Ask Belle: Humidity Proof Makeup

Jun 10, 2015

Dear Belle,

How did you cope with this D.C. humidity?  I have to reapply my powder every hour.  Any tips you can share for keeping my makeup from sliding away would be appreciated.

-Slick in the City

Ah, yes, humidity and pollution can do such fun things to your makeup.  Who doesn’t love looking in the mirror at 3:00PM to find her mascara on her cheeks and forehead shinier than newly polished penny.  Such good times.  Luckily there are some products that can keep your makeup in place, even when you live in a glorified swamp.

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Sephora Mattifying Moisturizer with Sunscreen ($23)

Step One. Moisturize and mattify with this 8hr Mattifying moisturizer sunscreen.  It keeps your skin shine free, while hyaluronic acid hydrates.  It also has a bit of SPF.

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NARS Pro Prime ($36)

Step 2. Priming the skin is even more important when the weather turns muggy.  Primer holds your makeup in place and keeps your pores from growing three sizes before lunch.

I like the NARS Pro Prime, but there are plenty of good brands out there.  People rave about Urban Decay eye-primer for avoiding that oh-so-hot creased eyeshadow look.  And if you want a kind of quirky but inexpensive idea for holding everything together, try Monistat Anti-Chafing Gel.  (People swear by it.)

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Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray ($30)

Step 3. After you’ve done the hard work of applying your makeup, a makeup setting spray will hold it in place for you.  I like this “De-slick” product from Urban Decay because it controls oil throughout the day.  It also comes in a travel size so you can touch up before happy hour.  Need a drugstore version?  I like Model in a Bottle and the NYX setting spray.

Other humidity-defying tips?  Blotting papers are a waste of money.  A light touch and some cheap toilet tissue do the same job.  (Some women use toilet seat covers.)

If you like translucent powder for touching up, Microfinish HD powder is the best one.  (NYX for the drugstore dupe.)  A super-fluffy travel brush is the best way to apply it.

And if you sweat instead of “glisten,” start with a spray-on anti-perspirant for body.  Anti-chafing gel for any skin that rubs.  Dry shampoo for your hair.  And, most important, a few Herban Essentials wipes for pre-Happy Hour touch-ups in case odor strikes.

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  1. Lindsey says:

    Thank you to the commenter who recommended using Old Spice for deodorant. It is way more effective than any lady deodorant I’ve ever used, and I can’t even smell the scent. Who knew.

  2. Curvy CEO says:

    As a DC transplant myself, I co-sign on almost all of this. I just differ on the blotting papers. I swear by Clean & Clear’s oil-absorbing sheets, which actually aren’t “paper” but these little blue plastic thingies. They are essential if you already have oily skin – like me!

  3. Jennifer D says:

    I agree with Curvy CEO on the blotting papers. I’ve been using them for years – they soak up oil but leave your makeup intact. Tissue just wipes it off. It was years ago, but I remember reading an article in Cosmopolitan about what celebrities put in their awards-show clutches – flip phone (yes, the article was years ago), lipstick, powder, and a toilet seat cover). Yes, those work too, because if it’s good enough for Julianne Moore, it’s good enough for me!

  4. Lexi says:

    Belle, just want to thank you for your recommendation of the Dry Bar dry shampoo a while back. I’ve been a long time user of Klorane (which I still like), but have now switched. Neither Klorane or Dry Bar irritate my scalp or leave powdery flakes, but a little bit of the Dry Bar seems to go a long way. And I like smell.

    • Mandi says:

      The Dry Bar detox dry shampoo is amazing! I wish I got more uses out of each bottle but the price isn’t bad compared to other brands at Sephora and department stores. I highly recommend it to anyone who has not found their perfect dry shampoo yet! Thanks for the rec, Belle.

  5. Linnie says:

    I literally was just at Sephora to buy that exact moisturizer, its the best! They apparently only sell it online now, and it’s out of stock 🙁 I was pointed to Murad’s Oil-Control Mattifier with spf15. The texture seemed similar and has good reviews. Only issue is that it’s almost twice the price at $39.50. Might take a gamble on it and see how it does.

    • LS says:

      I’ve been using the Murad Mattifier for years. I wouldn’t say I was especially pleased with it since my skin was still oily at the end of day. But I recently tried some samples of other brands and I notice a huge difference. My makeup is almost totally melted by 6 pm. I haven’t changed foundation or primer, so I’m betting it’s the missing Murad.

  6. Taylor says:

    Living in south Texas, I have always struggled in the summer with oily skin. Thankfully I found Supergoop’s setting spray a month ago. It makes my makeup stay all day and my face oil free. The SPF is also nice.
    https://www.sephora.com/defense-refresh-setting-mist-spf-50-P396249?icid2=supergoop_lp_spotlight_image

  7. Heidi says:

    Give La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Plus a try. I was recommended that one by a pharmacist when I had an epic acne breakout on my chin and swapped this one in for my daily moisturizer. Since I’ve started using it, over the course of six weeks or so, I noticed my makeup stays on MUCH better and there’s much less shine at the end of the day.
    I attribute it to the high amount of zinc in the cream, but I can’t recommend it highly enough for anyone suffering from adult acne.

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