how not to f*ck up your face

What Products Will Keep My Makeup on All Day?

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Getty Images

This column first ran in Valerie Monroe’s newsletter, How Not to F*ck Up Your Face, which you can subscribe to on Substack.

Q: Hi, Friend. Is there a product that will keep my makeup, especially blush, on for most of the day? I have dry skin, so setting powder doesn’t look great. I’ve tried Veil and it looked dry; setting sprays don’t seem great either. I’m using Charlotte Tilbury right now and it’s okay, but could you recommend a better one? FYI, I also use a primer, Giorgio Armani foundation, and Nars powder blush.

A: Dear Makeup-Curious Reader! I love your question because I don’t wear much makeup but I am a 73-year-old expert with decades of experience in the beauty industry. So call me an armchair makeupper. I hightailed it to HNTFUYF resident makeup artist, Barbara Stone, for advice.

“I’ve noticed that when my clients’ makeup doesn’t stay on for as long as they hoped, it often comes down to two things,” she wrote.

Stone’s first question: “How much time do you spend applying makeup?”

“Zipping through it in five minutes so you can get on with your day leads to uneven application and more uneven wear,” said Stone. This is especially true with blush, she said. Applying a cream blush can increase blood flow (think of rubbing your cheeks) and temporarily make you look like you’re wearing more blush than you are — meaning you’re again un-blushed 30 minutes later. So, slow down with the application and soften your pressure. Using cream blush first before topping it off with a little powder blush also increases wear-time, Stone said. Her all-time favorite cream blush is Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge. Me, I’ve always liked Pixi On-the-Glow Blush.

Stone’s second question: “How much product do you use?”

“I’ve seen people take a drop or three of foundation and try to cover their whole face,” she wrote. “A thin layer wears off faster. If you’ve ever had your makeup professionally done and wondered why it stays on so well, it’s because we pros often use more product than we need. Then, we blend it to achieve the look we want. We rarely rush.” (As she previously pointed out, this also results in longer-wearing makeup.)

Another trick you might try is using a loose powder, Stone said. Make sure your skin is properly moisturized. After applying foundation, dip a soft powder puff into your loose powder (Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder is featherlight), rub it into the back of your hand, and then press it onto your T-zone. (You don’t need powder over blush if you use a powder blush.) “If you still have a few dry areas, take a dab of moisturizer, rub it into the palms of your hands, and press them onto your skin, a great trick I learned from Bobbi Brown,” said Stone.

Also, skip makeup sponges for applying products! Foundation always looks better when blended with fingertips. Save sponges for blending edges, advised Stone.

As for primers, they’re great. “I usually use NARS Soft Matte Primer but recently tried the Liquid Silk Canvas from Tatcha and really liked its smooth feel and the way foundation blended over it,” said Stone. “Setting sprays do help. I often use e.l.f. products (fantastic value!) but also like Make Up For Ever and Urban Decay.”

Q: What’s the best eyeliner for eyes that water from allergies? Is there a technique I should be using — i.e., eyeliner and then powder shadow over it? Eyeliner just disappears. I hesitate to use a liquid liner (not sure it would stay on any better), because I’m fair-skinned and blonde. I’m afraid it would look too harsh.

Now, about your second question about eyeliner. “You’re right on the mark with using a shadow over a waterproof pencil,” said Stone. (Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On is a fave of hers.)

Stone suggests applying a little eye-shadow primer for extra hold for long-wear liners under the lower lashes. (She loves Laura Mercier Eye Basics Primer.) Then, use your pencil and follow that with a touch of shadow in a shade coordinated with the liner. “Sometimes I even finish with a bit of loose powder on a liner brush over that,” said Stone. That’s a lot of powder under the eyes, I said — to which Stone replied, “It is, so you can skip the last step if it seems like too much.”

“Along the top lash line,” said Stone, “I often do a fine line in a waterproof felt-tip eyeliner (my go-to is e.l.f. H20 Proof Eyeliner Pen) with a rich brown or navy-gray shadow over it to soften the look.”

Originally published on February 6.

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