Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Style > Beauty

How to Make Your Makeup Last Through the Night

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Penn chapter.

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, many of us will soon find ourselves attending various parties, family gatherings, holiday dinners, and more. Halfway through the night when someone whips out a camera and suggests a group photo, there’s nothing worse than having the flash accentuate your wrinkled foundation, drippy mascara, or dry lipstick. However, these tragedies can be easily avoided with some prep and maintenance.

Invest in Some Good Products

Makeup is expensive. While a lot of it can be overpriced, there can sometimes be huge differences in the quality of designer versus drugstore cheaper makeup. If a shopping spree of items does not fit the budget, periodically asking for an upscale item or two for a special occasion can ensure long-lasting custom looks. Personally, I would suggest splurging on a nice foundation from Laura Mercier or NARS. If you are someone like me who prefers lightweight coverage, I would suggest Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. Higher quality products tend to reduce blotchiness, smearing, and creasing. However, if this isn’t possible, there are tons of great drug store products.

Exfoliate in Advance

As tedious as it may be, scrubbing the dry skin off your face will ultimately open up your pores and thus, create a smoother and stronger base for your makeup to latch onto. It is suggested to exfoliate at most three times a week in order to prevent dryness and skin irritation. The ideal exfoliator differs from person to person depending on skin type. My personal favorite exfoliator is the Neutrogena Pore Refining Exfoliating Cleanser. Once you become familiar with the qualities of your skin, it will be easy to research which formula is best for you.

Use Primer

When I first started using primer, I thought it was somewhat unnecessary. However, when I went on a two-week vacation this summer and forgot BOTH my eyeshadow and my face primer, I realized how much of a difference it really makes. For those who enjoy layering on the holiday glitter like me, primer will ensure that you don’t find it running down your face halfway through the night. My personal favorite face primer is the Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer, while my favorite eye primer is the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. Before applying any makeup, apply a pea-sized amount of primer all over your face and eyelids to maximize the longevity of your look.

Wet Your Eyeshadow Brush Before Applying Eyeshadow

This is the holy grail of makeup tricks: spray a priming mist onto your eyeshadow brush before dipping it into the eyeshadow. This hack helps secure the shadow onto your lids for the majority of the night. Additionally, the mist accentuates the pigment of the shadow, making the color brighter and stronger on your lids. This trick works best for the shadow you intend to apply over the majority of your lid. Also, don’t forget to clean your brushes every so often to prevent shadow colors from mixing!

Use Setting Spray

Another critical step to create a lasting look is adding the last layer of protection — a strong setting spray. Setting spray prevents any potential mishaps like makeup running down your face, especially when you might be getting sweaty. These sprays also give you a natural glowy look. I have been using Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, and I really think a little bit of setting spray goes a long way towards preserving your look.


Even though the majority of preparation happens before the night begins, it’s not a bad idea to throw a lip gloss and some blotting paper in your purse. Even though it may seem like a good idea to bring extra face makeup, continuously layering products throughout the night might contribute towards a cakey, blotchy look. Therefore, it is best to simply blot away any sweat or oil.


Everyone’s least favorite thing to do after a night out is to take off their makeup. However, as tempting as it may sound to jump right into bed, cleaning your face thoroughly will help prevent breakouts as well as ensure a smooth surface for future makeup looks.

These easy alterations to your makeup routine will take your look to the next level. Now, you can feel free to enjoy your night instead of constantly worrying about the state of your makeup!

Sydney Woods

U Penn '23

Sydney is a pole vaulter and also loves traveling and water sports.