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Skin Deep

Skin Deep: How to do your makeup when you're a sweaty mess

Stop that makeup from sliding off your face.


Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.

It is with a heavy heart that I must confirm that we have officially entered sweaty season. I am a sweaty person at the best of times, but come May, when the air turns soupy, I begin every personal interaction with an apology. It pumps from me, the sweat, the majority of it coming from my face. It is an affliction, but for the keen makeup wearer, it is particularly cruel. Many’s the time I have found myself wiping away a carefully applied face of makeup mere minutes after putting it on, such is the exertion of simply leaving the house. (I have a problem, ok? It’s genetic.)

When on holidays, I know I should simply abandon cosmetics, but I enjoy the application process so much that I can not. So, here are some tips for getting through the soupy months (and/or a tropical holiday) while maintaining a certain level of glam.

The secret, in my opinion, to looking great during the summer months, is to changing things up. Let go of your winter makeup, and embrace a dewier, lighter look. If you can bring yourself to, say goodbye to foundation. It’s too heavy for these hot days, and almost never lasts the way you want it to. Summer was made for BB cream and tinted moisturiser, and there are lots of these to choose from these days. Nyx Cosmetics’ BB Cream is excellent, and won’t break the bank, but if you’re willing to fork out a little extra, Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturiser is beloved for good reason. In the featured image for this article I’m wearing Charlotte Tilbury’s new Unisex Healthy Glow (out July 7th), which is an almost silver colour when it comes out of the tube, then somehow warms the skin up. Don’t ask me how it works, but it does.


If you are totally committed to foundation, then you probably need to switch things up and get something waterproof. Mac’s Pro-Longwear Nourishing Waterproof foundation won’t budge and has a nice satin finish (FYI, a little of this goes a long way, be sure to buff it in properly). Kat Von D’s Lock-it foundation also has staying power, and Maybelline’s SuperStay 24 Hour Makeup does the job and is a little more budget friendly. Whatever you put on your face, make sure something has an SPF, because no one wants skin cancer or, god forbid, wrinkles.

When it comes to the rest of your face, I’m sorry to tell you that it’s time to say goodbye to your beloved powders. Be it eyeshadow, blusher or highlight, they simply were not meant for this sweaty world. Now is the time for creams and gels, which will have a better chance of survival. This is relatively easily done when it comes to your blush, contour and highlight, there are countless options out there (check out Nars’ new range of liquid blushes if you fancy treating yourself – they are excellent). Recently I’ve been using E.l.f.’s Aqua Beauty Blush and Bronzer in Bronzed Violet. It looks insanely dark and vibrant in the palette and the texture is a bit mad (it looks like a powder, but isn’t, and when you press into it it feels a bit spongey) but it buffs out to sheer dewy loveliness.

PastedImage-25456 E.l.f. Aqua Beauty Blush and Bronzer

When it comes to eyeshadow, I know that some people struggle to use cream products. I used to be the same. In theory, they’re great, but unless carefully applied, they can be a right pain. The secret, I’ve found, is to not use too much product (otherwise it settles into your eyes’ creases), and to blend, blend, blend quickly (since writing these columns I’m actually starting to think I need to get ‘blend’ tattooed on me). Cream shadows tend to set quickly, so buffing out the edges immediately is essential. This goes for eye crayons as well, which are also a solid product for sweaty times. In the picture I’m wearing Mac’s Pro LongwearPaint Pot in Groundwork, which is one of my favourite products ever, but there are twenty-one other shade options if that’s not your bag.

Maybelline’s Colourtattoo24hr Cream Eyeshadow is a solid, less expensive alternative.  I also like Charlotte Tilbury’s Colour Chameleon pencils which do not budge, and are easy to choose based on your eye colour. Kiko Cosmetics Long LastingStick eyeshadows are a good dupe for these, but unfortunately can only be bought online by Irish customers.

Aside from seventeen coats of mascara (currently Maybelline LashSensational), a solid eyebrow tint, and a bit of lipstick that’s all you need, in my opinion. If you simply must have an eyeliner flick, then you have probably already found your stay-in-place liner (mine is Rimmel Glam Eyes), but I abandon this completely in the summer. I want to be able to wipe away the sweat without fear of wiping off half my face. I want to look enhanced, but fresh. I want to wear no-makeup makeup. I want to be a summer gal. Except, of course, when it comes to festivals. Then I want to wear all the makeup all at the same time. But that’s next week’s topic.

New Product


Relevant to this week’s subject, Shiseido’s new Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother is one of those magic products which sounds like it shouldn’t work but somehow does. Pop a tiny bit on under or over your makeup, and your imperfections will be blurred and shine significantly reduced. I’m keeping it in my handbag for those moments when people start seeing their reflection in my forehead.

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