There are some beauty staples you can transition seamlessly from season to season—a red lip, a cat-eye, a layer of SPF even on the cloudiest of days. Others require a customized approach for each new season; you wouldn’t slather on your thickest winter moisturizers in the summer would you? Exactly. Because warmer weather brings different concerns (like burning) and inspires our desires for different looks (glowy no makeup-makeup), we’ve rounded up 20 must-know beauty tips that will help you have your most gorgeous summer yet.
Let’s start this conversation off with the topic of SPF, because we already know those UVA/UVB rays are going to be changing they way we pretty much do everything. So, to be pretty blunt, use it!
1. Choose the right sunscreen. This involves a few different factors, so let’s break it down right away for you.
- Remember what that SPF number means: it tells you how long you can stay in the sun without getting burned. An SPF of 15 means that you can be in the sun for fifteen times longer without burning than you’d be able to without sunscreen. If you’re planning on being outside for hours, a higher SPF may be appropriate.
- But, slapping on an SPF 60 once in the morning doesn’t mean you’re protected for the rest of the day. Sunscreens wear off surprisingly fast, even faster if you come in contact with water. Even most high quality waterproof sunscreens only have a resiliency for about 80 minutes, and that’s without toweling off. To play it safe, reapply often and take breaks from direct sunlight. Remember, sunscreen can only protect you from sun damage, it can’t reverse any damage already done. If you get burnt, you’re burnt.
- But a good SPF isn’t the only thing you need to look for—you need to make sure that your sunscreen of choice offers broad spectrum protection. This means it’s going to protect you from both UVB rays (which cause burning) and the deeper-penetrating UVA rays (which cause premature aging, fine lines, and can cause skin cancer). Reach for a sunscreen like La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Suncreen Fluid that blocks both UVA/UVB rays, and go for physical sunscreens if you’re sensitive to chemicals.
2. Apply generously. Wearing sunscreen is a great start, but it won’t live up to its sun protection potential if you’re not putting enough on. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends following the “one ounce, enough to fill a shot glass” rule. That means applying as much sunscreen as would fit into a shot glass over every exposed part of your body. This will tell how long your tube of sunscreen will last—hint, probably not the entire summer.
3. Don’t lean on clothes for protection. Covering up is a great added measure of protection, but experts say that an average tee only provides an SPF of about 8. Pretty slim, right? Load up on the sunscreen before covering up with clothes, whether than be linen or board shorts.
4. Don’t miss those hard-to-reach or easily forgotten spots, like your ears, behind your knees, the tops of your feet, and even your scalp. If it’s exposed, it’s getting some love from the sun.
5. Try non-comedogenic products. This is important to remember for sunscreen, too, but may impact you more if you moisturize often and are prone to acne. Non-comedogenic beauty products are designed not to clog pores (which can lead to irritation and blemishes). This is especially important in summer: hot and humid weather leads to sweat, which takes a longer time to evaporate off your skin, and combining that with oily products isn’t exactly a party for your pores. Go the oil-free or non-comedogenic route to ward off pimples.
6. Stay moisturized. You may have let up on this a little since winter left the premises, but don’t give it up for good. A solid moisturizing routine can do so many beneficial things for your complexion! Your skin is a barrier that protects you from environmental aggressors like pollution, bacteria and moisture loss, and keeping it moisturized helps keep that barrier working properly. Dry skin is unhappy, damage-prone skin, so apply a light moisturizer to protect it from summertime drying agents like sunburns, salt and chlorine.
7. Exfoliate at the right times. Not only will it help you maintain a fresh fake tan (when your dead skin cells flake off, the old tan will come off with it), but gentle facial exfoliation will help keep your skin free of clogged pores and create a better canvas for makeup application. However, keep in mind that exfoliation reveals new, sensitive skin that could be more prone to burning in the sun. Reserve your exfoliating habits for the evening, or for days when you aren’t heading straight from the shower to the pool.
8. Aloe is your new best friend. A known anti-inflammatory that also provides moisturizing relief, applying aloe vera-containing products after exposure to the sun will calm and soothe your skin, leaving you far less likely to experience that awful scaly dryness that comes with summer. It’s also said to contain antioxidants that can help repair damaged skin and prevent free radicals from doing their undesirable work. Vaseline Intensive Care makes a body lotion infused with aloe that rehydrates and calms your skin, helping to undo past damage as it prevents future issues.
9. Invest in a moisturizer that works on wet skin. Don’t skip on the after-bathing rehydration! Tons of brands make body washes that provide hydration via the oils in their ingredients list, but because we live in the future, companies are now creating moisturizers that you can apply before you even towel off. Yep: the new generation of post-shower moisturizers won’t clump or leave a weird residue on your skin, no matter how wet your skin is when you apply them. As the name implies, Jergen’s new Wet Skin Moisturizer is designed to be applied before you even step out of the shower, because your pores are open and susceptible to taking in moisture. Just rub it in and you’re done!
10. Don’t shave your bikini line right before the beach. This skin is some of the more sensitive and prone to irritation, so shaving or waxing off layers of dead skin cells and then exposing it to harsh sunlight, salt and chlorine? That’s just begging for bumps, ingrown hairs and razor burn. Be smart; time your hair removal efforts several hours before engaging in summer activities, not seconds before you run out the door.
11. Change up your shades. Because seriously, who wants to look like you’re wearing a too-pale foundation mask? It’s annoying but true: as your skin gets that pretty, sun-kissed glow, you may need a different shade of foundation and concealer to accommodate changes between your winter and summer coloring. You can even opt for a tinted moisturizer a shade darker than you’d wear in winter; we love BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer Gel, which comes in 10 shades and has an SPF of 30. Pro tip: match the foundation shade to your skin on your face, not on any limb, as those tend to be darker than the rest of your body.
12. Cream eyeshadow will change your life. Cream shadows often are often more water-resistant and long-wearing than their powdery sisters, making them ideal for summertime. Powder shadows can travel along with the sweat and oils of your face and end up in areas you never intended for them to be. Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadows are amazing; plus, if you pick one that’s a shade lighter than your skin tone or in a pretty pink shade, these gems can double as highlighters and even blush. How’s that for packing light?
13. Don’t forget a primer. The oils of your skin are known to separate the pigments in foundation, making it look uneven and blotchy. Primer creates a shield and prevents foundation and your skin’s natural oils from mingling. Stila’s Aqua Glow Perfecting Primer delivers cooling hydration while blurring out imperfections and making you look beautiful before you even put on any foundation. Since pores generally open up in warmer weather (which makes them a bit more visible to the naked eye), anything that works to blur that canvas will help you out.
14. Go waterproof. Eyelashes are tiny hairs, so keep them well-nourished, clump-free, and free of smears by using a waterproof mascara that is enriched with good-for-you oils, like our beloved Rimmel London’s Wonder’Lash Mascara With Argan Oil. And to avoid those awful under-eye smears, avoid applying mascara on your lower lashes: oils and sweat will collect under your eyes in the summer, and this could lead to transfer.
15. Use bronzer correctly. If we could tell the world just one thing, it would be that bronzer isn’t a second-step foundation, and you don’t wear it all over your face. Keep it on the apples of the cheeks if you just want a little tint, or lightly apply it over your forehead and right below your cheek bone. Be sure to blend harsh lines and keep metallics to a minimum to avoid an overly shiny look.
16. Blot or spray, don’t smear. If you need to remove oils or sweat from your face, taking a sheet of blotting paper and lightly touch it to your skin so it can absorb some of the oil. Rubbing will just smear the oils and your makeup around your face, which is not the look. When it comes to refreshing your face, don’t layer on pounds of extra product—these refreshing sprays will save the day. Keep them handy after makeup application to set your look, provide moisture that won’t remove your makeup, and (HUGE plus!) add a little bit of extra SPF protection as well. Many are formulated with aloe to soothe skin along the way, too.
17. Pick a stain. In summer, lip stains are the way to go: they don’t feel heavy on your lips and won’t roll off with sweat. YSL’s is super glossy for that “just jumped out of the pool” lip look, in addition to keeping your pout hydrated for up to 10 hours, and comes in really fun, eye-catching shades.
18. Get beachy. Utilize the texturizing effect of salt by taking a dip in the ocean and letting your hair air-dry for those perfectly beachy waves that scream summertime. If the sea is nowhere around, get the look for yourself at home sans surf with an oil-infused salt spray (we’re partial to Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion) that won’t dry hair out.
19. Clarify! Indulge in a clarifying shampoo and a UV ray protectant styling spray. Not only blondes have to worry about chlorine, salt, and sun going to town on hair color. These products will help tone your hair color and remove product build-up while cleansing your hair.
20. Keep it wet. Before going into the ocean or the pool, wet your hair. This saturates the cuticle with water so that less chemicals can enter and damage the integrity of the hair.