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How I Prep My Skin For Summer and My Go-To, Melt-Proof Makeup Look

summer makeup and skincare
Design: theSkimm | Image: Vacation
June 17, 2024

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Though I always prefer a skin-first aesthetic and don’t like wearing dramatic makeup, summer is when I really double down on that M.O. When it’s a million degrees outside with a billion percent humidity, the last thing I want to do is weigh down my skin with heavy formulas. Over the years, I’ve curated my summer skincare regimen to provide ample hydration and protection without suffocating my pores — and create a fresh, dewy canvas that I feel comfortable leaving mostly bare. And the makeup? As minimal as it gets, and it won’t be running down your face by lunchtime.

Summer Skincare

youth to the people superfood cleanser

A water-based cleanser packed with superfoods…

When the weather gets humid, I swap my usual cream cleanser for a more refreshing water-based one. This one from Youth to the People is the only lathering formula I’ve tried that doesn’t strip my skin. I also love the concoction of aloe, spinach, kale, and green tea, which feels like I’m feeding my skin a tall, cold glass of green juice. ($39, Sephora

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Naturopathica Aloe Vera Replenishing Gel Mask

An aloe vera gel mask that calms and cools…

I swear by all things Naturopathica, but in the summer, I look forward to slathering on this gel mask as a refreshing treat. Calming aloe vera, antioxidant-rich prickly pear extract, and healing gotu kola combine to protect, rehydrate, and plump up skin that’s feeling a little dehydrated-Spongebob after a day spent at the beach. I know you know what I’m talking about. Pro tip: Store this in a fridge for an extra cooling sensation. ($68, Naturopathica)

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Tata Harper Gua Sha
Tata Harper

A depuffing jade gua sha spoon…

Use this jade gua sha spoon along with your favorite serum to encourage better product absorption, while also reaping all the lifting, sculpting, and depuffing benefits of a facial massage. This one is dual-sided to target both larger and smaller areas of the face. You’ll definitely want to store this in the fridge as well. PS: This feels like a dream on sunburned skin. ($20, Tata Harper)

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Dieux Air Angel Gel Cream

The summery version of my go-to moisturizer…

I can’t live without my Dieux Instant Angel Moisturizer, a lipid-rich, barrier-building formula that’s basically a facial in a bottle. But that thicker consistency isn’t what my skin craves when it’s hot out. In summer, I swap to Air Angel Gel Cream. As the name implies, it’s a lightweight gel formula that’s more hydrating than moisturizing (there’s a difference!) and lets your pores breathe. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, this’ll be your go-to year-round. ($44, Dieux)

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grace & stella Rosewater Spray

A rosewater spray you can keep in your bag…

Facial sprays are one of those products that you think are unnecessary until you try them — now, my skincare routine just doesn’t feel complete without a mist after cleansing and before refreshing my makeup for a night out. Rosewater sprays are my favorite, since the floral extract is naturally calming, hydrating, and balancing. This one from grace & stella gets a boost from aloe vera, glycerin, and collagen, all things our skin craves when it’s feeling parched. I’m getting the travel-sized version and keeping it in my bag for refreshes throughout the day. ($9.95+, Amazon)

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vacation orange gelee sunscreen

The only body sunscreen I actually like applying…

I’m diligent about applying face sunscreen every day but terrible at putting it on my body. Much like hiding a dog’s pill in peanut butter, I need to trick myself by using products that feel more like a treat and less like a chore. Vacation Orange Gelée sunscreen fits the bill. An updated take on the classic formula from Bain de Soleil, this has a jelly-like consistency and a cool orange color that blends in with minimal effort and no white cast. It’s also made with skin-softening ingredients like shea butter, tamanu oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil, so you can get away with using this as your body lotion. Plus, I love the scent — a glamorous combination of bergamot, clove, saffron, and sandalwood that’s very “rich people on vacation in the French Riviera in the early ‘80s.”  ($23, Revolve)

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rms beauty sunscreen

My holy grail SPF that doubles as a tinted moisturizer…

Of all the face sunscreens I’ve used, nothing beats this RMS one. It’s a mineral sunscreen, so it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin (chemical formulas tend to make me break out), but it has an elegant, blendable consistency you don’t typically find in zinc-based formulas. It’s tinted, color-correcting, and gives my skin the freshest dewy glow. It’s surprisingly long-lasting, even when I sweat. ($48, Dermstore)

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kosas revealer concealer

A long-lasting concealer that doesn’t look cakey...

In summer, I almost never use foundation — instead, I just go for that RMS sunscreen above and this Kosas concealer for extra coverage where I need it. It’s creamy, blendable, and offers great coverage while still letting my skin look like actual skin. I’m not going to say this doesn’t crease, because everything creases under my eyes, but it’s a lot less prone to it than other concealers I’ve tried. Most importantly, it stays put on those sticky, sweaty days. ($30, Sephora)

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rhode pocket blush

My new favorite cream blush...

Cream blush is the one product I really go ham on for day-to-day wear — to me, nothing is prettier than that fresh, just-got-back-from-the-gym flush (minus the sweat). This just-launched Pocket Blush from rhode is my new favorite. It has a nice, creamy glide, blends easily, and leaves behind an ever-so-slightly glowy finish without any actual shimmer or glitter. I use it liberally across my cheeks and nose and blend, blend, blend, then add a touch to my lids and lips to pull everything together. The pigmentation lasts longer than other cream blushes, too, which tend to fade quicky. ($24, rhode)

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l'oreal waterproof mascara

A waterproof mascara for under $10…

Hot take: Drugstore mascaras are just as good as high-end ones. I always have a tube of this L’Oreal mascara in my makeup bag for its intense pigmentation and buildable formula that creates everything from natural to falsie-rivaling looks. The waterproof formula absolutely won’t budge, no matter how much you sweat or swim in it. Make sure you have a good oil-based cleanser or micellar water on hand when it’s time to take it off. ($8.98, Amazon)

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bobbi brown longwear cream eyeliner
Bobbi Brown

A longwear eyeliner that won’t smudge in sweaty conditions…

If you’re going for a full beat in the summer, opt for longwear formulas like this waterproof, smudge-proof eyeliner from Bobbi Brown. This is a cream formula that gives you a few seconds of playtime to blend, and when it sets, it won’t budge until you decide to take it off. It’s a chubbier stick but with a fine point, so you can use it as a precision eyeliner or as a shadow all over your lid. Bobbi Brown happens to make the most gorgeous shades, too. ($34, Bobbi Brown)

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clarins lip perfector shimmer lip gloss

A lip gloss with skin-softening benefits…

I love a hybrid product in the summer, because the less product I can have sitting on my face, the better. This Clarins Lip Perfector works as both a lip treatment and a gloss in one, as it’s packed with nourishing shea butter and leaves behind a slight tint and a high-gloss finish. It comes in six pretty shades, like rose and plum. ($30, Clarins)

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e.l.f. halo glow powder

A lightweight setting powder with a natural finish…

I’ve tried so many setting powders, but I keep coming back to this under-$10 one from e.l.f. This loose powder makes any creasing under my eyes vanish, and it keeps all of my base makeup from slipping throughout the day. It’s just mattifying enough to get rid of excess shine, but the overall finish is quite natural, so your skin will maintain some dewiness (and it won’t look like you’re wearing powder, my personal pet peeve). It’s so airy, too. I barely feel it on my skin. ($8, Amazon)

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nyx dewy finish setting spray

A setting spray to lock everything in place…

Here’s another drugstore product with which I will never part, and a nonnegotiable for a sweat-proof, melt-proof makeup look. This stuff has kept my makeup squarely on my face in some truly trying times, including at an outdoor Miami wedding and sitting in subway cars with broken ACs. I prefer the dewy finish, as it imparts a luminous, hydrated effect that I love. If matte is more your vibe, there’s a version for that, too. ($9.97, Amazon)

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