We all know that summers here in the south can be warm, sometimes downright hot, and usually come with a dose of high humidity. While I’ve heard rumors that this combination is what keeps a southern woman’s skin looking so youthful, it can be a bit of a bother.
In general, if you are going to be outside a lot or doing physical activities, you may want to wear as little makeup as possible. If you’re lucky enough that this is your day-to-day beauty regimen, then by all means, keep it up! Just slather on some sunscreen and go! But for those of us who prefer to wear makeup to look more polished or professional (or just because we like to), this time of year can be a challenge. So, in the spirit of sharing, here are some tips to keep you looking fresh-faced despite the sweltering temperatures.
Start by choosing a lightweight moisturizer with SPF. It may seem that you don’t need to add moisture since your skin might be staying “dewy,” but dry skin can over-react and tends to over-produce oil, which can lead to imperfections. Keep in mind that despite the humidity outside, the blasting air conditioner inside can actually be quite harsh and may dehydrate your skin. A lot of women use the same moisturizer year round, but most experts believe that the product you need in the summer will most likely not be as heavy (or emollient rich) as the one your skin needs in the winter. Look for a lotion or gel formula instead of a cream. A good piece of advice is to let your moisturizer sink in for a couple of minutes, so you don’t wipe it all away when applying your next step.
Save: Olay Complete All Day UV Moisturizer Lotion SPF 15
Spend: MURAD Environmental Shield Essential-C Day Moisture SPF 30
A primer and/or mattifier can be a useful product any time of the year, but especially when the weather makes it easier for your makeup to slip around. While this adds another step to your beauty routine, priming your face before putting on foundation is much like priming a wall before painting it. Primer not only helps your makeup adhere better; it also tends to smooth away or blur fine lines and wrinkles and can help lessen the appearance of discoloration or redness. Some women have found that this is the only extra step they need to look put-together.
Save: L’Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer
Spend: Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector
If you prefer light coverage, try a tinted moisturizer. This can save you time and money by combining two products (moisturizer + foundation) into one convenient package. Or try one of the many beauty balms that have flooded the market. Although these products have been popular in Asian countries for many years, beauty balms (BBs for short) have only recently started gaining fans here in America, but there are already many different ones to choose from. Typically these have three properties (such as moisturizer + skin care + foundation) that can help to further consolidate your beauty program.
For heavier coverage, look for an oil-free foundation which suits your skin type and hides imperfections but doesn’t leave you looking like you’re wearing a mask.
Save: Maybelline Fit Me Foundation
Spend: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H
We all want a healthy looking glow during the summer, and the safest way to achieve that is through using a combination of bronzer and blush. I’ve found that the most natural looking bronzers are the ones that aren’t too glittery. Also, beware of going too dark for your natural skin tone; you don’t want to try and look instantly tan, just sun-kissed. Depending on your skin type and preference, you can choose between a cream, liquid or powder formula. The same goes for blush – you’re aiming for a subtle glow, not looking like you came out of an ‘80s music video. An ideal color would leave you appearing like you’d just had some light exercise. A cream or gel version will give you the most believable effect, while powder is the easiest to use.
Save: Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Pressed Bronzer; CoverGirl Cheekers Blush
Spend: NARS Bronzing Powder; Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush
Eyeshadow in powder form can sometimes pose a problem by settling into your eyelid crease if it becomes damp. You can help alleviate this problem by applying your primer over your whole eyelid. For this reason cream versions are suggested since most formulas are smudge-proof and will last all day. When it comes to eyeliner, a liquid or gel one will most likely be water-resistant and will stick around longer than a pencil would. On days when you will be in a body of water or doing strenuous exercise (or if the pollen is getting to you) water-proof mascara can work wonders; however, overuse can lead to your lashes becoming dry, so it’s not recommended for everyday wear.
Save: L’Oreal Paris Infallible Eyeshadow; e.l.f. Studio Precision Liquid Eyeliner; Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara
Spend: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow; Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Push-Up Liner; Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara
A lot of people forget that their lips need protection, too. Lips are naturally very thin-skinned and can burn easily, so if you’re planning on being outdoors make sure you reach for a balm with at least SPF 15, and beware of shiny lip glosses (unless they have SPF) since the reflective surface gloss creates only intensifies the power of the sun. Otherwise, look for long-lasting formulas such as lip stains or balm “crayons” that are easy to use and will keep you from having to constantly worry about reapplying.
Save: Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain
Spend: Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm
For touch-ups throughout the day, you may find that powdering when it’s humid out can lead to that “cakey” look that everyone tries to avoid, so I would recommend trying blotting sheets or papers instead. You can purchase these at your local drugstore or supermarket and a napkin or paper towel can work in a pinch. Just press them to your face (don’t rub) and you’ll instantly look fresh as a daisy. You know, the kind of daisy that coolly sips lemonade on the porch, not the kind that wilts in the heat. The makeup adventurous can try a misting spray to set and refresh their makeup. Professional makeup artists swear by these, but some people find them difficult to use.
Save: Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets; NYX Cosmetics Make Up Setting Spray
Spend: Shiseido Pureness Oil Control Blotting Paper; Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
I know this may seem like a lot of steps, depending on how obsessive you are about your makeup being as perfect as possible (guilty!). Always remember that makeup should be fun and something to experiment with since it’s easily removable. It shouldn’t be overwhelming or stressful. Adding a step like a primer or a makeup setting spray can seem unnecessary at first, but if it helps keep your face looking beautiful all day, or at least lessens the amount of touch-ups you have to perform, in the long run they can save you both time and money.
And guys – don’t think you can get away without being subjected to learning something – everyone benefits from moisturizing with a lotion that contains sunscreen. There are many products specifically designed with the male perspective in mind, even though you could always just share merchandise with your wife or girlfriend (we won’t tell!). Also, don’t let your lips get sunburned by using a lip balm with SPF protection, as you can find flavorless, untinted versions anywhere.
Save: Dove Men+Care Face Lotion Hydrate
Spend: Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20