Makeup that LASTS through a 12 hour shift

Makeup that LASTS through a 12 hour shift

You all know the feeling. When you finally get a chance to go to the bathroom at 4am and look at yourself in the mirror in horror. Like, I think my ICU patient who’s been here for 3 weeks looks better than me right now…UGH. And now I get to give report to a fresh-faced nurse and talk with the doctors as my appearance is actively declining.

So what makeup lasts 12+ hours you ask? A combination of a few things. I have tried and trialed SO MANY products over the years working in the beauty industry, and these are the products that never fail me. Keep in mind, everyone’s skin is different and what works for me may not work for you. However… all of the products I listed should work on all skin types.

But time is an issue you say. You’re a nurse and you wear scrubs and you don’t have time for a full face of makeup. The total time it takes me to do my makeup is 10 minutes, maybe less. You’ve got this.

Starting with your base…

If you are dry like me, moisturize. Obviously… Foundation needs a nice base to stick to and dry skin as a base is no bueno. Same if you’re oily. Wash your face, pat dry to prevent spread of any bacteria from breakouts, and moisturize with whichever moisturizer works for you. Since I have dry skin, I use Peter Thomas Roth Hyaluronic Cloud Cream and a pump of Rodan & Fields Hydrating serum I get from my CRNA friend here.

Next use a primer. I have been using Urban Decay Optical Illusion Complexion Primer. It’s definitely a heavier primer that’s thick and hydrating, and smooths out pores and fine lines. I personally love it but would not recommend for oily skin. What I would recommend for oily skin would either be Benefit’s Porefessional Face Primer or their Stay Flawless 15-Hour Foundation Primer This is a legit gluestick for your face. I use this for all the weddings I do because it really does work. It can be difficult to work with, as you need to really blend it into the skin so your foundation sits evenly on top. Instead of dragging the stick on your skin and blending from there, I recommend using a foundation brush to get some of the product on the brush, and then blend it on your face more evenly.


Oily/combo/normal skin types: Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-In-Place Liquid Makeup Doublewear foundation is life. Medium to full coverage, but not heavy. Matte finish. I always use this foundation for weddings cause it really lasts and photographs beautifully. If you have oily skin, remember to set with a powder afterwards. I like Laura Mercier’s translucent powder.

Dry skin: Dermablend Smooth Liquid Foundation Makeup with SPF 25 If doublewear is too dry on you like it is for me currently, this foundation is a nice substitute in regards to coverage and durability. Get samples of both of them and see what works best for you! They are both seriously amazing.

Undereye concealer:

I’m obsessed with Tarte’s shapetape. It comes in a ton of different shades, never creases, and lasts all night. It also doesn’t hold on to any mascara or eyeliner fallout (which you shouldn’t have with good mascara and eyeliner anyways!). Go with a shade or two lighter than your foundation and it’ll really make you look awake throughout your shift. Nobody will ever know you naturally have raccoon eyes at baseline.


I’ve already talked about this eyeliner in another post so I’ll make this quick. Kat Von D’s Ink liner is not going ANYWHERE on your watch. If you have issues with eyeliner getting on your eyelids, maybe try an eyelid primer like Bare Minerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer or MAC Paint Pot in “soft ochre” ( if you have yellow/warm undertones) or “painterly” (pink/cool undertones).

And the most important…

Set your shit with Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray . This one really makes the most difference in my opinion. It seals in your masterpiece and really makes your makeup stick. Don’t skip out on this one.

That’s it guys! Simple and easy, for a not so simple and easy job. I would love to know if you guys have any tips for nursing makeup too! Leave me a comment 🙂

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Makeup that lasts

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