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So it's 94 degrees with 85 percent humidity, and you're meeting someone you deeply want to impress. Five minutes after you leave the house, your makeup starts melting off and you feel just like a Nazi in Raiders of the Lost Ark - but instead of dying on the spot, which worked for the fictional bad guys, you still have to endure hours of knowing your foundation, blush, and eye shadow have collected in a pool near your jaw.
Makeup meltdown happens all the time in hot, humid weather. “Once you start perspiring, the makeup just slides off,” says Bobbi Cook, makeup artist at Adagio Day Spa in Maumee. Still, cosmetics experts assure us that damage control is possible. All it takes is strategy, sense, and flexibility.
Meltdown management starts with the products you choose to use. Midwest winters tend to be dry and cold, and the matte textures and serious moisturizers appropriate for January will not work well in July.
“Summer makeup should be lightweight and natural and allow your skin to breathe even when you're going out into 90-degree heat,” says Patrice White, owner of Patrice Cosmetics Studio in Toledo. “Waterproof products are nice for summer, too. They do stay on; they really last.”
Many cosmetics companies make products designed to stay on even when the skin gets oily. Ms. Cook and Ms. White both use high-end oil-absorbent products on clients in the hot months; meanwhile, bargain-store Revlon makes the ColorStay Lite Makeup line, which cosmetics expert Paula Begoun touts in Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me (Beginning Press, 2001).
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Women can forego foundation altogether in favor of lighter makeup.
“A tinted moisturizer or a liquid bronzer or bronze powder gives you that sun-kissed look without the sun damage,” says Susan Stahlbush, general manager of Shamas Urban Retreat in Perrysburg and Sylvania.
Ms. Cook agrees. Tinted moisturizer is one of her favorites for this time of year.
“It evens out the skin tones, but it doesn't give the heavy feeling,” she says.
Ms. Stahlbush and Ms. White both recommend using oil blotting papers to keep the shine at bay. “Blotting tissues are the best kept-secret in the summer months,” Ms. Stahlbush says. An Internet search indicates they cost about 10 cents a sheet, with some makers packaging them for portability.
Color is another factor in summer makeup. Winter tones are rich, with plenty of pigment, but summer calls for something lighter.
“The colors need to be little bit more sheer because generally, people are spending more time out in the summer and we have better light,” Ms. White says. “If the makeup is heavy, it will look very heavy in the summer. That's why gels and lightweight cream blushers are good for summer, because they look more natural. Colors in clothing are clearer, lighter, brighter, so your makeup can be clearer, lighter, and brighter.
“And lip gloss is fine in summer,” she adds. “I might not wear it in winter.”
Although cosmetics companies push new color lines each season, it's best to stick to your established palette, Ms. Cook advises.
“You don't want to use a color that's a `hot' color that doesn't look good on you,” Ms. Cook says. “You want something that complements you.”
But when it's said and done, spending hours outside on a steamy, hot day will take a toll on the finest makeup job. If that happens to you, wash your face, dash on a little lipstick, and go enjoy the rest of your date.
And next time, go someplace with air conditioning.