The Setting Spray Combo I Used on the Sweatiest Day of the Year
Whether you call it “jumping,” “playing mas,” or whatever, one thing about being in a carnival parade is that your face makeup is going to melt eventually. You’re going to want those touch-ups and masqueraders who wear makeup always finish their beat with a generous helping of powder. I typically prefer a dewier finish, but the sun and sweat always have me covered on that once I hit the road.
Setting spray is also a must. And for the big day, my makeup artist hit me with a combo I hadn’t tried before, promising that it would really make that makeup stay on. First, a spritzing of MAC’s classic Prep + Prime Fix+ Spray, which Cincinnati-based cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos says contains hydrating ingredients like glycerin. “Glycerin can be pretty tacky and perhaps may help makeup grip.” Looking at what’s in it, Dobos says that is the ingredient she can best identify as something that would get your makeup to stick.
Then, my makeup artist grabbed a bottle of PPI Blue Marble Selr Spray. “This stuff is really good,” she said, reassuring me that for the most part, my makeup would stay for the day. This setting spray is one that folks like to use for theatrical or special-effects makeup — a.k.a. looks that are supposed to last.
“Most setting sprays use a flexible film former to help hold makeup in place and provide water and sweat resistance,” Dobos explains. The Blue Marble Spray contains something called the acrylates copolymer, which she describes as a “film former that provides smudge-resistance and water-resistance properties.”
Once it was time for me to hit the road (at about 7:30 a.m.), I’d already taken a quick nap, knowing I wouldn’t make it home probably until after sundown. By 9 a.m., I was shuffling down the ABC Highway behind a giant music truck, swaying my hips and making sure to steer clear of any feather backpacks that might hit me in the face. Of course, I was sweating bullets — especially the times I had to hop into a port-a-potty. Those stalls don’t exactly have stellar ventilation.
It was midday when I realized I’d forgotten to put on sunscreen. My makeup still looked good — I’d been sweating but my face was still pretty matte — but I knew it was only a matter of time before I started to burn. I spritzed a bit of sunscreen mist on my face and applied some to my chest and shoulders. It was too late. The sun had already handed down its cruel judgment on me. Today, I am still suffering the consequences of my SPF faux pas, but the thing I did remember to put on, the setting spray, really came through.
I expected my face to be a mess of red glitter and black liner by the end of the day. It wasn’t. My eye makeup stayed put and only around my nose (where a ton of sweat was dripping down) and a little bit of my mouth (I’d housed a plate full of jerk chicken and rice and peas) did I notice any lifting. My forehead makeup had long since wiped off, giving way to a fresh sunburn.