Summer is full of pleasures — but melting makeup, sliding eyeliner, and supersticky lipstick are not among them. "In hot weather, applying your makeup should be as simple and comfy as putting on your favorite pair of jeans and flip-flops," says New York City makeup artist Troy Surratt. "But the heat and humidity are a challenge, so you have to make a few little changes to your routine." That's why we asked top makeup artists to spill their best tips — the same ones they use on star clients who are being filmed under hot lights or in humid locations — for keeping makeup looking fresh and pretty, even when the weather is working against you. From their faves, we've put together this can't-miss list.
- Make time for primer. You won't regret the few seconds it will take to smooth on a primer, which goes on after moisturizer but before face makeup. Like house-paint primer, it provides a smooth base for whatever goes on next. "Primers are definitely the way to go in summer," says New York City makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff. "They're incredibly light — they don't feel at all like a heavy, additional layer — and they really help hold makeup in place." We've got the evidence: In a Good Housekeeping Research Institute test, primer helped volunteers' makeup look better and hold up throughout the day (even after a sweltering stint in our 80-degree, high-humidity chamber); Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light ($36, Sephora) proved to be the very best of the bunch.
- Lighten your face makeup. "Just as you switch to breezy skirts and linen blouses, dress your face with lighter makeup," says Surratt. First step: Swap foundation for tinted moisturizer. These sheer formulas look and feel airier on skin and are less likely to turn cakey on steamy days. Try Shiseido The Skincare Tinted Moisture Protection SPF 20 ($36, department stores) or Mary Kay Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 ($18, marykay.com). Feeling a little too exposed? Surratt recommends brushing powder foundation over the tinted moisturizer in spots where you need a little extra coverage — say, on blemishes or areas of redness around your nose. Try CoverGirl TruBlend Minerals Pressed Mineral Foundation ($8, drugstores) or Jane Iredale Amazing Base ($42, janeiredaledirect.com).
- Bronze believably. "Bronzer makes your eyes look brighter, your teeth whiter — everyone looks better with a little warmth added to their skin," says Surratt. 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: forehead, cheekbones, chin, and nose. (Covering every nook and cranny is what gives you that fake, baked look.) Powder bronzers are the easiest to apply; look for one with varying shades — they'll swirl together for the most authentic-looking results. Try Wet n Wild Beauty Benefits Beauty Brilliance Bronzing Powder ($8, drugstores) or Physicians Formula Magic Mosaic Multi-Colored Custom Face Powder in Warm Beige/Light Bronzer ($13, drugstores). Another essential for keeping it real: a brush with long, loose, fluffy bristles — anything densely packed will deposit too much color. Prescriptives Bronzer Brush ($32, department stores) is a great choice. And be sure to sweep a little bronzer onto your neck and earlobes, especially if you have short hair or are wearing a ponytail. A tan face that's framed by pale ears will out you fast.
- Try out vibrant color. 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 play up your makeup palette. Besides looking summery, "livelier colors brighten the face and bring a youthful glow to skin," says Surratt. If you tend to stick with neutrals, experiment with just one area of your face. A punchy blush on the apples of the cheeks is a good place to start. Try Revlon A Floral Affair Sheer Powder Blush in Pinking of You ($11.69, drugstores), Bobbi Brown Blush in Pale Pink ($20, department stores), or Ramy Juicy Cheeks Sheer Intense Cheek Color in Maya Papaya ($24, ramy.com).
- Stop shine, add glow. A slick T-zone instantly telegraphs the message "I'm hot" — and we don't mean sexy. To eliminate unsightly shine in seconds, nothing beats blotting papers. "They're cheap, easy, and amazing — you just press and go," says Sheriff. Try Too Faced Re-Fresh Oil Blotting Papers ($12, Sephora). If you need to perk up your makeup too, blot first, then follow up with a dusting of 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," says Surratt. Try Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Luminous Matte Pressed Powder ($12, drugstores).
- Switch out thick lipsticks. Since heavy lip colors often feel like overkill once the weather warms up, many women opt for clear balm or skip their lips altogether. But just because you're feeling low-maintenance doesn't mean you have to look it. A simple swipe-and-go choice: tinted lip balms. "They give you whisper-light color, and many even have SPF to protect you from the sun," says Surratt. Try Neutrogena MoistureShine Tinted Lip Balm SPF 20 ($7, drugstores) or Jane Be Pure Mineral Lip Balm ($4, drugstores).
- Stay-proof your eye makeup. For longer-lasting shadow, 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 Seattle makeup artist Sharona Schweitzer. Try Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place EyeShadow Base ($15, department stores) — the top performer in our GHRI eye-primer test. Although powder shadows generally last longer than creams, for the ultimate in all-day wearability, layer a powder over a cream (don't worry — this makeup artist's trick still feels light on the lids). Try Tarte Lock & Roll Eye Shadow Duo ($17, Sephora), which has matching cream and powder shadows in one tube. Doubling up works for liner, 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," says Schweitzer.
- Wade into waterproof. If you tried waterproof mascaras once but found them less than stellar, it's time to give 'em another go. "They used to be brittle, crumbly, and flaky, but today's formulas are much better — and they really last," says Surratt. Can't bear to switch from your favorite? Apply a waterproof version (we like Lumene Star Effect Waterproof Mascara, $8, CVS) on the tips of your lashes over regular mascara to boost its staying power.
- Go sheer. "Rich, deep colors have their place, but they can look heavy in summer," says Surratt. To lighten up, switch to sheer versions of your go-to lip and eye hues. Two sheer lip shades we love: Clinique Long Last Glosswear SPF 15 in Juicy Apple ($14, department stores) and Sonia Kashuk Dual Ended Sheer Lip Color and Plumping Glossy Tint in Passion Fruit ($12, Target). 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. Try Benefit D'finer D'liner Clear Lipliner ($18, Sephora). Bonus: Because sheer colors are subtler, you almost can't go overboard. Case in point: Stila Summer Eye Shadow Palette ($40, Sephora), which contains pretty pastels and everyday neutrals, all with a sheerness that keeps them sophisticated.
Originally published on June 12, 2008