Long-Wear Face Makeup for a Flawless Complexion That Lasts

by Sonja on July 27, 2009

For years, I had a problem with my foundation slip sliding away. But face primers and long-wear concealer and foundation have changed all that. Now I can have an even complexion throughout the day – not just halfway through the day.


I think face primers are one of the best inventions around. Even if you have the oiliest skin, they help foundations, tinted moisturizers, and powder all last longer. Here are some that are especially light so they’re ideal for summer – but they’re also great year-round.

Marvelous Multi-Tasker
per-fékt skin perfection gel ($17.50 - $57.50) is a powerhouse. It’s an all-in-one antioxidant-rich primer, sheer foundation, and color corrector that dries to a powder finish. It improves skin tone, controls oil, and reduces the appearance of enlarged pores and fine lines. And it’s sweat-, water-, and transfer-resistant. Wow.

It doesn’t give enough coverage for me to use it as a foundation; but I really like it as a primer. It contains no parabens, talc, fragrance, oil, or water. The company reports that it’s a cult-favorite on TV and movie sets, including Ugly Betty and Dreamgirls, and among celebs like Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Hudson. Available from Sephora.

Ultra-Light and Lovely
shu uemura uv under base spf 10 ($32) is a wonderful, unique, ultra-light primer in a mousse form. It feels so nice and weightless on the skin – totally ideal in warm weather. For summer, they came out with a limited-edition uv under base shimmer spf 10 with a subtle shimmer and sparkle. It gives my face a nice glow without making me look like a disco ball. Available at shu uemura boutiques, counters, and online.

Brightening and Beautiful
Benefit “that gal” ($28) is a lightweight, pink-toned face primer. It can be worn on its own to brighten and smooth the complexion. Wear it under makeup and “that gal” will also help make makeup last longer. You can apply a bit midday to freshen up your complexion with a fresh, dewy look. Available from Benefit and Sephora.

New and Promising
Urban Decay has come out with two new primers – brightening and pore perfecting – for fall. I haven’t tried them yet. But I’m guessing they’ll be awesome, considering how great their Eyeshadow Primer Potion is (check out this post on long-lasting eye makeup to read my review of the Primer Potion). Available at urbandecay.com and from Sephora.

Face Makeup

Primers help any tinted moisturizer, foundation, and powder last. To make face makeup last even longer, I pair a primer with a long-lasting concealer and foundation.

Concealer that Lasts
Sue Devitt Automatic Camouflage Concealer ($21 - $23) is great if you have a problem with fading concealer. I definitely found that it stays in place longer than the typical concealer. There’s a new formula called Under Eye Corrector ($24) that’s supposed to be more moisturizing and fights free radicals. I’ve only tried the original formula and didn’t find the original drying, but since the skin around my eyes tends to be dry as I’ve gotten older, I’d definitely like to give the new one a try.

Marvelous Multi-Tasker
As I mentioned above, per-fékt skin perfection gel works as a primer, foundation, and powder. I prefer more coverage. But if you’re a woman who simply puts a bit of powder on your face, this is totally for you. It’s a nicer option than powder, because it won’t get cakey the way powders can, especially if you’re reapplying throughout the day. It’s also more likely to do way more for your skin than any powder around, considering how it improves skin tone, controls oil, is sweat-, water-, and transfer-resistant, and is chock full of antioxidants. Available from Sephora.

Water-Resistant, Perfecting with Sun Protection
Laura Geller Barely There Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 Water Resistant ($30) is a new light-diffusing foundation, sunscreen, and antioxidant moisturizer in one. It contains light-diffusing mineral pigments to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I love the amount of coverage it provides – more than the usual tinted moisturizer but not as much as a typical foundation – and that it really stays in place. It’s ideal for travel, because it has a pump-top tube so there’s no bottle to break or spill in your bag. It contains no oil, fragrance, or talc. Available from QVC.

Next Up

In my next post, I’ll be writing about long-wear makeup for cheeks.

Do Tell

What’s your experience with concealer and foundation? Do they tend to fade as the day wears on? Do you use a primer and/or a long-wear formula? Do tell.

P.S. Check out our just-updated Beauty Resources page for some amazing beauty deals from beauty.com, Benefit Cosmetics, Sephora, and more.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 gilda rêvasseur July 27, 2009 at 5:01 am

i love shu uemura’s primer. i’ve always wondered how smashbox’s primer is though. i’ve heard rave reviews and received a teeny-tiny sample from sephora once, but i don’t know it is was because i didn’t blend it in my skin well, it made my make up weird and blotchy!

i also love laura mercier’s tinted moisturisers. i don’t usually use foundation in summer, so i live on her tinted moisturisers. i have terribly oily skin which is just bad news in new york’s summers, so i try to lay off the make up. if i do need more coverage though, i use a few dabs of liquid foundation from this brand called rmk. it’s from japan and i’ve used it for years. it’s quite lightweight, quite perfect for my skintone, and doesn’t melt under the heat!
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2 Tami July 27, 2009 at 9:48 am

I’m not a huge makeup wearer, but I love the shu uemura under base mousse primer. looove it.
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3 Tami July 27, 2009 at 9:58 am

I’m not a huge makeup wearer, but I love the shu uemura under base mousse primer. looove it.
Tami´s last blog ..Whitney Smith Pottery
Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.My ComLuv Profile

4 Julie July 27, 2009 at 10:29 am

I also love the YSL make-up base, your skin remains incredibly matte all day long !
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5 Sal July 27, 2009 at 10:36 am

Oh dear. This is the part where I get overwhelmed and tune out. I’ll have to print out this post and read with a cup of tea when I have more time … because you KNOW I’ve got the shiny-face woes. ;)
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6 Sonja July 27, 2009 at 2:23 pm

❤ gilda, shu uemura’s primer is much lighter than Smashbox’s, which I believe contains silicone. I’m pretty sure silicone makes makeup go on more smoothly. Thanks for letting me know about RMK. I wish it was available in the U.S.!
❤ Tami, thanks! Isn’t it amazing how light their primer is?!
❤ Julie, I’ve never tried that. They have so many wonderful products.
❤ Sal, oh no! It’s pretty straightforward. Use a primer before other face makeup to help it last longer. And if you want the makeup (concealer, foundation, tinted moisturizer, powder, etc.) to last even longer, then use a long-wear formula. Hope that helps! :)

7 Miss Jen July 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm

I heart Shu Uemura’s Mousse Shimmer…but it’s very difficult to use when you get to the last few drops (hard to pump it out of the bottle). I have tried Benefit’s Dr. Feel Good balm and Smashbox’s photo finish, but I still like Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer the best.

Thnx for the loops, Sonja! Will check out the new stuff!

8 Sonja July 28, 2009 at 4:02 pm

❤ Miss Jen, that’s funny. You got to let those last few drops go, girl! Laura is the queen of tinted moisturizer!

9 zaali July 29, 2009 at 1:21 pm

I love the make up tips…I will try some of these..Thanx

10 Katrina Rau July 29, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Sonja, thought I should make mention of Bobbi Brown. All of her moisturizers contain a primer technology so you can forgoe the extra step of a seperate primer. I would encourage your bloggers to give Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base a try! Its amazing before makeup!

11 Ri August 3, 2009 at 7:20 am

Up until now I used “that gal” religiously. I gives the skin a nice pink-ish fresh tone and also helps the make up stay in place, but after reading all you praise the Shu uemura mouse I think I will give it a try!

12 Sonja August 3, 2009 at 11:30 am

❤ Thanks, zaali! So glad you found them helpful!
❤ Katrina, thanks so much for letting me know. I need to get some of her skin care and test it out. I love the stuff you’ve prepped my skin with.
❤ Ri, the shu uemura mousse is really unique. I’ve never tried anything like it. Definitely the lightest formula I’ve ever come across.
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