Tips to keep your makeup melt-proof in summer

Woman in turban in the pool wearing summer makeup

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Trying to keep makeup from melting off your face during the long hot days of summer can be frustrating.

Here are some easy hot weather makeup tips and tricks to help you — and your face — stay cool.
You’re hot stuff!

How can you keep your makeup from melting and smearing on hot days?

One solution is going with a long-wearing matte foundation and powder, but that tends to feel heavy (and practically screams, “I’m wearing makeup”). A sheer light foundation or BB cream could work, but they often won’t make it through lunch, especially when the combination of heat and humidity hits.

Fortunately, there is a way to achieve fresh-faced results in summer weather. The Paula’s Choice Research Team, along with the Lilyvolt editors, have some makeup techniques and inexpensive product recommendations — tested for the most sweltering months of the year.

Step 1: Setting for success

Makeup primers are one option for keeping makeup in place, but adding another layer isn’t the best idea if your skin is going to feel sticky and damp.

One suggestion: Skip the primer and reach for a mineral-based (titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide) sunscreen formulated for oily to combination skin. Many mineral-based sunscreens have a naturally dry, powdery finish that keeps makeup in place, while protecting skin from the sun’s damaging rays.

Try Paula’s Choice Paula’s Choice RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 Matte Tinted Face Moisturize or SkinCeuticals Daily Physical UV Defense SPF 30+.

Step 2: Go sheer, but do it the right way

It’s best to avoid wearing a super-matte or full-coverage makeup on sunny, hot summer days. It can feel uncomfortable and look overly made up, especially in the bright summer sun. Instead, opt for a sheer foundation and use a fine-tip brush to target blotchy spots with a long-wearing concealer. Be sure to set the concealer with a loose powder for all-day wear.

Consider Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup SPF 20 or M.A.C. Matchmaster SPF 15 Foundation. For concealers, check out Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer or Paula’s own RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 Matte Tinted Face Moisturizer.

Woman in white bathrobe holding cosmetic bottles
Photo by Kues1/Freepik
Step 3: The (really) creaseless shadow trick

Hot, humid days often make a mess of eye makeup, but layering a water-resistant cream-to-powder shadow under a matte powder shadow will provide a truly melt-proof result. Even as the temperatures rise, this duo will not budge once applied.

For cream-to-powder, water-resistant shadows, try Julep Eyeshadow 101 Crème to Powder Waterproof Eyeshadow Stick, Maybelline Color Tattoo, or L’Oreal Paris Infallible 24 HR Eye Shadow, and check out the powder shadows from NYX Cosmetics for a superior quality and color range.

Step 4: Lip color that lasts

Problem: Standard lipsticks or lip-glosses always work in any weather, but a smile can look better all day with the long-wearing — yet light — lip products from Stila or Kat Von D. These withstand heat, humidity, drinking, and in most cases, even eating.

A swipe of Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick or Kat Von D Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in the morning will last at least half the workday before a touch-up is necessary.

Step 5: Sweat-proof lashes

When the everyday mascara just won’t stay put in hot weather, waterproof can be a great way to go — but not all are created equal.

For lift and length, the tiny brush of Maybelline Lash Discovery Waterproof Mascara is a cinch to apply. For thick, a full and defined lash look, L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Extra-Volume Collagen Waterproof Mascara is a favorite — and both of these are inexpensive.

The heat is on

Paula Begoun

Paula Begoun

Led by best-selling author and beauty expert Paula Begoun, the Paula's Choice Research Team evaluates and reviews hundreds of skin-care and makeup products, in books such as Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, as well as online at

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