The Only 10 Types of Makeup You’ll Ever Need During Summer

Unlike autumn and winter, summer is not the time to wear a heavy smokey eye or contoured face. Rather, the summer months are all about having a natural glow and minimal makeup. You want to look as healthy as possible during your time in the sun without having to worry about sweating off all your hard work (ew).

That being said, the no-makeup makeup look doesn’t come easily. Read on to discover which 10 beauty products you’ll need to master the radiant look.  The best part is, many items on the list simultaneously nourish your skin as they make you look gorgeous.

1. SPF foundation


Big Easy BB Cream

Big Easy BB Cream | Benefit Cosmetics

Protecting your skin with SPF should be a year-round priority. But during the summer months, you need to step up your coverage by switching to a foundation with added SPF. We recommend using a grease-free sunscreen as a makeup primer, then adding a lightweight SPF foundation like Benefit Cosmetics’ Big Easy BB Cream on top, which fortunately won’t clog your pores as it protects your skin.

2. Highlighter

a woman's face with makeup

Use highlighter to make your features pop. |

During the summers months, you really needn’t wear much makeup at all. Since you’re more likely to travel, stay active, get outdoors, and sunbathe from June through August, we think it’s best to let your skin breathe. That being said, if you don’t want to walk out of your house completely bare-faced, we recommend adding highlighter to your cheekbones, eyebrow arch, and cupid’s bow. Highlighter is a quick and easy to way to make your face glow while maintaining a no-makeup look.

3. Bronzer

Beautiful woman finishing up her make-up

Bronzer will help add some color to your cheeks. |

As your skin gets increasingly tan during summer, you’ll definitely want your face to match the rest of your body. Bronzer is a clever way to even out your skin tone without having to spend much time with your face in the sun’s dangerous rays. We recommend you always keep your face protected with SPF and a wide-brim hat, then just throw on a subtle bronzer to fake more color.

4. Lip balm

Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 25

Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 25 | Bloomingdale’s

The key to looking gorgeous during summer is to keep your body fully hydrated. This extends beyond just slathering coconut oil onto your limbs and wearing a thicker face cream at night — you should also make a point of applying lip balm throughout the day. The best versions will include SPF, a yummy fragrance, and a slight berry tint, like this Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 25.

5. Waterproof mascara

Beauty woman with perfect white teeth

You’ll want waterproof mascara for the pool. |

Whether you’re going to shed a tear at a summer wedding or plan on hitting the beach, waterproof mascara is one of the ultimate summer beauty essentials. This staple is a lifesaver on days you’re swimming and sweating (which will likely be more often than not). You’ll thank us when you emerge from the pool without raccoon eyes.

6. Nail polish

Woman relaxing in a pool

Think about how good your nails will look with a fresh coat of polish. |

During summer, your leather gloves are long packed away and your snow boots are shoved to the back of your closet. This season is all about showing skin, including your newly tanned hands and feet, so make sure your nails look put together with a fresh coat of paint. Any neon polish will suffice this time of year.

7. Waterproof eyeliner

By Terry Ligne Blackstar Intense Liquid Eyeliner

By Terry Ligne Blackstar Intense Liquid Eyeliner | DermStore

Seeing as you’re more likely to be sweating during summer, it’s only logical you’d also switch to a waterproof eyeliner. A long-lasting eyeliner like By Terry’s Ligne Blackstar Intense Liquid Eyeliner goes on like an actual tattoo, so even when your eyelids get sweaty and oily, you won’t have to worry about the color transferring to your brow bone. This should come as a huge relief to those who like to get a little creative with their makeup.

8. Setting powder

Face powder

Setting powder keeps everything looking good all day long. |

As you may have already discovered, the summer heat makes it especially difficult to keep your makeup in place throughout the day. Your foundation is likely to slide, your eyeliner and mascara may run, and eye shadow can crease. To prevent your face from (quite literally) melting off, we recommend using a setting powder on your T-zone to extend its wear.

9. Clear brow gel

Boy Brow

Boy Brow | Glossier

Rather than draw on heavy brows with a pencil, it’s best to make them look thicker with a clear gel like Glossier’s Boy Brow. Much like mascara, this brow gel is applied with a wand for easy, smooth application. Since the gel is clear, you’ll never have to worry about sweating or smudging it off during the day. Your brows will look full and healthy, all while passing a swim test.

10. Bright lipstick

Woman in summer straw hat

Summer’s the perfect time to wear that brighter shade. |

As much as we adore natural beauty looks during summer, we also can’t help but occasionally turn to bright lipsticks at this time of year. Coral, hot pink, and orangey-red are all far too bright for winter when your skin is too pale to complement them. During summer, on the other hand, your tan will make these pops of color extra radiant and fun.