I don’t remember giving the sun an invitation to melt my face off, but here we are. That’s summer in Vegas for ya. I used to make the mistake of wearing the same makeup year round, but over the years I’ve learned how to change up my routine to beat the heat. Today, I’m sharing the best sweat-proof makeup products and tips I’ve discovered to survive the summer swelter.
Disclosure: This post is not sponsored. I purchased these products myself with my own money. This post does not contain affiliate links.
This is where the “almost” in the title comes from. I don’t have a primer that I feel strongly enough about to include in this roundup, but I’ll be sure to let you know if I find anything that helps to extend the life of my makeup in the heat.
I don’t know about you, but for me, foundation is definitely the most challenging part of wearing makeup in the summer. That’s why I’m so grateful I finally tried MAC Face & Body. I have a full review here if you want the full rundown, but to sum it up, it’s lightweight, light coverage, and waterproof. It’s basically the only thing I wear in the summer, and I’ve gotten completely used to wearing a light coverage foundation, which I didn’t think would ever happen.
$30 for 50ml/1.7oz at MAC
$39 for 120ml/4oz at MAC
My favorite concealer to wear in the summer is NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer. As the name implies, it’s a matte concealer that doesn’t look or feel overly dry. The matte texture helps to keep it in place, so it doesn’t slide around or start to break up the way many other concealers do when confronted with sweat, heat, and humidity. The coverage is medium and can be built up to medium-high or sheered out for lighter coverage if that’s what you prefer. It applies equally well over blemishes and under the eyes. The only downside (for some people) might be that it’s packaged in a pot. It hasn’t caused me any problems, especially because I typically apply it with a brush, but it might be a deal breaker for some.
I actually prefer not to powder my foundation in the summer, which may sound a little crazy. In my experience, if you start to sweat, it’s much easier to pat foundation back into place. It’s also easier to touch up with liquid or cream products if you don’t have a layer of powder on. Powder is also more likely to make your foundation look cakey if it’s humid out or if you start to sweat because it can start to bunch up or separate.
However, sometimes powder is a necessity. In the event that I need powder, I prefer to use Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder because it’s the best at keeping my foundation in place and preventing oil from breaking through. It also comes in two shades, one for light skin and one for deep skin, so if you have tan to deep skin you won’t have to worry about the powder making you look sickly. There’s also no risk of flashback with this powder. It may be a little too drying for dry skin, but otherwise it’s a pretty universal powder.
$23 for 0.33oz at Sephora
$38 for 1oz at Sephora
I have two picks for heat-proof blushes, so no matter what formula you prefer there should be something here that you’ll love.
My first pick is the ColourPop Super Shock Cheek blush shades. The creamy formula creates an almost stain-like effect that keeps the color vivid and in place for hours, even in heat and humidity. The blush sets itself, so there’s no need for powder. ColourPop blushes are way less emollient than the typical cream blush, so they’re much easier to blend and they’re suitable for any skin type. These blushes are best applied with either a duo fiber brush like the Makeup Geek Cheek Highlighter Brush or with fingers. When applying a cream blush with fingers it’s best to run your fingers over the product, then tap some of the product off on the back of your hand. This will help to distribute the product evenly on your fingers, making it much easier to blend when you apply the blush to your cheeks. No more patchy blush!
$8 for 4.2g at ColourPop
If you prefer a powder blush formula, you’re going to love Cargo’s Swimmables Water Resistant Blush. These are some of the longest-wearing blushes available, and the water-resistant formula means they hold up beautifully to heat and humidity. They’re very pigmented, but easy to blend. This is also a buildable formula, so you’re able to control the intensity of the blush. While there are only three shades, they’re very versatile and there’s a shade that will suit any skintone from fair to deep.
Bronzer is another category where I just haven’t found what I’m looking for yet. There are plenty of bronzers that I love, but none that I would really consider to be “sweat proof” or “heat proof.” I do know that Cargo makes a water-resistant bronzer, but I haven’t been able to try it yet. It’s definitely worth looking into if you’re tired of watching your bronzer disappear on a hot day.
Tip: thin, light layers are your friend when you’re trying to extend the wear time of your makeup. If you’re having trouble getting your bronzer to last through the day, try layering a powder formula over top of a cream or liquid formula to prevent fading.
For highlight, there’s nothing that lasts better than ColourPop’s Super Shock Cheek highlight shades. Although they share a name, the formula isn’t exactly the same as the Super Shock Cheek blush shades. The highlight shades are creamier and smoother than the blushes, which have an almost putty-like texture. These highlighters are incredibly silky and highly blendable. Best of all, they stay vivid and bright all day long. While you can apply these with a brush, I personally feel that they apply best with fingers. These are all intense, blinding highlights, so if that’s not your thing, you won’t like these. Otherwise, shine on you crazy diamond.
$8 for 4.2g at ColourPop
Eye Shadow Primer
I’m basically the world’s biggest fan of eye shadow primer. It makes such a huge difference in the longevity and intensity of my eye shadow that I almost never go without it.
While there are other eye shadow primers that I like, I’ve been in a committed long-term relationship with Urban Decay Primer Potion since I was 14. The UD primer is a favorite for me because it goes on smoothly, blends out easily, and holds my shadow in place longer than any other primer. My eye shadow looks more vivid when I use Primer Potion, and I don’t struggle to blend over top of it. (If you’re having trouble blending over your eye primer, try applying a little setting powder through your crease. Leave the lid unset to help shadow stick to the skin better.) I also appreciate that UD Primer Potion is available in a range of colors to suit different skin tones and different uses. The shade I use is Eden, which is a pale yellow shade that helps to hide any veins and discoloration on my eyelids. I also love using the shade Sin on its own as a cream shadow on days when I need something quick and easy that will last all day.
Sometimes when I’m testing out a new eye shadow formula, I do the unthinkable and go without primer. Typically not with powder eye shadow because I know enough to know that like a summer fling, it won’t last. With cream and liquid shadows, I’m usually open to the idea of going primer-free, but almost always end up with disastrous results. After a few hours, all of the color retreats to my crease in a big greasy mess. Sometimes, though, I’m pleasantly surprised. Such is the case with these two long-wearing eye shadow formulas.
First up, we have yet another ColourPop product. I don’t know what kind of magic is in ColourPop’s Super Shock formula, but it works and I love it. With or without primer, ColourPop shadows easily last a full day on me. Something about the light cream to powder formula keeps the shadow from creasing in a way that most formulas can’t. The shimmer shades are definitely easier to work with than the mattes, but I have a trick for blending out the matte shades that I think will really help if you’re struggling. Using a brush similar to the Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush (it’s the one on the right in this image) swirl the brush through the shadow rather than patting like you would with a powder shadow. Then, swirl the brush on your hand to remove any excess product and distribute the product evenly. Next, apply to your eyelid as usual. If it’s still not as blended as you would like, buff out the edges with something similar to this Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush (it’s on the left). This method of application should prevent any blending struggles or patchiness.
$5 for 2.1g at ColourPop
Second, we have Glossier Lidstar. This formula may not be for everyone, and I think there are a lot of valid complaints in regards to this formula. However, as long as you know how to work with it and set realistic expectations, I think there’s a chance you might love this. It’s a sheer, liquid formula with a lot of shimmer, so if you prefer matte shadows or high levels of pigmentation, definitely go with ColourPop. If you like more of a sheer, natural look, you’ll like Lidstar. My favorite way to apply it is to dispense a little bit on to the back of my hand with the wand, then pat it on to my eyelid using either a brush or my finger. If I want more intensity, I let the first layer dry completely then add another layer. I’ll admit, it’s not the effortless formula I’d hoped it would be, but since it lasts 8 hours on me without creasing, I can forgive the little bit of extra effort it takes. I have a more in-depth review of Moon and Lily (with swatches!) here if you’re interested.
I did a post on my favorite eye liners a few months ago. One of the best formulas I’ve encountered, especially for water resistance is the Make Up For Ever Aqua XL liner. It’s highly pigmented, applies easily, and lasts throughout the day. If you want to know more, definitely check out my blog post where I compare it to two other liners and demonstrate how well it holds up to water.
$21 for 0.04 oz at Sephora
Covergirl Lash Blast Waterproof is a long time staple of mine. I’ve been using it since it first came out and it’s something I nearly always keep on hand. It applies with a light, waxy feel but becomes very dry once it’s set, which may be a turn off for some people. I personally don’t mind it because I don’t really notice that feeling unless I’m wearing my glasses. Plus, I have such a hard time finding mascaras that don’t smudge in the summer heat and don’t irritate my eyes that I think this is as close to perfect as I can possibly get without lash extensions. It provides volume without looking clumpy and also lengthens my lashes just a bit. I know I can rely on it to get me through the day without giving me raccoon eyes. I also like to layer it over top of other mascaras to make them more water-resistant.
Some people don’t like waterproof mascara, and if this is you, your best bet is to make sure your under eye concealer is set really well. I’ve found that usually when my mascara smudges or transfers, it’s not actually the mascara that’s the problem, it’s the creaminess from the concealer. Make sure your concealer is completely set, and possibly even consider baking your under eyes if you feel comfortable using that technique.
$8.99 for 0.44oz at Ulta
Anastasia Brow Wiz + ColourPop Brow Boss has been a winning combination for me this summer. Brow Wiz is a must-have for most people, and with good reason. The formula has just the right amount of waxiness, so it applies without any tugging on the skin, but never looks overdone. I have no problem getting Anastasia Brow Wiz to last all day on me, but if you need even more water resistance, you might prefer Anastasia Dip Brow.
As for brow gel, I do use and love the Anastasia Brow Gel, but I’ve found that the hold and longevity is better with Brow Boss. Brow Boss is a clear gel that’s never sticky or crunchy. It works great for adding texture and hold to the brows, ensuring that they stay in place all day. The best way to apply Brow Boss is to brush it through your brows, wait for it to be dry or almost dry, then brush through with a clean spoolie. This evenly distributes the product and keeps the brow hairs behaving all day long.
ColourPop Brow Boss $6 for 3.1g at ColourPop
I wanted to provide a few different options for long-wearing lip products, so I’ve got a lip stain, a traditional lipstick, and two different liquid lipstick formulas to share with you. Let’s start with the traditional lipstick.
Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche lipsticks are some of the best lipsticks I’ve tried. Not only are they creamy and comfortable, they’re also organic and the ingredients are literally good enough to eat. Not that I’d recommend eating lipstick, of course. All of the shades I’ve tried have a satisfying wear time and fade nicely, but in order to create something truly long-wearing, you want to go for a rich shade that can be used to create a stain. The lightweight, highly pigmented formula of Bite’s lipsticks makes it really easy to do this in a way that’s comfortable and practical. When you’re trying to create a stain, for best results, remove any lip balm because this will prevent the lip color from staining the skin.
A shade like Radish or Beetroot works best for this because it’s easier to create a stain with a shade that has a lot of red, orange, or pink pigment in it than it is to create a stain with a beige shade. To create a stain, first apply a thin even layer of the lipstick using a lip brush. You can even use your finger if you don’t have a lip brush, but I’d recommend focusing on the center of your lips if you choose to apply it this way in order to avoid making a mess. A cotton bud would also work for blending the color into your lips. Next, apply a layer of the lipstick as you normally would- whether that’s with a lip brush or straight from the bullet is up to you. Creating a stain will help to prolong the wear time of your lipstick and keep color on your lips even as the top layer fades.
Speaking of stains, if you’re looking for an option that truly feels like having naked lips, a traditional lip stain might be for you. It’s also a great option to layer under other lipsticks or glosses to add longevity. My current favorite lip stain is the Tony Moly Delight Tony Tint (I swear I think brands purposely make their product names tongue twisters). It’s available in two shades: Cherry Pink and Red. Tony Tint has a sheer-yet-buildable gel formula that lasts all day, even through eating and drinking. It does take around a minute to dry completely, but after that it’s smooth sailing. A stain is also a great choice for those of us who have nightmares about smudged red lipstick and turning into the Joker (um hello, me *raises hand*) because a lip stain dries down completely without giving the crusty look or feel of a liquid lipstick.
$6 for 2 oz at SokoGlam
Next up, we have a traditional liquid lipstick. If you guessed I was about to mention ColourPop again, you’re absolutely right. I know, I know, it’s a lot, but their products truly do work well for me and I love that they’re so affordable!
ColourPop offers three liquid lipstick formulas, but the one I want to talk about is the Ultra Matte Lip since that dries down the most. Obviously since these dry down completely they’re going to be very long lasting, but they’re also going to be drying. If you’re mostly concerned with longevity and having color options, this is probably your best bet. It’s light weight, goes on smoothly, and isn’t quite as flaky as most of the other fully dry liquid lipsticks I’ve tried. The one major problem that I have with the Ultra Matte Lip is that the formulation can vary between colors. This means that some shades may be your perfect liquid lipstick formula while others are too crumbly. I recommend reading the reviews for each shade on ColourPop’s website. They’ll definitely let you know if the color you’re about to put in your cart is a hot mess or hot success.
$6.50 for 3.2g at ColourPop
Lastly, if a true matte isn’t your thing but you still want the longevity and color range of a liquid lipstick, let me introduce you to Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipsticks. These have been my absolute favorite liquid lipsticks for several years because they are long wearing without being dry, crusty, or crumbly. It lasts through eating and drinking, and they’re so comfortable to wear. The trick with these is that they don’t dry down completely, so you still have enough moisture to make your lips feel comfortable with enough of a dry down to keep the lipstick in place for several hours. The only thing I don’t like about Ofra’s liquid lipsticks is the strong vanilla scent. Other than that, they’re perfect.
$20 for 6g at Ofra (they nearly always have promo codes available to make these even less expensive!)
It’s hard to tell, but I’m literally dripping sweat in that second photo. You can see where the sweat cut through my contour a little bit near my ear, but everything else still looks perfect!
What I’m wearing:
- Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Beetroot
- Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden
- ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Melrose and White Rabbit
- Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eyeliner in M-10 Black
- Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Waterproof
- Anastasia Brow Wiz in Taupe
- ColourPop Brow Boss Clear Brow Gel
- MAC Face & Body Foundation in C1
- Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Peach under my eyes to correct my dark circles
- NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer in Light 2 Vanilla (this is actually a little bit too light for me)
- Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
- Anastasia Blush Kit in Gradient- using the shade Dusk as contour
- ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Aphrodesiac (blush)
- ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Smoke N Whistles (highlight)
Tip: This may sound a little crazy, but if I have an important event I like to carry a dry beauty sponge around in my purse. It doesn’t matter what brand it is, even those little cosmetic wedges will work. I use it to soak up sweat and to pat makeup back into place. Never try to touch up your makeup until after the sweat has dried, otherwise you can end up lifting some of your makeup off or creating a cakey hot mess.
What’s the worst makeup meltdown you’ve ever had? Tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
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If you enjoyed this post, you might also like Hidden Gem: Avon True Color Super Extend Nourishing Mascara in Brown Black
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