SUMMER IS THE HARDEST BEAUTY maintenance season there is, particularly in Washington, where the swampy heat, humidity and resulting sweat can all take a toll on even the best-applied and highest-quality makeup. But I’ve got this. It’s going to sound like a lot of steps, but there is a method here. You’ll melt-proof your makeup and look great all sweltering day long, and on into the steamy night.
Prime Your Canvas
Prepping skin for makeup is crucial. After cleansing, apply eye gel (refrigerate it, it feels amazing), toner, serum, a protective moisturizer and a primer. No matter what your skin type, the first goal is long-lasting freshness sans tightness, oil control and matte-ification.
Renée Rouleau Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel ($35.50). Normally I won’t spend big bucks on cleanser – it gets washed off – but this is a summertime exception because it smells, performs and feels like heaven. So do RR’s Mint Buffing Beads ($41.50), which exfoliate thoroughly but gently, resulting in baby-smooth skin and lips.
Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Yeux ($60). This hardworking gel delivers instant coolness, smoothing and continuous hydration without a heavy feel.
Chanel Lotion Pureté Fresh-Mattifying Toner ($45). I know what you’re thinking: “I so don’t need this.” That’s so wrong. Maybe you have PTSD from having used an alcohol-based astringent in your spent youth. But this alcohol-free toner softly removes impure tap water and cleanser residues, and dampens skin to better absorb what’s coming next.
SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX+ ($87). Perfect under sunscreen, this Vitamin C-infused antioxidant is lightweight and lasting on every skin.
Kate Somerville Daily Deflector Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ PA+++ ($48). This oil-free moisturizer has massive benefits: anti-aging vitamins A, C and E; aloe vera to soften; and of course both UVA and UVB protection.
Rouge Bunny Rouge Metamorphoses Mattifying Primer ($44). This is my favorite new skincare product – and not just because the packaging is so artistic. This primer immediately makes the surface of your skin look better than Natalia Vodianova’s. Yes. You’re ready for your close-up and we haven’t even gotten to the fun part yet.
Make It Last
Makeup slip-slides away into a melty mess when there’s nothing underneath it to hold it. Constant blinking and oils will smudge your eyeliner and crease your eyeshadow. Skipping foundation and (God forbid) loose powder equals an oily face and streaked-out blush. Regular lip gloss smears off and beyond your actual lip line.
Not a pretty picture.
Here’s how to keep it all intact.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original ($20). This is the go-to for all eyelids because it really works.
Laura Mercier Oil Free Suprême Foundation ($45). It’s not easy to find an oil-free formula that looks like actual skin and feels like air once it’s on. This one does.
Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer ($28). This new, highly-pigmented concealer is buildable, meaning you can use a little or a lot depending on your situation, and it positively absolutely will not budge.
Too Faced Bulletproof Brows ($30). Don’t overlook your brows; they frame your entire face. A breakthrough hybrid, this gel-powder-pencil-setting wax product is waterproof and a breeze to apply.
Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder ($35). Always use loose, not pressed, powder to set your makeup. I love this universal shade that disappears right into skin. Brush a little bit over your concealer, too.
Smoky eye makeup is way too heavy for hot weather. Instead, go with neutral shadows punctuated with emphatic liners. That combo gives brightness and definition. To achieve depth, dimension and maximum wear, always use powders over creams.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Ballet Pink ($25). A warm, slightly peachy pink with a touch of shimmer. Ideal highlighter and base.
Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in Bold Gold ($6.99). Amazing for the price, this solid cream brings a golden glow to lids.
Urban Decay Naked3 ($54). A palette of 12 timeless matte, pearl and glimmering metallic shades means you can play well past Labor Day.
Chanel Les 4 Ombres Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow in 204 Tissé Vendôme ($61). A compact classic quartet of can’t-go-wrong.
Depending on your hand’s steadiness, different formulations give different results. Whichever you choose, these are all budge-proof and beautiful.
Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in #6 – Iridescent Navy Blue and #8 – Iridescent Electric Purple ($23 each). This waterproof pen has a flexible yet super-precise tip, like a Sharpie, only better. Both colors look lovely for all eye colors and are nice alternatives to black.
Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner in Sapphire-Midnight Blue ($24). Renowned for her Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, Bobbi’s taken the same long-wearing, deeply colored gel and turned it into a sleek crayon. Awesome.
Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black ($9.99). If you prefer potted creamy gels, nothing’s better than this new one. Again, amazing performance for the price. Toss the brush and use an angled one for more control.
Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Midnight Blue ($20). The name says it all. And it goes on like buttah.
If not waterproof, summer mascara must be water-resistant, unsmudgeable and stay put until you take it off. This new one will rock your eyelashes’ world and make you smile.
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara ($23). The brush’s hourglass shape help reach every last lash, while curling, separating, lengthening and darkening to ultra-black. Fabulous.
Blush and Bronze
Skip the creams – it’s too hot – and stick with soft pressed powders that can go the distance.
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Fearless and Tipsy ($26 each). Simply the best. Looks intense in the embossed compact, but the translucent color is as subtle or vivid as you want it to be.
LORAC TANtalizer Highlighter & Matte Bronzer Duo ($32). This best-selling velvety powder compact is perfection: One half is a neutral, luminous highlighter to make cheekbones pop. The other is a matte bronzer that mimics a natural, sun-kissed look wherever the Actual Sun would fall across your face.
Vampy, burgundy, oxbloody lips are very un-summer. You want fruity, happy, semi-sheer colors that won’t move if you eat a salad with dressing for lunch or drink several Margaritas at happy hour.
Carmex Everyday Ultra Smooth Lip Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 15 in Lime Twist ($1.49). Speaking of Margaritas, this new flavor is the next best thing. Super moisturizing and soothing, use this before any lip color. (And remember, lips can get sunburned too.)
Tarte LipSurgence Power Pigment in Tipsy and True Love ($24). With shea butter to hydrate and a hint of mint to cool, these shining stain sticks are Crayolas for big girls.
Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lip Liner Pencil in 17-Bright Orange and 18-Coral ($19 each). Lip pencils become cool when you use these, either on their own or as a lipstick base, even in the pool.
- Lipstick Queen Endless Summer Lipstick in Stoked ($22). Ultra-glossy and glidey, this see-through cross between a gloss and a stick feels nourishing and unsticky. It also has broad spectrum SPF 15, which is very smart and very rare in any lip color.
Laura Mercier Limited Edition Gel Lip Colour in Clementine ($23). If I had to invent a flawless summer lipstick, this would be it. Creamy-smooth, light yet rich, almost sugary, and the prettiest coral-orange-pink I’ve seen all season.
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Tesoro ($22). If I had to invent a second flawless summer lipstick, this would be it. It’s almost unbelievable that anybody could invent this, really. Feels like water going on. Comes in a lip gloss-like applicator with a sponge tip. Super-saturated color. To die for.
And Finally …
You’ve made all this effort. You’ve spent all this money. Don’t let it die!
Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray Oil-Control ($30). Okay. Like the Chanel toner, you may think you don’t need this. You need this. Here’s the thing: Some women like to mist their faces with water-based sprays throughout the day to refresh. Doing that may feel good but it actually softens and melts off your makeup. But this setting spray does the opposite and feels good and cool going on. Just spray and back away. Let it dry on its own. Don’t touch it. And that’s it.
Just One More
Boscia Black Charcoal Blotting Linens ($10). Don’t use pressed powder to powder your nose or your anything else. All that does is push oil and grease right back into the skin. Instead, lightly press your skin with these papers, and toss ʼem. The sheets lift off all the grossness and don’t disturb the makeup. Kind of genius.
— Gigi Anders
Gigi Anders is a freelance writer in the New York City area.