I went to my first outdoor summer woodland wedding a couple weeks ago and was inspired to share how I achieve long-lasting summer makeup.
I went for a natural daytime look, that would last throughout the day with minimal/no touch-ups required, that would withstand the summer heat, humidity and the excitement of a long day. This is a great look to achieve for any big summer events you’re planning to attend (not just a wedding), as the purpose is to look natural, radiant and fresh without feeling and looking too caked up and heavy with makeup.
(Also just to give you an overview of my skin type in summer – I have normal skin except my nose which has larger pores and gets more oily during the day. Depending on my skincare/makeup and environmental factors, I can also get slighty dehydrated skin – note: not the same as having dry skin. (Dry skin indicates lack of oil, resulting in visible dry patches/flakiness; dehydrated skin indicates lack of water/hydration in the skin leaving a feeling of tightness and dull/lacklustre skin).
Sunscreen, primer, foundation and concealer
Technically sunscreen is the last step in your skincare routine, but I want to emphasise that it should be applied before any makeup, especially if you will be outdoors in the sun for long periods. I’ve explained why it should be worn all year around in this blog post, but if you’re going to an outdoor event, you should be particularly generous with sunscreen application.
I know many people are hesitant with sunscreen because bad ones can be drying, thick, leave a white cast and alter how your makeup lasts and sits on your skin, but trust me if you find one with a nice, lightweight, milky consistency, this shouldn’t be a problem. I use Make P:rem’s UV Defence Me Blue Ray Sun Gel, which doesn’t affect my makeup in any negative way. It has a dewy finish when you use a sizeable amount, so this is best suited towards normal – dry skin types. If you are on the oily side I high recommend Etude House’s Sunprise Mild Airy Finish.
(TIP: If you use a matte foundation, balance it out with a dewy suncreen. If using a dewy foundation, use a more oil-controlling matte sunscreen like the Etude House one).
This is an important step for longer-lasting makeup. The right one can make your foundation adhere better to the skin and prolong its longevity rather than fading away. It can blur and fill in your pores, creating a smoother canvas to apply the rest of your makeup so your skin will look more airbrushed rather than highlighting textural skin issues.
I particularly love the Banila Co Prime Primer – Matte version. I wouldn’t say this is the best for making foundation last longer (which is why I also rely on a setting spray), but it is one of the more effective primers for keeping the oil on my nose at bay for longer – which is my main purpose for using a primer. I do still get slightly oily after 5/6 hours, but it is much less so than if I didn’t use it. It has a lovely silky, lightweight gel texture that absorbs quickly and a little goes a long way. I focus it mainly on my t-zone and it does help to blur my pores a little and smooth out my skin. It doesn’t leave a thick film or a dry, matte finish as you might expect from the name; it simply refers to its oil-controlling abilities.
Finding the right foundation that works for your skin is probably the most crucial to achieving long-lasting makeup. I’ve only had the Dior Forever Undercover Foundation for about a month, but in that time it’s become one of my favourites for summer. This is a high to full coverage foundation and with one light layer it immediately conceals my uneven skin tone and dark spots/pigmentation. I partiuclarly like this foundation because it strikes the perfect balance for my skin in the summer heat – it doesn’t have the thick, drying consistency that a lot of full coverage foundations tend to have – like the YSL All Hours Foundations (which gets cakey and dries your skin out) – but it does have a light, fluid formula that feels super comfortable and weightless on the skin all day, much like a dewy foundation would, except with superior longevity. It doesn’t make you look too matte or heavily made up (unless you pack on the layers) – on me it gives me an airbrushed finish which looks like I have naturally amazing skin.
If you apply concealer before foundation, you will end up swiping it away from those targeted areas you’re trying to conceal so it always follows after my foundation. I apply this very minimally because I don’t want areas to look cakey throughout the day. I absolutely love The Saem Cover Perfection Tip Concealer and have been using it for years. It’s lightweight and fluid enough to blend seamlessly with my base yet provides high coverage. I dab a dot on the area and then blend it in with my finger.
TIP: Don’t swipe to blend, as you don’t want to disturb the foundation underneath, especially if it hasn’t set on your skin yet. I’ve always found that patting concealer in with your finger is the best way.
My preference is always for gel eyeliners and my holy grail that I love to use is the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner – it is long-wearing, has strong colour payoff and is easy to apply. If you want a defined eye, go for black but for a softer look, opt for the colour Caviar Ink. For a daytime look I only lined my top lash line with a slight wing on the outer edge. If it was an evening/more formal event I would also line my lower lash line for a bolder, more dramatic look.
TIP: I also apply a shimmery/pearly silver white eyeliner to highlight the inner corner of my eye and the inner half of my lower lash line. This is a great makeup trick to make you look brighter, more awake and open up the eye area! (I use the Holika Holika Jewel Light Waterproof Eyeliner – #7 One Carat Diamond – this is fab because once it sets, it does not budge at all!)
I like using the Maybelline Colossal Volume Express Waterproof mascara for events. I hate clumpy mascaras and this is one of the better ones. I use an eyelash curler first then go in with this and it provides a great balance of lengthening, volumizing and curling.
TIP: I always recommend choosing a waterproof mascara so you don’t have to worry about rain, sweat or tears causing smearing and running mascara. A waterproof formula is also able to hold up a curl for longer than a non-waterproof version – especially important if you tend to have straight, droopy lashes.
After foundation, I consider blusher to be the next most necessary makeup step to provide colour and life to your face, especially since foundation can tend to make you look like a flat canvas. I love using deeper rose tones, rather than bright pink or corals as I think it gives me the most natural blush colour to match my complexion.
The Dandelion blusher from Benefit is deceiving because from swatches it looks like it would be a light, pale pink but it is actually much deeper to dusty rose I like and more pigmented when I apply it to my cheeks. I like to mix a bit of the ELF blusher over the top too (I can’t remember the colour but it’s either Blushing Rose or Berry Merry) as it has the best pigmentation and longest lasting power of any blusher I’ve ever tried. By the end of the day I can still see colour on my cheeks.
Using bronzer for contouring has become increasingly popular over the years and I admit I love this step to add more dimension to your face. On a day to day basis I will use Benefit’s Hoola Lite but as it’s summer, I’m a bit darker and I want it more defined so it shows up on photos, I use Benefit Hoola. This is very pigmented so a little goes a long way. A light tap of your brush is all you need.
TIP: I typically contour the hollows of my cheek (suck in your cheeks and under your cheekbone where it hollows out is where you would apply the contour – beginning from your ear towards the middle of your cheek). I also do the sides of my nose and under the tip – this gives the illusion of a longer, slimmer nose. If you want a more bronzed, sunkissed look you can also lightly sweep over the edges of your face and along the hairline of your forehead with a bigger fluffy brush. (Remember: always use a matte bronzer for contour so it looks most natural and not one with sparkles/shimmer in it).
Both pictures taken under natural light – colours look beautiful mixed together
This is one of the most fun steps for me in my makeup routine. I love a good highlighter. It can give your skin that fresh, lit from within, bright, glowing and dewy appearance. My absolute favourite is the Too Cool for School Art Class by Rodin Highlighter and I like to mix all 3 shades together – I always get compliments whenever I wear this one. This should be applied to the high points of your face so I place it along my cheekbones and temples, on the tip of my nose and my cupid’s bow. When your highlight catches the light, it provides the most beautiful glow from certain angles.
TIP: Don’t be too heavy handed and don’t over-apply all over your face as you don’t want to look like a shiny disco ball. It you are wearing a matte foundation, then having a highlighter in strategic places is a great step to further add dimension and contrast the matte/contour areas – it will emphasise and highlight the high points of your face even more when it catches the light.
TIP: If you go for a bolder, pigmented blush colour, then opt for a lighter lip colour. If you want to go for a bold lip colour then use a lighter blusher. This creates a more natural balance of colour on your face and prevents you looking overdone. The colours don’t need to match identically, but try and go for the same colour tones.
I prefer to be more heavy handed with my blusher and have that be the main focal point, so I always opt for a light red lip colour to match the rose blush of my cheeks and make sure it doesn’t overpower it. Here I use a mix of 2 colours – Benefit They’re Real Double the Lip – shade Dusty Rose and Labiotte Wine Lipstick – RD04 Sauternes Red. I dab it on rather than swipe so I get a more muted, softer colour payoff and then smudge it gently with my fingers to blend out the harshness.
Both taken under natural light: from L to R – Labiotte, Benefit, YSL
Left: matte finish with just the Benefit and Labiotte lipsticks / Right: with the YSL tinted balm on top
I tend to like a glossy finish to a matte one because lipsticks tend to settle in the cracks of my dry lips after a few hours no matter how much I exfoliate them, so I like to finish it off with a gloss, or in this case a tinted lip balm such as the YSL Volupte Tint in Balm in No.1 Dream Me Nude. I absolutely love this because it smells amazing, is very moisturising and provides a nice natural sheen on the lips. Also, since this imparts a tinted colour, I only carry around this one for touch-ups during the day and my lips stay nicely hydrated while the tint builds up with each re-application.
1. SETTING SPRAY
Like a primer, this really helps makeup to last longer on your face and not slide off in the summer heat. The best one I’ve used for longevity is the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray which just locks everything in place after you have completed your entire makeup look and prevents it settling into fine lines or melting off. It feels weightless on your skin and has a fine mist which absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave residue behind or make your skin dewy. It simply reduces the need to touch up throughout the day.
TIP: I prefer a setting spray over a setting powder, because powder usually inteferes with the beautiful finish of the foundation I’ve chosen and can tend to get cakey and dry as the day goes on, especially if you’re outdoors and the setting powder mixes with your sweat and oils. If you have dry or dehydrated skin I would definitely avoid a powder and opt for blotting sheets to touch up during the day if you get oily in the t-zone etc.
1. FACE MIST
Slightly different to a settling spray, although some products can be used for both, a face mist is something I will carry and use throughout the day to hydrate and perk up my skin. If my skin is feeling too hot, dull or dehydrated/dry then a quick misting can rejuvenate your skin, providing that burst of moisture and vitality. It is definitely great at cooling down my skin if I’ve been under the sun too long. My favourite type of mist for this is the Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Skin Energy Mist – I have a smaller bottle which I can refill and carry around in my handbag.
So there you have all the exact products and method I used to achieve this particular natural summer look for the wedding event I attended. The basic tips, tricks and process I go through when I want to achieve long-lasting natural makeup for a day-long event are the same so even if you use different products as long as you follow these steps you can also achieve this. I never have to re-apply products except for my lipstick (due to eating and drinking), and only need to use a blotting sheet 1-2x in the day for my t-zone.
Do you have any tips, trips or product recommendations to share to achieve long-lasting makeup?