Disappearing makeup is one of life’s little injustices. After exercising an almost inhuman amount of self-control by dutifully getting up early rather than hitting snooze, only for your painstakingly applied makeup to slide off by the time you grab your 4 PM snack, renders it something of a Sisyphean task. I don’t know anyone who’s not experienced this at some point – myself included. On the whole, my face can hold onto eyeliner (specifically Charlotte Tilbury Liquid Eye Pencil), mascara (Max Factor 2000 Calorie Curl Addict doesn’t crumble), and brow gel (Glossier Boy Brow can survive even the sweatiest of sauna sessions). Everything else? It’s a veritable Slip 'N Slide.
"It’s all about understanding your skin type," confirmed Chantecaille’s global makeup artist, Shareen Gerald. "Knowledge is power. Does it always all come off by 1 PM? Then you need to think about using primer. If you’re working with a very oily skin type like that, look for a mattifying primer that feels slightly velvety on the skin. It’ll give your skin a little bit of grip, and as long as you choose an oil-free version, it won’t clog your pores."
Then, there’s the matter of setting sprays, which are pretty Marmite in the beauty community. Some people love them; others think they don’t really do anything. But Shareen says, "I’m a big fan of setting sprays – the Chantecaille Rosewater is great for setting makeup, or Cover FX Mattifying Setting Spray if you really need to lock in makeup. If you want your highlight to pop, spritz your face then apply powder highlighter while it’s still wet. It’s not a subtle look!"
Most of my makeup education came from my days working on the shop floor of a high-end beauty store. Being of a drier skin type, I used to avoid powder like the plague, but my colleagues showed me that a light dusting was the difference between your makeup looking like a Raphael or a Picasso after lunch. (I love By Terry Hyaluronic Powder, which has hydrating hyaluronic acid for ultimate smoothness).
"Powder is really key," says Shareen. "It’s the one thing most women don’t do enough of when it comes to applying makeup. It really doesn’t have to be cakey, just a light dusting of Chantecaille HD Powder over your face right at the end is all you need. I do my lipstick first, then once I’m done perfecting that a little, the makeup will have settled into my skin somewhat and I can concentrate the powder where it’s needed," she added.
So by now you’ve stocked up on mattifying primer and translucent setting powder – but how to go about applying it? Shareen let me in on a secret: "If a client needs super long-lasting makeup, I’d apply a powder blush first, then a cream blush on top of that. The layering of textures helps keep everything in place, and powder then cream keeps it looking relatively skin-like." When I pressed her about drier skin types, Shareen advised mixing a drop or two of facial oil into your foundation, or applying it before your base. "Not only will it give you a luminous finish, but it helps ‘confuse’ drier skin types. Skin like that always wants comfort [and] hydration. But do this, and your skin will take the oil for hydration purposes first before it eats away at your makeup.’"
Holistic aesthetic doctor, Rabia Malik, GP, gave oil a thumbs-up too. "If your skin looks patchy and clumpy with makeup by afternoon, a drop of facial oil is a good idea – I like jojoba," she says. However, she had some more long-term advice, too. "Before I would advise certain kinds of foundation, if your makeup is constantly sliding off or going crumbly, you need to cleanse and exfoliate better."
She’s right: You can’t produce a great artwork, be that a Raphael or a Picasso, on a poor quality canvas. I really like the Murad Hydro-Glow Aqua Peel for this – it’s a two-phase treatment with a professional-grade retexturizing swab and hydrating sheet mask to exfoliate and nourish in turn.
If you’re worried about long-wear makeup damaging your skin, Dr. Malik had some words of comfort. "What makes it long-wearing is just different pigments that don’t break down so quickly, so providing you choose an oil-free version, you should be okay. However, be careful to cleanse very thoroughly in the evening."
I’m sure you didn’t just click for a lecture on cleansing, so here are the best long-wear foundations in my embarrassingly well-tested opinion: Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation (available in 40 shades), NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint (12 shades) and bareMinerals BarePRO Performance Wear Liquid Foundation (30 shades). And remember, in Dr. Malik’s words: "Skin prep starts before you apply makeup."