No Sweat: How to Prevent Makeup Meltdowns in Muggy Summer Weather

The name of the game in summer is beat the heat. Especially when it comes to makeup. When the mercury rises, it can feel like we’re constantly reapplying our faces or inspecting them to make sure eyeliner isn’t on our cheeks. Some people even put away their makeup kits until the weather moderates, but you don’t have to take such drastic measures.

Sporting long-lasting makeup in summer is about choosing the right products and the right application method. With that in mind, we asked makeup pros how to prevent dreaded makeup meltdowns so we can enjoy the summer sunshine without stressing about our eyeshadows and foundations migrating.

Application vs. Products

The makeup experts agree that your choice of products and how you apply them are equally important when it comes to preventing weather-related makeup meltdowns. Makeup artist Lisa Aharon likes to apply layers of skin care products and makeup, allowing plenty of time for absorption and setting between each layer.

Make Sure Your Makeup Is Season-Appropriate

Summer calls for a makeup bag update. Aharon often switches to oil-free formulas when the weather warms up. She says the biggest mistake people make is using the same products they did in winter in summer and vice versa.

She recommends always carrying pressed powder because it helps prevent your makeup from melting and slipping. Powder can be used throughout the day to blot shine and set makeup. Try Sisley Paris Blur Expert ($95) or Essence All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder ($3.99). Blotting sheets, like Tatcha’s Aburatorigami Japanese Blotting Papers ($12), are another great option to control shine without cakey buildup. While makeup artist Kristofer Buckle likes pigment-free loose powders to keep makeup on point and shine at bay.

Waterproof Formulas

Buckle doesn’t think “waterproof everything” is necessary, just waterproof mascara. He cautions that some waterproof makeup products can be mask-like. Plus, most makeup, like foundation and lipstick, contains oils and waxes, which already gives them water-resistant qualities.

Powders, Creams and Liquids

Aharon’s favorite summer formulas are creams and liquids because they’re super light. (They have a tendency to slip in excess heat so it’s key to set the formulas with invisible powder.) Want fuller, long-lasting coverage? Use heavier products sparingly. Aharon recommends Smith & Cult Veiled Threat Weightless Micro-Blurring Foundation ($42) for its weightless formula and 12-hour coverage. Her go-to for lightweight coverage is Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer ($74).

Primers and Setting Sprays

Primers and setting sprays promise more makeup staying power, but neither is absolutely essential. Buckle never uses primer in warmer months. “Between moisturizer, sunblock and foundation, there is already a lot of product on the face and one of the first tricks to long-lasting makeup is to keep it at ‘just enough,’” he explains. “You want to keep flaws hidden without using more than you need to — otherwise your makeup will start to look cakey throughout the day.”

He uses his own Triplicity Perfecting Foundation Stick ($44) with primer built in. He follows it up with Kristofer Buckle Power Lock Makeup Setting Spray ($39) to add extra durability without the weight.

Aharon says primers and setting sprays can be incredibly helpful for setting makeup, especially for those with oily skin or when it’s humid and muggy. A good primer will smooth the surface of your skin, color correct and mattify. She uses setting sprays that refresh and hydrate skin, like Herbivore Botanicals After Sun Soothing Aloe Mist ($20) since it also soothes skin after sun exposure.

Switch Up Your Skin Care

Don’t forget to update your skin care while updating your makeup. Buckle says it’s important to adjust skin care products for the change in temperature and humidity levels. Use lighter, less oily skin care products in summer because they’ll help makeup adhere better to your skin. Aharon adds that heavier creams can get shiny and become too greasy for most skin types so lotions or gel formulas are better options. Look for ones with SPF, like Proactiv Daily Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30 ($24).

Less Is More

Using less makeup can decrease the likelihood of makeup meltdowns. Don’t use more concealer and foundation than necessary. (Aharon likes to pat the brush and stipple foundation on with a sponge on greasier complexions.) And always remember powder because it sets makeup in place.

Got oily skin? Buckle recommends using blotting sheets and/or powder throughout the day. You can also use a blotting sheet followed by powder if you want to double up. He suggests relying on transparent colors like sheer washes and metallics on your eyes and a fruit-colored or neutral lip for a less-is-more approach. And softer washes are less obvious if they migrate.

Glow Not Shine

Glowing skin can be gorgeous in summer so don’t obsess over a perfectly matte complexion. But there is a distinction between glowing and shiny. Shiny skin can look messy so Buckle suggests powdering and/or blotting a couple of times throughout the day to keep things under control. You can use highlighter to create controlled radiance.