Summer is the time for fresh, glowing (but long-lasting), bronzed makeup that's going to take you as little time as possible to put together. These are my top picks for my everyday face (but not a 'no makeup' look) that I'd wear out to lunch or shopping or work or somewhere like that. However you can tone it down and skip some of these products if you're heading to the beach or add in a few extra steps for something more evening-appropriate. Where possible I've also included affordable alternatives to some of these products that will help create the same sort of look!
Let's start with the base: I like to get something that's a good balance between being healthy and natural and keeping my shine at bay (so my base isn't slipping off my face a few hours after application!) I tend to opt for my favourite Summer base; the Cover FX Mattifying Anti-Blemish BB Gel* | £35. If you have oily or combination skin but don't want to have to cake on a really heavy base during the day to get a long-wearing matte finish, then this is the answer! It has a really lightweight formula, however it definitely evens out my skin tone and gives me a more flawless complexion. Although it's matte, I still feel like my skin has that healthy summer look. I'd even recommend this for normal skin if you find your usual base doesn't last in the sun. You can always mix in a liquid illuminator like the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal | £34 | (a pretty gold-pearl shade) if you want to up the glow with this (although it's more of a bronzed-gold colour, the Models Own Sculpt & Glow Liquid Highlight in Rose Gold* | £9.99 is a good affordable alternative). I personally like using a buffing brush to apply the Cover FX for a flawless finish.
Next I do whatever correcting and concealing is necessary with my Urban Day Naked Skin Concealers and Correcting Fluid in Peach | £17.50 each. I use the darker shade I have (Medium-Dark Warm) to conceal any blemishes on my face and then go in with the peach-toned corrector under by eyes. I then layer my lighter Medium Neutral shade (because they don't do a Medium Warm!) under my eyes and blend everything out with a damp BeautyBlender to get a natural finish in seconds. I finish my base by setting everything in place with the MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural | £24. I kind of forgot about this product for a while, however I've recently rediscovered it and remembered how amazing it is for keeping my shine at bay without adding too much coverage. It's not at all caky and is virtually traceless on the skin. The formula is also slightly illuminating too, so you're not blotting away your glow.
Onto cheek stuff and of course I start off with a bit of highlighting. I absolutely love the No7 Instant Radiance Bronzing Highlighter | £9.95 | because it just has the most gorgeous metallic finish. It isn't greasy or glittery, it just gives your skin a beautiful sheen. It's so quick and easy to dab or swipe across the tops of your cheekbones and blend out with your fingers for a natural glow. This shade is a sun kissed golden-bronze colour, however if you're very fair then don't worry because there's a more icy pink-champagne shade in this too. As a side note: it's a top tip of mine to apply your highlighter before your blusher because it means you won't have to do as much blending out to get your cheeks to look natural and seamless.
Next I do a bit of bronzing. I never used to be into bronzer but this summer I've definitely discovered some shades that really work for my skin tone (more on that here). I've also had my eyes opened to cream formulas and my favourite by far costs under a tenner! For a subtle look, my bronzer of choice is the ColourPop Cheek Shock Bronzer in Carry On | $8. I apply this with a synthetic brush (currently I like the Look Good Feel Better Multitasking Brush* | £11.99) and it honestly goes on like a dream in about 30 seconds! It's a beautiful warm mid-brown tone with a true matte finish that gives the most natural warmth to my face. I just do the standard '3' shape across my jawline, on my temples and then focus on the cheekbones. It's so quick and makes such a difference to my face that I pretty much always take the time to do this step.
I finish off my cheek look with my current favourite: Becca's Mineral Blush in Songbird | £26. DEAR LORD! Photos don't do this blusher justice! I actually picked this up because I fell for Amaretto from the Jaclyn Hill palette and I actually think this may have overtaken it (as in I think it's well on the way to being in my top 3). It's this beautiful, understated peachy-pink-nude shade with a very subtle golden sheen running through it. It has this bronzed look on my skin and is such a versatile colour that it goes with most of my makeup looks. The pigmentation is gorgeous, the formula is so smooth and it can be applied with no effort in a few quick seconds. It goes on evenly and doesn't go patchy or wear off much during the day. Once I've done my face I finish it with MAC Fix + | £17.50. Where has this been all my life?! It isn't necessarily going to set your makeup in place all day long but it just gives it this really natural, seamless finish. It stops things looking caky and gives a healthy glow to the skin without being greasy or heavy.
Onto eyes: how many of these products I use really depends on how in a rush I am! I always seem to reach for my ColourPop Super Shock Eyeshadow in Sunset Blvd | $5 | on summer mornings for a fuss-free look. It's a gorgeous golden-bronze nude shade with a pearlescent sheen. It's a gorgeous light wash of colour across the lid on its own, applied with my finger (as it's a cream product) so I quite often just stop there. It also has amazing longevity and doesn't crease even if I skip the primer. If I'm feeling fancy then I'll run a bit of my Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadow Single in Red Earth | $12 (a similar shade that's easier to get in the UK is Makeup Geek's Eyeshadow Pan in Wild West | £4.95) through the crease. It's this really interesting muted reddish-pink-brown matte. I love the extra dimension this adds to the look. I finish this part of the look with my By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Bronze Moon | £29 (a dupe of this is KIKO's 06 Eyeshadow Stick and you can see a comparison of the two here). This is a super-dewy metallic (also very pigmented) cream eyeshadow in stick form. The colour is that perfect brown-bronze that works for day or night. I draw a little of this on the outside of the lid (no need to be precise) and blend it in with my finger then use it to line underneath my eye. You can also take it up to line the upper lash line for a bronzed smoky eye look then blend it out with a small synthetic brush (like Morphe's E18).
Finally for the eye area, I coat my lashes with Maybelline's Lash Sensational Mascara | £7.99 | and brush my brows through with my Benefit Gimme Brow Gel* | £18.50. Does Lash Sensational even need an introduction on this blog any more? I suppose I will for any newbies reading! It's my all-time favourite mascara. I love curl and I love length and this gives me both in bucket loads. It also adds a nice little bit of non-clumpy volume. It just really opens up my eyes and holds the curl all day without flaking. If you're off on holiday then I'd recommend trying the Waterproof version. Gimme Brow has been a real revelation to me; I finally tried it last month for the first time ever and when I've got freshly-tinted brows and just need a bit of volume, tint and hold; this is what I reach for. The little applicator makes it quick and easy to just brush and go with this.
I have two options for lips: a weekday and a weekend shade, if you will. I'm really obsessed with Charlotte Tilbury's Hot Lips Matte Revolution Lipstick in Super Cindy | £23 | at the moment. It's the kind of light peachy-pink nude shade I never would've usually picked up. However I was swatching this entire range and something about this called to me. It's a matte finish but feels so comfortable on the lips. It's very low-maintenance and although you'll need to re-apply it during the day, it doesn't fade awkwardly and the square bullet means you can do that in seconds without a liner. If I fancy something bolder (though admittedly slightly more high-maintenance) then I opt for my Nars Audacious Lipstick in Jane | £24. It's one of those 'more than a nude, less than a colour' shades that I'm finally going to do a post dedicated to! However if you're in a rush and don't have time for all the other steps then a bolder lip can really pull the entire look together. This is a very warm, deep terracotta shade. You will need to touch it up, with it being a brighter shade with a bit of a sheen, however I really love this formula because it's so creamy and comfortable on the lips yet has this insane pigmentation.
What are your favourite products for an easy summer makeup look?
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