After all the hard work we put into our makeup, the least it can do is last all day, but it doesn’t always happen that way. Between sipping coffee, wearing masks, sweating and just living in general, that perfect complexion starts to fade around noon or sooner. “Making makeup last longer can actually be more technical than you think,” says celebrity makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran. We talked to makeup artists that have been tasked with making celebrities’ looks last throughout red carpets, movie shoots and runways about how to make makeup last longer.
Don’t skip the skin prep
You might think it’s all about how you apply the makeup itself, but you’d be wrong. Jaikaran says setting sprays work well, but the secret is in the skin prep. “A gentle exfoliant is great if you’re experiencing texture. If you choose to exfoliate or not, still follow up with a clarifying cleansing pad. I love using Humphreys Clarifying Cleansing Pads ($9). This will help balance the pH of your skin and remove excess oil,” she advises. “Once this is done, you’re guaranteed to have your complexion products stay smooth and last for a longer time.”
Use face-blotting papers before applying makeup
“The best thing to do is work with your skin and the oils in your skin,” says celebrity makeup artist and makeup brand founder Jillian Dempsey. She recommends using face-blotting papers before applying makeup and throughout the day, as needed. This will help “extract and pull the oil from your skin” for better application.
Pick the right primer for you
Laura Geller, the founder of the eponymous makeup brand, says primer is the most important step to ensuring makeup lasts. “It’s going to prep your skin for makeup and, as a bonus, help perfect the texture. It’s the barrier between your skin and your makeup, keeping your makeup from seeping into your actual skin and disappearing,” she explains.
“Primer is definitely not one size fits all,” says Jaikaran. “Primer has evolved, and choosing the right one for you is key. You can choose primers that are mattifying, hydrating, color correcting or luminizing.” She advises picking one based on your skin type because no matter which primer you use, they’re all built to help makeup last for hours. Geller notes that the Spackle Skin Perfecting Primer ($26) has a variety of versions, including primers that promote glow, hydration and brightening—it’s a Fran Drescher favorite.
Remember, less is more when it comes to long-lasting makeup
Less is more, notes Dempsey. “You also want to try to avoid suffocating the skin—that, I believe, is where everyone goes wrong. If you suffocate your skin by trying to cover it up too much with all of the products, you’re going to have a losing battle,” she explains.
Swap eyeshadow primer with concealer
“Instead of eyeshadow primer, I usually use Beauty Blender Bounce Concealer ($13) all over the eyelid and set it with a setting powder, then apply my eyeshadows,” says Michael. “It lasts all day, and I don’t have to worry about the eyelids getting oily, or creasing or having color loss.”
Find a long-wear formula
Sarah Tanno, celebrity makeup artist and Global Artistry Director of Haus Labs, knows a thing or two about long-lasting makeup after doing Lady Gaga’s makeup on tour. She says finding a product that promises long wear and delivers is essential. On Gaga, she loves using Atomic Shake Lip Lacquer ($26). “I call it a makeup miracle. I used it on Gaga during her Chromatica Ball tour this summer, and it was the only lip product that could withstand high-intensity performance all day. It has an amazing glossy finish, is water resistant, and is transfer-proof.”
Celebrity makeup artist and aesthetician D’Andre Michael agrees that it’s all about the products you use. “I love using DMK Cosmetics Foundation. It’s probably one of the longest-wearing foundations out there. It’s my trusted friend when doing Angela Bassett on long shoot days on T.V. and film,” says Michael. “It’s silicone-based and doesn’t oxidize, fade, crease or smudge under all conditions—sweat, heat, water, hot lights, etc.” He also shared a tip about applying foundation when you’re in it for the long haul. “I use a Beautyblender ($20), and as I apply, I press and roll. This gives you even coverage, lets you control your coverage and blending abilities and gives that airbrushed look.”
Add a second layer
Dempsey’s personal trick for longer-lasting wear is applying a second layer. When using her Khol Eyeliner ($20) on celebrity clients, she smudges with the first application, then layers on another coat for a more lasting effect. “The base from the smudged layer anchors the second coat,” she explains. Dempsey applies the same logic to her Cheek Tint ($28). “Blush typically leaves your face faster than other categories, so amp it up a little more,” she advises.
Use setting powder
Tanno notes that using a setting powder can be helpful. She likes the Bio-Blurring Loose Setting Powder ($38) “because it’s infused with fermented arnica to help nourish and calm the skin, it’s talc-free, and blurs and smooths the skin, while also making sure your makeup stays in place and lasts longer.”
Or maybe a setting balm
If your skin is a bit drier or your complexion a bit deeper, a setting balm may be better than a powder. A clear setting balm is celebrity makeup artist and founder of Mally Beauty, Mally Roncal’s number one tip for nailing the long-lasting makeup look. “Years ago, after watching a red carpet event where everyone looked white and dry from setting powders, I created my Poreless Face Defender ($45),” says Roncal. Since it’s 100 percent clear, it won’t mess with the makeup beneath it. “This is my secret for locking in makeup and keeping the shine away.”
Spritz on some setting spray
“Setting spray is the most foolproof way to help your makeup last,” says Jaikaran. She suggests taking a layered approach. “I like to lightly mist setting spray after skin care, after foundation and then at the end after powder. This helps to ensure that your layers are locked in for maximum wear.”
After setting the foundation with a powder, Michael suggests giving your face a spritz of hydration—he likes Caudalie Grape Moisturizing Face Mist ($18). “Doing this infuses the powder into the foundation, takes away the powdered look, gives you a beautiful dewy skin texture that lasts all day, and you can refresh yourself again a few hours later.”