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Whether it’s a 30-degree-plus day, an impromptu sprint to your car before the ticket inspectors gets there first—or an attempt to get your hands on in-demand concert tickets—breaking a sweat is inevitable. And for those of us that have fallen victim to an unplanned sweat session, you’ll know that smudged mascara, shine (rather than glow), and droopy, melted blush and bronzer are just a few of the side effects.
Before we jump into the high-performing beauty that’ll keep your look in lockdown, it’s important to understand the two guiding principles of sweat-safe skin. The first? Prep your skin with oil-balancing skincare—especially if your skin tends to err on the oilier side. The second addresses your base: stay matte (satin if you’re drier/are willing to deal with a touch of shine), and prime, prime, prime. For those who are weary of looking a little too much like their early 2000s matte-mousse selves, don’t worry; you’ll naturally exude a bit of glow as the day goes on, so keep it less luminous in the morning.
Your first port of call? A hardworking primer to ensure your makeup adheres to your face (and stays there) while creating a protective barrier to avoid excess sweat and oil from deteriorating your carefully-placed face. Our current picks are the new Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primers, which come in hydrating, blurring, perfecting and illuminating formulas, as well as a supercharged Power Primer in essence-form. If you’re concerned about shine, hold back on the illuminating formula (and then go nuts on a less-sweaty day). Other reliable picks include the Shiseido Waso Poreless Matte Primer, which features wasabi as a key ingredient to soak up extra sebum (especially in your T-zone) and reduce the appearance of pores, and the Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer, an oil-free, mattifying formula that provides humidity-resistant hold for up to eight hours.
Next up is foundation, which is possibly the most important product in your sweat-proof arsenal. Finding the perfect fit is easy (and plentiful!). Stick to products that claim to be longwearing, matte and/or waterproof; Jouer’s Essential High Coverage Crème Foundation, Urban Decay’s All Nighter Liquid Foundation and the MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation are just a few best-in-show formulas that will undoubtedly fit the bill, promising and delivering on all-day wear, an airbrushed, lightweight effect and a matte finish
Like priming, setting your base is crucial for an added level of insurance. Dusting a setting powder atop a matte foundation can lead you into caking danger-zone, so we’d recommend setting with a very finely-milled translucent powder, such as the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. It’s a cult-favourite for good reason, blending seamlessly into the skin to set makeup for 12 hours, with an added soft-focus finish. If your skin is on the drier side—or you simply prefer a spray to a powder—the Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray is smudge-proof, mattifying and a total no-brainer, coming in a purse-ready mini to control oil throughout the day (and night). If you’re extra oily? Use both.
When it comes to the finishing touches—think brows, lashes and lips—continue to opt for waterproof, longwearing formulas. For brows that don’t budge, fill with Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colours and set with a brush-through of the Bobbi Brown Waterproof Clear Brow Shaper. Lashes are an easy fix—simply go waterproof—and for lips? Keep it light and balmy to avoid smudging and sliding. The options are endless, but our current obsessions are the NARS Afterglow Lip Balm in Orgasm, and Lipstick Queen’s sheer, juicy Lipstick Saint formula.
If the fear of sweat is causing you to well, sweat, it’s time you became acquainted with the humble blotting paper. While you should be all set for sweat-proof success, sometimes nothing—absolutely nothing—will pause the perspiration, so slip some of these highly-absorbent papers into your bag and when the time calls, gently press one onto any shiny spots.
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