We all have those days when you look up from washing your hands in the afternoon, and in an absolute moment of horror, realize your makeup does not look the way it did when you applied it. “Is this just the worst bathroom mirror of all or have I really looked this bad all day?” is a question I ask myself pretty much every week. Why is getting your makeup to last all day such a seemingly impossible task?
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One of the most frequent questions makeup artist Elaine Barnett gets from her clients is how she gets her makeup to last so long. As a pro, she has quite a few tricks up her sleeve on keeping foundation in place, blush from fading, and mascara from smudging. Below, she’s sharing her go-to techniques and products she personally uses to keep her makeup in place all day long.
1. Prep your skin
No matter what measures you take to prolong the wear of your makeup, if your skin isn’t prepped properly with skincare, then your makeup won’t look smooth or last long.
Oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells stack up on the surface level of the skin, which leads to texture that shows through when makeup is applied. Exfoliate your skin at least two times a week to keep skin smooth so that your makeup lasts longer.
First Aid Beauty
Facial Radiance Pads
Using a toner after cleansing and exfoliating will balance out the pH of your skin for a smoother and brighter appearance, which will also help any complexion products stay smooth for a longer period of time.
Rosewater Face Dew
Replenishing Toner with Hyaluronic Acid
Properly moisturizing your skin with the correct moisturizer for your skin type will provide the perfect canvas for complexion products to stay looking fresh all day. Also, try a moisturizer that is oil-free so that it absorbs quickly while giving adequate moisture to the skin.
Next Level No BS Moisturizer
Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer
2. Prime eyes and face
Primers are the essential first cosmetic step for helping your makeup last all day. Not only do they seal in your skincare, but they also create a barrier that smoothens the surface of your skin for prolonged wear.
This can be tailored to skin type to help fill in pores and fine lines and to create a smooth surface for your foundation to go on more easily and last longer. Try to get an oil-free, water-based primer; this will keep your foundation from slipping or moving around.
Jelly Pop Dewy Face Primer
Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Eye primers create a surface for eyeshadow to show its true pigment and blend easier, and it also helps eyeshadow and eyeliner last all day without smudging or creasing.
Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Tinted Eyeshadow Primer
3. Use an oil-free foundation
Oil-based products make it more likely that makeup will slide out of place. If you have a dryer skin type, make sure you moisturize very well before using an oil-free foundation. Opt for one that is long-wearing and will smooth your complexion all day.
Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation
Hyaluronic Acid Tinted Moisturizer
4. Layer your cream or liquid-based products with a matching powder
Liquids and creams tend to slide off throughout the day, so to have your complexion products last, try finding lightweight powders that match the color of your liquid foundation and cream blushes.
Instead of “buffing” the powder in small circles on top of liquids and creams, try “stippling” the product onto your face. This technique of tapping the product will keep your liquids and creams from moving and will lock in your complexion products, keeping them from sliding off throughout the day.
Keep a lightweight powder with you to lightly tap the product into areas that might appear shiny throughout the day.
Crème & Powder Blush
Amazonian Clay Blush
5. Apply makeup using light layers
Less really is more when you want your makeup to last all day. I recommend using a beauty sponge to apply light layers to create a smooth, texture-free complexion. This will leave your skin looking natural without feeling heavy or looking cakey.
6. Dip your eyeshadow brush in a priming spray before applying onto eyelids
I use this technique when applying a shimmery eyeshadow to lids. Not only does it help lock down the pigment to last all day, but it also gives a foiled effect to the eyeshadow. This makes your lids look almost glossy, which gives a natural look to the skin.
7. Switch to waterproof mascara and eyeliner
Opt for waterproof when you want your eyes to stay smudge-free all day long. Mascaras and eyeliners tend to smudge under the eyes after excessive wear and especially if you use eye cream. Try a waterproof formula so that you don’t get the “raccoon effect” after a few hours.
8. Mix primer with a matte liquid lipstick to make a cream blush
This is the best way to make a cream blush stay on all day. Cream blushes tend to fade away throughout the day, but when creating your own with a liquid lipstick and some primer, your blush is guaranteed to last! Just mix a small amount of equal parts liquid lipstick and primer to create the perfect tint. Use more primer to dilute the color or use more liquid lipstick to make the color stand out.
Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick
Matte Cream Lipstick
9. Apply lipstick the right way
If you’re not really into the matte liquid lipstick trend and still like your satin finish lipsticks, try applying it in layers.
Apply your lipstick, blot with a tissue, dust a layer of translucent finishing powder over, then apply another layer of your lipstick. Repeat until you get the opacity of the lipstick that you want.
This layering technique will give your satin lipsticks a base to hold on to without drying out and cracking your lips. See a full demonstration here.
10. Use a translucent powder
Try applying a lightweight translucent setting powder after you’re done applying all of your complexion products. This not only mattifies by soaking up excess oil left on the skin but will also set your makeup for a longer wear. Get a pressed version that you can take with you to soak up oil throughout the day.
Make Up For Ever
Ultra-HD Microfinishing Powder
NYX Professional Makeup
HD Finishing Powder
11. Finish the look with a setting spray
Setting sprays are a makeup artist’s favorite finishing touch, especially for a client that has an all-day event. It not only can refresh your makeup, but it also seals your makeup for a very natural look that lasts all day. Setting sprays are so popular now that there’s an array of different formulations that mattify, hydrate, and even have illuminating pigments to promote a glow.
Long-Lasting Setting Spray
Continuous Setting Mist
12. Blot your makeup throughout the day
Using blotting papers to soak up oils during the day is great, but in my experience, they usually take off more of the makeup than I would like. Instead of using blotting papers, try using Beauty Blender’s Blotterazzi sponge to soak up unwanted shine throughout the day. This dry sponge soaks up oils without disturbing your makeup.
Matcha Blotting Sheets
13. Touch your face as little as possible
The most important tip I can give you is to not touch your face throughout the day. Not only will you smudge your makeup, but your hands also collect oil and bacteria over time. You’re at risk of spreading that to your face by touching, which can cause blemishes.
14. Keep the essentials with you
To keep your makeup looking fresh all day long, keep the essential products in a bag to touch up your face periodically. Make sure to keep your Blotterazzi or a blotting powder with you to soak up unwanted shine, your lipstick to reapply lightly, and your pressed lightweight powder to touch up by lightly tapping the product into the skin.