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Make it Stick! Getting your makeup to stay on all day

Updated on April 1, 2009

You don’t have to be a pro to get your makeup to stay on all day without smudging or rubbing off. You CAN get your makeup to stay on without spending hundreds of dollars/ hiring a stylist.

First things first. Stop buying cheap make-up. I know times are tough, but if you care enough to buy it in the first place drop the extra money to buy the good stuff. (There are some exceptions to this rule: you can buy drugstore eyeshadow, lip glosses and mascara, just don't budge on the foundation!) The standard foundation will run you $10 at the drug store; if you buy a good foundation from a designer brand like M.A.C. Cosmetics you will spend $20-30. But even if you use it every day that bottle of foundation will last at least 3 months that’s only $10 per month, it’s trading 3 lattes at Starbucks.

Some foundation favorites:

  • M.A.C. Studio Sculpt or Studio Fix Fluid (too dark for my pale skin but both are favorites among my friends Studio Sculpt is a crème foundation while Studio Fix is a liquid)
  • CARGO oil free foundation: comes in a wide range of colors that match even the fairest skin. Every one I know who has used this foundation raves about how amazing it is, and I have to agree!

Tricks of the Trade

Use Primers. M.A.C offers a good foundation primer called Prep + Prime (which comes standard or in an SPF 50 version) It really smooths out the skin to allow easy foundation application and helps the foundation to blend with your skin tones. Urban decay makes an amazing eye shadow primer called Primer Potion. From the Urban Decay site: “Primer Potion is THE ultimate eye prep product for smoother, longer-lasting, and absolutely crease-proof eyeshadow. A must-have!”

Use brushes. Stop using those gross foam squares for foundation and sponges for eye shadow. They may get the makeup on but they absorb more of the makeup than gets on your skin. Sonia Kashuk for Target makes very good brushes that are inexpensive and work as well as the professional brushes that can cost upwards of $30 each. Plus, they are synthetic which is good if you have sensitive skin and can’t use natural hair brushes. Instead of rubbing on the makeup, you paint it on with a brush. This gives much better foundation coverage but it still looks natural. I suggest the following brushes for your arsenal: foundation brush, eyeliner brush, eyeshadow “all over brush”, eye shadow “blending brush”, blush brush or bronzer brush depending on what you use, large powder brush. Look for another hub soon to go over the usage of these brushes! Tip for cleaning brushes: use baby shampoo. It is very gentle, hypoallergenic, and inexpensive.

Apply powder to seal your look. Once you have applied everything but mascara, this includes lipstick but not lip gloss, take a powder brush to your face and lightly dust powder all over. The power will seal the makeup to help it stay on longer and give you a nice airbrushed clean look. Tip: when you apply eye liner cover it with a thin layer of powder, it won’t change the look of the liner by much and it will stay on much longer.

The Final Touch

Fix + by M.A.C is amazing! Once you have finished everything give your face a spritz of Fix +. It will make your face slightly moist, you will need to let it air dry. The bottle is giant and lasts forever, definitely worth it! I use this when I go to raves and my look lasts through the whole party well into the wee morning hours. Definitely a MUST HAVE!!! If you do not take any of my other suggestions, the least you can do is give this stuff a try. Without a doubt my favorite product. Tip: Do yourself a favor and try spritzing it a few times before you actually have the makeup on to get used to it. It can be strange spraying yourself in the face the first few times!


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      i used to use Victoria's secret make up was the worst it doesn't stay all day so that theory of not buy cheap make up doesn't work all the time...

      the target have better make up that mac or vs.

    • profile image

      kaitlyn wetsch 

      5 years ago

      at is cool

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I barely agree with half of this. MAC foundations don't stay on AT ALL! they're probably the least long wearing foundations I have ever used in my life. Fix+ doesn't make much of a difference to the wear either. I mean if you're talking about increasing the wear from 4 hours to 6 then I guess I agree but none of this advice will help make up stay on for say 12,14 or 16 hours. Some of us need to be beautiful for that long!

    • Sleepawaycampr profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from California

      shugofa you can use foundation every day. The products suggested in my article are just suggestions. There are a lot of options of similar products if you notice that your skin is breaking out. I suggest going to a store like Sephora or Ulta. They will ask you about your skin and make suggestions for you. the great thing about sephora, if you have all of the original packaging and the product makes your skin break out you can return it for store credit and try something else!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      hi can i use mac fondation evry day?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Mac is okay, but I think there are better foundations that are also better for acne prone skin.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Mac Studio Fix foundation and powder are hands down the best two make up items I have ever bought! My skin looks flawless the entire day!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Mac is actually horrible for your skin. It has talc which was used in baby powder...they don't even use it in that anymore. Not a product you want on your face- will make you break out. Note: My dermatologist told me this, so its not just a conclusion I came to on my own.

    • profile image

      Cheap Make Up 

      9 years ago

      Great hub. Love the comment about trading Starbucks for cosmetics:-)


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