If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in central New Jersey for the better part of a decade, it’s how to choose humidity-resistant makeup. (I would say “humidity-proof,” but nothing is truly humidity-proof except mosquitoes.) In a part of the world where the humidity index routinely hovers above 90% and occasionally creeps up to 100%, it’s essential to know which formulas won’t slide off my face before I even leave the house—or, at least, will look semi-decent as they slide off. In addition to living in the muggy armpit of the United States, I’m also a person who sweats a lot, particularly on my face and scalp. After my 20-minute walk to work, my face is dripping and my hair is as wet as if I’ve just showered. All this is to say that if I vouch for the tenacity of a formula, believe me: it’s tenacious.
When choosing my makeup on particularly humid mornings, I look for formulas that a) stain the skin, b) dry down completely, or c) fade gracefully. (I’m talking about color makeup, by the way: I have yet to find a humidity-resistant concealer, but please enlighten me if you know of one.) Because I don’t wear foundation, powders don’t blend out properly when my skin is damp, and brushes don’t glide across my skin as smoothly as usual. And let’s be honest: now that I’m working a 9-to-5 job, I have a newfound appreciation for products that I can mash into my face with my fingers when half-asleep. On summer weekday mornings, I gravitate toward liquid or cream eyeshadow, liquid or cream blush, matte liquid lipstick, and sheer lipstick. This post will be an overview of my favorite formulas and shades in those categories!
1. Liquid and Cream Eyeshadow
My OG humidity-resistant holy-grail shadow is Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze, one of my summer staples since 2013 (this is my second one):
Bad to the Bronze is cooler-toned than most bronze eyeshadows on the market (I’d even venture to say it verges on taupe), with a formula that blends out smoothly but sets quickly. This stuff is apocalypse-proof. Unfortunately, none of the other Color Tattoos I’ve tried have impressed me as much, but I will repurchase Bad to the Bronze as long as it’s available. It’s one of the very few products that I discovered early in my makeup journey and still wear frequently today. For proof of its incredible longevity, look no further than this (rather gross, sorry) photo from earlier this week:
I took this after walking home from work on an afternoon when the heat index was about 100°. I was more sweat than woman, as you’ll see more clearly if you enlarge the photo, which I encourage you not to do. And yet, incredibly, neither my eyeshadow nor my lipstick budged. (The lipstick is Wet n Wild Liquid Catsuit in Nice to Fuchsia; more on that later.)
The Glossier Lidstars are a newer discovery. (Disclaimer: I purchased all the Glossier products in this post with store credit earned through my affiliate link.) Glossier is known for sheer, barely-there makeup, but many of their sheer products are surprisingly long-lasting. I’ve now tried every Lidstar except Herb, and I wear four of them regularly (Moon is a lost cause, and I actually sent it to an Instagram pal just yesterday):
|L-R: Fawn, Cub, Slip, Lily.|
Obviously, the packaging leaves much to be desired: the caps crack after a few weeks of gentle use (par for the course with Glossier, I’m afraid). But the formula is so tenacious that I can forgive the cheap packaging. These shadows dry all the way down and can be removed only with oil-based products. Sweat and tears will leave them unscathed.
|Top to bottom: Lily, Slip, Cub, Fawn.|
Cub and Fawn are pigmented enough that I can apply them with my fingers. Slip and Lily are sheerer, and they look patchy when finger-swiped across my lids, so I prefer to dab them on with their doefoot applicators and blend them out with a synthetic brush (I bought a cheapo one from e.l.f expressly for this purpose). This creates a beautifully smooth finish, even on my deeply creased eyelids. Here I am wearing Slip recently, as well as Glossier Cloud Paint in Storm (more on that later, too) and MAC Metallic Lipstick in Pale Rose. Slip matches my skin unnervingly well; it’s the slightly shimmery my-lids-but-better color that I’ve wanted since my earliest days of wearing eyeshadow.
2. Liquid and Cream Blush
Another longtime holy grail is Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Zygomatic, a pinkish beige that matches every makeup look. I’ve owned this blush for four years, which makes me think I should toss it soon, but it hasn’t gone bad in any perceptible way. I guess I’ll just keep using it until it does? (I notice that I bitched about the Jersey humidity in my original review of Zygomatic. Some things never change.)
Zygomatic is my only cream blush, but I’ve recently discovered the glory of liquid blush, in the form of Glossier Cloud Paint. I own four Cloud Paints, and I’ve been wearing them almost every day this summer. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I used a powder blush.
Inspired by draping queen Lena of Faceonomics, I’ve changed my everyday blush placement as well. I used to apply blush to the tops of my cheekbones, where highlighter usually goes, but now I like to blend it below my cheekbones for a more contoured look. This placement is especially effective with darker blushes like Storm and Dawn, the new Cloud Paint shades. (I still apply light blushes to my cheekbones or the apples of my cheeks.) Storm is a deep rosy brown, close to the color of dried blood, and Dawn is a bold, slightly burnt orange. Here they are at full strength and blended out, in shade (top) and sun (bottom):
Dawn is the perfect shade for replicating an amazing look from a k-pop video I saw recently:
I’m not brave enough yet to go quite as bold as Taeyeon (or Lena), but this is my best attempt at sunburn-contour so far. I really like it! As always with blush photos, it looked bolder in person, I promise.
3. Matte Liquid Lipstick
As regular readers know by now, my favorite matte liquid lipsticks are the Wet n Wild Liquid Catsuits. Comfortable, long-wearing, cruelty-free, and $4.99 a pop: what’s not to love? I own five:
|L-R: Rebel Rose, Nudist Peach, Missy and Fierce, Nice to Fuchsia, Goth Topic.|
They also work well as sheer stains, which I learned from Julia of Spiders and Caterpillars. My favorite Catsuit for this purpose is Goth Topic, which I bought last fall but never got around to reviewing. At full strength, it’s a very dark brownish plum that’s a little much for everyday wear, especially during the summer (though my commitment to #summergoth remains strong). Sheered out, though, it’s a moody plum that delivers a desaturated goth vibe. To apply, I use the applicator to dot a few drops on my lips; then I blend out the pigment with a finger, adding more color as necessary until I reach my desired intensity:
4. Sheer Lipstick
Of course, I also own several bona fide sheer lipsticks. Yes, these fade quickly in the humidity; but at least they fade nicely, which is all I ask. What I really like to avoid on hot, humid days are opaque cream lipsticks that smear when I try, pointlessly, to wipe the sweat off my face. (Glosses are also a little more smeary than I’d like, though I do wear gloss occasionally during the summer.) Here are all the sheer lipsticks I own currently:
|L-R: Urban Decay Seismic, Urban Decay Lawbreaker, Glossier Like, ColourPop Bee’s Knees, NARS Orgasm, NARS Dolce Vita.|
Swatches, same order. (That’s three [!!] swipes of Glossier Like and one swipe of every other shade.)
|L-R: Seismic, Lawbreaker, Like, Bee’s Knees, Orgasm, Dolce Vita.|
And that’s it! What are your favorite products to wear on humid days? Do you have any tips for making makeup last when the air is almost too damp to breathe?