We Put Long-Wear Makeup To The Test

We've heard plenty of ridiculous claims in the beauty industry. But the number-one assertion? Long-wear. Whether they're marketed as sweat-proof, waterproof, smudge-proof, or budge-proof, products are routinely stamped with the 24-hour-wear promise.

But does this stuff really hold up? We decided to put these long-wear claims to the ultimate test and try them out in extreme situations. Would we wind up with makeup running down our faces? To find out, we handed out products to four volunteers — a SoulCycle instructor, a sex columnist, and two water polo players — and asked them to test whether they'll stay on. Ahead, our testers answer the question: Is long-wear bullshit or bomb?
Photographed by Sam Cannon.
Nyx Waterproof Concealer Sticks, $2.50, available at Nyx; Ardency Inn Punker Rock On Waterproof Liquid Liner, $22, available at Sephora; NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Tan Lines, $29, available at NARS; Kat Von D Immortal Lash 24 Hour Mascara, $20, available at Sephora; Topshop Sporty Rib Bralet, $28, available at Topshop; Topshop Airtex Crop Tee, $26, available at Topshop; Ohne Titel Cap Trench Dress, $495, available at Shopbop.
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Sweat It Out
The Products: Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation and CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume Waterproof Mascara
The Tester: Sydney Miller, senior instructor at SoulCycle NYC

Miller is the encouraging voice at the front of your SoulCycle class. When you're getting that sweaty, you've got to keep things minimal in the makeup department. "I wear waterproof mascara — Givenchy Noir Couture 4-in-1 Waterproof Mascara," she says. "Sometimes I also wear Chanel waterproof liner." So foundation was a big change for her. But she was surprised at how easy it was to incorporate the Maybelline base makeup. "It didn't feel like I was wearing something heavy on my face," Miller says.

Before class, Miller popped on both products and then hopped on her bike. "The foundation was awesome and basically stayed put," she says. The only way it would come off was with a towel, and only when a lot of pressure was applied. But the mascara was not as much of a success. "The mascara was a little runny under my eyes after class," she says. "It might be better in a less sweaty workout class, but they were not so sweat-proof for SoulCycle."

Would she wear these products again? "I would definitely wear the foundation again — maybe save the mascara for Pilates or yoga," she says.
Photographed by Sam Cannon.
Ardency Inn Modster Smooth Ride Supercharged Eyeliner in Purple, $20, available at Sephora; L'Oreal Voluminous Building Waterproof Mascara, $7.99, available at Ulta Beauty; Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in Bright Orange, $19, available at Sephora; Solow Asymmetrical Cutout Sports Bra, $62, available at Shopbop; Aritzia Gabe Dress, $165, available at Aritzia.
Up All Night
The Products: Tigi Bed Head Superstar Queen For A Day and Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon
The Tester: Hayley MacMillen, sex and relationships editor

MacMillen is our resident sex expert, and the brain behind The Bed Post — one of our most-read columns. When it comes to makeup, she keeps things simple. "I typically put on a little bit of lipstick when I head out of the house. I'm loving MAC Matte Lipstick in Heroine right now," she says. The hair product was also new terrain for her. "I should explore the world of volumizers," she says. "My hair is fine and flat and tends to get greasy quickly, so the dream is to find something that gives it body without weighing it down."

Being the champ that she is, MacMillen used both products ahead of a romantic evening with her partner. But there were snags. "I volunteered for this sexperiment and enthusiastically picked the vampiest shade of Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick, Icon, to test before I remembered: My partner does not like dramatic lip color. This doesn't deter me from rocking bold lipstick, but I definitely don't apply it right before sex," she says. But she applied the lipstick sans primer, and was surprised at how well it held up. "There was a tiny bit of transfer to my partner's lips, but it was only really evident when he wiped his mouth with a paper towel to see."

Then, things got friskier. "As for oral sex, you could give a polite blow job while wearing this stuff and get away with your pout mostly intact, if not a little faded," she says. "But polite blow jobs aren't as much fun as enthusiastic, saliva-coated ones, and for those, you may want your Hourglass on hand for post-hookup reapplication — especially if lube has gotten involved along the way." MacMillen also noted that lube just might have untapped potential as a makeup remover. Good to know.

She had equal success with the volume spray. "As I had hypothesized, the friction of contact with our bedding along with the further mid-hookup finger-combing by my partner, amplified the product's bedhead effect," she says. "Sleeping with the product in that night worked it further down the shaft and gave me a wavy, slightly grungy look the next day."

MacMillen got some positive reinforcement from her partner. After their experiment, he texted, "Tonight was really hot. I love science." Says MacMillen: "I think with enough of this Pavlovian conditioning, he could learn to love it when I break out a statement lipstick." That's a pretty stellar review.
Photographed by Sam Cannon.
Ardency Inn Punker Eyes Like Fire Shadow, $21, available at Sephora; Make Up For Ever Aqua Smoky Extravagant Waterproof Mascara, $24, available at Sephora; NARS Eye Paint in Black Valley, $25, available at Sephora; NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Buenos Aires, $26, available at NARS; Heroine Sport Studio X Bra, $95, available at Shopbop.
Splish-Splash
The Products: Eyeko Sport Waterproof Eyeliner and NYC City Proof 24 Hour Waterproof Mascara
The Testers: Sydney Forrester and Emma Hansen, water polo players

Neither Forrester nor Hansen wear makeup for matches. But for a recent tournament, Hansen tried out NYC's mascara, while Forrester sketched on Eyeko's sport-formulated eyeliner. Then, they strapped on their swim caps and dove in.

Forrester drew a thin line on her upper lashline. "It held up surprisingly well," she says. "There was only minimal smudging after I wiped my eyes mid-game. It set quickly and was easy to apply, so I could jump right in after I put it on."

Hansen had a similar experience with the mascara. "I put a couple of coats on the top lashes and one coat on the bottom," she says. "The mascara literally didn't budge at all." Hansen admits that her lashes did clump because of the water, but other than that it looked like she had applied it post-game. With beach days right around the corner, it's good to know there are good splash-proof options out there.
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