How To Keep Your Makeup Lasting All Day At ESSENCE Festival 2024

Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Last July, the weather in New Orleans hit a high of 100 degrees. With the 30th ESSENCE Festival of Culture less than a month away (and temperatures expected to reach 91), now’s the time for testing new sweat-proof makeup techniques to resist the heat.

“When it’s too hot outside and you begin to sweat, your foundation is much more likely to break down and become patchy,” makeup artist Briana Black tells ESSENCE. “The impact of heat also makes products like eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara smudge or run if they are not waterproof.”

To keep you makeup in place during all of the festivities, Black lets us in on all her pro tips: from application techniques to best waterproof products.

Melting makeup is just as bad as sweating a wig out. “Most people have experienced or heard horror stories of wearing makeup in really hot environments,” Black says. Foundation can turn patchy, eye makeup can smudge, and blush and lipstick can fade. Meanwhile, if your skin is oil-prone, sweat can also exaggerate the oils and shine. “Knowing the risk of what heat and sweat can do to your makeup products is just the first step in determining what products work for you.”

Skin-first makeup has had a surge in recent years, with the #nomakeupmakeup hashtag on TikTok hitting over 90,000 posts. “A lot of my clients ask for the soft makeup ‘no-makeup’ look as it gets hotter out,” she says. “This look is perfect for the heat because the less product you use or the more sheer a product is, the less likely it is to break down.” 

Step 1: Mattifying primer

“To avoid melting, the first step is to find a good mattifying primer,” she says, like the Danessa Myricks Yummy Skin Blurring Balm Powder. “A matte primer will control the natural oils in your face throughout the day and create a barrier between your skin and makeup.” On the other hand, if you have dry skin or prefer foundation over skin tint, you may use a hydrating primer instead. “A hydrating primer will add moisture but both types protect your skin and help your products last longer,” she says.

Step 2: Skin tint

After you apply the primer, the next step is a skin tint. As mentioned, the lightweight tint can work hand-in-hand with your skincare routine, giving you sweat-proof coverage. For more full, lightweight coverage, you can build the skin tint over concealer (like the Tarte Shape Tape Full-Coverage Concealer or trending NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer) to cover dark spots or pigmentation. However, “if you prefer to use a foundation, try using a hydrating primer before you apply it to your face, this will break down the foundation for a sheer hydrating look.”

Step 3: Setting powder

“Doing your makeup without adding setting powder is like making a painting without sealing it, it will not last as long,” she says, recommending the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder. “This step is meant to seal all of the complexion products and is designed to absorb oils and moisture to keep everything in place and reduce unwanted shine.”

Step 4: Eyes and lips

As if you were wiping away tears, sweat can run and smudge your makeup look. “An eyeliner or mascara can go from a beauty look to a black eye if it smudges,” she says, using the Danessa Myricks Linework Eyeliner and Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara. “The best heat resistant tips for eyeliner, mascara, and lipsticks, is to make sure that these products are all waterproof, this will prevent sweat from making them run.” 

However, using tips from step three can also help. “If your lipstick is not matte or waterproof and you prefer a gloss or cream, try setting your upper lip with powder to avoid sweat from dripping down to your lip.” 

Step 5: Setting spray

“The final step you want to include is a setting spray, this is the last step to lock your makeup in,” Black says. “Depending on which setting spray you use, they can add moisture to your face or make it matte, the needs of everyone’s skin varies.” Her favorite setting spray is the MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ Setting Spray to finish off the makeup to last all night. “For dry skin and normal skin go for something dewy, for combination skin and oily skin, use a setting spray and primer that has a matte finish.”

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