Two Drag Queens Share How They Get Their Makeup to Stay Put All Night Long

Here's how you can tackle the summer heat like royalty.

For many of us, the past year has been one continuous horror movie, and we’re all anxiously awaiting the start of a carefree, Hot Girl Summer (or Shot Girl Summer as some are calling it). With bars opening back up and vaccinations allowing the return of bustling nightlife, we once again have reason to stay out all night long and look our best doing it. What we’re not looking forward to, though, is the excessive sweating that comes with the warmer days ahead. Yes, we’re ready to go all out with bold beauty looks again, from bright eyeshadows to statement-making lipsticks, but we’d prefer to do so without our makeup slip n’ sliding all down our faces.

When it comes to getting bold makeup looks to stay put, drag queens are pretty much the ultimate experts. So, we consulted drag queen and HipDot makeup partner Meatball, who competed on The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula Season 1, as well as drag queen and Twitch streamer DEERE for tips and tricks that will get us through even the hottest of summer nights. From their favorite setting sprays to an unexpected technique involving baby powder, these makeup secrets will keep you looking royally good no matter how sticky or sweaty the night gets.

Meatball’s Tips

1. Start off with a strong primer

Meatball makes it clear that you can’t take shortcuts if you want a smooth, long-lasting makeup look. “If you want your makeup to stay put all night it comes down to application, priming, and setting sprays,” she says. Though “it sometimes seems like overkill,” she adds she starts her look by dousing her face with a thick pore filling and blurring primer, like this $38 option from Cover FX. “For a full face primer, you don’t wanna go cheap, in my opinion, and the Cover FX Blurring or Mattifying Primer really do the job of hiding any shine from oil build-up and completely erasing your pores!”

cover fx blurring primer

Cover FX Blurring Primer

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Then, to keep the texture nice and smooth, “I’ll start with a cream foundation stick that’s a little darker than my normal shade, and then I blend that all out,” Meatball says. She follows that up with a matte translucent powder and a contour powder. “I live for the RCMA No Color setting powder,” she adds. “It doesn’t change the color of your foundation, it’s extremely light, and doesn’t cause flashback in photos that some powders tend to give—that’s what makes you look like a ghost in pictures.”

2. Pack on the color

When it comes to creating bold eye makeup with major staying powder, Meatball suggests layering on the pigment as much as possible. But first, start by priming with a “thick thick thick glitter primer,” as she suggests, such as the NYX Glitter Primer. Then, get to work on loading up your eyelids with color. “I use a ton of eyeshadow if I know it’s going to be a long night,” Meatball says. “I make the colors as deep as I can, and using a thick primer ensures that even if some color sweats off, there is plenty left [behind].”

nyx glitter primer


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For bold eyeshadow recommendations, the queen of course loves using the HipDot Diamond Diva Palette she helped create with the brand and just “really letting loose.”

hipdot palette

HipDot Diamond Diva Palette

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3. Use stage-ready products

To really keep your makeup from budging, sometimes you need products that were meant for the stage. One item Meatball specifically loves to use for setting her final look is the Kim Chi Chic Stage Proof Matte Setting Spray. “It holds up through sweat and heat,” she explains, adding that it’s also “light and doesn’t make you feel like you’re wearing a mask.”

kim chi setting spray

Kim Chi Stage Proof Matte Setting Spray

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She also recommends the Blue Marble or Green Marble Setting Sprays by Premiere Products Inc, which were designed to be strong enough for street makeup and theatrical performances alike. “You can put that stuff on and go for a swim and your makeup and glitter won’t move at all,” Meatball says. She does add a caveat: “It’s kind of a gift if you can get past the smell.” But hey, when it comes to creating long-lasting makeup looks, it’s all about the end goal, not the sometimes unglamorous journey.

4. Sweat-proof your face

For especially sweaty nights, Meatball has an extra makeup tip up her sleeve. “One trick that has saved me numerous times, is setting my face primer with a super absorbent baby powder,” she says. “This helps to prevent you from sweating as much and then [you can put] foundation over it.” Interested in trying this out? Shop Megababe’s Body Dust for a multipurpose product that you can use anywhere on your skin to keep moisture at bay.

megababe body dust

Megababe Body Dust

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Meatball also says she’ll utilize a face antiperspirant from time to time in order to keep away the sweat. If you’re prone to extra face sweat in the summertime, try an anti-perspirant product like the Carpe No-Sweat Face Lotion to ensure your makeup doesn’t have to go up against a waterfall of sweat.

DEERE’s Tips:

1. Put primer under everything

Like Meatball, DEERE is a big fan of full-face primer. “Put primer under everything you want to pop and stick, especially eye makeup,” she says. “It won’t look half as good without it.”

For an award-winning pick, shop the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Hydrating Makeup Primer, which won a 2021 HelloGiggles Beauty Crush Award for its ability to create a super smooth base for makeup while also hydrating skin.

giorgio armani

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Hydrating Makeup Primer

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2. Utilize waterproof products

Whether you get caught in the rain or go for a spontaneous dip in the pool, your makeup should be ready to face the challenge unafraid, says DEERE. While many people are frequent users of waterproof mascara, she recommends “waterproof everything”—from foundation to lipstick to eyeliner. “[This] will ensure your mug is not going anywhere until you decide [it is],” she explain. One of DEERE’s favorite waterproof products is the Inglot AMC Waterproof Gel Liner, which she likes to rock in shade 77, a jet black pigment.

inglot liner

Inglot AMC Waterproof Gel Liner

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3. Resist the oil

DEERE has an oily skin type, so she opts for matte makeup all-year round. She says she loves pressed powder because even though the rest of the products in her routine will ensure makeup pigment doesn’t slide around, they can’t always prevent the texture from changing when the face gets oily. So, “pressed powder in a bind will ensure the complexion is smoothed over again,” she says.

For a reviewer-loved pressed powder option, try the Kosas Cloud Set Setting Powder, which comes in 10 different shades. Kosas reviewers say the product is “smooth as silk” and “controls shine without looking dry.”

kosas pressed powder

Kosas Cloud Set Setting Powder

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4. Use lasting lip products

For a statement-making pout that lasts all night long, DEERE’s go-to is the Anastasia Liquid Lipstick. The matte and smudge-proof liquid lipstick comes in 25 different shades—from peachy pinks to metallic teal—and has major staying power according to both DEERE and Sephora reviewers, including one who says it “lasts a long time even when eating tacos!”

anastasia liquid lipstick

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick

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5. Set the look

Of course, DEERE would never forget to complete her look with a strong setting spray. “If you want makeup to last, you need to spray that stuff down,” she says. Her all-time favorite product is the cult-classic Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, which one of HelloGiggles’ own editors swears by for sweat- and mask-proof makeup.  

all nighter spray

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

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With all the above drag-queen-approved makeup tips, your face will be ready for whatever the vaxxed-up summer of 2021 brings.

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