How to Make Your Foundation Last – Tips and Tricks

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Make Your Foundation Last

Share your best tips and tricks for making your foundation last all day long!  Feel free to share your experiences, how you mastered techniques, or what you struggle with.

My Tips

  1. Primer goes a long way!
  2. Set your makeup with a setting or finishing powder (the former should work better, but depending on your skin type, finishing might be enough).
  3. Carry blot powder or a pressed setting/finishing powder with you to touch up and prevent your foundation from degrading throughout the day.
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Find a formula/brand that’s appropriate for you, not something that’s received a ton of accolades, or because it’s something your favorite guru or celebrity uses. Your skin chemistry may react differently, or you may live/work in a different climate.

Nothing helps as much as a good primer, but I’ve also found that taking the time to buff layers into the skin also helps. It removes excess and also ensures that the product that’s on the skin doesn’t get wiped away easily.

Along with using a primer to your liking. I swear by a setting pray. I LOVE MAC’s FIX+ and it helps my foundation last! It can be a tad pricey trying out different foundations, but for one thats to your liking I say go for it and see what works. But definitely a good primer will help!

Actually, if you look at the ingredients, you’ll discover that Fix+ isn’t really a setting spray. It’s just a simple face mist.

If you’re looking for an actual setting spray, look into Skindinavia’s products. Compare their ingredients & you’ll see what I mean when I say Fix+ isn’t what many people mistakenly think it is.

I don’t use liquid foundation because it just feels uncomfortable (I live in the south, near the ocean, and we might as well be in the tropical rainforest). I have combination to oily skin and for me, compact powder foundations and mineral formulas are the way to go. And I don’t use primer because that makes me feel like I have too much stuff on my face, and it makes me sweat which in turn melts off the makeup. I carry blotting papers and a colorless/translucent powder in my purse. So I guess my advice would be stick to dry products and use thin layers – the less junk on your face the better.

Setting is for keeping things in place, finishing is to make everything look better – they are often similar, though.

In addition to using a good primer and using a foundation that works for you and is formulated to be long-wearing, I have found that setting sprays can really help. I love the one from Clarins (Fix Makeup) – it really seems to work.

This may be a silly question, but what is the different between a setting and finishing powder? I am looking into buying one, but there seem to be so many options! My skin is combination and sensitive. Thanks a lot xx

In my experience, setting powders are slightly more powdery in a way – absorbent, I suppose – and help to mattify and take down shine. Finishing ones are sheerer, not as powdery, and often have some sort of soft-focus/light-reflecting element/particle that adds to the finish.

I love those blotting papers that are like, stretchy plastic. They soak up oil like no one’s business, and removing oil is what keeps foundation from degrading on my skin.

Also, Urban Decay “All Nighter” or Skindinavia setting spray keeps it going strong even in 100 degree heat for me.

I use long-wearing foundation for oily skin, with a powder foundation on top for FULL coverage and I expect it to last 9 hours or more without re-application.

I was wondering what brand these ‘stretchy’ blotting papers are from! If it helps anyone, I use blotting papers on my t-zone after moisturizing and BEFORE applying foundation. That way any moisture my skin can’t absorb has been removed and it seems to ‘anchor’ better in the first place.

1) get a foundation that’s longwearing and made for your skin type, apply a thin even layer.
2) wear a primer under your foundation that works well with your foundation and skin type.
3) use setting and/or finishing powder applied with a powder puff.
4) use a setting spray.
5) carry blotting sheets and powder to touch up during the day.

(1) Definitely wear primer – keep trying different ones until you find the one that works for your skin (and doesn’t break you out)
(2) Spray setting spray immediately before AND after foundation (but before powder).
(3) Switch it up depending on season/climate. One formula likely won’t be appropriate for the entire year. Also, different formulas work for different occasions. I don’t wear full coverage foundations on the weekends.
(4) Keep powder in your purse for a touch up in the afternoon.


I am allergic to dimethicone, which seems to be in every primer I’ve come across. Any tips on which primer and foundation I should try out? Almost every foundation and primer I’ve tried have caused my face to break out in teeny little bumps. Any help would much be appreciated, thanks!

Nal, try Nurturing Force Blot Out It’s approximately $25 at Camera Ready Cosmetics, online & is 100% silicone free. I can’t use silicone primers either. This is the only one I’ve found that doesnt make a mess of my skin. It also acts as a sun block (my own discovery), an excellent lid primer under eyeshadow, and as an oil blotting product which can be used under makeup or on bare skin. It’s amazing stuff.

For foundation, I’d highly suggest Monave’s liquid, cream & loose mineral foundations. They are all free of irritants like bismuth oxychloride, silicones and other such junk. Their Rose Daily Moisturizer works perfectly under all their foundations, acting like a ‘primer’. In reality, anything can be used to ‘prime’ the skin before foundation It just depends on your skin type.

i have a problem with putting foundation on, i get a white cast look, even if the foundation doesn’t have spf and the white cast lasts all day. is there any way to put foundation on so that i can get the true color without the white cast? btw, i use a buffing brush when i put on my foundation

Make sure that if you’re using a water based moisturizer that you use a water based foundation. If using an oil based moisturizer, use an oil based foundation. Not doing this results in your foundation failing you during the day. Think about what happens when you try to mix oil & water. It’s simple logic.

I personally find that typical primers makes a major mess of my foundation. I don’t use silicone based foundation, and the majority of primers on the market now *are* silicone based. Once again, this will cause your foundation to fail you. I also find that silicone primers are pretty useless for oily skin types. They make my foundation slide around, as well as irritate my skin, clog my pores & cause breakouts. The only primer I’ve found which works for oily skin is Nurturing Force Blot Out (silicone free).

If you want less oil breakthrough from your oily skin, moisturize the night before using a plant based oil. Yes, oil. Your skin produces less oil of its own when using an oil to moisturize. Evening primrose oil is a spectacular night moisturizer, as are borage oil & sea buckthorn oils.

I follow different application & layering techniques based on what type of foundation I’m wearing. It differs a great deal because of that alone

If oily, look for a setting powder or blotting powder that contains calcium carbonate. It works better than anything else to soak up oil. However, BLOT before you powder. Always. You’ll avoid caking this way. I personally like to mist my face after applying setting or blotting powder to avoid an overly matte look.

Lastly, find out what works for your skin type by experimenting. Just because you have dry/oily/combination skin, doesn’t mean that the same products that work for another person will work for you. Know your skin care & makeup ingredients inside & out. That way you can avoid wasting money on products that you know won’t work for you because of their ingredients. It absolutely amazes me how little most people know about the products they use every day & night, which they spend multiple thousands of dollars on over their lifetime. It’s absolutely crazy.

Forgot to say, try some foundations that aren’t necessarily marked as for your ‘skin type’. Labels can be extremely misleading. You may be very surprised. I have oily, breakout prone skin & have learned to avoid ‘oil free’ products like the plague. They simply do not have the staying power that quality oil-based foundations do, nor do they apply or cover as well, and they break my skin out 9 times out of 10. I always look for oil based foundations now – plant oils, not petroleum by products like mineral oil – and have far less problems than I did years before I discovered this for myself. ‘Oil free’ nowadays means ‘silicone based’.

Great tips. I also use the UD setting spray called “All Nighter” or close to that. Am also a big fan of primer and setting powder.

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