Longwear makeup is a pillar of the cosmetics industry. Brands have been trying to achieve makeup products that require minimal, if any, touch ups, for years, if not decades.
The claims are only getting more extreme as formulation technology evolves.
Whether any could claim success is subjective, depending on what you’re after. It may stay on, with many items touting longevity claims of 8, 16 and even 24-plus hours of wear. Whether you’d like the state of your face after wearing them for a full day and night is another story!
Many long-wear products feel thick and uncomfortable, look chalky and settle in lines well before their expected ‘expiry’ on your skin.
So what to rely on to extend the life of your look? A combination of select few high-performance products and some key application approaches.
These tips are useful to call on for a big event where you know you won’t have time to touch up, or every day wear if you’re adverse to monitoring your makeup.
1. Skincare is key
One of the most common complaints about long-wear makeup is that it emphasises and exacerbates dry skin. Ensure long-wear products work for you by following a mantra of cleanse, exfoliate and hydrate, prior to picking up any cosmetics, so you’re starting with an ideal canvas. Rid any flakes and unwanted texture by using a gentle AHA or physical exfoliant at least once or twice a week. In a pinch, try giving face (and lips!) a gentle massage with a facecloth in the shower a similar effect.
A few minutes before you’re ready to do your makeup, applying a nourishing moisturiser that will lock in hydration and plump out fine lines.
2. Primer pays off
Like shape-wear under a slinky dress, primer creates a smooth surface for your makeup to skim over. With skin cells naturally shedding during the day, oil production and heat evaporation, it’s a big ask for makeup to stick around, but primer really does help. Look for one that matches your skin type: hydrating for dry skin, mattifying for oily, and so on, and smooth over you face with your hands before starting your makeup.
3. Eyes and lips benefit from a base too
We know that primers work, but a lot of people don’t like adding another step, or the way they feel on the skin. Another option is to use an eye or lip primer only. Similarly to face primers, they help colour stay in place without creasing or smudging, and also help intensify the colour of eye shadows that are too sheer for your liking. Dab a liquid or cream primer across your eyelids with a finger and wait a few seconds before applying your shadow and liner over top. Eye primers can also be dabbed on the bridge of the nose before foundation to help glasses or sunglasses sliding in warm weather. Using a swipe of hydrating balm can also form a smooth base, particularly prior to matte or liquid lipsticks.
4. Choose a long-wear foundation
We can sympathise if you’ve not had a positive relationship with long-wear bases in the past, but it’s worth re-considering your stance. Updated formulas are more lightweight and blend well, and their real advantage is the way they control shine throughout the day. Even full coverage formulas can now be liquid and blend well, achieving the same texture as real skin. Start with a minimal amount and blend well with a soft fluffy brush or damp beauty blender, adding a little more to build up without using too much and causing product to settle in lines.
5. Try a tubing mascara
Yes, all mascaras come IN tubes, but here a ‘tubing’ mascara refers to the way these unique polymer-fibre formulas wrap around each lash to form a water-resistant ‘tube’ instead of just wiping pigment on to one side, like traditional wax and oil mascaras do. The end result is long, beautifully-defined lashes that last all day without flaking, smudging or getting dry and crusty.
The ‘tube’ moniker makes even more sense when you come to remove your makeup. Simply rinse your face with warm water, making sure to completely wet your lashes. Close your eyes and slide or gently pull the pigment off with your index finger and thumb. You’ll be left with a gooey black tube in your fingers and absolutely nothing left on lashes or skin.
Longwear favourites: Tom Ford Traceless Soft Matte Foundation; Gucci Rouge à Lèvres Liquide Mat Lipstick; Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara; Anastasia Beverly Hills Eye Primer; Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
6. Layer up
Applying products in thin layers and layering creams and powders consecutively helps with lasting power, not only with base, but also eye and lip products. In general cream or waxy products go down first and then powder on top. It’s why lip liners are great at holding on to lipstick and cream eye shadows work well when a similar powder colour is applied as a second step.
7. Pick a pro-powder
Loose or pressed powder is returning to favour and you won’t have to forgo the pursuit of lush, healthy ‘real-skin’ texture. New iterations focus on delivering a flattering, blurring, soft-focus veil that helps to minimise fine lines, unlike predecessors that had the tendency to settle in and amplify them. Powders also tend to be more finely-milled, meaning smaller individual particles of powder, and cleverly loaded with skincare properties, even wonder hydrator hyaluronic acid, so there’s no flaking or caking. Stick to a minimal dusting down the centre of the face (nose, chin and smile lines around your mouth) rather than everywhere. Revealing some of the natural texture of your skin is more fresh and flattering.
8. Apply a liquid lip
If you’re wearing a traditional cream lipstick, by all means prep with a pencil, filling lips all the way in for endurance. However its worth investigating the new breed of thin, liquid-y or cream-based lip colours that are easily applied with their shaped wands and wear comfortably without cracking for hours without feeling parched or pilling. They will wear away evenly leaving a subtle stain that isn’t as obvious.
9. Set your face with a spray
Just as hairspray is to your flyaways and topcoat is to your mani, makeup setting spray keeps your makeup from smudging, creasing or fading until you want to remove it. One trap is the confusion between the variety of face mists and spritzes out there. All are not one and the same. ‘Finishing’ or ‘refreshing’ facial mists are similar but are designed to deliver moisture to the skin, while setting sprays deliver a micro-fine mist that locks makeup in place once you’re finished applying. The former can be used to refresh makeup that’s gone a little dry and cakey or over matte foundation for a little ‘real skin’ glow, while the latter is generally used to make your masterpiece last perfectly for hours on end.
10. Touch up by blotting
Using powder or additional liquid foundation later on in the day or night only results in too much product to skin. Instead carry blotting papers and press firmly and gently over your shiny areas, waiting a second or too for excess oil to absorb. Don’t rub or move the paper across your skin to avoid removing makeup. Simply pull away from the face in one motion and use a new sheet for different areas.