Beat the heat: How to prevent make-up melting off your face this summer, according to the experts

Sarah Young
·5-min read
Getty
Getty

Summertime is great for many things, but it can also wreak havoc on your make-up.

With heat and humidity at a high, you might think it’s pointless to even wear make-up in the first place given that it might just slide off your face anyway – but, if you want to wear it, don’t give up just yet.

While it is true that it can be difficult to keep your make-up looking fresh when it’s sweltering, there are ways to ensure that your foundation, mascara and contour stay in place, even through sweat.

To help you beat the heat, we’ve spoken to three leading make-up artists to put together a no-sweat survival guide to wearing make-up this summer.

Prime Time

Becca Backlight Priming Filter, £28, Cult Beauty
Becca Backlight Priming Filter, £28, Cult Beauty

According to make-up artist Lisa Potter-Dixon, who co-hosts the podcast Life & Lipstick and has written two best-selling beauty books, all good heat-proof make-up should start with prepping and priming the skin.

Potter-Dixon suggests starting with a few squirts of moisturiser on your face to add hydration as this will help your make-up last longer and sit better.

When it comes to choosing a primer, she suggests opting for something lightweight that will take away any excess oil, such as the Elemis Pro-Collagen Insta-Smooth Primer.

Alternatively, if you prefer a glow during summer, Becca’s Backlight Priming Filter is a great option as it will help to even out your base while adding a “lit within” look.

Rachel Hardie, Nars senior lead artist, goes one step further, admitting that during a heatwave she likes to “multi-prime” – a technique that involves layering two different priming formulas – by using the brand’s Pore and Shine Control Primer to absorb the shine and the Radiance Primer to give added glow.

Ace your base

Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation, £30, Mac Cosmetics
Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation, £30, Mac Cosmetics

Now that you have your oil under control by using a primer, Rachel O’Donnell, Mac global senior artist, says the next step should be looking for water-resistant, sweat-proof and humidity-proof products that will “tackle the humidity in the air and the sweat on your skin”.

For this, O’Donnell recommends a formula such as Mac’s Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation, which promises to last up to 24 hours and doubles up as concealer.

Alternatively, Potter-Dixon suggests using a lightweight formula such as a tinted SPF (sun protection factor).

Ultra Sun’s is my favourite,” Potter-Dixon says.

“This way you are getting your sun protection and a healthy glow in one. Its Cosmetics CC Cream is also a brilliant summer base as it evens out the complexion without adding too much weight.”

For optimum results, the make-up artist advises applying your foundation with a damp beauty blender to really work the product into the skin.

Waterproof everything

Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Full Fan Effect Waterproof Mascara, £8.99, Boots
Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Full Fan Effect Waterproof Mascara, £8.99, Boots

Waterproof products are great for super-sweaty days, particularly when it comes to avoiding pesky “panda eyes”.

The make-up artists we spoke to recommended a number of expert formulas to stop your mascara running, including Maybelline’s New York Lash Sensational Full Fan Effect Waterproof Mascara, Nars’ Climax Mascara and Mac’s In Extreme Dimension Waterproof Mascara.

But it’s not just your eye make-up that needs attention. Potter-Dixon also recommends investing in waterproof products for your lips and eyebrows.

“Colour wise, Stila’s Stay All Day Lipstick does exactly that,” Potter-Dixon explains.

“I like to use a touch of this on my cheeks too. For brows, Benefit’s Precisely My BrowPencil is great for creating a natural-looking eyebrow that is completely water-resistant.”

Ditch the powders

The Multiple, £30, Nars
The Multiple, £30, Nars

It’s not just mascara that requires a change in formula when the temperatures soar.

Regrettably, sweat can cause powder products to streak when you get hot and bothered, so switching out powder blushes and eye-shadows for cream or gel-based versions is the perfect solution.

Hardie suggests investing in a multi-tasking product such as Nars’ The Multiple which can be used on the eyes, lips and cheeks for an effortless “watercolour veil of colour”.

Similarly, O’Donnell says cream products like Mac’s Pro Longwear Paint Pot and Pro Longwear Fluidline Brow Gelcreme are designed to stay flexible for application and also “dry down and set, allowing you to have the ease of a cream but the longevity of a powder”.

Potter-Dixon adds: “Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel is a buildable cream bronzer that won’t melt off of your face, while Milk Makeup’s Lip and Cheek Stick and the Jillian Dempsey’s Cheek Tint, are my go-to for cream blushers.”

Lock it in

Urban Decay, All Nighter Setting Spray, £24, Debenhams
Urban Decay, All Nighter Setting Spray, £24, Debenhams

If you know that you’re going to be out all day and don’t want to have to worry about constant touch-ups or your make-up fading then a setting spray is the answer.

“Setting sprays are a great way to lock your make-up in,” Potter-Dixon says.

“Simply spritz your face once your look is complete, holding the spray around 30cm away.”

Among their favourites, the make-up artists cited Urban Decay’s All Nighter, Kate Somerville’s UncompliKated and Mac’s Prep + Prime Fix +.

“Prep + Prime Fix + is a cool glass of water for thirsty skin – it refreshes parched, hot complexions while also extending your make-up’s life,” O’Donnell says.

Not only does it hydrate and set your make-up, the setting spray comes in both a large and a handy handbag-friendly size – making it perfect in all hot climates, be it poolside or the intensities of the London Tube.