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How to Get Your Makeup to Last

Getting the most from your makeup can save time and money. There are many things you can do to extend your makeup’s staying power.


This guide contains tips on how you can get your makeup to last longer. There are lots of easy techniques you can start using immediately to extend your makeup’s lasting power. From basic skin prep, to eyeliner, to the benefits of primer, this guide discusses how to put makeup on in a way that preserves its integrity for long periods and through tricky conditions.

Tips for Lasting Makeup

Prep Your Skin

Cleanse. Tone. Moisturize. These skin care basics are important to remember before you apply makeup. Cleansing and toning your skin helps remove surface oils that cause makeup to fade and smear. Moisturizing skin once cleansed and toned will plump it and give your makeup an even base to glide onto. Makeup applied to dry skin will often not adhere well and flake off, so providing moisture to your skin is key. Remember to use products designed specifically for your skin type. For more information on these basic skin care steps read Skin Care 101.


Primers are essential for getting the most out your cosmetics – they ready your skin before adding additional makeup. Using a primer helps to create a smooth base for your makeup to cling to for a longer-lasting grip, while also helping to keep it from becoming greasy. Primer hydrates your skin throughout the day (which better allows makeup to cling to skin), evens out skin tone, disguises blemishes and lets your skin breathe normally as it does not clog pores. It also absorbs oil, which helps makeup like blush last hours longer.

Apply your primer at least a few minutes after your moisturizer has set for a smooth and longer-lasting foundation application. Using your fingers, prime your face, paying particular attention to the areas where your makeup tends to fade (e.g. the eyelids, lips and chin).

Lasting Foundation

For longer wear, consider using a quality lighter foundation designed for extended use. You might wish to consider a powder-based, anti-aging formula, a thicker compact-style foundation or a waterproof foundation. Apply the foundation as normal, using a clean sponge and working in an upward and outward direction. Make sure to blend the areas around your jaw line for seamless coverage. Gently press a clean sponge or tissue around your face to set the foundation on your skin. For more information on foundation check out our Best Makeup – Face guide.

Set With a Powder

A quality matte powder formula will hold well even when you work up a sweat. Good quality powder is a critical step to helping makeup last longer. It might be an additional investment, but if you prefer a powder that endures, a quality product is an option worth considering. By using a lighter foundation and a darker powder, you'll avoid a blotchy look if makeup starts to wear off. Powder your face with lightweight, loose translucent powder and a dense, large powder brush. Repeat the application on oily areas and cover your lashes as well. For more information on powder check out our Best Makeup – Face guide.

Lasting Eyes

Keep your eye makeup from wandering down your face by applying a sheer, neutral-coloured shadow base first. Some beauty experts suggest using eyelid primer before applying eye makeup or to combine a long-lasting, waterproof eyeliner with powder eye shadow over it. The eyeliner acts similar to a primer, supporting the staying power of the eye shadow. You also might want to consider trying liquid eyeliner, which is reported to have four times the staying power than pencil eyeliners. If you are most comfortable with pencil eyeliner, powder lightly after applying the eyeliner, then reapply and/or use liquid eyeliner as an added layer. Apply it in light layers and try not to use a brush when applying primer near your eyes in case brush bristles come loose.

Using waterproof mascara is a tip that might help with the common annoyance of product that runs. Waterproof mascaras have come a long way. They are strong and do not flake or crumble easily. If you are more comfortable with your regular mascara, try applying a waterproof version on the tips of your lashes over your regular mascara (after your regular mascara has dried) to bolster its longevity. Mascara also lasts longer when applied in two coats on powdered eyelashes.

Lasting Lips

There are easy ways to get your lip colour products to last longer. Apply your colour to clean, dry lips – dirt, residue and oils create a layer between your lips and the product. Consider trying invisible lip liner, which deposits a clear, waxy film to stop colour from running. You also might wish to blot your colour a couple of times and set it with a translucent powder. There are numerous lipsticks that are marketed as long-lasting. Consider researching and trying different ones to decide if any work better for you than traditional lipsticks.

Also, if you find your lip products – or any cosmetic products – are degrading due to hot temperatures, store them in a fridge for a while. Extreme temperatures affect the lifespan of cosmetics.