The Drag Queen's Guide To Not Sweating Off All Your Makeup

Photo: Courtesy of Miss Toto.
Drag queens know a lot about sweat and makeup. Between the bright lights and the high-energy performances that could range from passionately lip syncing Britney Spears to hyping up a game of bingo in a venue with a single air conditioning unit, queens across the country take not completely sweating off all their makeup seriously.
"I'm in Florida, and you walk outside and it's just wet," Miss Toto, who's based in Miami, says. "And I mean wet. So you have to prepare. If you're out for more than four hours, you have to do your makeup a really certain way so it all doesn't come sliding off."
Given that it's August, we thought drag queens could teach us a thing or two about how to apply our makeup so that it doesn't melt off our face as we 1) wait for the subway on a crowded platform 2) accidentally stumble into a bar with no A/C (which should be banned, btw) or 3) just continue to live our lives in areas where summers can be genuinely hellish.
Read all their tips on how to make sure your foundation, eyebrows, and more don't come dripping down your chin this summer, ahead.
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Sweat-Proof Foundation

For base makeup, it's all about picking the right foundation for you — then strategically layering it with powders. "My favourite type of foundations are matte foundations," FKA Twink, a drag queen in Miami, Florida, says. "My current obsession is the latest CoverGirl release, the True Matte liquid foundation. I have been trying it for months and my foundation barely ever creases or melts off — especially with this tropical Miami weather."

Dealing with exactly that same weather, Toto has found a foundation stick that works for her. "I use Mehron Creamblend Sticks," Toto says. "I put that right on my face."
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Sweat-Proof Powder and Setting Spray

To make sure her look gets completely locked in, Toto then dusts a generous amount of powder ("Ben Nye Banana Powder is great for women of colour because it has a little tint") on her face and allows it to sit for 30 minutes while doing the rest of her makeup. She dusts off any extra residue before using a bronzer from Sephora and then Urban Decay's All Nighter setting spray. "I've done a of a photoshoot under water and my makeup doesn’t move," Toto says.

Twink also loves that Urban Decay setting spray, as well as Coty Airspun Loose Powder to set everything for good. "Truly, any matte foundation could work as long as you set your face with powders and you use a reliable setting spray," Twink says. "For the setting spray, I tend to use the De-Slick version of it, which keeps my face extra matte due to my oily skin."
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Sweat-Proof Eyeshadow & Liner

For both eyeliner and eyeshadow, it's all about layering products as well. "I just do a basic pencil to smudge around my eye, and then I use a liquid over that and usually put a black powder over that," Heidi Haux, who works in New York City and currently loves CoverGirl's waterproof mascaras and Revlon eye pencils, says.

Toto uses a similar technique. "I set my eyeliner with another black powder, and I use Bulletproof by Sugarpill, which is a shadow for that [purpose]," Toto says. "Sugarpill shadows do not ever come off. Sweating-wise, it just sticks. So do Morphe eyeshadow palettes."
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Sweat-Proof Lipstick

Even the lifespan of lipstick can be improved with powder, according to Haux. "I love NYX, and I use a lot of their mattes and liquid lip colours," Haux says. "I’ll do my whole lip, then a lip liner, then a neutral powder, brush that off, and then reapply that lip colour."

Rather than use powder, Toto merely favours Jeffree Star lipsticks because of their staying power. "The Jeffree Star lipsticks... my lips will be stained pink forever," Toto says. "The lipsticks are so good, they don't come off."
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Sweat-Proof Contour

Haux likes Kryolan highlighters, which can be super bright, and sets them with another dusting of Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder. As for blush and dark contour, she uses one comically named "Texas Dirt," which literally looks like dirt but glides on a rich reddish brown. She tends to set that with Airspun powder, too.
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Sweat-Proof Brows

The eyebrows frame the face, so Haux knows they need extra protection. "I have a few techniques," Haux says. "I've used an eyebrow cream and then covered it with powder, and I've used brown eyeshadow followed up with a pencil," Haux says. "Using powder and then pencil guarantees you more setting possibilities." (We like NYX Tame & Frame Tinted Brow Pomade and L’Oréal Brow Stylist Definer.)

In summary: When all else fails, just reach for powder.

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