Make your Makeup Last

how to make makeup last

If there is one thing I have learned over the years on how to make your makeup last, it’s about prepping your skin for application.

I am a very routine oriented person when it comes to my makeup. If I want it to last, I know exactly the steps I need to take–and trust me, it’s worth the extra few steps. The rare times that I don’t do my routine, I find myself instantly regretting my decision. I can literally feel and see a difference in how my makeup looks when I don’t prep. So, get comfy, grab your hot cocoa and let’s get into it!

1. Cleanse

First of all, put effort towards washing your makeup off before going to bed. Beyond applying the serum, beyond putting on the night cream, please get the oil and dirt off from the day. Avoid over cleansing– if you do at night, just wake up in the morning and rinse with cold water. I also recommend a deep cleanse with a Clarisonic 1-2 times a week, especially during the winter and having dry and dull skin.

2. Moisturize

Even if you tend to have oily skin, it’s so important to hydrate your skin. Find a moisturizer that works for you. I am beyond loyal to Clinique’s Dramatically Different Gel. They also have a lotion version for more dry skin types. I use the gel in the summer (it’s not as heavy) and the lotion in the winter (when my skin is more dry). Make sure to let your moisturizer sink into your skin. You don’t want to put your primer on slick skin- just wait a minute or two. *Want to try the Clinique moisturizer? Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Sephora offer a smaller travel size to try out!


Yes I put PRIME in all caps because this is 100% the most essential step in making your makeup last all day. Sure, a long-wear foundation is helpful, but it will not look as good or last as long if you don’t prime your skin. As from my recent Instagram post, my holy grail primer is by Smashbox. It’s called “Photo Finish Primer”. It’s the original formula and I buy the trial sizes because they are much cheaper ($16) and still last a long time (5-6 months). I apply a pea-sized drop all over my face, but concentrate in my cheek area as I have large pores, and this is the area I want most smooth. Primers are a must have for your makeup routine! They smooth your skin, they fill in your pores, and they prepare your skin for foundation.

4. Foundation

Before applying foundation, once again, we wait (1 minute or 2). You don’t want your skin feeling like butter before applying your foundation. It should feel like you know you put something on, but not slick or dry. As for foundations, the options seem endless. However, if you are truly looking for foundation to last all day, you’ll want a long-wear foundation. I have tried so many foundations over the years and some of them provide wonderful coverage, but if they don’t last long, it’s a deal breaker for me.

My hands down all-time favorite foundation for over a year now is by Estee Lauder and it’s called “Double Wear Stay in Place Foundation”. I’m surprised I don’t hear more beauty gurus rave about this product! It’s medium to full coverage, it’s blendable, and it can be applied in layers. Once it’s set, it is literally set. I use this foundation with my bridal clients if that tells you anything. Not into medium to full coverage? Use a stippling brush for an airbrush finish and lighter coverage. I usually apply the foundation with my fingers first, and then come back with a damp beauty blender for the extra coverage. The great news is that the Estee Lauder counter will happily match your skin color and give you a 10 day sample to try out to see if you like it!

A wonderful drugstore option is Maybelline’s 24/7 SuperStay foundation. I wouldn’t quite call it a dupe to the Double Wear, but it is certainly a great foundation. To my understanding Maybelline switched this to the “SuperStay Better Skin” Foundation, but I have still seen the original formula at Ulta. Sounds like I need to test their new version!

Another option I have been loyal to in the past is MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Foundation. This foundation stays put! The foundation is blendable, but just know that it dries very quickly. If you want more coverage beyond the initial application, I would recommend blending quick and adding a layer before it dries. Estee’s Double Wear allows you a little more time for any extra layers. Regardless, this is still a wonderful foundation.

5. Concealer

After applying foundation, next is concealing the under eye area. I have 2 favorite concealers. One of them I have used for 4+ years and the other is a new recent favorite. They are high end concealers, so I provided a drugstore option too.

Pro Longwear concealer by MAC: If you are looking for coverage and long wear, look no further! I just wish it didn’t come in a pump because I never need as much as it spits out.

Radiant Concealer by NARS: This is my new favorite concealer. This stuff is unbelievably creamy and provides the perfect glow to combat those dark circles. I have already re-purchased, so it’s a winner in my book.

Fit Me Concealer by Maybelline: This is a dupe to the NARS creamy concealer. It’s a wonderful drugstore option if you want to save some cash!

As far as application goes, apply in the areas in your under eye that needs some brightening. Pat the product in with your middle or ring finger, or even use your beauty blender. If your under eye area is ever dry, I have a great trick. Try adding a little moisturizer or your favorite serum to your eye area first, and then follow with concealer. Let it sit a moment and reapply more concealer to achieve the coverage you want. I also love this trick for in the middle of the afternoon for a bit of a refresher!


I wanted to add a technique section because I think it’s important to know that there is no right way to apply foundation or concealer. Everything depends on the type of product your using, what coverage you are looking for, and how the product works with your method of application.

For me, I have always used my fingers for foundation and concealer application. However, the damp beauty blender (make sure to run under water and squeeze excess before use) has been a game-changer for my application. I like to spread the foundation around my face first with my fingers, and then come back for added coverage with the beauty blender. I love the way it makes my foundation look and feel–especially with the double wear.

Some people adore brushes, and if that’s what works for you then that’s great! Depending the brush, I do think using a brush requires using more product. I usually use a brush for around the jaw line area where extra blending is required. If I do use a brush for foundation, these two are my favorite:

  1. Duo Fiber Stippling Brush by BH $8
  2. F80 Flat Kabuki Brush by Sigma $24

Setting the Makeup

This post wouldn’t be complete without setting your makeup! Make sure your liquid foundation and concealer has set before applying powder. We don’t want the powder to “catch” on a wet area. First I do my foundation, then concealer, then move to brows, and then after the brows are done I put on the powder. As for favorites, I love using a translucent powder! Laura Mercier has a wonderful one and the trial size is cheaper and still gives you plenty. You can find it here. I’ve also tried Rimmel’s Stay Matte Powder and it’s awesome for keeping your skin oil-free!

The last step you can include for a special night out (after applying all of your makeup) is using a “setting spray”. I currently use Urban Decay’s Setting Spray on my brides. Setting sprays are called “hairspray for your face”, but of course, without all the sticky-hairspray feeling 🙂 I utilize the trial size, to stay low on cost.

So there you have it! The complete steps for a true long wear makeup routine. If this seems daunting to you, I would definitely start with the primer. It truly will make a difference in your makeup! Leave me a comment if you have questions.

Until next time,


Instagram: @brittbehindthescenes


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