Summer makeup can be tough to pull off. A little lip gloss, bronzer and mascara will give you a pretty, natural look, but if what you want is bold color or sex appeal, natural light and hot, humid weather can do a number on your result. Here are our favorite products for achieving a perfect, summer look.
When dealing with under-eye circles or skin discoloration, it can be hard to find a cover up that truly covers up. For a product that will hide imperfections and stay put all day long, look no further than IT Cosmetics' Bye Bye Under Eye (IT Cosmetics, $24). This waterproof, full coverage formula really does what it says it will do -- plus, a little bit goes a long way. Dab a hair under your eyes, on blemishes or scars and blend with your fingertip or the IT Cosmetics Dual Airbrush Concealer Brush (IT Cosmetics, $24). It's especially nice during the summer months because you don't have to worry about it sweating off. Plus, the formula is moisturizing, so it won't feel cakey or heavy on your skin.
Achieve the perfect glow
Rather than choosing a heavy foundation, try a light, tinted moisturizer designed to brighten your face. Skinn Cosmetics' Skin Illuminizer (Skinn, $24) is the perfect go-to option. Not only is the product designed to compliment every skin tone, it smooths the complexion and doesn't accentuate fine lines. Apply it like a bronzer to your cheekbones or use it in place of your usual moisturizer for an all-over glow.
For an extra-dazzling finish, brush Cle du Peau Beaute's Luminating Face Enhancer (Nordstrom, $95) across the top of your cheekbones, over your upper lip and across your forehead. While the product certainly isn't cheap, it gives off a light-catching golden glow that flatters from every angle.
Finally, don't underestimate the importance of highlighting your brow line to help "lift" and accentuate your eyes and eyebrows. While you can do this with a shimmery white or nude eye color, you run the risk of it fading throughout the day. For a long-lasting, fool-proof finish, try IT Cosmetics' Brow Power Lift (IT Cosmetics, $24). The pencil is waterproof and offers a matte or pearl finish with moisturizing, antioxidant ingredients.
Get pretty pink cheeks
During the summer months it's acceptable to use a little extra cheek color to get a sun-kissed look, but powders can be hard to apply in a way that doesn't appear clownish. Look for palettes that offer two or three colors that you can blend together for a more natural finish or opt for creams that blend easily by hand. We love Laura Mercier's Cheek Melange in Canyon Sunset (Laura Mercier, $30), or Tarte's water-based gel Cheek Stain in the Tipsy coral-pink color (Sephora, $30).
Fool-proof your lips
Dry, burned and chapped lips are frequent summer problems. During the daytime when you want a natural lip color, opt for a vitamin-infused gloss or stain like IT Cosmetics' Vitality Lip Flush (IT Cosmetics, $20). These flushes are packed with plum oil, cherry oil, jojoba and Shea butter to condition your lips, acting as a lip balm, gloss and lip stain all in one. Our favorite is the barely-there blush of Je Ne Sais Quoi.
When you want to pump up the volume at night, choose two-in-one products that pair a lip color with a lip gloss. Perfect summer shades are corals, tangerines and vibrant cherry reds. Try Senna Cosmetics' biscotti-flavored Lip Sync A La Mode (Senna Cosmetics, $24) or Exude's Red #1 (Exude Lipstick, $29).
Make your eyes smolder
Think of summer colors: aqua, tangerine, coral, turquoise, yellow, peach, sea green and gold. These are bright, fun colors that look great in your wardrobe, but do you have the guts to try them on your face? The trick to wearing these colors on your eyes is to look for palettes that combine complimentary shades with more neutral tones. This makes it easier to add a little color while avoiding a rainbow-like finish. Revlon's Illuminance Creme Shadow in Eternal Summer (Ulta, $6) and the Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Heat (Sephora, $30) are both great options because you can use the neutral whites, tans and creams across your brow bone and crease, only adding the brighter shades across your lower lid. The result is a light, fresh summer look.
At night when you're ready to really make your eyes smolder, it's all about the eye liner. Black and brown are great during the rest of the year, but switch things up a little during the summer. Smudge a thick line across your upper lid in gold, bronze or midnight blue, extending the line slightly past your natural lid for a cat-eye affect. 'Tini Beauty's Eyetini in Blue Velvet ('Tini Beauty Lounge, $24) is a fun option that includes a mascara and eyeliner in a double-ended package.
Finish it off right
Once you've applied your makeup, you want it to stay put. Even if you've used waterproof, sweat-proof and smudge-proof formulas, there's always the chance you'll have a makeup mishap. Take the extra precaution and apply a makeup setting spray like Skindinavia's No More Shine Makeup Finish (Skindinavia, $29). This formula is designed for oily skin, but it's also great for hot days when you know you'll be sweating.
Too much to remember? Buy a set!
Some makeup companies put together whole sets of supplies to make makeup application easy. For women who really like to play with their beauty booty, these sets may take away some of the fun, but if you don't want to think twice about what to put on your face, these sets are a lifesaver. For the perfect summer makeup set, try Skinn Cosmetics' Seven-Piece Color Affair Summer Collection (ShopNBC, $51). In addition to the Skinn Illuminizer mentioned above, you'll receive a Blush & Bronze Trio, two double-ended Dream Team Liners in Black and Bronze Copper, a six-color eye palette in summer shades and two Twin Set lipstick/lip gloss combos in Summer Peach and Summer Rose. At only $51, you really can't beat the price!
Header image credit: Wendy Nelson Photography, http://www.flickr.com/photos/wendynelsonphoto/7303188156/