Back to basics: How to keep your foundation looking fresh all day

‘The best way to make your make-up last is to spend more time prepping your skin’

Some people approach autumn and early winter with an enthusiasm bordering on pathological. You’ll find none of that here. While I lament the return of horizontal rain and wringing puddle water out of my jeans and socks, I note that reader emails are starting to develop a common theme. It has been a strangely sweaty, shiny and humid autumn in which figuring out what to wear feels like an exam we haven’t studied for. When the cold weather hits and the heating goes on, keeping make-up on is a challenge as we move between hot, dry indoor environments and cold, damp streets. So I asked celebrity and editorial make-up artist Alexandra Golshahi – our own Marian Keyes’s go-to woman for a flawless complexion – how we can keep foundation looking fresh and perfected all day.

The key, Golshahi says, is mostly in the prep. “The best way to make your make-up last is to spend more time prepping your skin before you put it on.” Skincare that works for your skin type is essential to creating a balanced canvas for make-up. A heavier coverage foundation might feel like a natural solution at this time of year but it isn’t; Golshahi suggests a good primer instead.

“I know primer can feel like another unnecessary layer – and another way that cosmetic companies get us to spend – but using a good one can make a real difference. It’s like priming a wall before you paint it – the paint sits better, lasts longer and has a nicer finish.” This doesn’t just apply to priming before foundation. Dry or cold environments can all contribute to oily lids or leaky eyes. While a leaky eye can portend the ruination of a face of make-up, it will help to prime your lids and lower lash line to minimise damage and maximise hold.

Once you are happy with your make-up overall, setting powder can make an enormous impact on its longevity. If you’re concerned about mottled, cakey and drying powders, don’t worry. “Powders can definitely help stop creamier make-up sliding all over your face, but I use it sparingly,” Golshahi says, stressing that powders have benefitted from serious technological advances in recent years. “They’re super milled and light in texture, often have light reflectors in them to soften and ‘blur’ the look of your skin. Some even actively hydrate the skin whilst mattifying. That said, I only use powder in certain areas that you never want to look shiny – chin, top lip, around the nose and tip (it’s a hard no to highlighted nose-tips from me) and middle of the forehead.”

To prevent overapplying powder, it can be helpful to use a small fluffy brush for the job rather than the traditionally large powder brushes.

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