28 October 2016Last updated

Beauty | Grooming

Summer-proof your foundation

Scorching temps and increased humidity are here, and with it comes the frustrating side effect of melting make-up. Louise Emma Clarke finds out how to get your base to last past the morning commute

Louise Emma Clarke
17 Jun 2016 | 12:00 am
  • Source:iStock

Summer calls for a few changes. Cooler clothing. A pause in trips to the beach. Air conditioning on 24/7. And a new strategy to getting our make-up to last throughout the day.

We’ve all been there. Carefully applying our foundation, but glancing in a mirror just a few hours later and realising the dash from the car to the office has melted it straight off our face. It might be caked or uneven – or it might have disappeared completely. Either way, it’s exasperating.

So what is happening? ‘Heat and humidity break down make-up formulas, causing them to separate and smear,’ says Chase Aston, The Body Shop’s international make-up artist, whose clients include Cameron Diaz and Elle McPherson. Add the extreme temperatures of a UAE summer and the process is accelerated. But we don’t have to accept our fate.

Make-up artist Nick Barose, who works with the likes of Lupita Nyong’o and Amy Poehler, says it is all about employing clever summer application tricks: ‘When it’s warmer and sunny, 
I have to be wise in terms of which products will keep my clients looking fresh, and to come up with simple little tricks to make it last.

‘Taking that one extra step or product for the make-up to last longer can save you in the long run,’ he says.

It sounds like a plan, but which tricks and products will stop the slide? We’ve compiled a five-step plan to beating the heat…

Use a primer

‘The secret to staying immaculately made-up in the summer sun is all in the prep,’ says Mac senior artist Rebecca Butterworth. ‘First things first, you need an oil-controlling primer under your foundation. It makes any foundation or tinted moisturiser infallible.’

‘It acts as a base for your foundation,’ adds Jennifer Villanueva, make-up artist at Pastels Salon, Ritz-Carlton Dubai. ‘It will smooth out the pores and help you to apply your foundation evenly.’


All you need is a pea-size dot of a primer with a lightweight, oil-free formula. Apply it to moisturised skin with your fingers. Add Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer (Dh165, to your shopping list. The colourless, non-oily formula helps to refine pores and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, while offering the perfect base for foundation that sticks around (despite the heat).


If shine isn’t your problem, you need a primer that will infuse moisture into your skin to lock that base into place. Get Laura Geller Hydrating Moisturising Under Make-Up Primer (Dh185,, infused with aloe vera gel and cupuacu seed butter to balance your skin throughout the day.

Keep things light

If you don’t want your foundation to start dripping at 9am, the logical thing to do in the summer heat is to simply hold back and use less. After all, the less you put on, the less will slide off.

‘Make-up likes to move around when it’s hot, so the best way to avoid that is to wear less of it,’ advises celebrity make-up artist Fiona Stiles ( ‘If you can, just use a tinted moisturiser or very lightweight base – and then use a concealer where you need it.’



Swapping to a BB cream is a good choice for the summer months, as it doubles up as a lightweight moisturiser and base, while offering sun protection too. Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream (Dh166, counters nationwide) promises to balance skin tone, cover imperfections, and protect skin from that harsh summer sun with SPF 25. If you need further coverage, invest in a good-quality concealer to dot over blemishes and smooth over dark, under-eye circles. Benefit Boi-ing (Dh100, counters nationwide) offers long-lasting coverage, without creasing or fading.

Look for silicone-based formulas

If you prefer full coverage when it comes to your foundation, however, you need to make some changes during the summer months. The best step you can take is to avoid oil-based formulas and instead, pick a lightweight, silicone-based liquid foundation to prevent it sliding off your face.

So how does it work? The silicone in the formula acts as a film between your skin and the humidity, preventing the foundation from seeping into your pores, clogging in places, and inevitably disappearing in the heat.


Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation (Dh175, Sephora) is a great choice for those who like a high-pigment, full-coverage foundation. In fact, it’s an impressive 21 per cent pigment, formulated with siliconic elastomers and esters for 24-hour wear and very little transfer. If a foundation is going to stand the best chance of beating the heat, it is this one.

Set with powder

‘Always set your foundation with a translucent powder,’ advises New York City make-up artist Joanna Dee. ‘That will keep it in place, while smoothing out the skin and also absorbing oil.’

Jennifer Villanueva, from Pastels, Ritz-Carlton Dubai, adds: ‘Using powder will definitely help your foundation last longer in the summer months. Apply it with a powder brush by tapping, instead of swiping.’


Givenchy Matissime (Dh230, is ideal for a UAE summer, promising to absorb three times more sebum and humidity than ordinary powder. You can also expect a lightweight, matte finish that locks your base in place throughout the day.


When it comes to the brush, it’s hard to beat Real Techniques Powder Brush (Dh59, Used by make-up artists the world over, it’s an affordable brush that promises very natural results.

Blot shine

Once you’ve applied that powder every morning, however, leave it on your dressing table at home.

Celebrity make-up artist Nick Barose says: ‘To bring your make-up back to life after being in the heat, don’t just re-powder – it will get cakey when powder sits on top of sweat. Instead, mist your face to refresh and then blot away excess oil with blotting paper to keep your complexion matte.’



Choose a non-oily, floral-based facial spritz, such as The Organic Pharmacy Rose Facial Spritz (Dh185, and follow with Jane Iredale Facial Blotting Papers (Dh55, Made of flax seed, the natural papers will soak up excess oil in an instant, without disturbing or fading away your foundation. Make sure you blot, rather than swipe them across the skin – and you will be rewarded with skin that looks as matte and fresh as it did that morning.

Summer make-up bag

So you’ve summer-proofed your foundation, but what about the rest of your make-up?

1 Cheeks


Ditch powder blushers in favour of cream ones to increase its wear in the summer months. ESpoir Creamy Cheek Stain (Dh136, comes in seven flattering shades.

2. Lips


Swap heavy lipsticks for lip stains, as they will lock in place and stay there all day. If you want to add a little gloss and hydration, a lip balm on top will do the trick. Yves Saint Laurent Babydoll Kiss and Blush (Dh187, Paris Gallery) provides a long-lasting stain and matte finish.

3. Lashes


Avoid panda eyes on humid days by investing in a high-quality waterproof mascara. Lancôme Hypnôse Drama 24H Waterproof Mascara (Dh180, defines lashes beautifully and promises to last all day.

4. Lids


Use an eyelid primer before applying eyeshadow to minimise creasing and create a base for the shadow to cling to. Benefit Stay Put Primer (Dh130, Sephora) is the tool for the job.

5. Liner


Pencil liners are likely to smudge in the humidity, so it’s time to swap to a waterproof liquid formula when you want to define and flick. Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner (Dh110, Sephora) offers precise application, high pigment colour, and an impressively long-lasting formula to stay put until bedtime.

Louise Emma Clarke

Louise Emma Clarke