Summer Makeup: Tips, Tricks and 26 Must-Have Products

summer makeup

As a self-admitted makeup junkie, I love nothing more than revamping my routine for a new season… and summer makeup just so happens to be my specialty. (Though I do also have an article about the best winter makeup!)

When it comes to changing up my makeup for hot weather, I focus a lot on staying power, things packed with SPF, things that will make me look dewy (but not oily), and things that will keep my face + lips hydrated and plump.

And, perhaps most importantly, I love a gorgeous just-back-from-the-beach bronzed glow.

After testing hundreds of products over the years—from pricey sunscreens to cult-favored bronzers—I’ve narrowed down my recommendations to a list of the very best.

I’ve also discovered a few hacks when it comes to choosing the best makeup for hot humid weather.

These summer makeup tips, sweat-proof products, and summer makeup looks will guarantee you’ll look glowy and golden all season long.



1. Keep your lips hydrated with a lip oil.

This wet lip oil gloss by Kosas is absolutely stunning, and it serves two purposes: it moisturizes a dry pout while also adding a sheer wash of color.

kosas lip oil summer makeup

2. Consider a creamy contour.

I recently started using this always-sold-out Chanel bronzer—Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream—and I know it’s going to be a staple of my summer makeup routine.

The texture is sooo creamy and lightweight, but gives the skin a really warm “just came back from the beach” glow. I like to apply it with a damp Beauty Blender or even my fingers. It has easily become one of my favorite summer makeup products.

chanel les beiges summer makeup

3. Dermaplane your face before putting makeup on.

For the uninitiated, dermaplaning at home is an exfoliating technique that involves removing the top layer of dead skin to reveal a fresh, peach-fuzz-free complexion. (My favorite tool to use is the Tinkle Razor.)

Tinkle razor dermaplaning

Putting makeup on freshly dermaplaned skin makes a WORLD of difference—you’ll notice that products will blend in better, settle into pores and fine lines less, and stay for longer.

4. Experiment with dewy skin.

My favorite summer makeup looks are the ones where skin looks fresh and dewy, but not oily. Over the years, I’ve tested an embarrassing number of products—oils, serums, highlighters, illuminators, liquids, and gels—all in an attempt to mimic the enviable glow of women like Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Aniston.

Last month, I finally found the oneCharlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter.

The name pretty much says it all—wear it under your makeup, on top of it, or on its own for the subtle radiance you thought only celebrities could achieve. So far, everyone I’ve recommended it to agrees.

MORE: How to Apply Vitamin C Serum the *Right* Way

5. Swap your foundation for a medium-coverage tinted moisturizer.

When I asked my Instagram followers to share their favorite summer beauty products, this Tarte BB cream seemed to be on everyone’s list. After trying it for myself, I can confirm: the product lives up to the hype.

It’s perfect for those who want to go foundation-free in the summer but still need sufficient coverage.

Another recent fave of mine is the Ilia Skin Tint, which gives you a natural and glowy finish while smoothing out your complexion. It’s also insanely quick to apply, making it the ideal beauty product to bring along on a beach vacation.

summer makeup tips

6. Choose a BB cream or CC cream with SPF.

The Tarte BB cream mentioned above has SPF 20, which I love. But if you’re looking for even more coverage and a higher SPF, I highly recommend IT Cosmetics CC Cream with SPF 50.

It also comes in an oil-free matte version for oily skin, and an “Illumination” version for those (like me) who prefer a dewy look.

7. Use a light moisturizer in lieu of heavier creams.

Don’t let the word “cream” fool you—the hyaluronic-rich lotion is actually super light, and serves as a great summer swap for the heavier moisturizer you’ve been using year round.

It promises to keep skin hydrated for 72 hours, and while I’m not entirely convinced that was the case for me, I do think its skin-quenching capabilities are unmatched.

Another summertime moisturizer I love is this brightening one from Caudalie. It has a gel-like consistency, which means it won’t leave you shiny by mid-day, and it also helps to lighten dark spots from hyperpigmentation or pregnancy.

caudalie brightening moisturizer

8. Try a non-matte bronzer with hints of gold.

Matte bronzers are great for contouring, but if you’re looking for a warm wash of color with dimension, try a shade with fine flecks of copper and gold.

I’ve sworn by Kevyn Aucoin’s Bronzer for years—it sculpts your cheekbones, isn’t “sparkly,” and gives you that just-out-of-the-sun radiance (even if you’ve been inside all day.)

9. Choose neutral, shimmery eye shadows.

huda beauty the new nude eyeshadow palette

Heavy shadows have no place in your summer makeup rotation – which is why this Huda Beauty New Nudes palette is so perfect. Use the subtle nudes as a base, the shimmery shades for a pop of color in the center of the lid, and the darker shadows as a smoky liner under the lower lash for a night out.

10. Skip lipstick in favor of a high-shine, moisture-rich gloss.

Nothing says summer quite like a glossy, popsicle-stained lip. To get the look (sans messy popsicle) try a hydrating formula, like Dior’s Addict Lip Glow Balm.

This Sisley Paris Lip Oil is another great option—the tinted lip oil feels like an ultra-luxe balm, and it comes in three different shades.

11. Use a setting spray to keep makeup from melting in hot weather.

I recommend using this top-rated setting spray by Urban Decay if you need “stay all day” makeup. I’ve raved about this stuff before, and it is an absolute must of my everyday makeup routine year round—not just during the summer.

12. Add a hydrating under eye brightener to your routine.

If eye cream and concealer had a love child, it would look something like Olehenriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream. The product is a great option if you’re looking to pare down your makeup routine in the summer—and even if you’re not, it can be layered underneath your everyday concealer as a brightening base.

The same goes for Origins Ginzing Eye Cream and Tarte Clay CC Undereye Corrector, which both have ingredients that reflect light and help conceal dark circles.

summer makeup tips

13. Go for a liquid highlighter.

Moisture is the name of the game come summer. Ditch your powder highlighter in favor of a liquid, like L’Oreal’s glow drops (which can also be mixed in with your moisturizer) or Charlotte Tilbury’s Beauty Light Wand (which has a cushioned tip for precise application.)

14. Try a setting spray with SPF to help makeup survive humidity.

Looking to take your sun protection a step further? Seal your makeup with a setting spray that’s packed with SPF. Kate Somerville’s Soft Focus mist (which has SPF 50) will lock your makeup in, while also creating a barrier between your skin and harmful rays.

15. Wear creamy blush instead of powder. 

Give your cheeks a dewy, sun-kissed look by swapping your powder blush for a cream alternative. This Ere Perez Blush comes in five different shades that add a subtle pop of color to your complexion. Plus, it can be used on your cheeks, lips, and eyelids.

Ere Perez Cream Blush

16. Use a lighter eye cream. 

Eye creams are absolutely essential, but in the summer, it’s a good idea to reach for one that’s a bit lighter—at least during the day. The Cocokind Revitalizing Eye Cream has a metal tip that cools and depuffs your skin while you apply it. It’s super lightweight and allows makeup to glide on smoothly after application. It’s also such a steal—as are most Cocokind products.

Another good pick: the Kate Somerville Lifting Eye Cream. Ingredients like vitamin C and hyaluronic acid help to minimize fine lines, lighten dark circles, and soothe dry skin. Reviewers note that it has noticeable brightening benefits while offering a healthy dose of moisture.

17. Choose a sunscreen that pulls triple duty.

There’s a reason why this tinted non-chemical sunscreen has garnered something of a cult following. For starters, it’s not greasy.

australian gold mineral lotion botanical sunscreen spf 50

Plus, the subtle tint miraculously blends into every skin tone, and as an added bonus, the product’s primer-like consistency helps lock makeup in place all day long.


In need of some inspiration? Here are some gorgeous ‘gram-worthy summer makeup looks created by a few seriously talented makeup artists.

Via @hudabeauty
via @glossier
via @anastasiabeverlyhills
via @glossier
via @anastasiabeverlyhills
via @ctillburymakeup
Via @mentedcosmetics
via @glossier



summer makeup


    July 10, 2020 at 5:59 am

    Wow, great blog.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

  • Brooke Hayward
    October 12, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Perfect timing for this post! Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in-depth information you offer. You’ve really covered up almost all the possible info that every female should follow. Worth sharing! Please do continue sharing updates! Thanks for your help!


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