What is Long Wear Foundation & How Does It Work?

One of the best parts about makeup is that there are so many different kinds. Whether you want a light and natural look for everyday life or you’re looking for something long-wearing that will withstand a 10+ hour special event, Maybelline New York has you covered. In terms of long wear formulas, it can be tricky to know which one is right for you, but with a little trial and error, it’s possible to find exactly what you’re looking for. We also offer a foundation shade finder, so once you decide on the long wear formula that you want, you can also pick the right shade. Skeptical about long wear foundation? Read on to find out what makes a foundation long wearing along with other frequently asked questions.

What is Long Wear Foundation?

To put it simply, long wear foundation means that it will stand the test of time, meaning that you can wear it for hours and hours without incident. Having a longwear claim doesn’t necessarily mean that the formula is waterproof, but many longwear foundation formulas are water and sweat-resistant, so they can stand up to an event such as an outdoor wedding in the peak of summer. Maybelline’s Super Stay line is a great pick if you’re after this kind of coverage. And the good news is that long wear and full coverage don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Case in point: our Super Stay Skin Tint will last up to 24 hours, but it’s a lightweight formula that delivers a natural, skin-like finish. In terms of how long wear formulas work, they tend to have a lower oil content, which helps to prevent the formula from fading and ultimately disappearing while you’re wearing it. And in order to keep your skin’s natural oils from interfering with your foundation, many formulas will also contain some sort of oil-absorbing or blurring ingredient such as micro-powders or clay, which can be found in Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation.

Long Wear Liquid vs Powder Foundation

Whether you prefer liquid or powder foundation comes down to preference, but there are instances where powder may come in handy over liquid, including if you have oily skin or are after more of a matte finish. There are also occasions where you might prefer to double up and wear a liquid and powder foundation together. Our Super Stay Powder is unique because it has a hybrid formula that goes on smooth and performs like a liquid, but has the feel and blurred finish of a powder. This is a great option for someone who has drier skin and may prefer a liquid to keep skin hydrated but also wants the ease of application of a powder. For extra staying power, you can apply a liquid formula first and then spot-treat certain areas with the powder. Think: under the eyes– which tends to crease– and the oil-prone t-zone.


Super Stay Hybrid Powder Foundation dishes out medium-to-full coverage with a weightless feel, quick. Powers through sweat, water, and transfer.

What Makes a Foundation Long Wearing?

If a foundation is able to withstand multiple hours of wear without creasing, fading, or smudging, it can be considered long wear. In particular, Maybelline’s longwear formulas promise 16 hours and more– with Super Stay Longwear Foundation promising up to 30 hours. You can also turn any foundation into a long wear one by applying primer first. Fit Me Primer is a 16-hour mattifying face primer that controls shine and blurs pores, ensuring that your foundation lasts for as long as you need it to.

How Do You Apply Long Wear Foundation?

If you’re already comfortable with applying your go-to foundation in a certain way, that’s totally fine– the application technique doesn’t need to be drastically different for a longwear foundation. But, the same principles apply when it comes to the finish and outcome you are going for. If you like more of a sheer coverage, you can apply your liquid long wear foundation with a damp beauty sponge. But, if you want more of a smooth, airbrushed finish, a densely packed foundation brush is the way to go. You can also layer in order to build up converge should you want a more flawless, full-coverage look. For a powder formula, using a foundation brush will be your easiest option. After you’re done applying whichever formula you go for, finish with a few spritzes of Lasting Fix Setting Spray to really lock in your look.

What Finishes does Long Wear Foundation come in?

Long wear foundation comes in the same range of finishes as you would expect from a traditional foundation. Super Stay Skin Tint will give you a bright, natural finish while Super Stay Powder Foundation will give you a medium-to-full coverage, soft-matte look. Super Stay Liquid Concealer is great for those who want a full-coverage matte finish.


Is Long Wear Foundation Good for All Skin Types?

Unless you have super sensitive, dry, or acneic skin, long wear foundation should be totally fine for you. And even if you do have an irritation-prone skin type, that doesn’t mean that you can’t wear long wear foundation– in those cases, it’s wise to look at the ingredient label to make sure that there isn’t anything that would irritate you. For instance, if you have dry skin, you may want to look for a formula with hydrating ingredients such as Instant Age Rewind Eraser Treatment Makeup, which packs goji berry, or if you’re breakout-prone, something that’s oil-free like Super Stay Longwear Foundation would be best. To be extra safe, try a patch test on your skin before you apply the formula to your entire face.

How Do You Remove Long Wear Foundation?

Unless the formula is waterproof, you should be able to remove your long wear foundation the same way that you remove your other makeup. If you find that you’re having trouble removing your long wear foundation with your traditional cleanser, try using an oil formula, which will break down all makeup, including waterproof.

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