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Heat-Proof Your Summer Makeup

Photos by Kristen Arnett. Model is Adela Capova.

During summer when it’s hot and especially humid, a face full of makeup is both uncomfortable and a losing strategy. So keep it simple with an easy, 4-step makeup “recipe” shown below. The best part of this recipe is that it will work for absolutely anyone (no matter what age or skin tone) who wants a fresh and on-trend, stay-put summer look.

As a “green” makeup artist I’ve had to find ways to make natural-ingredient makeup last on models, actresses, singers and brides during the most insufferable heat. It’s not an impossible feat, but there are some key things you should know before getting started.

Color and Texture Switch Overs

Summer calls for lighter and brighter shades of cheek, eye and lip colors.  So put away those darker colors (like wine, rich plum, chocolate) until fall. 

If you want your makeup to endure the heat, choose drier textures or stains. That means you can forgo tinted moisturizer, creamy luminizer or highlighters (you won’t need the extra shine), and any product with added hydration (unless you have super dry skin).

Avoiding “Melty-Face”

Sweat is the killer of all makeup because it contains salt. When sweat mixes with your skin’s oil it can remove your carefully applied makeup with swift ease, turning it into what I call “melty-face.”

Unless you’re moving from one air-conditioned spot to another, you’re probably going to sweat a bit. Keeping your makeup look simple is the best way to avoid melting makeup.

A Simple Summertime Makeup “Recipe” – That Anyone Can Pull Off!

These steps really will work for anyone, provided you select colors that best complement your skin tone.

Prep: Start with lightweight and oil-free textures for your daily hydration and protection. When applying your SPF, avoid greasy lotions and opt for a drier formula.

Situate yourself with a mirror near natural daylight so you can get a good reading on how the colors will look when you go outside later.

Photos by Kristen Arnett. Model is Adela Capova. Step 1) Curl your lashes. If you already have nice lashes, just apply a clear coat of mascara to keep them in place. For a bit more oomph on pale to medium skin tones, add a sweep of dark brown mascara. Darker skinned ladies can use black. The idea is to keep lashes looking light and feathery, not thick and chunky.

Step 2) Follow with a powdered bronzer; start on the cheekbone and gently move the brush upwards towards the temples, then around to your forehead hairline. Using just the residue of the bronzer on the brush, give a swipe across the bridge of your nose and over eyelids.

Pro Tip: For anyone with a slightly saggy neck or jowl line, add a little bronzer just along the jawbone and blend down towards the neck for the illusion of a tighter neck/jaw line.

Step 3) This may seem totally out of order, but now is when you should apply concealer. Don’t use a shade that’s too light for the skin tone you have during the summer. If it looks like you’re putting white-ish stripes and dots on your face, you need a darker shade. 

Step 4) Finish it all off with a juicy, tropical color of lipstick that plays off the bronze color on your face. Bright and deep coral hues are all the rage right now and they complement a huge range of skin tones. You could also try brighter pinks and reds. If it feels scary to put such a bold statement on your lips, go for similar colors in a tinted lip balm. I urge you to be daring and, most of all, have fun!

Photos by Kristen Arnett. Model is Adela Capova.

Some Extra Tips

Notice we have completely skipped foundation. If you are really insistent on wearing a full face of foundation, apply it before the bronzing step. Gauge the amount of foundation you wear by your willingness to do regular upkeep during the day, your activity level and your tendency to sweat. Otherwise, let your skin breathe with as little as possible on it.

Since many natural-leaning formulas of mascara do not contain the same harsh synthetics as conventional formulas, they can have a tendency to slide off during hot, humid days. To help with this dilemma, use less mascara and/or a lighter color. Make sure to check a mirror throughout the day to see if there’s been slippage, especially if you’ve rubbed your eyes or been squinting a lot. Gently wipe away any residue with a clean finger or tissue to avoid raccoon eyes.

What’s your recipe for fresh and easy summer makeup? Tell us in the comments below.

Be sure to check out more makeup tips, like how to apply makeup for a smokey eye and the six essentials for a well-stocked makeup bag.

Photos by Kristen Arnett. Model is Adela Capova. 

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Dale says …

Can you recommend some brands for bronzer, coral hued lipstick and drier formula SPF?

Goldie says …

This article completely ignores the fact that sweat runs and rivlets of sweat running down through powdered bronzer make you look awful. Not a helpful article, at all, Ms. Arnett.

Suzanne says …

What brand/colors were used on the model? I want to try them!

Terri says …

I am ignoring the previous comment as Goldie is obviously ignoring the fact that the average person who would sweat to that degree under normal circumstances is probably working out and won't opt to wear makeup at all. Love the tips! I will try this tomorrow!

Shannon says …

Great lip color!

Donna Whitesel says …

Thanks. Love the saggy neck tip as I have battling this rather horrifying problem. Will try it.

Mandy says …

What about those of us that are very fair skinned-what colors should we go to? I usually keep a soft mauve lip color and have bad skin at times so what kind of concealer would you recommend in the summer?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

Kristen was so excited to read all of your questions! She said: "I'm so happy that a lot of you are excited about the look. I had a feeling you would ask about specific products and I'm happy to answer your questions. Just as a disclaimer, since I can't see any of you, these are general recommendations based on what I used, so you will still have to try and test to find what works best for you. Good luck! and here goes…."

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DALE - Kristen said for a non-greasy of sunblock on the face she likes the Replenishing Solar Defense SPF 30 by MyChelle.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

Kristen said: "For bronzer there's so many options and I would say that you need to find one that is not too red or too orange on your skin, and the less sparkle the better. One great option for lighter skin that you can find in Whole Foods Market is by Dr. Hauschka. For darker skin I also like Bronze Goddess #2 by Sappho Cosmetics."

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@SUZANNE - Kristen stated that: "I primed the lip with John Master's lip balm. For the lip color, well this is where I confess that I mixed a couple together until I got the right shade unique to Adela (the model), and I would encourage you to do the same because it's fun to create your own shade! The bulk of it was a color called Belize from Primitive Makeup and then I added a touch of Bite Beauty's Carmine."

Tiffany says …

Do you know what color/brand of bronzer was used?

Goldie Goodwin says …

These are great suggestions. Wish I had read them earlier! But in Savannah GA it's still pretty hot. It's hard to think of not putting foundation on but I am going to try it. Thanks!