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Wedding Wednesday: Getting your foundation to last all day

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Long-lasting foundation routine

To be fair, getting your foundation to stay on until you’re ready to take it off is something that’s nice any day, but again, pictures. The formal photos happen earlier in the day, so you’ve got that going for you, but of course you still want to look great by the end of the night. Luckily there are plenty of tricks to help your makeup last through any day (even your wedding day).

Start with a clean canvas

Duh, right? But it’s sort of like painting a wall – if it’s not clean, it won’t look as smooth and the paint won’t stick like it should. Clean, moisturized skin will give your makeup the best surface to cling to. Be sure to use a gentle cleanser – harsh soaps can strip the oils from your skin, drying you out and causing a whole boatload of wear-time issues. Give yourself enough time to let your moisturizer and sunscreen soak in so they don’t cause your foundation to slip around.

Use a primer

To continue the your-face-as-a-home-improvement-project analogy…. primer is an absolute must-have for long-wearing makeup. What exactly does it do?

  • Creates a barrier between your foundation and the natural oils on your skin, which keeps oils from breaking down your base products and helps prevent oxidization
  • Fills uneven texture, giving base products a smooth surface to cling to (and a smoother appearance!)
  • Helps solve skincare issues like dryness or oiliness

Which one you pick depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. My personal favorites are Hourglass No 28 (for hydrating), Becca Ever-Matte (for oil control) and NARS Instant Line & Pore Perfector (for hiding lines and pores). You don’t have to stick to just one, either – you can use a light primer all over, a little bit of a mattifying one in the t-zone, and maybe a dab of a pore-filling primer just in the areas that need it most.

Pick products that are right for your skin

This is the big one, and unfortunately there’s no one-size-fits-all miracle product that we all can use. It takes some experimenting to find out what combination of products works best on your skin, so start early! There are a few guidelines to start with though.

For oily skin – there’s the old science class rule of “like dissolves like” – so oil-based foundations and concealers may break down sooner on oily skin, or slip around. That’s not to say they can never work, but water-based or silicone-based products may be worth checking out.

For dry skin – products – especially powder products – tend to wear off sooner on dry skin, so hydrating primers and foundations are usually the way to go. You might also want to consider using cream or liquid products for blush/contour/highlight too, if your skin is extra dry.

For dehydrated skin – if your skin has trouble holding onto moisture, starting with well-moisturized skin is a must. Moisturizing ingredients like sodium hyaluronate/hyaluronic acid can be good to look out for, and drying ingredients like denatured alcohol should be avoided.

If you’re not quite sure what to use, Sephora and department store counters are your best friend! You can get samples of just about any primer, foundation or concealer if you ask. I know a lot of people feel uncomfortable asking for samples, but trust me, they’d rather make you a sample to try out than have you return a bunch of things that didn’t work for you.

Set it

Setting spray or a light dusting of powder over your foundation can help lock it in place. If you have dry or dehydrated skin be sure to watch out for ingredients that might be too drying, and be careful not to overapply – a little goes a long way.

Keep it on (and your hands off)

It’s another one that seems obvious – but touching your face can make your makeup come off! Propping your chin on your hand, wiping off sweat (and yes, you will sweat basically all day, between nerves, dancing and running around taking pictures), brushing your hair back from your face, scratching….. basically any time something touches your face can take a little bit of makeup away with it. A foldable fan is incredibly handy to have nearby for when you get too warm, not to mention a fantastic accessory. If a little shine is breaking through, use blotting papers and press them gently to your skin – but never drag the paper across your face, just pick it up and pat it down on the next spot.

 

As always, you can never have too many test runs before the big day. Try things out, see how they hold up to an extra-long day, go on a long walk around town to make sure your products won’t run and hide at the first hint of sweat – and give yourself plenty of time to try new things if you need to.

What are your favorite tips for making your makeup stay on all day? Share them in the comments!

 

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