The Best Sweatproof Makeup for Even the Hottest Days
Say goodbye to raccoon eyes, shiny skin, and melted makeup. Here’s how to look cool and collected all summer long.
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Makeup that won’t melt
Do you have a love/hate relationship with summer? While the weather is gorgeous and the clothes are fabulous, the heat can do a number on your makeup. And in the extreme heat, no matter how cute you look first thing in the morning, by the time afternoon rolls around, there’s a good chance your eyeliner will be halfway down your face and your concealer will be creased and cakey. So, how do you keep your makeup from melting? By choosing the best sweatproof makeup—from waterproof mascara and eyeliner to specially formulated foundations and bronzers—that will stay right where you put them.
Another important thing to keep in mind: Don’t overdo it. “On hot, humid days, less is way more. It’s about letting your natural skin peek through and have its moment,” says celebrity makeup artist Neil Scibelli about devising the perfect natural makeup look. “Then choose a feature or two to focus on—maybe it’s glowy cheeks and [great] lashes or a pop of color on the lips.” Of course, no matter what you direction you choose, you’ll always want to layer on the best face sunscreens or moisturizers with SPF to protect your skin.
Read on for some of our favorite summer makeup that won’t budge, no matter how steamy things get. Then learn how to tame inevitable summer-hair issues with these frizzy hair products you won’t know how you ever lived without.
Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara
Both Scibelli and makeup artist Katie Mellinger swear by the crazy-good staying power of this waterproof and sweatproof mascara with the amazing name. Bonus: It gives you long, dramatic lashes, and it also contains porcelain flower extract to moisturize and condition lashes.
When it comes to application, be sure to follow Mellinger’s cardinal rule. “One mistake I see frequently is applying eye cream too close to the lash line,” she says. “This almost guarantees that your mascara will smudge under the eye, even if the mascara is waterproof.” Her solution? Swipe eye cream across your occipital bone (that’s the bony ridge you feel around your eye socket) and don’t even think about getting any higher.
Nudestix Vegan Splashproof Mascara
If you’re a fan of clean beauty, check out this Nudestix Vegan Splashproof mascara. It boasts argan oil, mango seed oil, and bamboo extract to moisturize lashes while keeping them flirt-ready and sweatproof. Sephora reviewers love that it’s buildable, so it doesn’t clump or flake, and that it doesn’t leave lashes feeling dry. “I’m absolutely in love with this mascara,” writes one fan. “It’s all I need. It gives me length, volume, and beautiful dark black, waterproof lashes, and it’s so easy to remove.”
Make Up For Ever Aqua Resist Color Pencil Eyeliner
“I love to play up the eye with a great waterproof liner, along with tons of waterproof mascara,” says makeup artist Molly R. Stern, who keeps the skin “as fresh and as bare as possible” to balance the come-hither summer look. “Another option is to use a waterproof eyeliner along the lower lash line, instead of lower lash mascara,” says Scibelli, noting that this is a great eyeliner trick that prevents potential raccoon eyes. The entire Makeup For Ever line is a makeup artist favorite that’s often used on TV sets, so if it can withstand the hot lights of Hollywood, it can withstand whatever a hot day throws at you. Some Sephora reviewers report that it lasts for the entirety of their eight- to 12-hour work shifts.
Ofra Cosmetics Verified Liquid Eyeliner
If you love a winged eyeliner look, come rain or shine or sweat, this Ofra liquid eyeliner is the one you’ll want for summer. Described as “budge-proof,” this formulation also dries relatively quickly, so you won’t end up with last-minute smudges. One Ulta reviewer raves, “I love this eyeliner! Never bleeds or smudges. Applies like a dream. My wings have never looked better.” Bonus: It lasts a long time—you won’t have to replace it for months.
Tarte Tartelette Juicy Amazonian Clay Eye Shadow Palette
As tempting as cream-based eye shadows are, makeup artists recommend avoiding them on hot and humid days because they’ll pretty much melt off and ruin your look. So, instead of playing with texture, play with color. Choose a powder-based palette with lots of summer-friendly shades so you have something for every mood and style. This one from Tarte has 20 rosy and bronze shades that work with all skin tones. And since the shadows utilize mineral pigment, they won’t crease or fade. In addition to finding the perfect sweatproof makeup, here are more makeup secrets of women who always look put together.
Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner
While slipping and sliding is fun at a theme park, that concept has no place on your face. “I find that a mattifying primer can do a lot more than a setting powder in warmer temps,” says Mellinger. “Not only will it prevent you from looking shiny, but it will also help with the longevity of your makeup, especially when the weather is particularly humid. My absolute favorite is Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner cream, as it has a lighter consistency than most mattifying primers.”
Her application trick for oil-prone skin is to slather the primer all over the face and let it dry before moving on to makeup, but for normal to dry skin, a swipe across your T-zone should be plenty. When it comes to sweatproof makeup, the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is definitely true. If oil is an issue, you’ll also love these moisturizers specially made for oily skin.
Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Oily Skin Face Primer
One of the more stressful aspects of choosing makeup is finding one that works with your skin type, but things are slightly more simplified in the summer: You don’t want products that are packed with heavy moisturizers and laden with oils. “Sweatproof makeup tends to be more water-based, which is great to combat oil and sweating on the face,” says celebrity makeup artist Nydia Figueroa. “A matte formula is also ideal because it helps with controlling the oil and sweat throughout the day.” The problem for some women, however, is that a matte product can highlight fine lines. This Jane Iredale primer is a unicorn product, reducing shine while also smoothing the appearance of both enlarged pores and fine lines. To stop aging in its tracks, try these affordable face serums for plump, radiant skin.
Maybelline Master Prime by Face Studio
If you’re on a budget, it’s Maybelline to the rescue! This fan-favorite primer has a water-soluble base, so there’s no extra oiliness, and it helps makeup not only last longer but also go on smoother, according to online reviewers. To make sure it really stays put, makeup artist Rose Siard suggests waiting three minutes for it to dry “because if you apply foundation on top of wet primer, everything will separate.” To make your foundation look even more flawless, make sure you have the best makeup brush for the job.
Jergens Natural Glow Face Moisturizer with SPF 20
Looking for a quick, sweatproof makeup fix for uneven skin tone? Scibelli suggests this tinted moisturizer from Jergens. “It’s a really great summer alternative to a foundation,” he says. “It gives the perfect hint of bronze and radiance to the skin—without having to do any work!” It’s light and blendable, and it’s makeup and skin care all rolled into one, since it has hydrating nutrients and built-in SPF. Plus, at under $8, it’s super affordable, so you really can’t go wrong.
While we’re on the subject, Scibelli also loves Jergens’ Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse for an all-over glow. But whether you’re applying a bronze tint to your face or your body, “make sure you’re exfoliating coming out of the colder months,” says Scibelli, “to remove any dull or dead winter skin.” Check out these other self-tanners for a safe, year-round glow.
Omorovicza Face Glow
With a tropical citrus aroma, this airy, sun-kissed alternative to foundation gives a subtle, radiant, and healthy-looking complexion. Bonus: Plum almond oil and apple pectin extracts restore skin elasticity while leaving skin extra hydrated and plumped, with a youthful aura. Stern loves to add a pea-sized amount to the cheeks and blend, blend, blend for a striking contour that melts into skin (rather than off) and a glow that lasts all day.
Shiseido Skin Synchro Skin Foundation
Oil-prone skin generally requires an oil-free foundation, but all skin types can benefit from one on the hottest of days (when you really want to wear one). “Summer is the only time of year that I’ll use an oil-free formulation,” says makeup artist Lisa Aharon, who counts Gwyneth Paltrow and Camila Mendes as clients. “As long as your skin is properly plump and hydrated, it won’t make it look dry and can definitely last longer.” Her top pick? Shiseido’s Skin Synchro Skin foundation because “it’s super lightweight and the perfect amount of coverage.” Don’t miss these other makeup rules you should know by the time you’re 40.
Kat Von D Lock It Foundation
Full-face anything (other than a solid moisturizer and SPF) in serious heat is a challenge, and a full-coverage foundation is about as challenging as it gets…for novices, that is. “If you’re looking to wear a full-coverage foundation without it sliding off in the heat, KVD’s Lock It Foundation is a great option,” says Scibelli. “It’s super matte and controls oil production throughout the day.” That means that you won’t have to worry about touch-ups, either.
As a general rule, “look for consistencies that are sheer yet buildable,” says Stern. “That way, on days when you don’t need as much coverage, you can keep it light, but then be able to add coverage on the days when you feel like it.” Take a peek at these other summer beauty tricks makeup artists won’t tell you for free.
Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer
There’s a reason that makeup artists and ordinary women are obsessed with Kevyn Aucoin’s foundations. “They come in an incredible range of shades, stay put, and can be used as both concealer and foundation,” says Aharon of this product, which she says is still a favorite, even after all these years. “They provide so much versatility in coverage as well.” This easily buildable formulation means you can load up on one area, say dark under-eye circles, while keeping it light and sheer and using it more like a concealer for other areas with more subtle discolorations that you want to even out.
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer
A concealer that’s sweat-resistant and anti-aging? Yes, please! Designed for the under eye and beyond, this creamy concealer has “fantastic” pigment, yet is still “sticky enough to stand up to sweat and water,” says Mellinger, adding that with a super inclusive range of 27 shades, “there’s something for everyone.” This formulation was actually developed in conjunction with plastic surgeons, and it’s filled to the brim with nourishing peptides, antioxidants, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and vitamins.
Still, that’s no reason to be heavy-handed with your application, Mellinger warns. “I would caution folks to try to spot-conceal with a concealer only in areas where they might need it before trying to cover the entire face with a foundation.” By only covering what needs to be covered, “your natural skin can shine through and you’re not exacerbating your acne by occluding the skin.”
Kosas Air Brow Clear + Clean Lifting Treatment Eyebrow Gel
“During the summer, I definitely prefer the ‘less is more’ approach,” says Bellinger, who counts this clear brow gel from Kosas as one of her “summer go-tos” to define and shape the brow without adding color. That’s especially important because as sweat slides down the forehead, it settles right on the brow! By the way, this eyebrow gel doesn’t only make brows look great in the moment; it also contains vitamin B5, peptides, and hyaluronic acid to strengthen, fill out, and condition brows. If you want your brows to wow, by the way, make sure you have the right brow shape for your face.
Arm & Hammer Invisible Body Powder Spray
Picture this: You’re heading out for a date or evening with friends and have added a bit of shimmer to your collarbones or cleavage. Only it’s a gazillion degrees out and suddenly your artfully applied makeup starts to slide off. Did you know that you can reduce sweat in the décolleté area? This first-ever cake-free invisible body spray powder from Arm & Hammer is sweat-activated, so your skin won’t look parched but won’t bead up with sweat either. It also won’t leave a white residue on your clothes or body.
Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30
We know that we all need to be vigilant about applying sunscreen, but the wrong tint or formulation can adversely affect your makeup. According to Figueroa, women of color should “avoid the use of any products that contain an SPF that isn’t brown girl–friendly. Since many sunscreens leave a white or purple cast on women of color, the best bet is to find a product that dries down clear.” Figueroa’s favorite sunscreen is Black Girl Sunscreen, which actually does double duty. “This product works to protect the skin from harmful sun rays and also works as an amazing primer before makeup,” she explains. “This will help the makeup last all day, even through oil and sweat.” While you’re shopping, check out these other Black makeup brands everyone can use to get gorgeous.
Mattias Cover Concealer
Enlarged pores, breakouts, fine lines, and dark circles don’t just appear on women’s faces—they happen to guys, too, especially the active ones. While it can still be considered taboo for a man to wear makeup, some men realize they need an extra skin boost from time to time. This product covers circles and blemishes with a lightweight formula and will stay put until you wash it off.
Mother Dirt AO+ Restorative Mist
Melting makeup is bad enough. Melting makeup that settles into blemishes caused by sweating is the worst. While this Mother Dirt product isn’t a sweatproof makeup product, per se, you’ll want it in your beauty arsenal—especially in the summer months. It uses active probiotics to combat blemish-causing bacteria and produce radiant, healthier-looking skin, which means you can wear less makeup during the summer. It’s also designed for all skin types, so you don’t have to sift through endless products to find the one that works for you. You might also want to pick up this $12 Differin acne gel that has more than 20,000 perfect ratings on Amazon.
Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer
Outside of the eye area, creams get a thumbs up for summer. “Cream products are my default for the summer months,” explains Mellinger. “Cream adheres to the skin better and tends to be more water-resistant. A fantastic cream bronzer is Tower 28’s Bronzino—there are five beautiful shades (a lot for a bronzing line!) and each shade has just a hint of shimmer.”
If you’re anti-shimmer for summer, don’t write off this one yet, urges Mellinger. “At first glance, shimmer may seem a bit much if you’re looking to contour, but trust me, this is just the right amount and will simply add that extra glow to the face.”
Buxom Staycation Vibes Primer-Infused Bronzer
For a little color without the shimmer, a bit of this sheer bronzer from Buxom will do the trick. It stands up to sweat and humidity, and it’s infused with primer, which can simplify your summer beauty routine even more. If you’re feeling inspired, you can use a smaller brush to apply the color on your cheekbones for subtle contouring for day or night. While we’re on the subject, don’t forget to clean your makeup brushes with a good makeup cleaner to avoid breakouts, not just in the summer but all year long.
Victoria Beckham Bitten Lip Tint in Chérie
“For the lips, I stick to a stain or tinted balm,” says Aharon. “It’s fun to wear something bright, but I prefer it to be easy and comfortable, too.” To master that popsicle finish with a dose of plumping hydration, this wash of pink rose gelée from Victoria Beckham’s line settles as a natural flush of color across lips and stays in place for hours. Bonus: The applicator’s slanted tip and soft bristles allow you to apply it with knockout precision.
Iris & Romeo Power Peptide Lip Balm
Thrice as nice as an ordinary lip balm, this three-in-one tint, balm, and treatment is a buttery rich formulation with clinical levels of collagen-boosting peptides to amp up lip volume. Seven summery shades include peachy nude, peony pink, coral, and raspberry, but the best part is that the buildable formula is long-lasting, not to mention incredibly hydrating. Start with a sheer swipe for a subtle pop, and add layer after layer to your heart’s content. For something without a tint, check out these other super hydrating lip balm options.
Natasha Denona Blush Duo
Another way to sweatproof your makeup? By wearing barely there, sheer products, layering lightly as needed. While Natasha Denona is most often known for her pigment-heavy eye shadows, she also has a great line of blush duos that are perfect for summer. Choose a bronzy shade if you want to enhance your summer tan, or try Sheer Peachy Nude for a universally flattering shade with a light iridescent powder you can use all over your face.
Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Blush
“I’m a cream blush junkie, but in the summer, I’ll often switch to a powder formula,” says Aharon. “Within a couple hours, it mixes with the humidity and ultimately ends up looking like a cream anyway.” Swirl and dust on one of Charlotte Tilbury’s nine richly pigmented powders. The Cheek to Chic Blush has two complementary hues baked together, making things super easy. Feather the powder’s outer shade across the cheekbone to sculpt, and dot the brighter inner color on the apples for a bright, rosy hue.
Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Blotting Papers
A word to the wise: Don’t leave home on a humid day without blotting papers in your bag. “Tatcha makes my favorite blotting papers,” says Stern. “They are great to soak up the schvitz without loading powder all over hot skin.” Soft, feathery, and pin-thin, Tatcha’s leaflets absorb excess oil and sweat without disturbing or displacing makeup, while also eliminating the need to load on layers of setting powder, which can lead to cakiness—and for some skin types, clogged pores.
Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35
The jury still seems to be out on whether a setting powder introduces more problems than it solves for those ultra hot and humid days. And according to Stern, a setting powder is “only a must if you have oily skin on top of the hot factor.” If that sounds like you, you’ll want to use a talc-free option, like Aharon’s favorite mineral powder from Supergoop! Why? Talc is a common acne agitator, especially when mixed around on the reg with sweat, makeup, and grime. This (Re)setting powder also contains SPF 35 and can be brushed on over makeup throughout the day, ensuring that your skin stays perfect in myriad ways. Pro tip: Go one shade darker than your natural tone when buying this product. Next, learn the makeup mistakes that age your face so you can avoid them.
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