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How to Tell Longwear Makeup Products From Those That’ll Peace Out in 2 Seconds

Kara Jillian Brown

Kara Jillian BrownFebruary 9, 2020

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Whether you have a long day ahead or your skin is so oily your makeup slides right off, sometimes you need to call in reinforcements in order for your makeup to stay put. Enter, longwear makeup. Though many products promise long-lasting, waterproof or transfer-resistant formulas, picking the right one for you goes beyond buzzwords on a beauty box.

“Longwear products are made with different formulas and ingredients to help keep the product on for dramatically longer than a traditional formula,” says makeup artist Mary Irwin. Unless she’s doing an editorial shoot where she’s changing a client’s look multiple times, she wants every look she creates to tap longwear products. “Longwear lipsticks especially can make a huge difference. That can be the difference between wearing a lip for an hour versus eight hours,” she says. “Longwear foundations still need to be touched up, but can look good after 16 hours.” Want to know more? Keep scrolling for how these products get formulated to last.

What makes longwear… wear longer?

It’s all about the formula, says Camara Aunique, celebrity makeup artist and owner of an eponymous faux mink lash line. “The difference between longwear makeup products and traditional makeup products has to do with the ingredients,” Aunique says. “Mainly, how much oil is in a given product.” She explains that unless otherwise marked, foundations, cream blushes, and mascaras tend to have more oil in them, and oil tends to wear away faster.

Longwear products, on the other hand, use a blend of polymers and water, making them more drying, but better able to attach to skin. Irwin says there isn’t one ingredient that makes a product longwear, but rather a combo. According to her, look for isododecane, alkyl silicone, isopropyl titanium triisost­earate and acrylates copolymers (say all those three times fast).”Most of the ingredients that make [products] long lasting are in easily 80 percent of the cosmetics out there, they’re just combined in a different way,” Irwin says. That makes a longwear product truly stick around.

As is common across the beauty industry, there isn’t much regulation when it comes to testing longwear claims. According to an article in Cosmetics and Toiletries comparing traditional and transfer-resistant lipsticks, there’s no industry standard to evaluate the long-lasting, transfer-resistant property in lipsticks, and each manufacturer has its own standard method.

Is a longwear product right for you?

Longwear products tend to be pretty matte, so if you’re a fan of a dewy finish, steer clear of these formula. “By nature, a hydrated, glowing finish is usually created by using lots of cream or oil-based products. The same thing that gives a beautiful dewy glow, however, will break down a longwear product,” Irwin says. Because longwear products are made without much (or any) oil, they can be really drying,  so if you have dry skin, look for something else; however, if you have oily, combination, or normal skin, you shouldn’t be affected by this.

“Dry skin, and longwear formulas are very rarely friends,” Irwin says. “The benefit to having dry skin is that your makeup is probably pretty long lasting on its own.” Both Aunique and Irwin find that for the most part, you can make any product long-lasting by properly preparing and priming the skin, and applying makeup with a brush or sponge to get it to better stay on skin.

Once you’re ready to remove your makeup, keep in mind that living up to their name, these products are a hard to remove. Aunique swears by Laura Napier Beauty Facial Cleansing Wipes ($46) and Clean Skin Club Coconut Oil Wipes ($17). “Both are super gentle and leave skin feeling healthy and glowing,” Aunique says. Be sure to be gentle while removing longwear makeup, especially when it’s around the eyes. Then, come your next long day, you have your routine on lock.

Does natural waterproof magic hold up to water? Here’s the answer:

These new primers don’t feel a thing like makeup, and these three tips will ensure a flawless foundation application over flakey skin.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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