A Makeup Artist Showed Me How to Stop My Makeup From Sweating Off in Summer

Every summer, without fail, the same questions start popping up in my Instagram DMs.

How do I stop makeup from sweating off? What are your best sweat-proof makeup hacks? I live in a humid climate, how do I get my makeup to stay put? How do I stop my sweaty under eyes and upper lip ruining my base?

Considering we live in sunny Australia, they're very valid questions. And being a fairly schweaty human myself, I'd come up with a few fail-safe tips over the years. But it wasn't until I went to Singapore for a holiday in 2019 that I truly experienced the full extent of my face sweating. It was a lot, and it forced me to throw all my usual sweaty makeup tricks out the window.

So, coming into summer, I decided to ask my colleague and professional makeup artist Megan Miloshis how she approaches sweat-proof makeup... turns out, I've been doing it wrong this whole time.

Keep scrolling for Megan's top four sweat-proof makeup hacks for navigating our hot, humid Aussie summer.

1. Sweat-Proof Your Skin Care.

Ask any makeup artist worth their weight in brushes about skin prep and they'll go on about how important it is.

But it's even more important if you're trying to sweat-proof your makeup because there's one particular skincare product you'll need to avoid altogether: face oil.

"If you want your makeup to last in warmer weather, ditch the oil pre-makeup. As soon as a water-based product hits oil, it's going to separate. You can watch it happen in real time by adding some oil to a glass of water and seeing how they repel each other - that's what will happen on your face," Megan said.

"Even if you have super dry and/or flaky skin, as soon as you sweat, the oil underneath your base product will freak out, cue patchiness. Prep with a hyaluronic acid serum or a hydrating primer like Heir Atelier Face Primer 1oz. or Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Primer - GOLD instead.

You can watch Megan explain her sweat-proofing makeup hacks in our step-by-step YouTube tutorial below.

2. Sweat-Proof Your Foundation.

Long-wear, full coverage foundation is brilliant for weddings, events or when you don't want your makeup to move for 12 hours. Not so much for every day.

The key to sweat-proofing your makeup, without looking too matte or losing that glow, isn't long-wear foundation. It's tailoring your base products to the different parts of your face.

For example, if you know you sweat around the temple (me), forehead (me), under the eyes (me!) or upper lip (ME!!!!), apply a mattifying primer like Benefit POREfessional 22ml only to those areas before priming the rest of the face with your hydrating, illuminating primer.

For this look below, I applied a mattifying primer underneath my glowy foundation, but only to the skin above my lip, under my eyes and on my nose. This way, I still got the dewy finish I love, but not in the parts of my face I know will be moist by midday.

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Same goes for foundation and concealer. Instead of automatically reaching for your long-wear liquid products like you would when doing event makeup, cream, stick or balm formulas work well for your sweaty spots because they're easier to work with throughout the day.

Megan added, "On a regular day, you might not be after the coverage and longevity of a long-wear foundation, too. Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation is a good sweat-proof foundation because it's mattifying, but still makes your skin look like skin."

3. Use Setting Powder Strategically.

When it's hot, humid and sticky, the inclination is to ADD MORE POWDER.

Only problem is, it leaves your face looking flat and dull, rather than plump and healthy.

"The more powder you pack on to nix shine, the more makeup there is to melt off. It's a vicious cycle - the more effective way to set makeup is by using a setting powder strategically in certain areas you know are going to get sweaty, rather than the entire face. This way, you won't lose your glow."

Megan recommends using a light, finely-milled setting powder that won't interfere with the shade of your foundation. Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Pressed Powder and RCMA No Colour Powder are great options at different price points.

I used this strategy when doing my makeup for an event recently. The result? Polished, sweat-proof makeup that still looks glowy, not dull.

how to stop makeup from sweating offhow to stop makeup from sweating off

4. Sweat-Proofing Throughout the Day.

Now, for some real talk. As helpful as the three tips above are, the truth is: sweat happens.

Megan added, "It's normal to sweat. We have dynamic faces, we have pores and sweat glands and oil. Makeup can only do so much, so know you'll probably have to do some maintenance throughout the day."

But the biggest mistake Megan sees when it comes to touching up makeup is, not drying your face before going in with more product. If you've ever hurriedly dabbed a huge cloud of powder on your face at a music festival or in the club bathroom in between 90s hits, you'll know the only way that story ends is with a crumbly, cakey face.

"Please, make sure your face is completely dry before putting more powder or foundation on top. If you're a hot, sweaty mess, there's no point trying to buff your makeup back in."

"Pat and blot the area dry using blotting paper, a hanky, paper towel or a tissue (but not toilet paper - trust me, it'll break up all over your face) and then once the skin is dry, use a stippling motion to lightly touch up foundation or powder."

And finally, Megan's last tip is one that won't cost you a cent. *Drum roll please.* Don't touch your face.

Instead, do what I do and carry a hygienic sweat rag around in your handbag to gently dab away those unexpected sweats. Yep, it's as attractive as it sounds.

And that is your roundup of sweat-proofing makeup tips from an expert. If all else fails, just embrace the sweat and pretend it's highlighter.

Want more expert beauty hacks? Check out these stories below!

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