What's the Best Way to Keep Makeup Shine-Free in Warm Weather?

I put a primer, a powder, and a spray to the test.
Publish date:
May 10, 2016
Urban Decay, Smashbox, powder, japonesque, primer, setting powders, setting sprays

I have dry skin, so I usually don't have to worry about my face getting too shiny; if anything, I'm always on the hunt for makeup that will give me the perfect dewy glow.

Now that the weather is finally warming up, however, I'm noticing that my go-to makeup look is starting to cross the line from glowing to greasy. I can't switch to a matte-finish foundation for the summer because my skin simply will not tolerate it. Instead, I have to figure out how to make my usual dewy makeup products withstand a day's worth of sun and sweat.

To that end, I took three different products meant to fight shine and extend wear time and compared them to see which kept my makeup looking fresh at the end of the day. There are a lot of different products that you can use to achieve this goal, and I've been curious to see which works best: a primer, a powder, or a setting spray.

I have the travel size of all of these products because it's easier to tote them around (and cheaper to boot).

Now on to the experiment! Over the course of three days, I combined each of these products with a very emollient BB cream (Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm) and took a picture of how my makeup looked at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. Let's see how they held up.

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer

In the winter, I prefer to just use a rich moisturizer in place of primer before applying makeup. If I do that in the summer, however, I'll definitely end up looking way too shiny, so I'm trying to adjust to using primer lately. This one is my favorite because it's hydrating without feeling greasy or looking shiny; it sinks into the skin immediately with no slick feeling left behind.

As far as controlling shine, I don't think this primer is going to be your best bet. It certainly is preferable to my usual moisturizer-as-primer routine and even made my makeup look slightly more matte than it usually would at first, but it didn't take long for some shine to break through. I'm going to keep using it under my makeup anyway, though, because it turns my skin into a smooth canvas for applying makeup.

Japonesque Velvet Touch Finishing Powder

Japonesque is quickly becoming my go-to brand for all things face-related: I love their Luminous Foundation and Velvet Touch Blush. Their Velvet Touch Finishing Powder is no exception.

A healthy dusting of this powder made my makeup look fairly fresh even after a trip to the dog park and a walk in the woods with my dog. Things did get a little shiny in some places, but I like that I can stick this travel-size compact in my bag along with a brush for on-the-go touch-ups. I just have to be careful not to overdo it with the application, or else the dry patches of my skin are more than happy to shout to the world that they're wearing powder. A large, fluffy brush and a light hand helps with that.

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray

I picked up this spray on a whim in the check-out aisle at Sephora months ago, and I still haven't decided if it was worth it. I haven't used it much all winter, but I've resolved to give it another try this summer.

I think that this spray does do a good job of keeping makeup in its place and helping it last longer, but it doesn't do the best job with controlling shine. By the end of the day, I had some seriously shiny areas. I think the results would be better if I had better control over the application, like with a finishing powder; it always feels kind of haphazard when I spray it blindly over my face and hope for the best. Some spots get too much spray and others not enough. Perhaps I'll get better with practice.

In the end, the winner was the Japonesque Velvet Touch Finishing Powder. It's easier to apply evenly than a spray, it's easy to reapply (unlike a primer), and it also did the best job of controlling shine out of all the products. If I really need the heavy guns then I'll probably use all three products, but I'm definitely going to rely on this finishing powder all summer long.

  • What's your favorite product for controlling shine?
  • Do you have any good tricks for wearing dewy BB creams in the summer without looking like your face is melting?