How to Set Cream Makeup So It Doesn’t Move or Melt

Published Categorized as Makeup Tips

If you’re an avid makeup wearer, chances are that you know the feeling of having created a fabulous makeup look only to have your makeup melt right off your face within a matter of a few hours. We’ve all been there. Thankfully, there are things you can do to help set your cream makeup so that it doesn’t move or melt. Wondering how it’s done? Check out these tips for how to set cream makeup.

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Table of Contents

Elizabeth Arden Sponge-On Cream Makeup, Toasty Beige

How to Set Cream Makeup

  • Know Your Skin: As with any makeup look, you’ll want to keep in mind that the type of skin you have will make a huge impact on how your cream makeup will perform throughout the day. By purchasing makeup products that are the best fit for your skin type, you are already setting yourself up for success.
  • Remember That Some Products Don’t Mix: People with drier skin should reach for a primer with an oil-based and match it with a foundation that also is oil-based. Those with oily skin should do the opposite, by matching water-based primers with water-based foundation. This will improve the length of wear and will make it easier to set your makeup. Remember, oil repels water, so mismatching your primer and foundation is a major no-no. To know if your cream makeup is water, oil or silicone based, check the ingredients.
  • Create a Solid Base: Once you’ve picked the right cream makeup for your skin, it is time to create your base. First, clean your face to provide an oil-free canvas. Next, apply your primer as directed, followed by your foundation. Once your foundation has been applied, take a flatly folded tissue and blot to remove excess sheen. While many enjoy the “dewy” look, it isn’t the best for getting makeup to stay in place. Thus, removing as much oil as possible in the beginning is best practice.
  • Don’t Overdo Powder: While some respected sources may claim that setting powder is low key the superhero of your makeup collection, you should remember not to go too crazy with it. Setting powder is indeed the ultimate for getting your foundation to stay in place throughout the day. Going without it is a surefire way to have your makeup melting in a matter of minutes, especially in hot or humid conditions. The only caveat? Overdoing your setting powder is bound to have you looking cakey and overdone. Instead, use a finely milled powder like the Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder and lightly dust it over your foundation. Remember that if you can see the powder you’ve applied on your face with the naked eye, you’ve likely applied too much. Dust off the extra with your brush.
Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder. Invisible Setting Powder for All Skin Types and Skin Tones. Vegan and Cruelty-Free.
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  • Go the Extra Mile: Once you’ve applied your primer, foundation and setting powder, you may wish to set your makeup with a setting spray. For those with dry skin or who prefer a dewier finish, a setting spray like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dewy Set can add moisture, glow and can set your makeup in place so that it doesn’t budge. For those with oilier skin, opt for a mattifying setting spray like Urban Decay’s De-Slick which also holds makeup, just without the extra sheen.
Anastasia Beverly Hills - Dewy Set Setting Spray
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  • Be Careful With Touch Ups: Last but not least, be careful adding on additional makeup throughout the day. As tempting as it may be, adding extra powder over an oil-slicked face may leave your foundation looking cakey. Instead, reach for blotting tissues such as these natural bamboo charcoal oil tissues to absorb extra oil and keep your makeup looking fresh. If you must dust with powder, blot first, then go over your face with a light dusting of finely milled setting powder.
Natural Bamboo Charcoal Oil Absorbing Tissues - 100 Counts, Easy Take Out Design - Top Oil Blotting Paper, Premium Handy Face Blotting Sheets - Facial Skin Care or Make Up Must Have!
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How do you get cream makeup to stay on?

To get cream makeup to stay on, you’ll want to be sure you prep your face using a primer, set your foundation with a setting powder and finish up your look with a setting spray.

If this sounds like too many steps, you may opt out of the primer and you may skip the setting spray, but whatever you do, DO NOT skip the setting powder! Without setting powder, you are just asking for your makeup to slip off and wear unevenly throughout the day.

Bear in mind that not all powders are setting powders. Some are meant to be worn as makeup and may or may not need to be set. To be sure, look for the words “setting powder”, “finishing powder” or read the product description to ensure you are purchasing a powder that actually sets makeup.

How do you keep cream makeup from smearing?

To keep cream makeup from smearing, follow the aforementioned steps and keep your hands off of your face. The more you touch your face, the more likely you will have smeared makeup. The same goes for crying, swimming, sweating, going out on humid days and anything that involves liquid on your face. If you do encounter any of these scenarios, you’ll want to check the mirror and touch up your makeup using the methods previously described.

Do you need to set cream makeup?

Whether or not you actually need to set cream makeup is up to you. People with mature skin, who live in cold climates or who have severely dry skin may be able to apply cream makeup without needing to set it. For most people, however, cream makeup will easily slip off of the face. This is due to its consistency and therefore you will need to be set with a powder or finishing spray.


What should I use to set my makeup?

In order to set your makeup you may use a setting spray or setting powder. Read the above section titled “How to Set Cream Makeup” for directions on how to do this effectively.

How to use cream makeup?

Always read the instructions on the label before using any cream makeup. It is important to note that applying a cream makeup with your fingertips may yield a sheer result, while applying cream makeup with a specialty brush or layering it on with a sponge is more likely to give you full coverage results.

How do I keep my makeup looking fresh all day?

Our best tip for keeping makeup looking fresh all day is to use the lucky trio of primer, setting powder and a setting spray. Using blotting sheets instead of more setting powder to absorb excess oil throughout the day also helps. Keep your hands off of your face and reapply lipstick as needed.

Does hairspray set makeup?

While you could potentially use hairspray to set makeup, we ask that you never attempt to do so. Hair spray is specially designed for use on hair, not the skin. As such will contain chemicals and additives that may cause you serious health problems in the long run. Purchase a setting spray designed for makeup that is safe for your skin, instead. It isn’t worth your health!

Can I use water to set my makeup?

While we don’t recommend spraying water onto a freshly made-up face for obvious reasons, makeup experts advise that wetting a sponge before applying foundation can help with the smoothness and overall fusion of your makeup. This can cause it to look better, and potentially last longer, too.

Learning How to Set Cream Makeup Is Easy!

All in all, setting cream makeup is a fairly easy task. It typically doesn’t involve much more than a primer, setting powder and a finishing spray.

Remember, never set your makeup using products, such as hairspray, that aren’t meant for the face. Never skip setting powder at the end of your makeup routine.

For more tips and tricks regarding setting powder see How to Apply Setting Powder.

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