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Ask Belle: How to Get Makeup That Lasts

Hi Belle,

My makeup fades by the end of the day.  Looks great in the morning, absentee by 4:00PM.  My sister says I need to be using a primer.  Is that really going to do the trick?

Best of luck, Ava

I hate to re-apply (I don’t even carry makeup with me during the day), so I am obsessed with keeping my makeup looking its best.  But makeup that stays all day takes more than a single solution.  To keep your best face forward from morning-to-night, you need to think in layers.

Primer is a great place to start.  It preps the skin and gives makeup something to hold onto.  Primer can also help smooth out unevenness and fine lines.

The kind of primer you need depends on your skin type.  I’m combination, so I need an oil-free primer like NARS pro-prime.  If you struggle with dull skin, try Laura Mercier’s Radiance primer, which imparts a candlelit glow.  For a drugstore option, I like Boots No.7.

Struggling with creasing eyeshadow?  You need Urban Decay’s primer or (deep breath) a tube of Monistat anti-chafe gel.

Translucent Powder. You should be applying a translucent setting powder over the top of your foundation and concealer to help hold it in place.  I love the Micro HD powder from Makeup Forever.  Though NYX makes a very similar dupe.

For light coverage, apply your setting powder with a big, fluffy brush.  If you need more hold in a certain area, used a cosmetic wedge or sponge.

Makeup Setting Spray is a hot beauty trend.  Years ago, I used a product called ‘Model in a Bottle,’ so it’s been around but is now reborn.  Setting spray basically creates a film on your skin that seals in your makeup to prevent rubbing, evaporation, etc..  It can also even out your application.

I use Urban Decay All Nighter with oil-control, and it works pretty well.  NYX also makes a spray in both matte and dewy finish.  Both products give you longer-wear, but the spray takes a minute to dry.

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    12 comments

  1. Trace says:

    I’ll vouch for Monistat anti-chafe gel. It’s just a tube of dimethycones, like all primers.

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  2. Charlotte says:

    My combination patches are oily enough that the dimethycone primers (like NARS, Smashbox, etc) just slide around on my skin. For days when I’m going full-foundation, Neutrogena Shine Control Primer is great. There’s something about the rice proteins that leaves a mattifying primed layer that my make-up really clings to. However, it does apply to your skin with a bit of a white tint so it doesn’t play as well with less-opaque tinted moisturizers or darker skin tones (I’ve read). And, drugstore price point!

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  3. Liz says:

    I have combination skin that always becomes oily by late afternoon. Obviously this looks (and feels) terrible, but worst of all is that it makes my makeup disappear. I’ve always used a primer, setting powder, and setting spray, but I recently made one tiny change.

    I now spray my urban decay right after foundation/concealer, let it dry, then go ahead as usual with powder, blush, etc., and setting spray (again) at the end. Something about the extra spray in the middle of the process makes all the difference. My makeup is EXACTLY the same at the end of the day. No oil, no fading. I wish I’d figured this out ten years ago!

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  4. K says:

    I live and swear by the Make up Forever setting powder. Seconded! I also really love the smashbox hydrating primer for the winter – I have combination skin, but in the winter I get dry patches even when I exfoliate, but this primer helps anything I put over it. Have tried the NYX version and it’s good but not as hydrating (and a little oilier, to me).

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  5. Lexi says:

    2nd this– I have very sensitive oily/normal skin and if I use a primer, it’s Laura Mercier’s old school Foundation Primer. Rimmel makes a good drugstore one that works and doesn’t irritate my skin. Silicone doesn’t make me break out but it slides around my oily patches so I prefer non-silicone primers.

    But what really works is the NYX Dewy Setting Spray, which I like better than the matte one. It doesn’t show up as dewy on me, just looks normal. I prefer it to the Skindinavia one and it really makes a difference. Some of the other sprays have way too much alcohol and end up drying out even my oily/normal skin.

    Also highly recommend the NARS eye primer and the Urban Decay eye primer for really oily eyelids.

    https://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod5050033

    https://www.sephora.com/foundation-primer-P109929?skuId=870113

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  6. anon says:

    Don’t put monistat on your eyelids. Elf makes a eyelid primer that costs like $3.

    October 29, 2015/Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Yes, I think monistat can be used as a replacement for face/foundation primer, not eyeshadow primer.

      October 29, 2015/Reply
  7. TG says:

    Skindanavia is the company that makes Urban Decays All Nighter Spray. I recommend going right to the source. Having used both, I feel like Skindanavia is better. Their bridal finishing spray is amazing.

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  8. pam says:

    I like the MAC Fix+setting spray it helps keep makeup on longer- I’ve also just bought the Elf version mist & set as a little cheaper- but haven’t tried it yet

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  9. rar says:

    I use the Laura Mercier primer with the sunscreen. I have pretty oily skin and it doesn’t make it any more oily. I also SWEAR by Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray and the NYX setting powder (I also have used and like the Makeup Forever version, but I don’t notice any difference between the two). If I really want my makeup to last, put a layer of both on after I do foundation and concealer, let it dry, finish my makeup, and put another layer of powder/setting spray on after I’m done. Like someone said above, this method works amazingly!

    For eye primer I love the too faced shadow insurance. I don’t wear a ton of eye shadow, but this seems to keep my eye makeup from creasing/flaking when I do wear it.

    October 30, 2015/Reply
  10. Yellowrose says:

    I have combination skin and dont like to wear a lot of makeup. My go to was Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer and chanel powder and that combo didnt provide enough coverage. A friend introduced me to Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Fluid Foundation to be applied only with their amazing Super Soft Buff Powder Brush and Im telling you..even after a NAP my makeup looks flawless. On days that I have big meetings I set it with my chanel healthy glow sheer colour powder and I am good until after dinner. My skin hasnt broken out and actually seems to LIKE the moisturizing foundation (and down here in Houston humidity is king). I HIGHLY recommend Kevyns foundation!! I do not use a primer but do still use concealer around my nose and under my eyes prior to applying the foundation and I am good all day long 🙂

    October 30, 2015/Reply
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