1. Face SPF: COOLA Unscented Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 – It’s been incredibly sunny here in San Francisco, and it needs to be said that wearing SPF is THE key preventative measure for anti-aging. I first heard about COOLA on Youtube, and it was exactly the sunscreen I had been looking. It’s made with physical sunscreens (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) with organic ingredients, unscented, slightly tinted, and provides at least SPF 30. I use it over my day moisturizer (which in itself has SPF 15), and it does not feel heavy at all for my oily skin. It also doubles as a makeup primer since it leaves a great matte, slightly tinted finish (VERY similar to Benefit The POREefessional).
2. Body SPF: COOLA Sunscreen Spray SPF 35 - Who would have thought I would get sunburned just walking around San Francisco?? I’m not one to burn easily, but since that happened I’ve been trying to be judicious about applying sunscreen to my shoulders and arms. I originally bought this to use for outdoor activities, but since I don’t have an SPF lotion at the moment, I’ve really been enjoying this. I got the pina colada scent, and it smells like I’m on vacation. Non-sticky.
3. Tinted Moisturizer OR Powder Foundation: Jouer Matte Moisture Tint SPF 15 or Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 – I am trying out the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in Nude (for color reference, I am MAC NC25, Chanel B30, NARS Sheer Glow in Pubjab), and I think it’s ok. It’s definitely not shiny upon application, but it does need to be set with a setting powder since it can slide around on my oily skin. Surprisingly, I’ve been reaching more for the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder in Natural Beige – the coverage is buildable and does not look cakey. I like applying it with the Bobbi Brown Bronzer brush, which at $52 IS an expensive brush, but it is my FAVORITE face powder AND bronzer brush of all time. And I have a lot of brushes.
4. Powder Touchup with SPF: Shiseido Sun Protection Compact SPF 34 PA+++ – SPF is one of those things that should be reapplied, and since face makeup wears off when you are outside sweating, why not do both at the same time? I bought the shade SP70 (the darkest shade available) a few years ago when I was SUPER tan, so I’m using it now as a bronzer on the perimeters of my face, on my cheeks, and a bit on my nose – just where the sun normally hits. I need to pick up SP30 to use for the center of my face since it’ll be a better match for my norma skin tone. I like the use the Eco Tools Retractable Kabuki Brush with this on the go.
5. Bronzer: NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna – Despite having ~20 bronzers, I still reach for this the most for a subtle bronzed, sun-kissed glow. No better time than the summer to apply liberally.
6. Bright blush: Dior Rosy Glow in 001 Petal, MAC Blush in Style (or any peach shimmering blush) – Any bright pink or peach blush will do, actually. It really livens the complexion and complements a bronzed skin nicely. I’ve been reaching for these two recently as you can see from my blush collection, I should really rotate this more often.
7. Setting Spray: Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray – A makeup setting spray is A MUST to help your makeup last longer and also to give you that dewy glow. I spritz this liberally as the last step before I step out the door. The Urban Decay ones are great as well (and also made by Skindinavia).
8. Smudgeproof or Waterproof Mascara: Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus – In the summer, I’m all about simple, fresh makeup. As you can see from the items above, I think the core to this is a glowy, healthy base. Mascara will be generally the only eye makeup I wear, if I’m wearing eye makeup at all. I’ve gone back to the Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus after finishing some other mascaras.
9. Bright nail polishes - I’m really drawn to bright, warm colors for the summer. Nothing beats a vibrant, warn-toned polish with tanned skin. My current favorites are (from L to R): Butter London Trout Pout, Chanel 617 Holiday, Dior Riviera, and Le Metier de Beaute Red Hot Tango. Wet n Wild Megalast Nail Color in Heatwave looks like it would be a great cheaper alternative since it falls in this color category, and it has good reviews on wear.
10. Tinted Lip Balm with SPF: Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 – Again, with the SPF – it’s important to protect your lips! A light tint of color is nice too, and I really like these Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatments in Rose, and Honey. It’s easy to throw these on without a mirror, and they are decently moisturizing. I want to try the Coral and Petal colors next.
What are your summer beauty essentials?
As you can tell by my blush collection picture above (which I’ve since added about 5 more to), I’m a little bit of a blush junkie. Daphne, one of our college interns from last summer, emailed me a few months ago to ask me about what NARS blush she should get as she’s a newbie to the whole blush scene. This got me thinking back to when I was just starting to build my blush arsenal. I use the word arsenal purposefully – ideally, the average girl wouldn’t want to own a ton of blush – just a few blushes that can complement essentially any look (a few select weapons for any occasion, if you will). I think there are a few key colors and finishes that will go with just about any look, any time of the year.
We’ll keep this just to powder blush today, and I should mention, the tone of each of these color categories may differ depending on your skin tone - my skin tone is LIGHT MEDIUM (around MAC NC25, Chanel B30), so the product recommendations will likely work well for those around my skin tone. Where applicable, I’ll give suggestions for brighter colors that can work for those with darker skin tones.
On to building a blush arsenal, in order of recommendation:
1. A dusty muted pink color / the “neutral” blush - this is typically the muted pink brown color that looks boring in the pan but AMAZING on your face. This is considered a neutral blush, because it seems to go with almost anything, all year round, and it can really help give definition to the face. The finish I would recommend is matte or satin (not shimmery), so it’s one of those throw-on-and-go products that will give your face some life and still look natural.
The reason I recommend this as a first blush is because you can wear it everyday – to work, to class, on a date – and it will complement your look without being the center of attention.
- Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed [left]
- Chanel Joues Contraste in 15 Orchid Rose [middle]
- MAC Powder Blush in Blushbaby [right]
- NARS Blush in Douceur [missing in action - not pictured]
2. A light shimmery peachy pink - this is another universally flattering shade that everyone should have, so I almost put it as #1. I find that blush lovers like myself are typically drawn to shimmery peachy pinks like moths to a flame. This color category makes up the bulk of my collection, because it is just so easy to wear and somehow exudes sexiness.. which is also the reason I did NOT have it as #1. For those occasions when you want to be super professional or conservative, I wouldn’t pick this one.
It’s the perfect 2nd blush, because it’s offers more brightness to the face, and it can be your go-to shade when you want to draw more attention to your cheeks.
- NARS Blush in Deep Throat [left]
- Chanel Joues Contraste in 72 Rose Initiale
- MAC Mineralize Blush in Dainty
These are slightly darker in color, so I wear them more in the summer when I have a tan:
- Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Blissful - the picture above makes it look more like coral than it is in real life (and looking more like Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy). It’s more peachy in real life.
- Benefit Coralista [not pictured - gifted to my sister]
While the color of the ever-popular NARS Blush in Orgasm would be here, I’m not including it because I personally find that the glitter in it is too conspicuous and not something I would personally feel comfortable wearing out in broad daylight to work/class.
3. The baby pink - the ever-cute light pink gives a youthful look to the face, and looks equally amazing with no other makeup on or a full-blown smokey eye. I have it here as #3, because it’s not a color I would personally feel comfortable wearing to a professional work environment on my warm skin tone, but it’s a fantastic blush when you want a very girly look.
- Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush in 001 Petal [left] - this is supposedly one of those self-adjusting blushes that adapt to your skin color. I can’t vouch for that, but this looks beautiful on almost anyone.
- MAC Powder Blush in Pink Swoon [right] - Pink Swoon is not this red looking in real life; it’s a bright pink that, again, looks great on almost anyone.
Honorable mention: the shimmery peach/light bronze - I LOOOOVE wearing these colors, because they are SO flattering on warm skin tones. It makes your face glow and looks very healthy. They’re not necessarily must-haves, but I love wearing them in warmer weather. These blushes can give you a very Victoria’s Secret bronzed goddess-esque look (and who doesn’t want that?).
- NARS Blush in Luster [left]
- NARS Blush in Madly [middle] is bronzier and more shimmery in real life
- MAC Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul [right]
And of course, we can’t really talk about building a blush arsenal without blush brushes. Below are 3 of my most reached-for brushes to use with any of the blushes I mentioned.
- Real Techniques Blush Brush [top]
- Bobbi Brown Blush Brush [middle] the new blush brush has been updated with a rounder head
- Sephora Pro Airbrush #55 [bottom] Sephora redesigned this brush with a black handle, but it has the same brush head
What are YOUR blush must haves?