Well, team, the past several months have taken on a pretty somber tone. From making major life adjustments while we shelter in place to being confronted with some truly disheartening truths about the treatment of Black human beings in our country, we've all been challenged in ways nobody could have expected. The energetic shifts we're experiencing now are a lot. But I'm personally taking comfort in knowing that we're all in this together. It's a new day, and profound change is coming! While there's still a whole lot of work to do, I think the simple fact that this world will emerge a different and better place is cause for celebration. Let's keep going.
And you know what else is coming? A new season. Somehow, summer is just weeks away, and based on the weather I'm already hearing about from our WWW teammates in London and NYC, we're in for a hot one. And if you ask me, it's never too early to start thinking about how to update your beauty routine to reflect the turn of the season.
There's no denying that summer's going to look a little different this year, but if you ask me, summer is a state of mind. So whether or not I'll be adventuring in the ways I'd planned, I'm still going to shift my makeup and skincare to account for warmer weather and (maybe) more time spent outside. We've already discussed my affinity for summer skincare, so now I'm making it official on my vanity.
Ahead, check out the eight beauty products I'll be packing away until fall and the eight I'm moving to the forefront of my regimen as we approach the solstice.
Adding: Cream Blush and BronzerBooting: Heavy Foundation
One feeling really I can't stand, especially during the warmer summer months, is heavy makeup. Cakey foundation is always one of the first products I place on the back burner once summer hits, and instead, I focus on lighter cream blush and cream bronzer formulas to warm up my skin without weighing it down. Letting my skin shine through while accentuating it with softer formulas to add a diffused flush and a bit of dimension suits my summer mood so much better.
I only started using this cream bronzer recently, but it's already one of my favorites. It's got a super-subtle shimmer to it that adds even more warmth to the face with the tiniest bit of product.
This makeup artist–approved formula is more of a liquid than a cream, but it still delivers that lightweight, diffused kiss of color I'm after during the summer. Celebrity makeup artist Shannon Pezzetta even says it's the one she reaches for to help her older clients achieve a more youthful look with their makeup.
Adding: Tinted Moisturizer
Booting: Stick Concealer
When the heat of summer sets in and makeup is put to the test, I've found that lighter formulas that move with my skin hold up a whole lot better than stiff ones that sit like a mask on top of it. I love concealers in stick form for the full coverage and ease of use, but their tacky textures tend to overwhelm my skin when it's hot out. Instead, I opt for lightweight foundation formulas or tinted moisturizers that even out my complexion while letting my skin look, feel, and breathe like skin.
This glowy foundation is one of my favorite new makeup launches of the last year. It's a silky tinted serum that imparts the perfect luminous blur on the skin and makes its wearers look like the kind of people who down gallons of water every day. It's also got non-nano micronized zinc oxide, plant-based squalane, and niacinamide to provide a whole host of skin protection and nourishment.
The term face oil might make you think of a slick formula that leaves shiny, greasy finish, but this unique face oil leaves the skin anything but oily. It dries down to a soft, velvety finish that doesn't require setting powder (unless you're into that kind of thing). It's packed with skin-loving ingredients such as avocado oil and meadowfoam oil to moisturize and plump the skin, as well as soothing red raspberry oil and jojoba oil.
A conversation about tinted moisturizer would be utterly incomplete without mentioning at least one of the many offerings from prestige beauty house, Laura Mercier. In my mind, the brand paved the way for the entire product category with their beloved oil-free tinted moisturizer and has only improved on the formula with every iteration, including this one. The shade range has improved tremendously from the early days, which I really appreciate, and I can't wait to see if they expand even further to accommodate even more skin tones.
Adding: Sheer Lip Stain
Booting: Liquid Lipstick
I think it's pretty clear by now that my summer vibe is all about glowy, luminous makeup that's light yet impactful. Sheer lipsticks that make for that blotted, diffused wash of stain-like color over the lips fit the objective perfectly. They're low-maintenance, unlike liquid lipsticks that can be overly drying and even traditional lipsticks that can be finicky.
Glossier's Generation G wasn't the first sheer lipstick I'd ever tried, but it was one of the first ones that didn't leave me feeling let down and othered by the beauty industry. For BIPOC, the word sheer typically translates to invisible. I was often left reaching for more high-impact lipsticks I could depend on for the pigment necessary to show up, even when I was yearning for a more toned-down look. That all changed with this diffused, buildable, stain-like lipstick.
Rituel de Fille is another sheer lipstick I love to wear all year round that gets a lot of extra airtime on my face during the summer. Not only is the formula clean, but its blotted-looking pigment is subtle enough for an easygoing look without disappearing altogether.
Adding: Multipurpose Primer
Booting: Setting Powder
I'm well aware that there are plenty of people who don't subscribe to the whole primer thing. And I get it—our robust skincare routines already have enough steps! But makeup artists agree that primer can be the key to a more flawless finish while also helping to carry out other tasks like controlling oil and refining the look of pores. While setting powder does a perfectly good job of locking makeup into place, dusting it all over my face before stepping out into balmy conditions just isn't the move. I'd much rather encourage my makeup to stay put from the ground up. And hey, a thoughtful (and sparing) touch of setting powder on extra-slippery areas is still allowed.
I absolutely adore this primer. Aside from helping to cultivate the best base for any and all makeup that goes on top of it (thanks in large part to natural black tea ferment and papaya enzymes), it's got actual skincare benefits, too. Chief among them is Augustinus Bader’s TFC-8 technology, the same complex you'll find in all of the doctor-led brand's industry-disrupting skin creams.
One of the main reasons I use primer is to keep my makeup from settling into my pores over the course of the day. This Mattifying primer helps with that and also helps balance oil production with java tea leaf.
Adding: Enzyme CleanserBooting: Harsh Chemical Exfoliators
I love a good chemical exfoliation as much as the next beauty lover, but as soon as summer rolls around, I typically take a step back from those acids. Along with all their benefits—which include evening out dark spots, smoothing skin texture, and refining the look of pores—AHAs and BHAs make the skin much more susceptible to sun damage. Wearing sunscreen daily is a must for protecting the skin from the sun's harmful rays, but I like to take it a step further by limiting my acid exfoliation to once or twice per week. Since clearing out the pores is still super important during the summer (and maybe even more so given the increase in sweat and grime that can build as the weather warms up), I like to use enzyme cleansers to make sure my skin is still getting that rigorous yet gentle cleanse.
This gentle enzyme and amino acid cleanser is perfect for loosening makeup, oil, and environmental impurities on the skin and in the pores. Although you won't find any oils or harsh detergents in the ingredient list, you can still expect a rich foamy lather that gently balances the skin as it thoroughly cleanses.
This nonabrasive daily exfoliating cleanser uses polished rice enzyme powders and papaya enzymes to gently slough away dead skin cells. Once activated with water, the fine powder transforms into a creamy lather that gently unlocks debris and promotes natural skin turnover.
Adding: Soothing Face Masks
Booting: Thick Salves
Ointments and salves have a permanent spot on my vanity—except during the summer. My love of intense balms like Weleda Skin Food, Bag Balm, and Glossier Balm Dot Com are well documented, but during the summer when a whole host of environmental factors can exacerbate skin irritations, I like to take a different approach. Instead of smothering dry or irritated spots in thick ointments, I'll use my favorite calming face masks at night to get to the root of any inflammatory skin issues. The goal here is to treat the actual problem instead of just trying to get rid of the symptoms. Plus, masking is super relaxing!
This superfood face mask is the ultimate nourishing treat for stressed skin. It's packed with natural (and edible!) ingredients like chlorella, spirulina, mango juice, and marshmallow root extract. Just add a few drops of water to one teaspoon of the powder-to-gel formula to transform it into the perfect soothing mask.
This cooling gel mask offers intense hydration for even the driest and most irritated skin types. The jelly-like consistency feels instantly refreshing on the skin, with soothing cucumber extract, papaya, and calming chamomile. Pro tip: Leave it on overnight for an extra hit of hydration.
Adding: Body Oil
Booting: Body Cream
There's something about the summer sun that just dries out the skin in a different way. That winter chap is a beast, too, but the dryness that comes along with added outdoor time can't be discounted. I reach for oils rather than creams on my body during this season to really help seal moisture into my skin. I suggest applying your favorite formula to wet skin right after showering.
Elements of Comfort is one of my all-time favorite body oils. It's got organic hempseed, avocado, and grape-seed oils to seal in hydration and protect against daily moisture loss. Plus, its combination of neroli, Bulgarian rose, and French lavender smells earthy and delicious.
While this isn't technically an oil, it certainly performs like one. It's a soft concoction that contains the perfect balance of shea, cocoa, and mango butters all whipped to perfection with an added touch of citrus scent. Once you warm it up in your hands, it melts down to a luxe oil that intensely hydrates and protects the skin from moisture loss. Just ask my beauty cohort Erin—she's already a die-hard fan.
Adding: Active Serum
Just like acids, retinol is sensitizing. The urge to spend more time outside all summer makes me really think twice about anything I might be putting on my skin that makes it more prone to sun damage—including my beloved retinol. I scale way back on that ingredient during the summer and instead focus on the other actives in my regimen that promote healthy, happy skin.
U Beauty is my favorite skincare product launch from last year. I knew early on that it was good, but the longer I use this serum, the more I'm convinced that there is actual magic housed inside the bottle. I've gone on and on about the cutting-edge Siren Capsule Technology (it helps deliver ingredients only to the skin cells that actually need them), and I'll admit that it's part of the reason I'll continue to use this product at the same cadence even though it actually does have some retinol in it. To me, the advanced formulation of antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin E make it totally worth it. And, as always, I'll be diligent about my SPF protection.
The Ordinary makes some of my favorite highly concentrated anti-aging serums. One that I've been loving recently and can't wait to use all summer is Buffet, which brings a number of super-effective peptide compositions in to tackle fine lines and wrinkles while also improving the skin's elasticity and firmness. On top of all this, it also has hyaluronic acid to further plump up the skin and carry the other actives deeper into the skin.
Up next, nine pretty summer makeup looks we can't wait to try ourselves.
Courtney Higgs is a Cancer sun, Libra rising beauty enthusiast with about six years of experience in the editorial space. She was previously Who What Wear's associate beauty editor after spending many years working on the West Coast edit team at InStyle Magazine. She graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a BA in communication studies and pivoted to editorial after spending her college years working in the legal field. Her beauty philosophy is simple: She believes there are no wrong answers and that discovering our favorite beauty products and rituals is a journey, not a sprint. When she's not geeking out over products, she can be found adventuring around L.A. with her fiancé; watching reality TV with their French bulldog, Bernie Mac; or relating way too hard to astrology memes.
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