15 Best Summer Beauty Tips

What to do with your hair, makeup and skincare in hot weather

Smiling woman
Victor Torres/Stocksy United

Summer, like winter, requires its own special beauty tricks. After all, it is in summer that your eyeshadow becomes a greasy pool in your eyelid creases, your hair falls flat or frizzes to a crisp, and your hair color has a tendency to look like mud against your tan.

But have no fear, there are fixes to all of your summer beauty woes. To keep looking your best, add these tricks to your summer beauty arsenal.

It's All About the Skin

Don't try to cake on too much makeup. Any makeup artist will tell you the secret to flawless beauty is not about the "perfect eye" or the "perfect lip," it's all about even skin tone. This is especially true in the warm summer months when you naturally want to wear less makeup.

Get your skin in shape and you'll find you need less makeup. Here are some tips:

  • If your skin is uneven, blotchy, or pimply, get thee to the dermatologist and figure it out. Don't try to solve your skin problems yourself.
  • Lasers are wonderful. They can fix red lines and completely, totally rejuvenate your skin.
  • Keep your face protected from the sun. This means SPF of at least 40, preferably higher. And wear a hat when at the pool or the beach. Reapply often.

Pick the Right Self-Tanner

I once saw the gorgeous model Helena Christensen in the West Village. First I thought, "Oh look, there's Helena! We're the same height!" Then I thought, "Oh my.

Helena's a victim of the orange, splotchy, bad self-tanner legs." I've seen quite a few orange women wandering around these days, a shame considering there are so many great self-tanners on the market that look super natural.

Keep Your Makeup From Melting Off Your Skin

For years I watched helplessly as my eyeshadow melted into my eyelid crease by the middle of the day.

Then I discovered primers, which will keep eye makeup in place for hours, including through workouts, days at the beach, and humid, summer nights. 

One other tip: skip the pencil eyeliners for summer and opt instead for a liquid liner, which won't budge as the day wears on. As for mascara, waterproof mascara is a great bet.

The Four Makeup Items to Embrace

Summer days means you can get away with less makeup. For the freshest, most natural-looking face, embrace these four beauty items:

  • Fake eyelashes. There's nothing quite so alluring as a natural face devoid of makeup, but with long lashes and lip gloss. Skip the mascara which can run and try fake lashes instead. Either get them done professionally or apply your own with strips or individual lashes. Ardell 301s are the perfect fake lashes.
  • A light, pink lip gloss. Plump up lips with a bit of color and gloss. The best way to do this is to get tinted gloss. 
  • Bronzer. Since you're keeping your face out of the sun, you can add in a bit of color with bronzers. Brush bronzer on where the sun would naturally hit: your forehead, cheeks, and nose. 
  • BB cream. A good BB cream provides everything you need in one dollop of product: sunscreen, tint, and anti-aging properties. 

    What You Can Skip in Summer

    You likely have your beauty routine that you've had forever. But there are some changes you can make in summer. Here are a few of them: 

    • Don't over exfoliate as you might in winter. Exfoliating removes the top layers of the skin, making it extra susceptible to sunburn.
    • Try not to shampoo daily. Instead, use a dry shampoo to soak up any extra oils. Your hair will be healthier.
    • No need for a heavy moisturizer in summer. A light one will do you better.
    • Instead of tanning your face, use bronzer. Your 50-year-old self will thank you a few years down the road.

    Don't Be Afraid of Shine

    Dewy skin is gorgeous. Don't over-powder your face because you're afraid it's a grease pit. Instead, try blotting papers.

    Foundation Is Out, Tinted Moisturizer Is In

    If you refuse to go bare in summer and can't imagine life without your foundation, consider putting away your foundation for the season and trying a tinted moisturizer.

    I'm warning you, you may never go back to your old foundation.

    Lighter than foundation, tinted moisturizer still covers flaws but feels less "cakey." And while foundations can feel as if they're melting off your face, tinted moisturizers won't.

    Most women are darker in summer, so if you insist on using your foundation, consider one shade for summer and a lighter one for winter. My favorite tinted moisturizer is Laura Mercier, which contains SPF.

    Go for a Bold Nail Polish

    If you are flaunting your toes all over the place this summer, then consider painting your nails a fun, bright color. Bold colors such as hot pink or bright orange are especially popular this summer and look great on most skin types. 

    When choosing your summer shade, consider your sandals. I plan to stick with my light pink -- anything brighter clashes with my favorite summer shoes. Sigh.

    Wax Your Bikini Line

    Wax, don't shave, your bikini line. Shaving can bring on razor bumps and annoying red rashes, whereas waxing gets the hair off and keeps it off for much longer. It's simply a cleaner and easier look for summer.

    Keep Your Thighs From Chafing With Antiperspirant

    Try this trick I love to keep your thighs from chafing: apply antiperspirant to your inner thighs. This will keep your thighs from sweating and causing a red rash. You can also use a sports glide product on your thighs.

    Embrace, Don't Fight, the Elements

    Humidity can wreak havoc on curly and straight hair. But instead of fighting the elements this summer, try to embrace them. Curly hair can be gorgeous in summer. Slather on the leave-in conditioner and pull curls back in a loose bun. Keep away the frizz with a product such as Phyto Plage Protective Sun Veil after a shower or swim. Your curls will be protected, but they won't frizz up.

    If you have straight hair, put away your flat iron. Super-straight hair "doesn't say summer," says stylist Mark Townsend in Harper's Bazaar magazine. Instead, let hair dry naturally. Most hair has some wave in it, and beachy waves like these never go out of style.

    If you are near an ocean, get in it. Salt water has wonderful effects on all hair types. You'll love the look once your hair has dried.

    Colored Hair Needs Protecting

    The sun, salt, and chlorine will turn colored hair all types of wild colors. Protect your investment by rinsing hair with water before going into chlorinated water or salt water. The dry cuticle will soak up water, but if it's wet, it won't, thus protecting hair from the salt and chlorine.

    Protect hair from the sun by wearing a hat or coating hair with a protector like Fekkai SunShine Shield Spray.

    Blah Hair? Get Thee to the Colorist

    Nothing shows off a tan better than highlights. Plus, color can add body to fine, limp hair.

    When choosing a summer color, stick to natural colors. The sun will naturally lighten hair, so you don't want to go to an extreme.

    Got black or brown hair? Consider caramel highlights or opt for all-over hair color a shade or two lighter than your current color. I suggest getting hair professionally colored or doing it yourself with a store-bought box. But beware the old lemon juice trick you did in junior high: Lemon juice will naturally lighten hair, but it is also wickedly drying.

    Pull Hair Off Your Face

    Keep the sweat off your neck with headbands, ballerina bands, ponytails, loose buns or even kerchiefs. All are gorgeous looks for summer.

    Don't Forget to Protect Your Other Parts

    Studies show while most women know to put sunscreen on their faces, they skip their chests, hands and necks. Their faces age well, but nothing else does. Who wants to have 80-year-old hands and a 60-year-old face? My advice: When you apply sunscreen, take a couple minutes to slather it on your check and neck. Use whatever's leftover on your hands.

    It's important to apply sunscreen a couple times throughout the day. One application in the morning won't necessarily last a full 12 hours.