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13 Tricks to Make Your Makeup Last All Day, According to Pros

The right routine will keep your makeup from becoming a melty mess by lunchtime.

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iStock/Lise Gagne

Start with a good base

Prepping your skin before you apply makeup is key, says makeup artist Lucy Halperin. Start by washing your face so it’s sparkling clean, then apply a quick face mask—Halperin loves REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial, which does its job in a mere 60 seconds—before applying moisturizer. “The skin is plump, it’s moisturized, and it’s even-toned,” she says. “I end up putting on less foundation on than I would.” These are makeup artists’ best tips to look younger.

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Prime your face

Even if you’re using a product with built-in primer like BB cream or tinted moisturizer, starting with a primer will even out the texture of your skin and keep your makeup in place, says Jessica Mae, founder, creative director, and makeup artist of WarPaint International Beauty Agency. “Putting primer down first gives an additional layer of something to hold on to,” she says. Pick one to match your skin type: a smoothing one for large pores or fine lines, a mattifying one for oily faces, or a hydrating one for dry skin. Here’s how to make your beauty supplies last way longer.

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Apply with a brush

No matter how tempted you are to ignore your brushes and apply foundation with your fingers, this has to be a hands-off process if you want your look to stay. Otherwise the oil from your fingers could transfer to your face, and you’ll use more product than you need, Mae says. “Brushes apply the product evenly, which is the key to longevity of it,” she says. “You aren’t having a thicker layer on one side vs. thinner on the other. You’ll have consistency with how the natural oils of your face mix with the product.”

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Apply in layers

Use a light hand to apply powder blushes and bronzers. “Sweep it lightly and layer it on,” Halperin says. “Really blend it in.” Smudging away any harsh lines will make it less obvious if your makeup does start to melt away, she says. Use these makeup tips to look photo-ready.

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Prep your eyes

An eye cream will help get rid of dark circles and leave you ready for concealer. Halperin suggests Clinique Even Better Eyes, which has a metal applicator that cools the skin while you apply it. “It really smooths out the skin,” she says. But only apply under your eye—if you put it on your eyelids, the moisture will cause your eyeshadow to slip into your creases, Mae says. These makeup tricks will help you look more awake.

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Pick the right eye primer

You may have heard concealer is a good substitute for eye primer, but Mae says she’s found that isn’t the case. “Concealer is usually creamy in consistency, which is more emollient,” she says. “If you’re using it on the eyelid, it can cause creasing and cause eye shadow to not blend as well.” She says the best results come from a product specifically designed to prime eyes. For people with oily skin, she likes to layer Urban Decay Primer Potion with Mac Pro Longwear Paint Pot before shadow for an even better guard against oil. These makeup tips make your eyes stand out.

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Choose waterproof eyeliner

For a long-lasting liner, opt for a waterproof formula, or use a regular one and go over it with a powder of the same color to set it, Halperin says. If your eyes start to get moist, put a bit of powder underneath to keep a runny mess from forming, she recommends. Here’s how to keep makeup from melting in the heat.

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Or skip the eyeliner

If you’re notorious for runny eyeliner, sometimes the best strategy is to stop working against nature. “If someone’s eye is waterlogged, just skip it,” Halperin says. “Just use use waterproof mascara to accentuate the lashes.”

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iStock/Edyta Anna Grabowska

Find the right mascara

Mascaras tend to be personal, and finding the right formula for you will help you get a lasting wear. People with watery eyes should opt for waterproof, but other than that, it’s trial and error, Mae says. “Get samples sizes from your favorite makeup counter and try a few to find the perfect one that works for you,” she says. To avoid ruining your makeup before you’re even done applying, avoid getting mascara transfer on your eyelids. Mae recommends starting with bottom lashes and let them dry before adding product to the top.

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Use lip liner as a base

A lot of lipsticks marketed as long-lasting can be drying, Halperin says. Start by filling in your lips with lip liner before applying your lipstick, which will give a waxiness that the lipstick can grip on. “It gives it a longevity because the lips have already been based with that color,” Halperin says.

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Lock in your lip color

After applying lipstick, Mae suggests laying a tissue on your lips, then lightly dusting translucent powder over the tissue to seal in the color. “It acts as a setting powder for lipstick,” she says.

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Set your makeup

Once you’ve finished your look, use a setting spray to lock it in place. Mae likes to use setting spray after applying foundation, then applying powder after it’s dried, finishing the rest of her makeup, and adding with one more layer of setting spray. “As you layer the products, it lasts longer,” she says. “It creates a barrier between the natural skin and the product.” Between skin cream and a moisturizing primer, you’ll already have plenty of hydration, so choose a setting spray that doesn’t moisturize—any more could cause your makeup to slip, Mae says. Avoid these mistakes that make your skin look dry.

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Keep your hands off

Don’t let the rest of your day ruin the hard work you put in to your makeup. “Avoiding touching your facing as much as you can will help keep makeup on longer,” Mae says. That means to stop resting your hand on your face and holding your phone against your cheek. If you’re acne-prone, try cleaning bacteria off your work phone and cell phone regularly to prevent breakouts, Mae says.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.