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Cool makeup tips for a hot summer

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Friday, July 18, 2008

The next time you pack your lunch, you might want to bring an extra cooler. Not for more food, but for your makeup -- to keep it from melting.

When heat and humidity rise like we're experiencing this week, the makeup-melt meter also soars.

"Those insulated lunch bags work great to keep makeup and even things such as sunscreen fresh," says Kristen Oldham Giordani, senior editor of . "You can add some ice packs to help insulate it even more. When you come home, if your makeup has been left outside or in a car all day, throw it in the refrigerator overnight."

Leaving lipsticks, concealers, mascaras and blushes in a steamy automobile can lead to it becoming a liquid, smeary mess, and, more importantly, unusable.

The care that you need to take with makeup on a sweltering day also applies to taking precautions when applying makeup on your face to keep it in place - and avoiding the dreaded make-up meltdown.

Oldham Giordani and other makeup experts offer advice on keeping makeup fresh despite the steamy mid-July temperatures. Here are tips for every facet of the face.


First, apply makeup to cooled skin. Don't step right out of the shower and reach for the foundation. Let your skin dry off and the bathroom de-steam.

"Go and eat breakfast or iron your clothes and then come back and try to put on your makeup," Oldham Giordani says. "Skin has to be cool, because if not, your makeup will absolutely go away."

Estee Lauder's global makeup artist Rick DiCecca says heat and humidity mean more exfoliating and moisturizing. He advises keeping skin and makeup fresh by switching to a lighter form of a moisturizer in the summer and using a lotion or gel in place of a heavier cream.

If you are traveling with makeup, carry small containers to preserve the formula. Estee Lauder has a 10-day supply of foundation for on-the-go women.

"Makeup adheres better to skin that's smooth and hydrated," DiCecca says. "I love Estee Lauder's Double Wear foundations during the summertime, and I apply them using a foundation brush. A foundation brush provides an even finish and helps avoid putting on too much foundation. Wearing excess makeup will look obvious in hot, humid climates."


Begin with an SPF, Oldham Giordani suggests, with an oil-free formula and follow with a sheer foundation. Don't use a heavier foundation, because it will slip off your face. Use a skin primer before applying foundation, and it will help the makeup cling and stay in place. Some are anti-shine and oil absorbing.

"The key with summer makeup is less is more," Oldham Giordani says. "Use a peachy blush, a little mascara, some eye liner and a pop of color on the lips."

Cosmopolitan says using a "whipped" formula foundation that goes on super light will last all day. Top it off with a light dusting of a sporty face powder that absorbs perspiration.

If women want to wear liquid foundation, they should switch to a water-based one that's a little drier. Most brands have both available, says Pittsburgh makeup artist Cheryl Haus, who spent an entire day last week outside in 87 degree heat with a client.

"Switch from liquid foundation -- which melts and shines and runs in the heat because of the oil in it -- to a powder foundation, such as MAC Studio Fix or a mineral-pressed powder," she says. "Or Sephora makes a nice bronzer that works great in the heat."


When it comes to the eyes, Cosmopolitan says keep it simple. Skip cream-based eye shadows, since they have a tendency to smear and crease like crazy in the heat. Instead, blend a navy or olive eyeliner out from the bases of your lashes over your lids. Coat on waterproof mascara or just dab some clear lip balm on your lashes to make them glisten subtly. Cream eye shadow usually has a high concentration of water, so it evaporates easily.

Instead of a pencil eyeliner, Haus says, switch to a light liquid eyeliner or a wet-dry eye shadow. Just use a brush and apply the eye shadow as eyeliner. It will stay forever, she says.

Look for longer-lasting formulas in mascaras and eyeliners and eye shadows, Oldham Giordani says. She recommends Urban Decay's waterproof eye shadow primer by Revlon.

"It acts like a glue between the lid and the eye shadow, or sometimes I use a waterproof eyeliner across my entire eyelid and then put the shadow on top," she says.


Lip gloss and lipstick are the first to give in to the heat, because they often are made with soft oil bases. Try a stain instead. The color sets better so it lasts longer, according to Cosmopolitan. Oldham Giordani says sometimes a lip balm will do instead of lipsticks, which crack and smear.

Lipstick melts easily and creates feather lines so switch to lip liner and tinted lip gloss.


Haus says to stay away from cream blushes and switch to powder, which will be dryer than oil-based cream blushes. Some experts advise just a hint of blush or to skip it all together.

If you sweat

Cosmopolitan suggests using an oil blotter to absorb sweat where it shows without wrecking the rest of the makeup. To help prevent that, rub on makeup primer as your skin lotion; it'll smooth any creases on your face. Gel formulas actually cool your skin on contact as they wick away oil.

"Before applying makeup, use a product called Sweat Stop," Haus says. "You apply it with a cotton ball, and it is clear liquid, and you put it on freshly cleansed skin. Let it dry, and then apply makeup over it. It helps keep down perspiration."

When to discard makeup

As for the life span of makeup, check it at the start of every season.

Something like a pencil that can be sharpened usually can last as long as two years. But things like lipsticks or creams probably last only six months. Mascaras tend to have the shortest shelf life at around three months.

"If something looks funky or smells different or is cracked, you might want to get rid of it," Oldham Giordani says. "It most likely is no good and won't give you the look you want."

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