How to Wear Makeup Even When You’re Melting

Photo: PM Images/(c) PM Images

Whether you’re in Paris (where it was 103 degrees last week) or in ceaselessly humid New York, it’s clear we’ve reached a summer melting point for makeup. “Just don’t wear any!” is easy beauty advice to give, but if you’re heading to a special event, have a blemish you want to conceal, or just feel like wearing some makeup, being barefaced may not cut it. To find out how to tailor your beauty routine to cope with “hot in herre” temperatures (emphasis on the double R), the Cut spoke to several makeup artists for their tips and product picks to fend off heat waves and muggy days.

Yes, a primer might help. Every hot-weather-makeup-tip roundup you’ve read suggests primers, which act as a grip for face-coverage makeup — and that may be helpful to an extent. Makeup artist Suzy Gerstein explains: “Primers are made for humid weather because they extend the life of the foundation you apply over the top, keeping it looking fresh and groovy all day long.” But Nick Barose, celebrity makeup artist for clients like Lupita Nyong’o, suggests only using it sparingly along the T-Zone, side of the nose, and cheeks. “An overuse of primer can make your skin look too dull or unnaturally flat and matte,” he says. Celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin also suggests avoiding silicon primers because they can dry out the skin, producing more oil. Instead of a primer, he suggests using a good hydration-based lotion. “These are water based and act as a magnet to any foundation you put on top of the skin,” Martin says.

Choose liquid over cream. Liquids and gels are textures that hold up best in humid weather. If you want full coverage, try a liquid, matte foundation. Martin suggests dabbing on the foundation in light layers, and spot treating areas where you need more coverage, such as your T-zone and blemishes.

As a rule, Gerstein says, “Creams are less stable formulations than powders and waterproof gels.” Powders and gels tend to hold up better in warmer, sweatier climates. Your BB creams may not last as long and have a high potential for meltage, depending on how creamy the formula is. When it comes to a cream blush, Barose cautions that you should look for ones that have a dry finish on the skin. “They’ll turn greasy,” he explains. “Avoid ones with shimmer because you’ll look oilier in the heat.” Powder blushes can also look dull and streaky in hot weather.

Look for a “sticky” concealer. If you have PMS face and want to conceal a blemish, try a concealer with a tacky rather than creamy consistency. Gerstein says, “I like a nice “sticky” concealer that stays put where I apply it and is super pigmented so it lasts. I also suggest traveling with a retractable lip brush loaded with your concealer for on-the-go touch-ups.”

Blot, don’t powder away shine. All of our experts suggest minimally using powder when it comes to containing shine. If you continue reapplying powder, it can look cakey with each application. Gerstein uses a powder puff and blotter paper combo to make shine matte on her clients. “Try wrapping a blotting paper around a dry powder puff for even more precision. Blotting papers are great because they absorb excess shine but do not disturb the makeup.” Barose says, “I always alternate between blotting and powder. Too much powder can build up, so I space it out.”

“CYA” when it comes to eyeshadow and eyeliner. At my first job out of college, my boss told me that the most important acronym I would learn in life is to CYA — cover your ass. Apply this methodology to your eye makeup, by doubling up. If you want to wear eyeshadow, try an eyeshadow primer. But you can also add “grip” to your eyeshadow by mixing textures. For example, Gerstein likes applying a non-creasing cream shadow under powder eyeshadow to make it long-wearing and intensify the color. The same goes for eyeliner — try a gel eyeliner, reinforcing the line with a powder shadow on top.

Try a matte or more sheer lip color. Even Barose, who loves to put his clients in vibrant lip colors, tries to go for more sheer or natural-looking colors for the summer. As the weather is naturally going to make your skin slightly shiny, he advises, “Avoid anything too glossy or shiny; just use a bit of sheer balm or lipstick.

Mist. Mist yourself this summer. A fancy floral mist helps to hydrate skin and refresh your makeup, filling in any areas that look patchy or oily. A makeup-setting spray mist can also be an effective last step in a sweatproof routine, designed to keep your look in place all night. But take caution with these mists, as they can make your makeup last up to 16 hours and require a bit of elbow grease to remove. Barose says that they work best if you wear a lot of makeup and want to seal it in place.

Click through the slideshow for product picks built to withstand the heat.

How to Wear Makeup Even When You’re Melting