Summer is full of wonderful things — but melting foundation, smeared eyeliner and super-sticky lipstick are not among them. So we asked top makeup artists and our very own experts from the Good Housekeeping Institute's Beauty Lab to spill their best summer makeup tips, including looks, brands and products to wear for keeping your face looking natural, fresh and pretty, even when you're sweating on hot days.
1. Start with the right moisturizer
The way you care for your skin is just as important as the makeup you apply on it. "Use an oil-free moisturizer in the morning," recommends Fiona Stiles, a celebrity makeup artist in Los Angeles, and opt for an oil-free foundation formula to match. These will be less likely to leave your face greasy throughout the day, especially in the heat. The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab rounded up their top picks for face moisturizers so you know what to look for.
2. Layer on sun protection
Besides hydrating your skin, you also want to make sure it's properly protected from the sun — and that means wearing broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen every single day, even under your makeup. (Applying makeup over sunburned skin is not fun!)
You should be re-applying sunscreen every two hours, but that can be hard when you're out and about — especially when you don't want to use your hands. GH Beauty Lab Senior Chemist Sabina Wizemann swears by this sunscreen trick she adopted from makeup artist Erica Whalen that involves repurposing an empty makeup compact:
Use dish soap to clean an old liquid foundation compact and cushion. Let dry.
Soak the cushion with your favorite face sunscreen inside the compact.
To re-apply, dip a sponge applicator into the cushion and dab on your face.
Alternatively, try using a sunscreen powder for reapplication, which can be dusted on top of your makeup.
3. Invest in a powerhouse makeup primer
You won't regret the few seconds it takes to apply a makeup primer, which goes on after moisturizer but before face makeup. "Primers are definitely the way to go in summer," says Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City. "They really help hold makeup in place without feeling like a heavy additional layer." Try Good Housekeeping Seal star No7 Airbrush Away Primer, which uses hyaluronic acid to help soften wrinkles and blur imperfections — all while keeping your makeup on your face!
4. Wear less makeup
If you want to prevent your makeup from creasing and caking, say it with us: Less is more. "If you can, just use a tinted moisturizer and a concealer where you need it," says Stiles. "Makeup likes to move around when it's hot, so the best way to avoid that is to wear less of it."
5. Glow up with some bronzer
"Bronzer makes your eyes look brighter, your teeth whiter — everyone looks better with a little warmth added to their skin," says Troy Surratt, a makeup artist in NYC and founder of Surratt Beauty. To keep the results looking fresh and natural, he recommends applying bronzer just to the high points of your face, where the sun naturally hits you: your forehead, cheekbones, chin and nose. (Covering every nook and cranny is what gives you that fake, baked look that's a major bronzer mistake.)
Powder bronzers are the easiest to apply and least likely to slip around in summer heat. Look for one that contains varying shades — they'll blend together for the most authentic-looking results. You can also sweep a little bronzer onto your neck to blend, especially if you have short hair or are wearing a ponytail.
6. Skip the shimmer
Everyone loves a nice dewy glow, but there's a big difference between a healthy radiance and an over-the-top shine. "Avoid cream foundations or anything too luminous, as the humidity will make you extra shiny and sweaty-looking if you have too much sparkle on your skin," Stiles advises.
7. Go for sheer shades
"Rich, deep colors have their place, but they can look heavy in summer," Surratt says. To lighten up your look, switch to sheer versions of your go-to lip and eye colors. Use a lipliner pre-application if you need extra definition, but go for a nude shade to keep that carefree feeling, or try "invisible" lipliner, which deposits a clear, waxy film to stop color from bleeding. Bonus: Because sheer colors are subtler, you almost can't go overboard.
8. Give your shadow staying power
For longer-lasting eyeshadow, avoid using eye cream on your lids (it can break down makeup), and smooth on an eye primer instead. "It will minimize creasing and create a base for the shadow to cling to so it lasts longer," says Sharona Schweitzer, a makeup artist in Seattle, Washington. For the ultimate in all-day wearability, layer a powder eye shadow over a cream. Doubling up works for eyeliner, too. "Apply your regular pencil or cream liner, then use a small angled brush to press dark shadow over the liner to set it for longer wear," she suggests.
9. Ditch the powder blush
Blush adds balance and healthiness to any look, but if you're still using the same powdery formula, your flush might be getting cake-y faster than it takes to get to work in the morning. "Stains are great for longevity in hot weather," Stiles says. "Use a gel or blush stain, then blend a touch of a cream blush on top of it." Try GH Beauty Award winner Giorgio Armani Neo-Nude A-Blush. One tester said it's “like that healthy vibrance your cheeks get after a jog out in the cold, but in a bottle.”
Pro tip: Want to increase its wear? Dust a light, invisible setting powder on top. Just be sure not to get too heavy-handed; you want to lock your look, not mattify it.
10. Play with fun, vibrant colors
Just as you're probably more likely to wear a vivid top or carry a bright bag this season, now's the perfect time to amp up the colors in your makeup palette. Besides looking summery, "livelier colors brighten the face and bring a youthful glow to skin," Surratt says. If you tend to stick with neutrals, experiment with just one area of your face, like a punchy blush on the apples of the cheeks, a colored eyeliner, or a poppy sheer lip color.
11. Replace shininess with dewiness
A slick T-zone instantly telegraphs "I'm hot" — and not in a good way. To eliminate unsightly shine in seconds, nothing beats blotting papers. "They're cheap and easy — you just press and go," Sheriff says. If you need to perk up your makeup too, blot first, then follow up with a pressed powder with a hint of luminescence. "You want to eliminate shine, but you still want to look a little glow-y, especially in summer," Surratt adds.
12. Swap heavy lipsticks for lip stains
Toss your heavy matte lipsticks for the summer and try the season's simplest trend: lip stains. These long-lasting formulas offer sheer coverage that can be built up, making them super versatile. "Stains are lovely because you can always add a lip balm for moisture without worrying about the color traveling," Stiles notes. For the best of both worlds, try GH Beauty Award winner Dior Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm, which doubles as a balm and a stain. Try sweet pink or peach shades for a traditional summery look, or go bold with tangerine and grape colors for something more daring.
13. Try waterproof versions of favorite products
Love to swim? Don't worry about getting raccoon eyes — there are lots of amazing long-wear makeup products out there these days. "Invest in a good waterproof mascara, or if you're blonde, get your eyelashes tinted," Stiles advises. Check out our beauty editors' favorite waterproof makeup!
14. Stow mini cosmetics in your purse
Never look oily in a photo again by staying prepared with purse-size products that are perfect for toting so you can fix your makeup on the go, like a translucent powder compact with an included applicator. "Carrying blotting papers is another great way to whisk away the sweat and oil without piling on more product," says Stiles says. Plus, you never know when your lip color will need a touch-up.
15. Always finish with a setting spray
The final step in getting your makeup to last all day and night is to spritz on a makeup setting spray to seal in your look. The GH Beauty Lab recommends Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray: In evaluations, a tester said, "I definitely noticed my makeup lasting longer throughout the day, and I didn't get as slick or shiny as usual."
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