The months between June and September are peak lazy season, because hot weather and everything that comes with it do not a productive person make. Quite the opposite, in fact—when you’re just presenting as a functional member of society for your weekday 9-5 and spending the rest of your time doing the things you’re supposed to do in the summer, chances are you’re not as likely to put forth as much of an effort as you usually do. And your commitment to a rigid beauty routine definitely takes a hit.
Because now is not the time to spend too much energy on anything at all, let alone the act of fumbling with tools, the best kind of makeup is the kind you can smear on with your fingers. Powders require brushes, and brushes are out of the question—and that’s what cream color makeup is for. Anything that comes in a pot, a palette, or a stick and requires nothing but a fingertip to apply? That’s the kind of summer “routine” that makes sense. Here are 10 of the best options on the market, perfect for saving you time and #struggle this season. Summertime and the livin’ is easy, and so on and so forth.
The rare highlighter with perfectly balanced warm and cool tones to flatter every complexion is also quite literally rare: It's a limited-edition collab between BECCA and YouTube sensation Jaclyn Hill, so once it's gone, it's gone, but the creamy texture and gorgeous glow are worth fighting other Sephora shoppers for.
BECCA x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured Créme, $38; at Sephora
If a six-shade "contour" kit sends you inching toward the exit (same), fear not! Just because you can do a full contour with it doesn't mean you have to. Instead, take it easy and approach each of the creamy colors on its own, using lighter shades to highlight and brighten and darker ones as you would a bronzer.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Cream Kit, $40; at Anastasia Beverly Hills
Balm, cream, whatever you want to call it, this tinted situation is a quick-hit way to land a touch of color and hydration on lips and cheeks whenever necessary—or whenever it just feels right.
Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Lip Tint, $24; at The Stell
Exciting to look at—very shiny!—and a breeze to apply, these iridescent shadows have a weightless, almost mousse-like feel and a knack for creating dimensional color in a single step. You can use it with the included applicator for more intense pigment, or swipe it on with your fingertip for a well-blended wash that instantly transforms a bare face.
Dior Diorshow Fusion Mono, $31; at Dior
With vivid color and a fun bouncy gel formula, this little pot of pigment is exactly the kind of thing you want to reach for in the summer—a pop of color that goes on sheer and dries to a lightweight finish comfortable enough to wear throughout the dog days.
Givenchy Blush Memoire De Forme Pop Up Jelly Blush, $38; at Sephora
If the glowing goddess-y type thing appeals to you, as it does to most of us, then you're going to die over this new bronzing butter. It's not shimmery, but rather gives skin a satiny, sun-kissed radiance that's almost better than the real thing. You can put it on your face, your legs, your décolleté, and wherever else you feel like you could use some assistance.
Laura Mercier Bronzed Butter Face & Body Veil, $50; at Laura Mercier
This is the gold standard of all things cream for a few reasons, the first of which is that it is not just very, very creamy, but both crease-proof and waterproof. It blends easily, has great pigment, lasts forever, and comes in every color you could ever want. Slap it on lips, cheeks, eyes, wherever.
MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Cream, $23; at Sephora
Makeup pros with time to spare and plenty of brushes on their hands will likely enjoy using these creamy palettes with a lip brush and a precise hand, but the rest of us will enjoy having six tonal shades to use however they want with whichever tools they want. Including fingers. Mostly fingers.
NYX Pro Lip Cream Palette, $12; at NYX
A very nice budget pick that holds up like the best of 'em, these cool metallics are on point for summer nights that last longer than expected—the promise of 24-hour wear is only slightly exaggerated.
Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow, $6.99; at Ulta
This small but mighty multi-use cream is worth its weight in rose gold: The "hardest-working product on the market" blends with any lip, cheek, eye, or highlighting product to instantly provide an array of new color options. Worn alone, it imparts a flattering hit of dewy highlight anywhere you put it.
RMS Master Mixer, $38; at RMS