Fight the Summer Heat by Waterproofing Your Makeup

Don’t fall victim to a makeup meltdown—take note of these simple tips.
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Elisabeth Waldstein
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Don’t fall victim to a makeup meltdown—take note of these simple tips.
heatproof waterproof summer makeup tips beauty

Wouldn’t it be great if every summer day were spent barefaced at the beach? Ahhh, yes, but we have jobs and real life to contend with, not to mention weddings and special events to attend. Wanting to look polished and wear makeup, even during the height of summertime, doesn’t have to be a “melt face” situation. Foundation and bronzer slowly cascading down your neck, mascara running under your eyes, splotchy blush that won’t stay put—we can do better.

I lived in Florida for seven years. I know a thing or two about surviving in the heat. If you’ve ever been to Disney World in July, you know what I’m talking about. In order to still pull off a polished face, here’s my heatproof makeup ritual. I promise, the only thing you’ll see melting this summer is a popsicle!

The Strategy

To waterproof my makeup, I apply thin layers of richly pigmented liquid waterproof products. Pigmented products are very opaque in color, not transparent or sheer. I then set them with waterproof or long-lasting powder products. This gives me two layers of waterproof pigments in two different mediums, which provide much-needed staying power in the hot, humid months. Remember, the more pigmented the product, the less you have to use, and especially in the summer, less is best.

One other note: This is my ritual for a full face of makeup. If you don’t like to contour or prefer a more minimal look, pick and choose what works for you!

Step 1: Prep and Prime

If daily SPF application isn’t already a part of your skin care routine, summer is the prime time to start. Prep your skin with a lightweight SPF 30 moisturizer. CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM is fragrance-free and absorbs into the skin immediately.

After the SPF, apply a primer to your face. You know how a salon manicure always lasts way longer than the quickie polish job you did yourself? It’s because the professionals use a base coat and topcoat. The same principle applies to makeup. Using a primer will make a huge difference in the appearance and longevity of your makeup. Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer by Benefit helps makeup adhere to the skin and prevents products from seeping into your pores. I even prime my eyes with a waterproof eye shadow primer—Proof It Eyeshadow Primer by NYX is my favorite.

Step 2: Even Out Skin Tone

To help conceal breakouts or discoloration, apply a water-resistant foundation. Look for a high-coverage formula; that is, a highly pigmented foundation that you can apply sparingly in just the areas where you need it. Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation by Make Up For Ever is water-resistant and oil-free.

If you don’t have much you want to cover, skip allover foundation, and just wear a waterproof concealer in areas that need it (under the eyes, around the nose, the chin, and any blemishes or discolorations). I use this Waterproof Concealer by NYX on blemishes and Effacernes Waterproof Protective Undereye Concealer by Lancôme under my eyes plus anywhere I have discoloration.

Finish off your foundation and concealer with a long-lasting matte powder to hold the cream products in place. Avoid the cheek area because you’ll apply blush there. I use Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder by Clinique.

Step 3: Add Some Color

Now is a great time to take advantage of products that will give you that fresh-off-the-beach rosy glow any day of the week. To bronze and define, apply a cream contour under your cheekbones, and blend upward to your cheeks with your fingers to create definition and a bronzy glow. I love the Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour by Clinique.

To make sure your glow lasts all day and to set the contour, use a large fluffy brush to apply a waterproof bronzer on your cheeks, forehead, and a little on your nose and chin. I love the Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer by Tarte.

Next apply a stain to your cheeks. Cheek stains are great because they provide intense pigments without a lot of product. Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain by Benefit is a great option. Put about three or four tiny dots on each cheek, and pat them in gently. The product is so thin that you can apply it over your powder bronzer.

Step 4: Bring Out Your Eyes and Lips

You already primed your eyes with waterproof primer. Now apply waterproof eye shadow. Try the Infallible Eyeshadows by L’Oréal. They are intensely pigmented and can be applied wet or dry with your fingers. Amber Rush looks stunning on every skin tone.

Next, make your eyes pop with a waterproof eyeliner. Here are some great tips for applying liner. The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils are my favorite because they set quickly after you apply them and last for hours.

Then finish with waterproof mascara—I use Voluminous Volume Building Waterproof Mascara by L’Oréal.

Like the cheeks, I find that stains work best for my lips. I love the Revlon Color Stay Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains. There’s a large color selection, and they are super easy to use. Apply the stain, and then blot. Repeat this a second time to get full coverage. Lip stains last for a while but also wear off naturally.

To really enhance your pout, apply a long-lasting lip pencil to your entire lip before the stain. The 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils by Urban Decay are amazing. Simply fill in your lips with the liner, and then coat with lip stain or a long-wearing lipstick. Do a quick blot, and your lips are ready to go.

Step 5: Set It

Remember what I said about manicures? Well, now is the time for the topcoat—that extra touch that takes the look from pretty to durable. Once you’re happy with your makeup, secure everything using a setting spray. Setting sprays form a light layer over the skin that prevents makeup from evaporating or melting off by absorbing the oil on your face. I use All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray by Urban Decay. A quick spritz is a refreshing way to end your makeup application. It’ll provide the anti-melt help you need in the summertime while also giving you that dewy, fresh-faced look everyone loves.

Quick Tips

Your makeup is set and ready to face the elements, but there are a few other things to consider.

01. If you find yourself in a downpour or really dripping sweat from the heat, soak up the water by dabbing your face with some paper towels rather than using a wiping motion. Dabbing will help keep your makeup in place and not smudge.

02. To combat oil buildup and shine, use blotting sheets throughout the day. My favorite is Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets.

03. You have ensured that your makeup is going absolutely nowhere, but when it’s time for bed, what do you do? A basic cleanser is not going to cut it. The best natural options for removing waterproof makeup are coconut oil and olive oil, but DHC also makes a Deep Cleansing Oil.

I hope my waterproofing tips are helpful to you during these hot months. Don’t let the summer sun keep you from rocking gorgeous makeup. You should always feel your best when you walk outside to face the world—even if it’s 98 degrees.