Wearing makeup has always seemed like a few-hours affair to me. Like hanging out with That Friend who drinks too much, it’s only a matter of time before things just become a mess. We wear it to work, go home, see it looks 50 percent worse than it did in the morning, wipe it off, and then wake up and do it all over again. But you have to figure that if countless heavily made-up female pop stars can grease up and pretend to have sex with fake beaches for music videos without any sign of their makeup ending up where it’s not supposed to (unlike that sand, I imagine), they must be wearing some seriously resilient stuff.
I always just sort of assumed that’s celebrity magic – they have People for that, the way Gaga has People to sculpt horns from her forehead and Naomi Campbell has people to rub lotion on her legs and put her underpants on for her (or so I’ve been told).
With beach season, wedding season, and wanting-to-look-fit-and-therefore-gymming-a-lot-more season here, with sweating and face grease becoming part of our daily lives once more, the time seemed right to do the unthinkable: go to the beach with a full face of makeup. It might make me look obscenely vain, but these are shameless Jersey Shore-ian times, and besides, this is science!
The products obtained for this experiment were a random assortment of things labeled “longwear” that we found online. The full list:
• MAC Pro Longwear Concealer (in NC20), $17
• Clinique Lash Power Mascara - long-wearing formula (in Black Onyx), $15
• Tarte Amazonian clay 12-hour blush (in Tipsy), $25
• Chanel Rouge Double Intensite - ultra wear lip color (in Rose Morganite), $35
• Stilla Stay All Day - waterproof liquid eye liner (in Intense Black), $20
• Essence Stay All Day - long-lasting eyeshadow (in Coppy Right), $2.99
• Rimmel Lasting Finish - 25-hour foundation (in Warm Ivory), $7
Upon application (over Neutrogena SPF 30 sunscreen because I just say no to skin cancer and pale is the new tan), everything seemed pretty standard, except:
1.The Clinique mascara, which is amazing. I’m a mascara snob/addict so I’ve only been using Dior and Lancome for the past few years. But this Clinique stuff went on smooth with good traction on the lashes, separating and lengthening without too much fussing.
2.The Chanel lip color went above and beyond pretty much all lip products I’ve tried in terms of staying power. As Vogue contributor Lauren Santo Domingo so eloquently stated:
“I would probably wear red lipstick in the morning, but there’s something I find so unappealing about lipstick on coffee cups, Starbucks cups—for that simple reason I start with nothing. Once I’ve had my coffee I’m fine. I just don’t want to be walking around with my Starbucks cup with big red lips on it. Whenever I see that, I cringe…it just seems so vulgar. Nightime’s a different story. Also someone taught me a really good trick, where you go like this [licks the rim of her glass and then sips] which is kind of gross—and you have to be really discreet—but it really works like a charm to keep lipstick from sticking to your glass.”
Well, she’s clearly not using this Chanel stuff. You put the color on, let it rest for one minute, and then apply the gloss over top. The color part is like a sealant on the lips (you can feel how thick and sticky it is) but once it dries it GOES NOWHERE. It is not a transient guest on your face like LSD’s lip stuff, whoring itself out to your champagne glasses and coffee cups and kissing partners — it is your lips. This is probably the most faithful lip color I’ve ever worn.
Once I was all dolled up, my boyfriend was alarmed by my clown face beach look. I normally wear only a touch of powder, concealer, blush, and mascara, and when I go to the beach I wear nothing, so I could understand his shock. But I forged ahead, in the face of his disgust and looking sort of freakish (it’s not like I had reality television cameras around to justify the vanity in the slightest). Here’s how it all looked in an iPhone self-portrait:
So we plopped our towels out on the sand, where it was nice and warm and lovely and we proceeded… to lie out. Yes, this is where it really gets exciting: we sat there and read books and New Yorkers. Eventually it got hot, and I perspired. But my makeup had fused with my face and refused to submit to the sweat. No foundation melted, no concealer got up and migrated down my cheek, no mascara decided to imprint itself beneath my eyebrow, the eye shadow was not clumping at the crease. Everything was remarkably intact. We even ate sandwiches for lunch and the lip stuff didn’t so much as budge.
Finally it got hot, and I tried to swim. I say tried because we were on a Cape Cod beach, where the water is effing freezing, but I managed to get in about half way and climb onto my purple raft float thing and bob around on it shivering for a few minutes (in New England you have to force summer a little early since the winter leading up to it is so damn long and miserable). Once ashore, The Face was still The Face. Lips, eye stuff, concealer, and foundation were all astoundingly intact. Exhibit B:
After a couple more hours of basking in the sun, we decided to be fit and jog.
Grabbing the family dog Rocky, who looks just like Bo Obama, to ensure we would look as much like a Norman Rockwell painting as possible (there’s no better way to do Cape Cod, trust) we took off down the roads. Along with the dog and The Face — which felt like another pet at this point — we traversed the roads lined with lovely green summer lawns and beach for five miles before returning home, where the pooch flopped down, panting. I was certain my makeup had exhausted itself as well since my body only knows how to sweat one way during exercise — profusely — so I figured The Face would be enough to terrify small children by now.
But when I looked in a mirror, I saw that aside from the lip color and concealer rubbing off a bit, The Face was remarkably the same. This makeup was scarily attached to me — even the 25-hour foundation!
So in sum, if you wore this face out partying one night, found a guy, danced with him, got a little sweaty, had a sleepover, then woke up and went to brunch, you’d probably look pretty good the whole time without sunglasses or touch-ups.
But it’s a LOT of makeup — clown-ish, I’m telling you — so if you can afford to be less vain you’ll save yourself a lot of bother. Yet the whole experiment was a reminder that trying different products is sometimes worth it — the technological innovations made in makeup since you last tried a new product might pleasantly surprise you.
The best part of the whole experiment — aside from looking super glam all day, of course — was that everything came off easily with a Neutrogena makeup-removing towelette available at any old drug store.
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