May 272013

Long Wearing Foundations01

Now that we’re entering the summer season, I thought it would be useful to do an entry about warm weather foundations. Last late summer through the end of fall, I was living on the road doing extensive traveling throughout the hot, humid areas of the American South. Keep in mind, as a Northern California resident, I’m no stranger to hot weather. At Cafe Makeup, we weather our share of over-100 degree days. However, there’s a lot of truth to that expression “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” I remember the blast of warm, humid heat that rendered my favorite foundations powerless to withstand the afternoons. Not kidding–I have a whole new level of respect for those who wear makeup in humid climates.  It’s a whole new level of challenge.

Foundations that include Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua just didn’t stand a chance. Meltdown! My Burberry Sheer Luminous Fluid foundation did pretty well, so did Chanel Perfection Lumiere.  Ultimately, I found that my other top choices are (pictured above), Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation SPF 42+++ (my favorite), MAC Pro Longwear (the widest variety of skin tone choices), and Estee Lauder Double Wear Light (if you want a touch more coverage).

Here are some details of my search. Typically, I used a 5-7 day sample to test these out. Of course, foundation is “your mileage may vary” so please take these experiences with a grain of salt. These are my opinions:

  • MAC Studio Sculpt:  Unfortunately, not a good foundation for me. There’s some magical potion in here that adds serious all-over glow.  The coverage is medium. At first try, I wanted to love this one. Although it has a gel texture, this foundation felt a bit heavy on my skin, which tended to get oily in the heat and humidity.  This might be a very good bet for dry skin.
  • Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Makeup:  This had great longevity in hot, humid weather.  If I had not tried the “light” version–Estee Lauder Double Wear Light– I might have stopped with this. This version gave me more coverage than I needed, which can look a little aging with my skin texture. I still have my sample in my makeup bag, it works well as a face concealer for problem areas.

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  • Estee Lauder Double Wear Light (Intensity 1.0): This has pretty serious coverage, going from medium to full. Excellent stability and wear even in the most humid heat.  It didn’t seem to transfer. It felt pretty comfortable. This did pass the “hot, humid” weather test, and really stayed put until I took it off.  No breakouts with proper removal at the end of the day.  I didn’t love the texture compared to some of the other lines I own, but it was great for functioning well for all-day wear in challenging weather. Nice pack-able container.

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  • MAC Pro Longwear (NC15):   This is the one MAC foundation that really performed well for me. As the “Pro Longwear” name promises, this gave me all day, stable wear. It just did not quit, and felt pretty comfortable throughout the day. Unlike the Estee Lauder and Shiseido lines, this is available in a very wide variety of shades. I found this was medium coverage with normal application, and is buildable for problem areas.  No breakouts with proper removal. I do recommend this one for hot, humid weather. Not a super travel-friendly container (it’s glass).

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  • Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation SPF 42+++ in SP20: When I found this Shiseido, I stopped looking. This is incredibly stable, has great sunscreen protection, and gave me no breakouts.  Of all of the ones that I tried, this one had the most natural texture.  Coverage is medium and is buildable. I still use this foundation quite a bit, even though I no longer live in a humid climate. Very travel friendly plastic, small container.


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More swatches:

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Please keep in mind that I’ve stopped my travels to humid climates, so I have not had a chance to test some of the new foundations and BB creams personally under those conditions. I hope you found the results of this little experiment helpful. My hope is that readers and other bloggers will provide their thoughts as well (whether here or on their own blogs). so that we can share information about what works in different conditions.

Do you have experience with good foundation wear in warm weather? Tell us your secrets…..

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  18 Responses to “My Thoughts: Foundations for Warm, Humid Weather”

  1. I just got the un-tinted Shisiedo sunscreen and now I’m wishing I’d gotten it with a tint! Being quite pasty, I really appreciated this post!

    Jillicious Cosmetics

  2. I live in Taiwan, and Taiwan has hot, humid weather three quarters of the year. (The other quarter is cold humid weather). I’ve found I can only use Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in the winter. Same thing with Nars Tinted Moisturizer and Nars Sheer Glow foundation. BB creams hold up pretty well in general, and Bobbi Brown foundation stick falls somewhere in between Nars and Chanel in terms of wear.

    What I’ve found is that you can’t be lazy if you want foundation to last in warm humid weather you can’t skip steps. Moisturizer, sunscreen, primer, foundation, powder is how I do it. If I’m only out and about for half a day or it’s cold, I can get away with just moisturizer, foundation (usually a BB cream instead of a full foundation) and powder.

  3. I had the Shiseido, loved it…and lost it because it’s so darned small, as you mentioned. It’s somewhere with my lost socks, I’m sure…

    My only problem with it is the shade selection. It can be tough to find a match without first trying it on because all of the shades look so scarily dark and orange without blending out.

  4. I am a die hard Chanel fan but I always use the Shisedio when I go to the beach (I live in FL) I also use the powder by them – I use a 50 in the makeup and a 40 in the powder which you can buy refills for and they have a cute limited edition compact – 3 designs and there is a gift with purchase of 2 sun products in almost every store. Used this for years – can’t beat their sun products.,en_US,sc.html

  5. Unfortunately i don’t have any recommendations to add to longer wearing foundation in the heat. I really appreciate your post, Ive been looking forward to it! Thank you so much Amy.

  6. I lived in Singapore for 3 months. It has a very humid climate. Here’s what worked:
    – Laneige Snow BB soothing cushion: this is a BB cream — I believe this is sold in the US under the Amore Pacific (the parent company) name
    – Shiseido Dual Balancing Foundation
    – Shiseido Sheer Mattifying Compact Foundation

    Only Shiseido’s thin watery sunscreens (Anessa and the other one they sell in the US/Canada in the blue container) worked well for me. I have normal to oily skin and most Western brands’ sunscreens have too much moisturizer in them.

  7. I just want to thank you again for your absolutely marvelous blog- and this one is merely another example of the excellence with which you help us all out here in cyberland. I have been confounded by this issue: I am in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and we have some very hot humid weather during summer months. I also spend much time out in the elements!!

    Thank you for all you do, it is so very appreciated. xo Beth in Pgh 😉

  8. Thanks for this post. I live in Mexico City, which can be pretty hot during April and May. Estee Lauder Double Wear Light works great, I just wish it was less pink on my skin (I have yellow undertones). However, what has really worked wonders lately is Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24h, and it doesn’t look cakey. It’s medium to full coverage and lasts quite long.

    I currently reserve that one for special occassions, when I need my makeup to last longer than 8 hours (ex: dinner after work), and I’m using on a daily basis Shiseido tinted urban environment sunscreen and Nars light reflecting powder on.

  9. hi amy!! this is kinda like finding a great pair of jeans! you have to try hundreds of pairs of jeans to find 1 that’s right! i’ve used jane iredale’s amazing base for years.and, it really is wonderful but, this year is different as i’m battling acne conditions with sensitive, combination skin. i’m extremely fair with a very delicate complexion. the amazing base is amazing and can really hold up in the heat. i’m a teacher and i’ll be beginning summer camp soon so, i need something really good to withstand the heat and humidity on the playground plus an 8 hour day. the powder just seems to heavy this time and, i’m thinking less is more would be best in my case. at least until my chin clears up. i was going to try to test foundation from counter to counter. but, that takes time which i don’t have and i need to test the product for a full day to see if there’s any reaction. i’m thinking start at clinique and then work my way to estee lauder and mac. i have a shiseido counter but, i’ve yet to find a person who has knowledge of the line, the sales associates come from other counters. i need full coverage with a great spf. i guess i know what i’ll be doing this weekend. i’m going to try all the recommendations. thankyou very much!! xo.

  10. In the summer of Eastern China, I’m afraid Estee Lauder Double Wear Light fails for me. It usually lasts about 5~6 hours on me and then start to look cakey and pores are getting exposed in the afternoons.
    My best solutions so far is Giorgio Armani Lasting UV Power Foundation SPF 34. It will look a bit heavy and make-up like when just applied but as the temperature rises and your own oil will help it melt into a beautiful and natural finish and with great coverage. However my forehead and nose do get shiny after about 6~7 hours but the best thing is that they won’t fall apart just as the other GA foundations. And i’ll do some touch-up.
    Hope this helps.

    • I really want to try the GA Lasting UV Powder Foundation! It is very humid here in Malaysia and tinted moisturisers melt and go all patchy in minuted!

  11. I’m going to be the odd one out, I have the Shiseido and it looks horrible on my skin. I applied it to one side of my face and every pore stood out compared to the other side and it was chalky. I was disappointed because I like the high spf.I’m going to have to try one of the other ones as the temperature is threatening to hit 90 this week in NYC! Along with our favorite things – haze and humidity. blah!

  12. What a useful & timely post! I live in the U.S. but I thought I’d share my experience. I’ve attended not one but two destination weddings in Bali, Indonesia, where the weather was very humid and hot. Both times I had my make up done professionally by a local artist. On my first trip, I brought my usual stash from the U.S. (mostly Chanel) and the make up artist politely declined to use them. Instead, she used many Japanese products. For foundations, she used one from “est” (a division by Kao Corporation) and another time by Maquillage (a division of Shiseido). My makeup stayed put from dusk till dawn, from intense sunrise, then to photo session at the beach, then the reception without AC at the gazebo, and back to my AC-clad hotel room. The makeup felt surprisingly light, not cakey. Of course, I did need to touch up with a bit of blotting paper and powder, but the rest stayed put quite nicely. All my pictures turned out great, without looking white/shiny.
    I wholeheartedly agree with one of the reader, shusheshe, above. The artist spent *a lot* of time preparing the skin before the foundation was on. It was primer after primer, potion after potion, one of them was SPF for sure, but again, none of them felt heavy. She did an almost mini facial with very specific application on each product, it felt wonderful. I would have liked to know what they were, but I didn’t think much of it since I knew I wouldn’t be able to find it in the U.S. anyway. I think this is partly the secret of why the makeup stayed put for a very long time in hot, humid weather: the right primer & base.
    If I were to travel to hot/humid place, I’d check out some of Japanese brands for sure, including their primer/SPF base.

  13. Thank you for this excellent post! I live in Naples, Florida aka “the steambath” for 10 years now. I’ve found that an oil free primer plus a light application of foundation and powder is what works best. I’m currently using Sue Devitt’s oil free mineral primer spf 30 and Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer compact spf 20–one must layer the spf here or end up with blotchy leathery skin! I set it with Laura Mercier Matte Translucent powder, and it’s done. The less products, the better, and powder blush is the way to go. I can’t stand when people are like “oh use cream blush in the summer”—maybe it works in the Phoenix desert but NOT in the Florida humidity.
    We go from air conditioned car to 100+ heat and 100% humidity to freezer-like offices and homes so the skin is subjected to lots of assaults. Even though I have sensitive skin, I find that if I layer oil free products I still get moisturization but the products stay put.
    For the heat and humidity the whole makeup routine has to change–forget about fancy smokey eyes–a couple of swipes of a simple long wearing eyeshadow stick like Chanel’s or Laura Mercier–no eyelid primers–plus waterproof mascara and maybe Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner…that’s it. I love Shiseido products too, they don’t break me out and they wear all day.
    I adore your blog! Write more about your experiences, we love it!!!

  14. Hi Amy! I use ELDW mixed with moisturizer – it creates more of a tinted moisturizer and then pat Maybelle Stay Matte powder over it. My makeup does not budge and it does not feel heavy or mask like. Thank you for this very useful and informative post. Love your blog – I purchase far more Chanel now as a result. Keep up the great work 🙂

  15. Just wondering about the Shiseido foundation and the shade you used, since you labeled it as “NC20”, and I only see shades on the Shiseido website such as “SP10”, “SP30”, etc. Did you mean “SP20”? I am curious because I have similar skintone as you and would like to try this! Thank you.

    • Sorry Kristen, yes it’s SP20. Just working too quickly to put posts up. That’s what I get for multitasking!

  16. I just tried MAC foundations for the first time with the Pro Longwear, and it’s worked really really well for me! In Virginia, it gets really hot and humid, and this has held up on the hot days we’ve experienced off and on so far. Even when it’s not hot, it’s still decently humid in spring. I’ll be putting some of this in a small travel size plastic squeeze tube to take on vacation to Florida in August, and I’m sure it will get quite a test run then!

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