Women talk about wearing makeup to the beach like it’s this taboo thing, like just because you’re going to Fort Tilden for the day or the Hamptons for a long weekend you’re supposed to adopt some low-maintenance, fancy-free attitude about beauty. Let your frizz run wild, let your acne scars out to play, let your new boyfriend and all his friends see what you look like without your eyebrows on—over it.
If you like a touch of tinted moisturizer or a coat of mascara before you spend six hours with your toes in the sand, you’re not alone—so do we. Don’t call it a confession: That term implies a sense of guilt or shame, when you should feel nothing of the sort. Do a full lewk, if it makes you happy; you may not look like a bare-faced, free-spirited island girl, but then again, you probably weren’t one in the first place, which is fine. Here, seven of our editors divulged their individual guilt-free approaches to hair and makeup, from the barely-there to the all-out.
"For me, beach preparedness starts the night before. I know I’m going to need a bit more moisture when I’m out in the sun for an entire day, so I prep my skin at night with Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum ($185). When I wake up the next morning, after I moisturize, I apply It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+ ($38) over my sunscreen to even out my skin. It’s not waterproof though, so I have to reapply if I take a dip. I try to keep my makeup pretty minimal when I’m in the sun (I at least like to seem low-maintenance) so in addition to putting Glossier Balm Dotcom ($12) on my lips, I smear some on my cheeks and eyelids for a little tinted glow.
Then, keeping with my less-is-more theme, I put a bit of RMS Living Luminizer ($38) on the inner corners of my eyes, as well as at my Cupid’s bow. It really tricks people into thinking I’m awake, even if I’m still groggy from my three-hour ocean-side nap. I basically don’t want anyone to ever know that I’ve plucked my eyebrows, so even if I skip all the above, I fill mine in with Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz ($21), then keep it all in place with a bit of clear MAKE Beauty Sculpting Lash & Brow Gel ($25). My hair tends to get weirdly flat and stringy once I get out of the water, so I like to spritz it with a salt spray like Sachajuan Ocean Mist ($28), then finish with a bit of OUAI Hair Oil ($28) on my ends. See? Totally low-maintenance." (Lauren Caruso, beauty director)
"I'm a real wet blanket when it comes to surf, sand, and sun—if my tendency to fry in the sun wasn't enough, I am also both revolted by the sensation of sand on my skin and afraid of water I can't see the bottom of—so my idea of beach-going is limited to sitting with a hat on under an umbrella with a book in hand, whited-out with layers of SPF in some kind of full-body covering looking deeply unsexy. My advantage here is that I can do my face any way I want, which is usually just my easy go-to of NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($44), approx. three eyebrow products, and an aggressive amount of Glossier Haloscope in Quartz ($22) swiped over my cheekbones, temples, the middle of my chin, Cupid's bow, and the bridge of my nose until my face is barely discernible but for the amount of light reflecting off it." (Rachel Krause, associate beauty editor)
"Before the beach I lather on sunscreen, like everyone else, and then apply a second layer of SPF with Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream ($48), which is tinted enough that I don’t need any other makeup. Most days I will also attempt to wrangle my eyebrows into submission with Dior All-in-Brow 3D Long-Wear Brow Contour Kit ($52) and apply some Burt's Bees lip balm ($3.30)—the pomegranate flavor leaves lips looking naturally tinted—before hitting the sand." (Jasmine Garnsworthy, editor)
"I’ll do a BB cream with SPF 50 on top of my regular sunscreen because ughhh I’m so damn pale right now. The Kiehl's Skin Tone Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream one ($37) is my fave. Face-wise, I’m also totally going to layer on the new Glossier Haloscope highlighter ($22) so I look especially glowy in the sunshine. I have Quartz, but Topaz (conveniently the shade that isn’t sold out yet) looks like it would be fab with a tan. Everything else I’ll keep pretty minimal—a little Benetint ($30) on my lips and some Clark’s Ultra Rich Lip Tint ($19) tossed in my bag for moisturizing and no-mirror-necessary color." (Hilary George-Parkin, fashion editor)
"I rarely wear makeup to the beach, as nothing beats the glow you get from laying in the sun (covered in SPF, of course) but, since one never knows when they may run into Michael B. Jordan, I do keep a subtle lip color with me at all times. These days I’m reaching for Lancôme Juicy Shakers ($21), which keep my lips moisturized and provide the perfect touch of shine." (Leah Faye Cooper, editorial producer)
"While I’m very much a makeup minimalist when I go to the beach or pool, I have been known to swipe on some concealer beforehand. I have a genetic predisposition for dark circles (lucky me!) and the glaring sun hitting my face is, in my mind, a giant spotlight. So I color correct with Benefit Fakeup Hydrating Under Eye Concealer ($24). Mind you, I don’t expect this solution to hold up once I hit the water, but at that point there are bigger beauty problems to solve—namely my sopping wet, tangled hair." (Cristina Velocci, managing editor)