How do you preserve your beauty routine during the hot, humid days of summer? Learn how to use light summer makeup to achieve a natural glow while also protecting your skin from the effects of the sun.
For those of us who live for summer sun to put some miles on our ride—or to just laze in the wild outdoors, the practical realities in the heat of summer can seem a little frustrating. Streaky makeup, sweaty brows, and the much-dreaded continuous sunscreen reapplications can leave us longing for Labour Day.
Thankfully, natural cosmetics can fix these pesky problems and bring effortlessness back to summer days. Use light summer makeup to achieve a natural glow while protecting your skin from the effects of the sun.
Step 1: A safe base
Worn underneath any other makeup products, a quality natural sunscreen product should be the holy grail of your summer makeup routine. It’s a myth that those with darker skin don’t need sunscreen—everyone’s skin can be damaged by the sun.
What to look for
While the environmental and health organization Environmental Working Group warns against the potential dangers of nanoparticles in some mineral sunscreens, it still recommends choosing broad-spectrum mineral sunscreens in cream form (rather than sprays). Those made from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are seen as the gold standard of sunscreen products.
Be wary of SPFs greater than 50 (which may not be as effective as they appear), and steer clear of sunscreens that contain vitamin A, which may contribute to skin cancer.
Generously coat your skin with sunscreen and massage into skin. Don’t forget your neck and chest area! Regardless of the SPF you choose, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours.
Summer skincare switch-up
For skin that changes along with the seasons, choose a lighter version of your favourite natural moisturizer. Switching from a heavy cream to a lighter lotion may help reduce summer oiliness.
Step 2: Light coverage
Full coverage, move over! Makeup artist Nav Uppal says, “Humidity and heat can melt makeup into your pores, causing unnecessary breakouts. Sometimes less really is more!” Her go-to is “a lightweight tinted moisturizer because it can even out your skin tone and leave you with that ‘no makeup’ makeup look!”
Bronzer can also be used to achieve the look of a tan, without the damage.
What to look for
When shopping for tinted moisturizer—or any other makeup—read ingredient lists carefully. Conventional chemicals to avoid include parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). When choosing bronzer, also scan the ingredient list for talc. This all-too-common chemical can pose an inhalation hazard and may even be contaminated with asbestos fibres, so steer clear of it.
Before buying a product, try a sample or ask store staff to help with colour matching. Bronzer can look orangey if not properly matched to your complexion.
Apply tinted moisturizer with clean fingertips or a natural makeup brush for a dewy finish. Blend it into the temples and neck region for even coverage.
To add a subtle summer glow, apply natural bronzer to the places that the sun would naturally hit—cheekbones, forehead, and top of the nose. Some have a slight shimmer, creating the popular “illuminating” look.
Step 3: Minimal makeup
Cheek, eye, and lip products for summer range from barely there to bright and fun pops of colour—there’s no right answer.
What to look for
Rather than using countless cosmetics, summer is the ideal time to make use of multitasking products. Trendy lip-to-cheek formulations are perfect for travel, on-the-go touch-ups, or minimal makeup days. “Finding blushes and lipsticks that look natural can be tough,” Uppal explains. “Pro tip: the colour in the centre of your bottom lip is the colour that is best suited to give you the most natural lip and cheek tone!”
While it might be tempting to reach for a lip gloss to complete your summer style, think again. Glossy, shiny lip products can actually act as a magnet for UV rays, increasing the sun’s negative effects. Opt for a natural lip balm with SPF—there are plenty of safe, nontoxic, and even tinted options available at natural health retailers. Many contain beeswax, although vegan options can be made from nourishing coconut oil or shea butter.
Many people forgo eyeliner and mascara in the summer. For diehard eye makeup devotees, natural waterproof options may be the way to go—otherwise, sweat, humidity, and swimming can ruin the look.
Multitasking lip, eye, or cheek products often come in stick formulations that can be applied directly to skin or in small pots that can be applied with fingertips. Dab on gently, and blend well.
Apply lip SPF like facial sunscreen—before going outdoors and reapplying every couple of hours. It can also be layered under matte lipsticks for a creamy finish that’s safe in the sun.
Summer makeup for all occasions
From weddings to graduations, there are many special events in the summer. Makeup artist Nav Uppal’s top tip? “Bold lips, bronzed cheeks, and big lashes are the easiest way to transition your look from day to night!”
Step 4: Set it
Uppal swears by setting sprays in the summer to “ensure long wear—and they also take any powder finish away from your makeup, causing it to look more like skin!”
What to look for
Look for natural setting sprays or toning mists at your local natural health retailer. Popular ingredients include lavender and grapeseed extract. “Rosewater is my personal favourite because of its hydrating properties,” says Uppal.
Closing your eyes, mist your face after applying makeup. Spritzing throughout the day can also help with cooling and hydrating.