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notes from the beauty department

As I was walking in downtown Manhattan last weekend, featuring freshly blown hair and a layer of flawless makeup, on a gorgeous 85-degree day, I had a startling realization: We’re just about to reach peak summer heat. And is there a worse feeling than feeling beads of sweat form on your face, knowing full well your makeup is about to disappear? I decided to make it my mission to find the best heat-proof makeup products for summer that won’t slide off my face—and I had just the place to put my finds to the test. I was due for a ride on the Indy 500 racetrack in just a few days.

As a beauty editor, I go on many lavish press trips with brands, overnight excursions, and extravagant events—it’s the best part of my gig. But riding 150 miles per hour around the most famous racetrack in the country? That was a first, thanks to e.l.f. Cosmetics as the brand sponsored the only female race car driver at the Indianapolis 500, Katherine Legge.

Back to heat-proof makeup for a second. These long-wear formulas tend to lean toward skincare-makeup hybrids that melt into the skin instead of just sitting on top. Otherwise, makeup artists suggest using tacky primers and sticky setting sprays to keep your makeup in place. While packing for the trip, I thoughtfully grabbed products that covered these categories. Because if you thought heat-proof makeup was a big ask, try race car-proof makeup.

Spending a few days with the e.l.f. The cosmetics team inspired more than my fascination for heat-proof makeup–I was captivated by the sheer ingenuity of beauty (and business) experts who have done more than make efficacious formulas. The brand shows how beauty can uplift women (one of the many reasons I got into the beauty industry in the first place)–especially in sports. This isn’t the brand’s first foray into the sports world regarding collaborations. I first became aware of e.l.f.’s work in the athletic industry when they partnered with tennis legend Billie Jean King to shed light on gender equality within sports. So, seeing the brand’s work in action at the Indianapolis 500 was truly a special experience and the most inspired I’ve felt on a work trip thus far.

But I left the track with more than just inspiration— I had succeeded in finding heat-proof makeup essentials for the scorching summer months ahead. Some of the products below have been in my repertoire for months and others I discovered to be winners after suiting up, in nearly 90-degree weather, to go 150 miles per hour around a racetrack, helmet and all.

a man in a helmet and goggles looking at a man in a race car


See? My makeup looked great.

U Beauty The Super Hydrator Tinted

Super Tinted Hydrator

Super Tinted Hydrator

The Bazaar beauty team can’t get enough of Tina Craig’s U Beauty line–especially the brand’s coveted moisturizer, the Super Hydrator. Last year, Craig came out with a tinted version that gives the hydration of a serum but with a slight tint. Since the formula is so thin and nourishing, courtesy of peptides, avocado oil, and calming oat extract, it instantly melts into the skin before it can even melt off, all the while imparting sheer coverage that can be set with a little powder if need be.

e.l.f. Cosmetics Bronzing Drops

c & f cosmetics Bronzing Drops

Bronzing Drops

The bronzing drop craze for summer is real–and for good reason. I mean, who doesn’t love a sheer healthy tan? E.l.f. entered the chat earlier this year with its version of an iridescent bronzing serum, which comes in three flattering shades. I love mixing these drops with my moisturizer, so you can barely feel it on the skin, and it lasts for hours. A bonus: I add a few drops into my body moisturizer for a DIY fake tan before heading out the door. Since the drops are filled with skincare, they melt into skin and won’t transfer onto clothes.

E.l.f. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer

c & f cosmetics Power Grip Primer

Power Grip Primer

This tacky primer is the unsung hero of my entire heat-proof, race-proof look. The gel-based formula quite literally grips to your skin and acts as a magnet for any products applied after. Although the formula is sticky upon application, it dries down in under a minute (the brand suggests waiting 30 seconds to apply product afterward for a long-lasting application) and doesn’t leave any tacky residue behind.

Milk Makeup Cooling Water Jelly Tint

Milk Makeup Milk Makeup Cooling Water Jelly Tint Lip + Cheek Blush Stain Burst .17 oz / 5 g

Milk Makeup Cooling Water Jelly Tint Lip + Cheek Blush Stain Burst .17 oz / 5 g

This Milk Makeup blush may be one of my favorite summer-friendly launches thus far this year. This lip and cheek stain has a heavenly cooling effect (perfect for scorching hot day) and a unique jelly-like texture that glides onto skin, leaving the prettiest wash of color that lasts for hours. Since it’s a stain, you have to work quickly after applying, but the formula has a surprisingly nice amount of play time before setting. I applied this bright and early in the morning before hitting the track, and the color was the exact same several hours and a race car ride later.

E.l.f. Cosmetics Brow Laminating Gel

e.l.f. Cosmetics Brow Laminating Gel

Brow Laminating Gel

Between putting on the racing suit and a bulky helmet ahead of my race car experience, my brows were bound to get tousled. However, this laminating gel from e.l.f. kept them in place. The formula doesn’t leave any white cast either, which I find often happens with long-wear and laminating gels, and the comb makes it easy to style brows in any shape.

a person in a helmet on a go kart

Images courtesy of Katie Intner

Here I am getting into the car at the Indianapolis 500 track.

Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara

Benefit Benefit Bad Gal Bang; Mascara in Rebel Brown

Benefit Bad Gal Bang; Mascara in Rebel Brown

If you’re familiar with raccoon eyes after a hot day, you’re not alone. Instead of reaching for a waterproof mascara, I decided to avoid the possibility altogether by opting for a brown mascara instead of stark black. I love brown mascara for a subtle lash lift, and this Benefit Cosmetics mascara in Rebel Brown tints lashes with a rich chocolate brown tone and adds tons of volume. I can attest that after taking off my helmet, there was not a fleck of mascara out of place. This is a winner.

Refy Lip Sculpt

Lip Sculpt

Lip Sculpt

Lip products are the first to move around in the heat, but Refy’s Lip Sculpt has gone viral for its staying power. On one end is a perfectly pointed creamy lip liner (which comes in a bevy of beautiful nudes, pinks, and wearable red shades), and the other features a setter that keeps the line in place for up to 10 hours (or through a race car ride). I applied the Rosewood shade all over my lips to enhance my natural lip hue, before applying e.l.f Cosmetic’s Glow Reviver Lip Oil in Pink Quartz for the perfect pinky nude lip.

e.l.f. Cosmetics Glow Reviver Lip Oil

Glow Reviver Lip Oil

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Matte Eye Shadow

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Matte Eyeshadow

Caviar Stick Matte Eyeshadow

The Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Sticks are staples for creating beautiful eye looks in seconds, but I love using them as long-lasting eyeliners because they do not budge after application. I use the Café Norr shade, which is a cool dark brown, with an angled eyeliner brush (you can’t beat the price of e.l.f.’s Studio Small Angled Brush) to create a slightly angled wing that lasts from morning to evening.

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