Last year, I attended a holiday soirée and was feeling absolutely stunning. Before the party started, I was fully glammed up, wearing a fun party dress, and ready to take on the night. Fast forward through an evening of dancing, chatting, and sipping some gin and tonics, and boom: I’m in front of my mirror at 1:30 a.m. staring at my face and wondering where the gorgeous, sparkly eyeshadow look I had spent the better half of an hour creating went. For most of us, keeping our makeup on our faces for a full day during the wintertime feels like an Olympic feat. If it’s not melting off in overheated rooms or in steamy parties, it’s flaking away in the chilly wind. Regardless of if you have dry or oily skin, or if you love a glam look or like to keep it simple, if there’s one thing we all need to know how to do, it’s how to get our makeup to last all day (or night).
In order to avoid a repeat of last year’s post-party memory of under eyes caked with flaking mascara and rogue glitter flecks, I reached out to professional makeup artist Emily Gray Higgins to get an expert opinion on how to make makeup last all night long—even if your night includes sipping cocktails and mingling in a crowded room. She spilled insider secrets on how to ensure your makeup stays put until you decide to take it off.
Emily Gray Higgins is a professional makeup artist who has worked with Sheryl Crowe, Lily Aldridge, Maren Morris, and more. Emily splits her time bouncing between Nashville, Detroit, and Los Angeles.
Prep, prep, prep according to your skin type
According to Higgins, getting your makeup to last during the winter starts long before you actually start applying your makeup. For her, skin prep is the most important part of a makeup look that truly lasts. “If you have a long day of holiday parties ahead of you, prep your skin according to your personal skin type,” Higgins said. This means choosing products for your entire skincare routine—from your cleanser to your moisturizer—that work well with your skin type to ensure your skin doesn’t get too dry or oily before applying your makeup.
In the wintertime specifically, Emily suggests leaning into hydrating and moisturizing products, even if your skin is naturally oily during other times of the year. “Most skin types tend to get drier in the winter months, so an extra burst of hydration in your skin prep routine would be ideal,” she said. She suggests a hydrating, non-fragranced cleanser, followed by a serum like snail mucin and topped with a facial oil for ultimate moisture retention once you have applied all of your makeup products.
Use a primer—on both your face and your eyes
Nope, we still haven’t gotten to the actual makeup application yet! Skin prep may start with your skincare routine, but it ends with a skin-gripping primer that will help your products adhere to your skin. According to Higgins, primers should also be catered to skin type, with drier skinned folk leaning into hydrating primers and those with oily skin opting for ones that are more mattifying. And if you struggle with eyeshadow getting flaky or creasing during wintertime festivities? That’s when an eyeshadow primer, and even a mascara primer, can come in handy as the final step in your skin prep routine.
Invest in great setting products
Cream blushes and bronzers have been all the rage as of late, and for good reason: they tend to be more hydrating and to look more natural than their powder counterparts. But the unfortunate reality is they don’t have a lot of natural staying power. “It’s no secret that powder products are going to last longer than cream, specifically in the winter,” Higgins said. If you want to get your cream products to last through a night of holiday parties, Higgins suggests investing in a high-quality setting powder that you can use to set the oilier parts of your face.
“I’m sure the typical answer to choosing a long-lasting formula would be to avoid cream and dewy products, but I believe there is a way to set those types of products to last all day and night. You just need a great setting powder,” she said. Her go-to powders? She recommends the Laura Mercier Loose Powder, and believes the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray is worth all of the hype. With the combination of a setting powder on the oilier areas of your skin plus a quality setting spray, even the creamiest of blushes will stay put throughout a day of holiday festivities. If you really want to double down on staying powder, you can also set your cream blush and bronzer with powder versions before you use your loose powder and setting spray.
Ultimately, getting your makeup to last through a long evening of holiday festivities starts with educating yourself on your own skin type and having a solid prep routine that works for you. With the combination of a well thought-out skincare routine, a gripping primer, some reliable powder, and a good setting spray, your holiday looks will be thoroughly un-meltable this party season.