate investing in my eye lewks if they're not going to last, but the Primer Potion is so good, it literally pains me to wash off my shadow at then end of the day because it stays so pristine. Just make sure to use an eye shadow primer and not a face primer for this step. Face primers are too dense and slippery to keep the shadow locked on the eye skin, which constantly moves throughout the day.
Urban Decay Primer Potion, $22, Sephora
A grain of rice-sized amount is enough for both eyes. Use your index finger to apply the primer from the ball of the eye all the way up through the brow bone. A translucent eyeshadow primer through the brow will even prevent your brow pencil or powder from wiping right off.
If you have a problem with liner or mascara smudging and transferring, set the primer with a bone-colored shadow or even translucent powder. The powder will prevent oil from seeping onto the lid, therefore preventing your mascara and liner from emulsifying and transferring. Take it from this hooded lidded-gal: It really works.
3. Choose Your Foundation Wisely
Not all foundations are created equal, thankfully. Depending on your skin tone, type, texture, and chemistry, some formulas will work better than others. When you find the perfect match, your foundation will look beautiful at the start and last all day long.
During the summer, I recommend going with a lighter-weight formula that won't suffocate your skin. If you're more oily, try a matte liquid or a powder foundation, like Lancôme's Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation or Sephora Collection's Matte Perfection Powder Foundation. If you're dry, opt for a BB Cream or tined moisturizer, like Smashbox's Camera Ready BB Water or Hourglass's Illusion® Hylauronic Skin Tint. If you're normal, choose a middle-of-the-road foundation, like Armani Luminous Silk or Urban Decay's Naked Skin. Unless you have major discoloration across the entire face, opt for sheer to medium coverage and dot a full-coverage concealer in a correlating shade over any dark spots, blemishes, or areas of redness. This will not only make your complexion look Beyonce #iwokeuplikethis #flawless, but your skin will be able to breathe and will thank you for it.
Lancôme's Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation, $47, Sephora; Matte Perfection Powder Foundation, $20, Sephora; Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water, $42, Sephora; Hourglass Skin Tint, $56, Sephora; Armani Luminous Silk, $64, Sephora; Urban Decay Naked Skin, $40, Sephora
It may take some rigorous trying and testing. Some foundations will be too emollient and slide right off your face. Some may be too dry and the pigment will cling to texture you didn't even know you had.
Of course, if you have a really hard time with foundation staying in place, it's always smart to start with ones that have long-lasting or water-resistant claims. Always keep your other considerations in mind, but foundations like Kat von D's Lock-It, Lancôme Teint Idole, and Estēe Lauder Double Wear are pretty much life-proof for those with normal to oily skin. During the summer, I cling to Givenchy Teint Couture Blurring Balm, which makes my skin looked blurred and perfected. It has 10 hour wear, but I get it to last 14+ with the help of setting powder.
Lock-It Foundation, $35, Sephora; Lancôme Teint Idole, $47, Sephora; Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup, $42, Sephora; Givenchy Teint Couture Blurring Balm, $45, Sephora
4. Layer Creams And Powders For Extra Longevity
Speaking of setting, layering creams and powders will vastly improve the longevity of your product wear. This is the step that most people skip, but at the end of the day, it's really the most important piece of the puzzle. Think about concrete. Separately, it consists of a liquid and powder component, When it's just one piece, it's mobile and movable. Once you combine the two together, it hardens and stays in place. If the concrete of the Roman Coliseum can withstand 2,000 years, your foundation should be able to last over 10 hours with no problem.
If you're super oily, opt for a loose setting powder with a natural or matte finish, like the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder. If you're dry, choose one that reflects light, like Hourglass's Ambient® Lighting Powders. For oily skin, use a dry Beauty Blender or a powder puff to press the powder into the areas where you tend to get the most oily (generally the nose, chin, and forehead) and use the remainder to lightly set other areas of concern, like under eye or cheeks if you're constantly on your phone. If you're dry, use a fluffy tapered brush to press and roll the powder in where you get the most oily or sweaty throughout the day, avoiding the areas with dry patchy skin. Pressing helps to really get in to that liquid foundation and prevents detail work (like concealing blemishes or contouring) from shifting. You don't have to set everywhere: just the areas where you know your foundation shifts or disappears throughout the day.
Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder, $38, Sephora; Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, $46, Sephora; beautyblender, $20, Sephora
If you're super serious about your beat, layering cream contour and blush before your powder contour and blush will last all day long. I put a lot of effort into the way I detail my makeup masterpieces, so I'm not about to take chances with it fading throughout the day. Before I set with translucent setting powder, I apply my Anastasia Beverly Hill Cream Contour Kit and a sheer stain of Milk Makeup's Lip and Cheek stick in Swish. After the translucent powder, I carve with Kat von D's Shade and Light Palette and apply a sheer layer of a correlating blush color, in this case Lancôme's Blush Subtil in Rose Paradis, which is quickly becoming my favorite summer shade. When I reinforce my powders with an under layer of cream, my flush and sculpt stay totally saturated throughout the day.
Cream Contour Kit, $40, Sephora; MILK Makeup Lip + Cheek, $24, Sephora; Shade + Light Palette, $49, Sephora; Lancome Blush Subtil, $32, Sephora
One of my favorite little secret setting powder tips is to apply a thin layer of powder to my lips before I apply my lipstick.
The powder gives emollient lipsticks something to cling to. It also helps to smooth out and small lines in the lips and create an even surface.
5. Don't Forget To Set
Setting spray will lock and load all the layers of your makeup together. Not only will it mesh all the layers of powder and cream together for a more natural finish, it will also ensure that everything sticks together for the whole day. On the days when I forget setting spray, my flush disappears and my contours dims by the time I eat lunch.
Here's my completed look after following all of these steps:
And here's the look more than 14 hours later, before I washed it off for the night:
I touched up my lip a couple times (which I expected, as it wasn't a stain), and I powdered right around my nostrils just twice.
If you find your face disappearing throughout the day, just try out these tips and I promise you'll see a difference. It may take an extra two minutes, but the extra hours of wear with definitely be worth it.