Summer is here, and you know what that means—sweaty skin, frizzy hair and a higher risk of sun damage and breakouts!
That's why I created this guide with my top beauty essentials for the season.
Whereas our faces are the focus during the cooler months (when we can hibernate under woolly layers), summer beauty is a head-to-toe affair.
Below, you'll find my top picks for...
- Protecting your skin from the sun
- Creating a natural faux glow
- Hydrating without heaviness
- Making your makeup last
- Taming frizz, and more!
Summer Beauty Products
Face and Body Sunscreen
It should come as no surprise that my number one summer beauty essential is sunscreen. But I haven't told you about this one yet! Love Sun Body Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Fragrance-Free is a late addition to my mineral sunscreen guide—I JUST found out about it after meeting with founder Dr. Terry Zickerman, and I'm so impressed. It is all-natural, high in zinc oxide, non-greasy and completely non-whitening, even though it has no tint. Plus, you can use it on both face and body. You need to try it!
Another sunscreen that doesn't feel like sunscreen is Ava Isa Aurora Rose Ultra Matte SPF 45 Sunscreen. I love this one for my face because not only is it matte and lightweight, but it also has a patent-pending material (Bio UVA Ultra) that increases the UVA protection by 60 percent. That means it's warding off the type of radiation that is most responsible for premature aging! It also comes in a non-tinted version. See my recent sunscreen guide for more SPF recommendations.
Body bronzers are the fastest and safest way to fake a tan, sans sun damage. I like new Isle of Paradise Disco Tan Instant Wash-Off Body Bronzer, a tinted gel that gives you instant, natural-looking colour. It's made from clean ingredients, won't transfer onto clothes, and washes off with soap and water. There is some subtle fine shimmer through it, which looks great on bare legs and shoulders.
For your face, Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Juice Boost in Bronzing gives a natural, sun-kissed glow. This is a concentrated liquid gel bronzer that you can wear alone, wherever the sun would naturally hit, or you can mix it with your foundation, primer or moisturizer. You do have to work quickly if you're applying it directly to your skin, but I think it looks more realistic than most powder bronzers because it leaves zero texture.
If you prefer a powder bronzer, new Cover FX Monochromatic Matte + Shimmer Bronzer Duo is surprisingly good! I was expecting it to be too pigmented and powdery-looking, but that's not the case here. Both the matte bronzer on the left and the shimmer bronzer on the right are very fine (and talc-free) powders, with buildable colour that is easy to control. They don't look cakey, and the shimmer is definitely understated. There are two duos to choose from: Sunkissed Bronze (soft bronze) and Suntan Bronze (rich bronze).
If you struggle with a shiny T-zone, Tatcha The Satin Skin Mist is for you. This is a new alternative to powders and blotting papers for anyone with normal to oily skin. What it does is dispenses a fine mist of liquid powder to instantly mattify, without disturbing your makeup. I've been using this for the past week as the last step in my routine (instead of my usual translucent powder), and it really works!
SPF Lip Balm
COOLA Tinted Mineral Liplux SPF 30 is one of the only lip balms on the market with mineral sunscreen, and it also comes in eight different tints! You're being protected with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, while shea butter and coconut oil deliver hydration and a chic matte finish. My favourite shades are Firecracker, a pinky red, and Tan Line, a pinky coral.
I always keep some powder sunscreen in my handbag in the summertime, so I can easily top up my sun protection if needed. Supergoop! 100% Mineral Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45 is one of the best—a sweat-resistant, mattifying powder with a high 24.5 percent concentration of zinc oxide. It comes in Translucent, Light, Medium and Deep. See my powder sunscreen guide for more options!
Post-sun exposure, Herbivore After Sun Skin Soothing Aloe Mist will help cool you down. Its key ingredient is aloe vera, used as a remedy for thousands of years to reduce inflammation, calm redness and hydrate the skin. The mist format is more convenient than a gel (not to mention less sticky).
What better way to show off sun-kissed skin than with a little highlighter? ILIA Liquid Light Serum Highlighter is a new natural liquid illuminator that creates a dewy finish, whether you use it as a spot highlight or mixed into foundation. There are three shades: Nova is soft gold, Astrid is rose gold, and Atomic is pink pearl.
Schmidt's Charcoal + Magnesium Mineral Enriched Natural Deodorant is one of the deodorants I swear by—yes, even on hot summer days! As a natural, aluminum-free formula, it doesn't stop perspiration, but what it does do is neutralize odour, thanks to baking soda and activated charcoal. If you're struggling to find a natural deodorant that works, try this!
Thermal Water Mist
Thermal water sprays like La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water are a must-have in hot weather. I like to use them to cool off at the beach, after a workout or a long day outside. They're also great to refresh your skin when travelling or when you don't have time to redo your makeup.
Summer calls for lighter hydrators, and one of the best I've found is Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel. This is a Korean gel moisturizer that is free of fragrance, alcohol and silicones. It's high in humectants like aloe and glycerin, while propolis (bee "glue") reduces inflammation and bacteria. It sinks into the skin quickly, isn't sticky, and goes perfectly under sunscreen!
If your mascara is always smudging in the humidity, do yourself a favour and switch to Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara. As a tubing formula, it stays put all day without running or smearing—there's zero risk of raccoon eyes. At night, it comes off easily with water. I've tried nearly every tubing formula out there and this is my favourite!
Salicylic Acid Body Spray
Body breakouts are a common warm-weather problem, usually due to a combination of sweat, increased oil production and sunscreen. Enter Paula's Choice Clear Acne Body Spray. It has two percent salicylic acid (the best acne-fighting ingredient) to clear blemishes fast, and the spray format makes it easy to reach places like your back.
I can't mention salicylic acid without also recommending COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid—a Holy Grail product always, but especially during summer. Its main claim to fame is treating and preventing breakouts with betaine salicylate, a salicylic acid derivative. But that's not all it does. This formula also contains niacinamide, and the two ingredients together can help repair your skin after sun exposure, fade pigmentation and generally keep your face looking fresh! More details over here in my review.
Givenchy Khôl Couture Waterproof Retractable Eyeliner is my new favourite waterproof eyeliner (and I've tried them all!). It has a creamy texture, glides on easily, and actually stays put instead of sliding around and smudging. The colours include both neutrals and wearable brights—I love African Bronze.
Whenever I'm travelling, I like to have some sort of multi-purpose balm, and my latest discovery is the cult favourite Lucas' Papaw Remedies Lucas' Papaw Ointment. The star ingredient is fermented papaya, which is high in enzymes and is a natural antiseptic. You can use it on your lips, cuticles, cuts and scrapes, rashes, insect bites and more!
Beach waves are synonymous with summer, and Captain Blankenship Mermaid Sea Salt Hair Spray can help you get them (even if you're nowhere near a beach). This is an all-natural texturizing spray that you mist onto dry or damp hair, and then scrunch. The salt adds volume and creates a tousled effect, and the aloe vera hydrates and gives hold.
While face wipes aren't a replacement for a regular cleanser, they sure are handy when you can't get near a sink! I love Ursa Major 4-in-1 Essential Face Wipes because they're biodegradable, made with clean ingredients, and do the job without leaving an icky residue on your skin. They're also individually wrapped, which is handy for travel. Find more suggestions in my face wipes guide.
When temperatures are soaring, lipstick can feel like a bit much, so try a lip stain like Clarins Water Lip Stain instead. This is a watery formula (like lip stains used to be!) that tints your lips with long-lasting matte colour. There are seven bright shades, and you can layer them under clear balm or gloss if you need more moisture.
Post-Hair Removal Solution
Whether your preferred hair removal method is shaving, waxing, electrolysis or laser, Tend Skin Solution can help. This is a clear, acid-based liquid that you apply with a cotton ball to treat and prevent razor bumps, razor burn, ingrown hair, redness and bumpiness. It's been around forever, because it works!
I'm not crazy about self-tanner for these reasons, but if I was going to use one for a special occasion, I'd pick Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water. This is a spray-on water made with clean ingredients, and it produces a tan within four to six hours. Choose from Light, Medium and Dark.
For most hair types, summer means frizz. Briogeo Farewell Frizz Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioning Spray tames it without weighing your hair down—so that means even fine hair can use it. This is a spray-on milk that conditions with lightweight oils (no silicones), and can be used on wet or dry hair.
Faux Freckle Pen
Fact: A few faux freckles across the bridge of your nose instantly makes you look young, fresh and summery. I finally got my hands on Freck Long-Wear Freckle Makeup, the only product specifically designed for this purpose, and it really is the best. The tiny brush gives you the most natural-looking and long-lasting dots. Now I understand why it's always selling out!
Tropical Body Oil
Summer in a bottle is the scent of monoï, a fragrant oil made from tiare flowers (a type of gardenia) steeped in coconut oil. It used to be that you had to go to Tahiti to buy Parfumerie Tiki Monoï Tiki Tahiti Tiare Huile Parfumée, but now it's available online—and it's dirt cheap! You can use it as a body oil, hair treatment and fragrance.
Natural Insect Repellant
Mrs White's Unstung Hero is an all-natural alternative to conventional insect repellants laden with toxic chemicals. It combines a fresh lemon tea scent with IR3535 (ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate), a safe ingredient that renders you "invisible" to mosquitos, ticks, black flies, wasps and bees for up to four hours.
Shop Editor’s Picks
What are your summer beauty essentials?
Have you tried any of these?