Melt-Proof Makeup Tips

By Alisa Kerr
July 22, 2014
Health & Beauty

With the Tokyo summer now in full swing, I have found myself on more than one occasion with my makeup disappearing an hour after I leave the house. There is nothing worse than melting makeup, so here are a few tips for giving your makeup bag a quick summer update and ensuring you look good in even the stickiest weather conditions.

Girl with brush for makeup

1. Prep your skin with primer

In humid weather primer is a must. It’s the only way to keep any tinted moisturizer, powder foundation, or concealer from sliding off your skin before you have reached the end of your street. Nars Pro Prime Radiance Enhancing Primer SPF 15 (¥3,500) has a light diffusing and pore minimizing formula that diffuses imperfections and balances out your skin tone so well that you may be able to skip the foundation.

summer makeup 1

2. Invest in a mineral foundation

If you still feel like you need foundation, investing in a new mineral foundation is definitely worth your while. Traditional liquid foundation tends to disappear quickly in humid weather, leaving you shiny and uneven. Another downside is that any foundation that does stay on your face will end probably end up in your pores, mixing with sweat and creating unwanted blemishes. So switch to using a mineral foundation as the temperature and humidity start to rise. Mineral foundations now come in a variety of different varieties so you can select one that is best for your skin type.

If you have oily skin, then a mineral powder foundation like will help absorb excess oil and minimise shine without clogging pores. Remember to keep it light and only apply powder mineral foundation where you need it to blot or even out your skin tone. Try Bare Minerals Original Foundation SPF 15 (¥3,200).

Those with dry or more mature skin types can find mineral powders unflattering, as they tend to emphasize dry patches and wrinkles. In this case, the best formulations are liquid mineral foundations, and one of the best on the market for humid weather is Koh Gen Do ‘s longwearing Maifanshi Aqua Mineral Foundation (¥4,968). Koh Gen Do is a Japanese cosmetics brand that is a favorite among makeup artists around the world (check out the flagship shop in Azabu Juban for more of the brand’s products). The Koh Gen Do range is mineral based and formulated to withstand the hot, humid Tokyo summers. Set foundation with Koh Gen Do’s SPF 30 PA++ Face Powder (¥3, 024) if you need to tone down any unwanted shine without drying out your skin or settling in fine lines.

If you feel foundation is too heavy, switch to a tinted moisturiser or BB cream. A great everyday product is MAC Prep + Prime SPF 35 (¥4,644), which combines primer, high SPF and coverage to even out the skin. A little goes a long way, so start with a small amount and build up to where you need to, and remember to blend well along the hair and jaw line.

summer makeup 2

3. Conceal blemishes and dark circles with waterproof concealer

Finally, use a waterproof concealer like Make Up For Ever’s Full Cover waterproof concealer (¥4,536), which is extremely long wearing and water resistant.

4. Avoid heavy eye makeup and define eyes with waterproof formulations

Keep eyes low key during the summer months. A dark smoky or bright eye color just feels too heavy in the height of summer, and dark eye makeup is the last thing you want melting and smudging out of place. For eye shadow, stick to neutral shades of taupe, grey, champagne or pink with some shimmer, which will continue to look fresh and light all day. Again, a long-wearing formulation is key. MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot (¥3,132) comes in a great range of colors and is guaranteed to stay in place all day and not crease.

When adding eyeliner, swap smudgy, soft kohl liner for a waterproof pencil or liquid liner. Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner (¥2,480) and Kate Gel Liner (¥1,296) are both fantastic, long-wearing liners that will stay put even after a swim. Change up your eye lining technique and either add a subtle line above the lash line on the top lid only, or simply fill in the gaps between the lashes.

summer makeup 3

5. Avoid panda eyes with a waterproof mascara or eyelash extensions

Waterproof mascaras have come a long way in recent years, and are really a non-negotiable beauty item in high humidity conditions. Two of the best are Diorshow Waterproof Mascara (¥3,800) and Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero Smudge Mascara (¥3,780). Just remember you will need eye makeup remover to clean lashes at the end of the day. Another fantastic option is to skip mascara altogether and try eyelash extensions during the summer months.

6. Add some subtle color on cheeks

Powder blush is better than cream formulations that can melt, but keep to peach and soft, dusty pinks that look natural. Look for a long-wearing formulation like MAC Pro Longwear Blush (¥3,456).

7. Make lips the center of attention with tropical hued lip stains

Swap heavy lipstick and sticky gloss for a lip stain in red, coral or pink. Try Yves Saint Laurent Rouge pur Couture Lip Stain (¥3,800) in 111 (Coral Pink) or 104 (Fuchsia).