If you live in a place that has a very humid climate, hot springs and summers, or is balmy all year round, I’ve got you. I switch my makeup routine based on the season and I’ve got 5 must-haves for my humid weather makeup bag.

I never thought that I would become someone who liked makeup. Growing up, I saw it as a waste of money and something that was an unnecessary everyday extravagance that I equated with performance. However, living in Tokyo has made me aware of not only the expectations placed on women in the workforce, but the importance of the unconscious messages people get when they look at you. Like it or not, we are judged every day, particularly in the workplace.

I’ve found that I enjoy wearing makeup to work because makeup acts as a sort of armor for me. It helps put me in the right mindset: that I am capable, strong, and beautiful, something we should all feel. If you told tween-me that I’d be wearing makeup every day for work, I would have looked at you like you had grown more than one head. 

Over time, I have come to depend on several things in my makeup bag particularly when working in a humid climate.

What’s A Must In My Work Makeup Bag for Humid Weather


Although many makeup products now contain SPF, research has shown that the SPF in makeup products is not enough to offer adequate protection from the sun’s UV rays. UV rays can penetrate, even during cloudy weather, which makes sunscreen all the more important.

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I am lucky that Japan has access to great sun care products that feel light on the skin and blend easily, two of the top things I look for in sunscreen. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find great products where you are. Do research on the products you’re interested in! Look into your respective skin type to make sure that your skin won’t have a negative reaction to the product.

I find that researching things and watching other people’s reviews of products that I am interested in is a good way to help determine if it will work for you. If you can, I would recommend trying each product in person; for me that’s the best way to see if something really works.

Tinted Moisturizer/Foundation

I go back and forth between two base products depending on the season. In the summer, I prefer a tinted moisturizer in comparison to a powder foundation, primarily because the tinted moisturizer tends to last longer on my skin.

I have always preferred a natural, professional look that simply enhances the features and for me, a tinted moisturizer checks that box.

What works for me might not work for you though. Regardless, having a solid, go-to base product in humid weather is a must.


Most young women in Asian countries tend to want to have a lighter skin tone, and makeup companies cater to that and offer a very limited range of shades. It took me a while (and a lot of research) to find the right concealer for my skin tone.

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I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do my best work if I showed up with bags under my eyes, redness, or pimples. Looking my best helps me feel more confident in the workplace. I also knew that I would be judged by everyone in the workplace in Japanese culture. Ultimately, the desire to look professional and now I carry concealer (and a powder compact) in my makeup bag every day, which brings the cost-per-wear price down considerably.

Blotting Papers

Sweat is an inevitable part of living in a humid climate, but it certainly doesn’t look professional to have sweat dripping down your face. Blotting papers are always in my makeup bag because of this. I used to keep a handkerchief in my bag, but it would remove my makeup. Blotting papers take away the sweat and excess oil without wiping off the makeup in the process.


I never understood the value of hairspray until working here. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the texture that comes as a result of having hairspray in my hair. However, having hairspray keeps those little flyaway hairs in place, which is invaluable in the heat. I always carry a mini hairspray in my makeup bag.

Wearing makeup in the workplace is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be tool for success. Especially if the people around us judge us based on our appearance. Using makeup to enhance your appearance and your professionalism, even in a humid climate, can help prepare you for success down the line.

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