The Secret to Maintaining Your Makeup Perfectly All Day This Winter

Dry, brittle skin; stuffy, humid heating; wet, wintery weather… what other challenges must our makeup face this season?! We thought that getting our makeup to last all day during the hot and sweaty summer was challenging, but our problems were one-upped in the new, cold conditions of winter.

If you’re struggling to achieve long-lasting makeup this winter, you’re not alone—but you don’t have to settle for a nose as bright as Rudolph’s or cheeks as pale as Frosty himself! Read through these little-known steps for how to make your makeup last all day and you can achieve a glowing look that can fool the calendar. Just click on a link below to get started!

  1. How to Prep for Long Lasting Makeup
  2. How to Apply Makeup that Lasts All Day
  3. How to Set Your Makeup so it Stays On

1. How to Prep for Long-Lasting Makeup

Beauty Lesson 101: The staying power of your makeup lies in how you prep your skin before applying your cosmetics! Like an artist and their canvas, properly prepping your skin is vital to achieving a long-lasting makeup application—no matter what season it is.

However, the weather does play a significant role in your complexion by determining what your skin needs. Drastic temperature changes and dips in air humidity can cause your skin to react in a number of less-than-ideal ways, from dry patches to red spots, so you’ll need to switch up your skincare accordingly.

If you haven’t made a seasonal change to your beauty routine, it might explain why you can’t keep makeup on all day. The foundation you wore all summer might not stay in place on top of dead, under-exfoliated skin cells, or the primer you used to combat oily skin during the hotter months might not fare with a now-dehydrated complexion.

winter skin care scarf

Take a close look at your skin in the mirror and see what it’s thirsty for. After analyzing your skin, follow these steps for all-day makeup that shines brightly even on the cloudiest of days.

What to Apply on Your Face before Makeup

Are you tending to your skin with these essential skincare products? If not, add these steps for long-lasting coverage.

Face Exfoliator

When your skin looks as dull as the gloomy weather forecast, it could be time to adjust your exfoliation game. The air becomes much colder and drier in the winter months, which draws moisture from your skin and forces its water content to evaporate more quickly.

As a result, your skin becomes brittle, tight, and as ashen as the soot in your chimney. Dead, dried out skin cells pile on top of each other, creating rough patches that cause your foundation makeup to look flaky.

To revitalize your skin and achieve even, full coverage, be sure to use a facial exfoliant at least once a week. It’ll slough off dead skin and uncover your radiant glow, lending a youthful look no matter how long your makeup lasts.

how to keep makeup from rubbing off

Face Toner

Combatting a red, blotchy complexion this winter? Dealing with discoloration is never fun, whether you’re hot from the sun or cold from the blustering wind, but a facial toner could be just the hero you’re looking for.

They work by clarifying and refreshing your skin—evening out the color of your complexion along the way—so you can worry less about making micro-adjustments as you go in and out of the cold. Set yourself up for success by wearing foundation with sunscreen even under cloudy skies; harmful UV rays can still penetrate the atmosphere, turning you redder than Santa’s suit.

Face Moisturizer

Moisturizing your skin is non-negotiable if you want to apply makeup that doesn’t rub off. A good face moisturizer will not only quench your skin’s thirst, but it’ll also improve the texture of your skin for a perfect foundation application that lasts all day. Avoid a cracked complexion caused by cold, dry air by adding this essential hydration step to your makeup prep; you’ll love how rejuvenated your skin looks and feels, on top of how easily your foundation slides (and stays!) on.

2. How to Apply Makeup that Lasts All Day

Now that you know the four steps to prepping your canvas for a long-lasting makeup application, it’s time to reveal some tips on how to make your cosmetics stay in place—without using products that feel like permanent paint.

Layers of Makeup Application

Just like staying warm in the frigid cold, the key to making your makeup last all day depends on the right layering strategy, beginning with a primer.

Face Primer

Adding a face primer to your makeup arsenal is one of the best tricks to avoid foundation problems. A primer buffs away fine lines, fills in wrinkle crevices, and conceals large pores; moreover, it makes your foundation last longer by adhering to the formula and delivering a stronger hold. Always apply a makeup primer after your face moisturizer by dabbing a few dots across your T-zone and using two fingers to blend into your skin with upward strokes.

Oil-Free Foundation

If you want to know how to make foundation last all day, you need to minimize excess oil. Too much sebum on your face will cause your makeup to slide right off, forcing you to confront a shiny complexion by 3:00 PM. In addition, make sure you allow enough time for your moisturizer and primer to set in before applying foundation makeup on top.

The jury is still out on the best way to apply your makeup so that it stays on all day long. Some advocate for the finger method because you’ll transfer fewer germs (so long as your hands are clean!), while other makeup pros are fans of soft-bristled foundation brushes. You can also use a beauty blender to apply your makeup for full coverage that gets deep into creases and delivers a photo-ready finish for long-lasting wear, but be sure to clean it regularly.

The best all-day foundation should be oil-free and how you choose to apply it is up to your personal preference, but do yourself a favor and keep your warm, sweaty hands off your face and blot away oil throughout the day to prevent your makeup from rubbing off.

Natural Blush

Some want to keep their rosy cheeks at bay, while others try to add a little color to their pale complexions. If you’re in the latter camp and would like to achieve a radiant glow—even in the dead of winter—take to a natural blush or bronzer. Suck in your pout and apply your blush or bronzer above the hollows to the apples of your cheekbones. For long-lasting makeup that glows all day, go over your cheeks with another light layer of foundation and repeat the steps as necessary to lock in color.

All-Day Eye Makeup

There are so many different looks you can go for when it comes to strategic layering of eye shadow. From au naturel to a bold cat eye, you can find tons of makeup tutorials for achieving your favorite glam style. Whether you’re getting ready for a holiday party or just a regular day at the office, the secret to getting your eye makeup to stay on all day is to apply light layers that build one on top of another. Also, don’t forget to apply makeup primer to your eyelids—not just your face!

winter makeup looks

Long-Lasting Lipstick

The staying power of lipstick relies mostly on its formula, so don’t skimp on quality when picking out your product. Cheap, drying agents will make your pout chapped and dry, so opt for a lipstick with rich, emollient properties. Exfoliate your lips beforehand to ensure no flakes of dead skin chip off throughout the day then apply a non-oily, waxy lip balm to adhere the pigment in place. Bonus tip: Drink from straws and eat with forks when possible in order to prevent your lipstick from smudging or losing its color.

3. How to Set Your Makeup so it Stays On

Armed with the best skincare strategies and application techniques, it’s possible to get your makeup to last all day without using a setting spray or primer. However, if you really want your makeup to go the extra mile—come sleet or snow—you should finish the job with a final setting spray.

Makeup Setting Spray

You can use a setting powder to seal your perfectly contoured look, but it might detract from your foundation and blush application if you use a product that’s too thick or chalky. Alternatively, lightweight setting sprays are easy to use and require no additional brush, so they’re less likely to clog pores or cause breakouts.

Setting Sprays for Sensitive Skin

Your complexion is up against tough odds during the cold, winter months, so be extra gentle on your skin. A sensitive setting spray will not only lock in your look for impressive makeup staying power, but it can also nourish your skin with a much-needed antioxidant boost.

If dry, rough patches are your biggest struggle this season, get a two-in-one hydrating setting spray that will help soothe your skin and retain moisture as it keeps your makeup in place. Your cosmetics will stay on-point and smudge-free all day, but your skin will feel as luscious as it looks in your reflection.

Don’t let the weather wreak havoc on your skin! Follow these steps to winter-proof your beauty routine and you’ll be glowing all day long.