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Long Lasting Makeup: How to Use Face Primer & Other Tips

The holidays are upon us and you know what that means – lots of parties and events are on the horizon! With all the festive fun, the last thing you want to be worrying about is frequent bathroom trips to touch up your makeup. You want to be picture perfect from the minute you step out your door, to when you kick off your shoes after a night of dancing.

How long does makeup last for you usually? Most of us need to at least re-swipe our lipstick come lunchtime, and blot or re-powder more frequently if we have oily skin. But we could all be doing it less often!

The secret to long-lasting makeup is simply to prep properly, apply products in the right order and combinations, and finish with something that holds your makeup in place. Below are our top tips to keep your makeup on point, and on your face.

 Women prepares face with moisturizer.

10 steps to long-lasting makeup 

Skin prep is paramount 

First things first, you can’t expect your makeup to stay put if you’re applying it to a ‘low quality’ canvas. Dead skin is one of the main causes of makeup flaking off. When they’re buffed away, your makeup can lie more evenly and hence not just last longer, but look better too.

If you can afford it, regular facials truly are the best way to meet your skin goals. But if that seems like too much of a commitment, regular home exfoliation will do the trick. Some home treatment options including washing with microbeads, using a Clarisonic, or simply switching to an exfoliating washcloth. Exfoliating really makes a big difference to your skin’s texture, creating the best possible base for long-lasting makeup.

Hydration over moisturization

On days you really need your makeup to last all night, we say you hydrate your skin instead of moisturizing. Confused? Don't worry, we'll explain.  

Rich moisturizers will make your makeup fade fast – if there’s too much moisturizer, it will slip and smear your makeup. Our solution is to use a hydrating mask the morning of your event and then add a light moisturizer, avoiding the T-zone areas since they tend to get oily first. Let the light moisturizer soak in for at least 15 minutes before applying makeup.  

Additionally, we'd suggest doing the same for your lips to minimize lipstick loss. Apply lip balm, leave it for a few minutes, then blot the excess away with a tissue before applying your lip color. 

How to use face primer like a pro

We can’t emphasize this enough: take the time to prime! Face primers really are the holy grail for long-lasting makeup. Applying primer can seem like an unnecessary extra step, but it only takes a second and you’ll be happy you did it.

Packed with silicone, primers prevent the oil on your skin from breaking down your makeup. Silicone also smooths over pores and fine lines so that the foundation doesn't settle into them and looks more uneven over time.  

Wondering how to use face primer for long-lasting makeup? Before you apply any other makeup, smooth the primer all over your entire face, including your eyelids. There are so many primers out there with different textures, we recommend exploring the options to find the one that feels the best on your skin.  Although primers made for specific parts of your face (such as eyelids, brows, and lips) exist, if you’re on a budget you can just buy regular face primer and apply with a lighter touch to those more delicate areas.

Slow down! 

We know that sometimes you need to get ready in a hurry, but slowing things down will make a huge difference to your makeup’s longevity. Between each step of your makeup application, make sure to leave some time to allow the previous layer to set. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for slippage.

In a rush? You can use your hairdryer on the cool setting to speed up the drying process. Or hey, just be fashionably late!

Lighten up on your foundation

It’s a common misconception that the best route to long-lasting makeup is to apply a thick layer. But actually, ‘less is more’ is the golden rule!

Related advice: never apply foundation with your fingers. We like to use a synthetic foundation brush because it’s more hygienic, but it also has the added benefit of applying a thinner layer of foundation to your face. Once you’re done, use a beauty blender to ensure a natural, even look. 

Woman applying concealer to take care of dark spots.

Take care of dark spots with concealer

It’s not your foundation’s job to cover up highly-visible imperfections. Hence, even a light layer of foundation should be enough to leave you looking flawless.

Before applying it, simply use a dense concealer to address any problem areas, such as pimples or dark circles. But still, make sure not overdo it. Just use the concealer in areas that really need it, and apply with a small concealer brush for total precision.

Layer your lips, cheeks, and eyes 

Layering with cream and powder is a great plan for every part of your face. Not only will it look more intense, but the two textures will work together to better hold onto the color. The cream base holds the powder in place and the powder keeps the cream from fading. Brilliant! 

The general rule for long-lasting makeup is cream first, powder second. On your cheeks, we suggest you apply cream blush first and then go over it with powder blush and bronzers. Do the same for your eyeshadows, with powders over a creamy base color. Be sure to apply everything in thin, even layers so you build up the color slowly – it’s easy to accidentally go overboard!

The process is slightly different for your lips, because who wants a powdery pout? We suggest you use a lip liner to line and fill in your lips, add your lipstick over the top, blot and then add more lipstick. This process will seal the color and acts as the perfect, long-lasting lip stain. 

And then powder some more

Oh yes, we’re not done with the powder yet! Every makeup artist we have ever worked with always uses a sheer, colorless, loose powder as the final step to long-lasting makeup. Just as cream and powder eyeshadows work together, loose powder keeps your layer of foundation intact.

Too much powder, though, will create a chalky finish and may look white in pictures taken with a flash. Be sure you are only doing a light dusting all over your face, concentrating mainly on the T-zone.

Live by setting spray

Just as we raved about primer earlier in this post, we’re also addicted to setting spray. These come in either spray or mist form, so try a few out to know what you prefer. Makeup setting sprays are crucial to long-lasting makeup. And they’re transparent, so they don’t change the color or texture of your look.

Use it after you’ve completely finished with your makeup application. Most makeup setting sprays are suitable for all skin types. Just a quick spritz all over your face, and you’re done. Though be sure your face is dry before you step out the door. If you have sensitive or dry skin, watch out for makeup setting sprays that contain alcohol, as they will dry out your skin.  

Blot, don’t add

How long does your makeup last on a typical night out, and what do you do when it starts to fade? If your answer is ‘add more foundation’, you need to hear this!

Throughout the night you'll be dancing, hanging out in the crowd, having fun, and unfortunately, going a little shiny in your T-zone. But don't reach straight for your powder. Too much powder makes your face start to look cakey. Instead, we recommend you bring blotting papers to press the oils away. You can still reapply your powder afterward if needed, but by blotting first, you won’t need to apply anywhere near as much to combat the shine. 

So now you know how to properly prep your skin, how to layer your makeup products, and how to use face primer for long-lasting makeup. Follow these 10 tips over the party season, and we bet you’ll be amazed at just how long you can go without those bathroom touch-up trips!

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