recommended by experts

The Best Sex-Proof Makeup, According to Makeup Artists

Photo: Courtesy of the retailers

Valentine’s Day may lead to an intimate moment or two, like an at-home couples massage, and you may want to put your best face forward for the occasion. To find the best long-wear makeup that can withstand rigorous amorous activity, we spoke to makeup artists Angie Peek, Tobi Henney, and Ash K Holm about their favorite products for keeping it all on while getting it on.

Best products for prepping and priming

La Mer Cleansing Micellar Water
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water
Nivea Micellar Water

A romantic night with your partner will mean a lot of skin-to-skin contact and moisture, which also means that your makeup has to work extra hard to stay on. The best way to make sure that makeup “grips” the skin is to start with a fresh, clean palette. “It is always important to prep the skin to ensure that your makeup is going to last all night,” says Henney. “I love to cleanse with micellar water. This ensures that all oils and impurities from the skin are removed for the most amazing makeup base.” Henney’s go-tos are Nivea micellar water and La Mer’s micellar water. Peek, who also starts with micellar water, uses Bioderma.

Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture

Once the face is squeaky clean, you want to hydrate it with moisturizer to optimize smoothness and easy makeup application. “I like a lot Murad’s products for the skin,” says Peek, “but it depends on the person. Right now, everybody’s so dry, so I’ve been using their Hydro-Dynamic line.”

Augustinus Bader The Cream

Henney loves this new cream developed by stem cell and biomedical scientist Augustinus Bader for ultimate hydration.

Cover FX Mattifying Primer With Anti-Acne Treatment

Holm agrees that proper skin care is key for long-lasting makeup and recommends using a primer to ensure that makeup stays on the skin. “I recommend prepping the skin with Cover FX Mattifying Primer,” she says. “This will help the foundation to really grip onto the skin. It’s best to power-group a primer with a long-wearing foundation to prevent sweating and foundation separation.”

Becca Backlight Priming Filter Face Primer

After Henney moisturizes, she primes the face with Becca Cosmetics Backlight Priming Filter. “This way, makeup will sink into the skin and not look cakey,” she says.

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation Heat

Once the face is cleaned, moisturized, and primed, foundation is next. Peek, who has done makeup in the adult industry since 2006, uses Face Atelier foundations on her clients: “It’s a silicone-based foundation so it looks like skin and wears really well. It’s longwear, and the longer it sits on the face, the better it looks. It’s got this really dewy glow to it. It’s really beautiful.”

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

Henney’s go-to foundation is from Giorgio Armani. “This foundation is great because it can be worn super sheer, or it can be layered to create a more full-coverage base,” she says. “It photographs beautifully, my clients all love it, and I also wear it personally anytime I want beautiful skin for a night makeup look.”

Beautyblender Bounce Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation

For 24-hour wear, Holm recommends Beautyblender’s foundation, which comes in a wide range of shades.

Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Once it’s time to start applying makeup, Peek likes to start with the eyes. But first, she primes them to make sure the pigment stays put: “I use an eyeshadow primer. I like the one from Urban Decay. Think of it as a glue for your eyeshadow. It keeps everything looking freshly applied.

Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer

Peek also uses Smashbox’s eyeshadow primer: “This one has a slightly creamier texture than the Urban Decay one. I use it a lot for more mature skin.”

Best long-wear makeup

Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel

Once the skin has been prepped and primed, Peek starts with eyeliner. “Out of all of the eyeliners I’ve tried, the one that I really love is the Inglot gel liners,” says Peek. “They don’t budge. You could just wear them forever; they just stay, which is great.” The primer also helps in keeping it in place.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Henney turns to Stila’s liquid liner for its staying power. “This liner is waterproof and won’t budge once applied,” she says. “I love the range of colors this product comes in, and it can be used to create a super-sharp winged liner look in seconds.”

Huda Beauty Obsessions Eye Shadow Palette

For eye shadow, Peek uses a lot of different kinds, but “I’ve been really liking the Huda Beauty shadows lately,” she says. “They’re really creamy and just really nice overall and they blend really well. I just really love the pigments of this brand of eye shadow.” As far as its long-wear qualities, Peek says that it’s the job of the primer to keep it on the face.

Tom Ford Eye Color Quad

Tom Ford’s Eye Color Quad is Henney’s go-to eye shadow: “These are a staple in my kit. They can be blended so easily and the matte and shimmer shades are so gorgeous. The packaging is also to die for.”

Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara

You can’t have bedroom eyes without mascara. But in terms of whether waterproof formulas stay better than regular mascara, Peek says you don’t need them unless you’re crying. “Mascara will smudge, but to be honest, sometimes people find it to be sexier when the makeup is smudged after sex,” she says. “For myself, I use a lot of different mascaras. Right now, I’ve been loving one by Marc Jacobs one. It’s called Velvet Noir. That one’s really nice for a more dramatic look.”

Milk Makeup KUSH High Volume Mascara

Peek also likes Milk Makeup’s Kush mascara: “That one’s really nice because it conditions the lashes and it doesn’t flake.”

Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara

For a mascara that won’t budge during a romp in bed (or other sweaty activities), Henney recommends Hourglass’s Caution Extreme Lash Mascara. “This is the perfect mascara if you want super-big, voluminous lashes,” she says. “It also won’t transfer to under the lash line if you wear it all day.”

Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Lip Color

Kissing will most likely be on the agenda, and you don’t want to make a mess. “For lips I have been using Maybelline’s Super Stay Matte Ink. It stays on really well, like, forever, it feels like,” says Peek. If your lips need a bit of smoothing before application, Peek recommends brushing them with a toothbrush.

Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick

Henney’s long-wear lipstick of choice is from Huda Beauty: “Once this lipstick has been applied, it does not move. It is my favorite lipstick to use when a lip needs to last all night.” Holm also likes Huda Beauty’s lipsticks, especially the Bombshell and Gossip Girl shades. “I would go with either a nude or rosey pink to keep your lips looking naturally nude,” she says.

Nars Blush - Deep Throat
Nars Blush - Orgasm

Blush will add a sexy flush to a face. But as far as making sure it and other pigmented powders stay put, Peek says as long as the face is primed and set, the color will stay and look natural. “Usually I find myself applying a heavier blush and then going over with [Make Up For Ever Super Matte Loose Powder] because it looks more like it’s coming from within rather than sitting on the face,” she says. “For blushes, I really love Nars,” she says. “That’s actually what I use in my kit all the time. I love Deep Throat. It’s like my favorite color on the planet. It’s just the right amount of shimmer, and it’s a peachy, orangey kind of pretty color. I prefer peach blushes than anything else because I feel like when you do somebody’s face with a pink blush, it looks like rosacea. I just don’t like it. I feel like peach just looks good on everyone.” Henney also likes Nars blushes, but in Orgasm: “This has always been one of my go-to blushes in my personal and professional kit. It looks so pretty on all skin types.”

Buxom Wanderlust Primer-Infused Blush

For a blush with built-in long-wear features that you won’t have to worry about when things get steamy, Holm recommends Buxom’s Wanderlust Primer-Infused blush: “It lasts up to 14 hours and has beautiful pearlized pigments in the blush to keep you glowing all night.”

Tarte Tarteist Pro Glow Highlight & Contour Palette

As for highlighters, Peek uses the Tartest Pro Glow palette from Tarte that includes two highlighters and a bronzer. “It’s good for personal use, but I also have Tarte in my kit,” she says. “I like their bronzers because they’re not orange, which is hard to find. Because a lot of times, especially on lighter skin, they tend to be orangey or too shimmery. It’s like a nice, taupey brown color.” Again, with the right primers and setting powders and sprays, everything should stay on long into the night.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand

Henney’s highlighter of choice is Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Beauty Light Wand: “Whenever I wear this I get so many compliments. It creates a gorgeous candlelit glow to the skin and photographs so beautifully.”

Best products for setting

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

As mentioned above, setting powders will seal the deal and keep your makeup from coming off, even in sweaty situations. “When I finish the makeup I always like to set it with powders by Charlotte Tilbury or Laura Mercier,” says Henney. “I always use Charlotte Tilbury’s setting powder on my clients for their events and red carpet appearances. It knocks out shine and creates the most stunning finish to the entire makeup look.”

Make Up for Ever Super Matte Loose Powder

Peek uses Make Up For Ever’s Super Matte Loose Powder to keep everything in its right place.

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-lasting Makeup Setting Spray

A setting spray is another essential smudge-proof tool. “The Urban Decay setting spray is also a great makeup-longevity product,” shares Henney. Holm agrees: “It locks in makeup for a 16-hour wear.”

NYX Professional Makeup Setting Spray

Peek’s go-to setting spray is an affordable one. “It really depends on the skin, but I love the NYX one,” she says. “It’s cheap — $7 — and you go through it so much. It’s basically hairspray for your face and keeps everything in place.”

Best body shimmers

Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body Slimmer Shimmer Shape, Hydrate & Glow

If you want to make the evening extra memorable, try adding a bit of color to your body using a body shimmer. “I swear by Nivea Body Cream and Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body,” says Henney. “Mix these two products together for a perfect body glow.” Make sure it dries first before getting it on so that it doesn’t transfer to clothes, sheets, or your partner.

RCK Body Glow - Sunkissed

Peek says that most body shimmers tend to come off, and when she works on adult films, they don’t usually bother with it. “But if you were going to use a body shimmer, RCK works really well,” she says. “I used to use it when I did Maxim and Playboy. I love it because it’s a nice shimmer and doesn’t move. It looks really beautiful on the skin. And it’s cruelty-free.”

Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil

For Holm, Tom Ford’s body shimmer does double duty as a fragrance and a shimmer — and will even make you feel like you’re on the beach somewhere, in the middle of winter.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Sex-Proof Makeup, According to Makeup Artists