Why You Should Invest in Invisible Makeup

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One of the most frequent questions I get from friends and family is how do you make your makeup stay on so long? Why won’t my lipstick last? Why does my foundation sweat off so easily, even when it’s matte? It’s easy to blame the product itself for not being up to par, but before you trade in your favorite foundation or shade of red lipstick for something claiming to be long-lasting, go out and buy some primer or setting spray.

Long gone are the days of spraying hairspray on your face to make your makeup hold (I still can’t believe I used to do that in high school - I do not recommend using this as a hack now). The past couple of years, primers have blown up as a necessary, but highly neglected, step in makeup routines. While primer, setting powders, and setting spray are completely undetectable once applied, they have more benefits than simply holding your makeup in place.

Many primers are a hybrid between makeup and skincare and as such, can work to calm redness, enhance the saturation of pigment, smooth skin, blur pores, and provide anti-aging benefits. While setting powders generally work to blur pores and provide a flawless finish, setting spray can work to lock in makeup for all-day wear while also hydrating and reviving dry skin throughout the day.

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When to Apply

As far as application goes, primers should be one of the first things you apply after your skincare soaks in, preferably using your fingers instead of a brush. If I’m running late or looking to do a quick routine, I might use setting spray across my face instead of applying a cream primer just for time’s sake. After applying your foundation, you can opt to pat setting powder on your entire face or in select areas. I typically only apply setting powder under my eyes to lock in my concealer and on my t-zone to keep from looking too sweaty in the Louisiana heat. As for lip primer and eye primer, I typically only use these if it’s for a special event or I’m really wanting my makeup to last or the color to pop. These are simple and you can apply right before putting on your eye shadow or lipstick.

Because I have a serious problem with one of my eyes watering - especially during allergy season - I always use a lash primer to keep my mascara from running or smudging under my eyes, even if it’s a waterproof formula. I find that even some of my highest performing mascaras are enhanced after using lash primers, as they help to separate out my lashes for a longer and more open look.

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Lastly, I’ll spray my entire face with setting spray to lock everything in for the day. This is the absolute last step in my routine, although sometimes I’ll wet a sponge applicator with setting spray instead of water to apply foundation or concealer. Some setting sprays even have SPF in them - like this Supergoop Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 - which will not only set your makeup but also provide protection from environmental stressors.

One of the first questions I ask people when they complain about product wear is if they’re using a primer. If not, pick one up and give it a try. If adding this step into your routine doesn’t extend the wear time of your favorite product the way you want it to it might be time to look for a replacement or accept that your red lip might not survive the sandwich you ate for lunch.

Products photographed: J. One Jelly Pack, Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer, Lancôme Cils Booster XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base, Stila One Step Prime, Dermablend Loose Setting Powder in Original, Benefit They’re Real! Tinted Lash Primer, and Jouer Essential Lip Enhancer Balm.

Comment with your holy grail primers, setting powders and setting sprays!