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Whether the culprit is your over-productive oil and sweat glands OR you get exposed to extreme weather, anyone can be a victim of stale and cake-y makeup. Beyond these reasons, makeup typically does breakdown throughout the day, so the big question is: how can you control your makeup from not breaking down, under all circumstances?

The good news: with some excellent techniques and key products, you can prolong the wear of your makeup! Here are some products & tips to get your makeup to last throughout the day, and all throughout the night!

Absorbed Skincare

Apply moisturizer right after your bath to allow it to soak in before applying makeup at least 5 minutes after. This ensures that your skin has absorbed skincare before you go in with makeup on top. If you go in immediately, the creaminess of the moisturizer can cause makeup to slip and slide around your face. Also, when skincare is not thoroughly absorbed, makeup appears blotchy on top of it.

If you do not have the time to get your makeup to absorb quickly, don’t fret! Gel-based moisturizers absorb faster than their cream counterparts.  I recommend Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Prep With a Primer

This is an absolute must if you want your makeup to last throughout the day: To not prime is a crime! The science is simple: primer acts as a barrier between your skin and makeup. Makeup adheres to a good primer, rather than your skin, which is susceptible to oil and sweat. Moreover, it prepares your skin for a smooth base application (foundation / tinted moisturizer / BB creams).

There are a lot of makeup primers and each one aims to either smoothen, hydrate, control oil, fill in pores or color-correct.

I’ve tried so many but my favorite multi-tasking primer is the Hourglass Mineral Veil primer for its unique silky texture that does not ball up when you apply, and its ability to address a lot of concerns. I love how this primer controls the oil from peeking thru my makeup, but it’s also good in reducing the appearance of fine lines, pores and discoloration. Bonus? It has SPF 15 for added protection on top of your sunscreen!

Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer
Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer

On that note, please do not rely on the SPF inherent in makeup. Always wear a separate sunscreen. I’ve detailed everything you need to know about sunscreen in my previous article here.

Layer Cream or Liquid With Powder

Creams and liquids are locked in by powder. Without powder, creams tend to slip and slide, especially if you have oily skin. Layering wet formula (cream/liquid) with dry formula (powder) ensures an invincible makeup finish. If you find that your blush disappears on you by midday, try using a cream blush first then top it off with a powder blush. The principle applies to others: set your liquid foundation with translucent powder, set your cream highlight/contour with their powder counterparts.

As a rule of thumb, the best product to set your makeup is a loose setting powder. Loose powders, compared to pressed powders, have more oil-controlling properties. Loose powders, particularly the translucent ones, are better because they do not add extra coverage to your makeup and do not alter the tone of the makeup underneath. If you’re combination-to-oily skinned, Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder is your best bet. Dry-to-normal skinned can still use this but make sure to use a light hand and apply only on “hot spots” of your face (i.e your t-zone).

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder
Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder

Layer Sparingly

‘More layers’ is not equal to long-lasting makeup. In fact, layers that are not thoroughly blended and pressed to the skin, are layers that will slip and slide. The key is thin and ‘worked-in’ layers. If you intend to build the coverage of your foundation, start with a thin first layer.

Assess which areas you want to build on and apply a thin second layer on that area, and so on. This is another instance where patience will do wonders. If you haphazardly pile on a thick layer on one-go, you will have cake-y makeup in hours. In between layers, blot your foundation with a tissue. It will remove the excess product sitting on top of your skin.

Since we’re talking about layers, it’s important to note that not all products are buildable. A lot of products look cake-y and heavy when you build layers of it. That’s especially not good for foundations. MAC Studio Face & Body foundation is one of the most lightweight, skin-like and, most importantly, buildable foundations I have tried.

MAC Studio Face & Body foundation
MAC Studio Face & Body foundation

This has been a cult product in professional makeup artist’s stash. It was initially loved backstage in fashion shows because it is just undetectable under harsh studio lights.

Brought to mainstream, you can start with a sheer layer and build it up to a solid medium coverage and still looking very natural on the skin.

Seal With a Setting Spray

In the same fashion that hairspray locks in a hairstyle, makeup setting sprays ensure that your makeup won’t budge. It’s literally makeup insurance. I have worn makeup for 15-18 hours in the office and the only consolation for long days is looking at the mirror and not seeing a train wreck.

You typically spray this in an ‘X’ and a ‘T’ formation on your face after everything. Sometimes I even spray this before makeup application as a way to prime my face. I apply my makeup then spray again as a last step. When you do this technique, you ‘sandwich’ your makeup in between layers of setting spray. Your makeup is bulletproof!

This by far is the setting spray that I’ve been buying for years and been recommending to all my friends: Urban Decay All-Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting spray. They have other variants perfect for oily-skin (De-Slick Oil Control variant) and dry-skin (Chill Cooling & Hydrating variant).

Urban decay all nighter
urban decay de-slick
urban decay chill

Resuscitate With Touch-Up Products

Make sure you have the essentials like blotting sheets and face powder in your bag. I noticed that a lot of women use blotting sheets wrongly: they wipe the sheet across their face, thereby removing the makeup along with the oil.

Blotting sheets should be used exactly how it’s named: BLOT (press-and-lift motion), not WIPE!

I use the clear blotting sheets together with face powder when I have a ladies room break at my disposal; otherwise, I’ll use the powdered blotting sheets for my 2-in-1 quick refresher. Remember to use face powder, not powder foundation, so that you don’t add unnecessary coverage to your existing makeup. My personal favorite is the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish setting powder (pressed) because it’s made of microfine powder that sits beautifully on top of skin, lending the look of filtered skin. It is light coverage and does not flatten your face by drying it out.

Charlotte Tilbury flawless finish setting powder

Go All Day & All Night!

Pick a product or a tip that you can easily incorporate into you own makeup routine. My goal is to help you get your makeup to last throughout the day, and night!

Don’t be overwhelmed to do any or all of these tips. Any single one of them will add longevity to your makeup. With the effort you put in to apply your makeup, your makeup should stay put until you’re ready to take it off.

Do you have any other products or tips you’ve used to make your makeup last longer? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this post or found it useful, share it with a friend!

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2 comments
  1. Hi Bev, thanks for sharing these tips.

    Firstly, I can’t believe I had no idea that blotting sheets actually existed (lol), so thank you so much for that valuable piece of info, i need to get some asap…and now i know how to use them properly too 🙂

    also, I didn’t realise that applying make up right after moisturising was a no-no, so I’ll definitely take that tip on board.

    as you can probably guess from my comment, i’m a total newbie when it comes to make-up, but I’m trying to change that, so thank you very much for all the tips, it’s been very helpful.

    1. Hello Stephanie! Thanks for stopping by. Please check in every now and then, I upload new blog posts every week. Hope you find something new to learn every time. xx, Bev

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