A young woman is being made up by Louise Wittlich, professionnal makeup artist and beauty coach

How to Make Your Makeup Last All Day (or at Least Much Longer…;-)

Supernatural or more sophisticated, whatever your style, you want to make your makeup last. That’s why the question of how to make your makeup last , preferably all day, is definitely one turning up most often in my makeup classes.

Well, let me be perfectly honest with you: Makeup will never be something you splash on in the morning and 14 or 18 hours later will be exactly looking the same. The reason is, we’re not painting on dry and “dead” paper, but on a live, breathing, “alive” surface.

Our skin is what separates us from the world around us and it protects us from it. Cold, heat, humidity… our skin will react to lots of environmental factors in order to make sure we’re safe and comfortable. It will do so for example in producing sweat or oils.

Just how much your skin is “working” and producing sebum and sweat depends on lots of factors and varies very much from one person to the next.
I might for example do exactly the same makeup on two models in the morning, and after a couple of hours on one of them the makeup is all but gone. While the other one looks flawless even after a full day of photo shooting.

Our makeup will basically sit on this surface which is constantly changing. No wonder, despite the promises of cosmetics brands, your makeup will never be perfectly staying in place.

However, even for those whose skin seems to “drink up” their makeup, there are some things you can do to make your makeup last longer.

Prepping your skin

As with most things, the base you build on is key also for makeup. The “base”, your skin should be well hydrated, smooth and supple.
If you don’t hydrate your skin properly before applying your makeup, the pigments will hang onto the dry skin cells and become really visible. Your makeup might quickly look dry and cakey. Especially mature women should make sure to prep their skin well. Please find more advice for the best foundations for mature skin here.

On the other hand, skincare products which are too rich, might make your makeup slide off. Imagine your foundation, blush etc. like “floating” on a layer of oil. It can’t adhere to your skin.
My tip: Keep these rich creams for your evening routine and replace them in the morning with a lighter, makeup-compatible moisturizer.
Some of my favorites are:
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, Skinceuticals’ A.G.E. Interruptor Cream, CeraVe, french one

Another problem that may occur is the “pilling” of your foundation in small flakes. This will often happen when you apply your products too quickly on top of each other. You should instead allow your moisturizer to be well absorbed before you slather on your foundation.
One particular culprit should here be called out: Hyaluronic acid. Lately lots of products are enriched with this highly efficient moisturizing agent which is in fact a very complex sugar molecule capable of storing up to 1000 times its own weight in water. But the piling on of hyaluronic acid often results in it flaking off. Either read the small print and avoid doubling up on hyaluronic acid. Or again, just wait a bit longer between layers.

Create a Longlasting Base with Primers

Some primers actually can help your makeup stay in place longer. It’s the mattifying, smoothening variant (like Laura Mercier’s Pure Canvas Primer) which will have this effect, rather than the glow enhancing ones. Don’t use too much to not inverse the effect. A pea-sized drop will be enough for a full face.
Watch out for primers containing a high level of silicone. You can feel them being all slippery on your skin. They might make your makeup slide…

Fixing your Makeup with Powder

Powder absorbs oil, this is knowledge as old as makeup. Thereby it fixes the fatty components in your makeup products. And it also conveniently soaks up your skin’s oil and sebum.
But when in the past too much powder would build up and become cakey, today’s transparent and perfectly invisible formulations of some powders can be applied and reapplied without moderation. One of my favorites is the Light Reflecting Setting Powder from Nars. No more caking up or accentuating wrinkles and lines. You can (and with oily skin you should) powder as many times per day as you feel the need without creating build-up.

Blotting Papers

A special mention for these super simple, yet so effective little tools. To use them just press them against your skin, especially your T-zone. They soak up oil and shine and leave your skin smooth and matte, without adding texture. As simple as that.
I love Shiseido’s Blotting Papers.

Eye primers

Eye primers are a good way to prolong the life of your eyeshadow. Again, don’t apply much, a tiny dab will be good anough to cover your entire mobile eyelid. The primer will create a base to which your eyeshadow will adhere, it will be less volatile. A good eye primer is the Eyeshadow Primer Potion by Urban Decay.

Waterproof Mascara

If your mascara always smudges or smears around your eyes panda-bear style, the problem might be a too rich eye cream (see the paragraph above “Prepping your Skin”). Try to switch to a lighter formula.

Another reason could be too much concealer around your eyes. Try to use as little product as possible, just enough to cover the blueish parts around the inner corner of your eye. Don’t smother it along the entire lower eye lid. Towards the outer corner it won’t do any good anyway and just potentially settle in wrinkles and lines.

If you tend to have watery eyes, try waterproof mascara. Or, even better, tube mascara (like the one from Eyeko), because it will come off more easily and you don’t need any special remover which might irritate your sensitive eyes.
You want to know more about mascara? Here my dedicated post.

Make Your Lip Makeup Last Longer

Lipstick is the makeup product that disappears the fastest. The creamier the quicker it will be gone. Drier textures, like matte lipsticks will last a bit longer.
To make your lip makeup last longer, try using a lip liner pencil to outline your lips, not only to make them more defined and maybe more summetrical, but also to block your lipcolor from bleeding into the fine lines around your mouth.
There are also transparent “invisible” lipliners, meant to be used outside your lips which will create a “barrier” and help keeping your lipstick in place, like for example the Invisible Lip Liner from Kiko.

Non-transfer formula lipsticks used to be a rather uncomfortable, lip drying affair. But lately some liquid non-transfer products have come out which are much more comfortable to wear and last really very long. One of the best is the Cream Lip Stain by Sephora.
What’s important here is the application technique: use a lip primer first (like MAC’s Prep and Prime) and then a thin (!) layer of lipstick. You might want to use a lip brush for more precision instead of the product’s applicator. Many of these products are extremely high pigmented and uneven application will be very visible.

Don’t Touch Your Face!

This last advice could have come first actually! Because the main reason for your makeup not lasting long might be that you constantly rub your eyes, blow your nose, prop up your chin… There is no makeup which is resistant to touching, smudging, rubbing. If you’re wondering, models at photoshoots or fashion shows are not allowed to touch their faces.
So, hands off! 😉

By Louise Wittlich
(Make-up on the pictured model: Louise Wittlich)

* All models in my blog photos are made up by me, unless otherwise stated.

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