A cosmetic chemist’s guide on how to make your make-up last longer

Posted by
Kiran Meeda
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Drawing your products out is one of the easiest ways to start reducing your contribution to fast beauty.

When your favourite foundation runs out, it can cause an extensive, sometimes unnecessary period of mourning. 

Let’s face it, there are few things more satisfying than starting a fresh bottle or a portable tube of make-up, but knowing the dreaded end is always in sight puts a dampener on things.

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We’re in an age where refillable makeup is growing stronger and all in all, we don’t want to continuously contribute to the fast beauty market. It’s all about striking the balance between buying the products you love and justifying their environmental impact.

There are so many factors to think about when considering the sustainability of a product, and the easiest way to start is to think about how you can manage the products you have.

So the question of all questions arises: how exactly do we make our make-up last longer? There’s nowhere better to start than with the people who make the products themselves – the cosmetic chemists.

We spoke to Dr Barbara Olioso, MRSC at The Green Chemist Consultancy about how we can start to take small steps to save on what we already have.

To start off, can you explain a little more about how products like liquid foundation are formulated?

Liquid foundations are formulated like creams (oil and water but with extra properties) as they are designed mainly to deliver a nice lasting mineral pigment film on the face.

In comparison to other creams they contain extra ingredients to suspend and disperse the mineral pigments (they tend to sink at the bottom or cluster together) and to create a nice even film on the skin once applied. Some liquid foundations come with nourishing and active skin ingredients and that is when you would call them BB creams. 

With products that are liquid-based, like liquid foundation or liquid lipsticks and liquid eyeshadows, what is the best way to make them last longer?

Liquid foundations and liquid lipsticks are easier to last longer because it is simply a question of applying a fixative (extra layer) on top. 

The fixative contains a polymer that creates a transparent and protective film on top of the make-up, so that the pigments stay on the face for longer.

A classic example of a lip fixative is Lipcote & Co Lipcote Lipstick Sealer (£7) which is a liquid naturally based fixative with excellent fixative powers, and for the face NYX Professional Makeup Setting Spray (£7) which is in a spray format.

For the face it is more difficult because it is a more delicate area and personally I would recommend reapplying the product.

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When it comes to powder-based products like setting powder and powder foundation, is there something we can mix with this to make powder cosmetics last longer?

As the product is dry, I would prefer a good primer or even a cream (you would need to experiment with that) that helps the pigment’s adhesion to the skin from underneath rather than from top.

This also helps to avoid the dry skin feel you may get from using a powder. 

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Kiran Meeda

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