not a professional. just crazy.

My Summer-Friendly, No-Makeup-Makeup Routine

Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

When it comes to my day-to-day makeup, I strive to look put-together, dewy, and youthful. I also want to look like I’m wearing no makeup at all, even to someone standing right next to me. Achieving this delicate balance is particularly difficult to pull off in the summer, when your makeup is dying to slip and slide straight off your face.

A truly special no-makeup-makeup product has to pass two tests, in order to make its way into my daytime arsenal. First, it has to look good when applied by the window, in natural light — this reveals whether it’ll still look good later in the day, when you’re walking around, in the harsh, revealing summer sun. Second, it has to hold up all day long, no matter how miserably hot and sweaty it is outside. The list below contains ten products that have passed both of these tests dozens of times over — concealers and lip smudges and highlighters that stay put once you’ve applied them, no matter the weather conditions, and best of all, make you look like you rolled out of bed looking really, really good. Lately, I’ve been using all ten of these products to achieve a perfect, subdued daytime look.

In the summer, I hold off on using my Fenty Profilt’r Concealer, which is too matte, powdery, and full-coverage for sweaty days, and sub in this lightweight, creamy (but still matte) medium-coverage concealer from Ilia. This product buffs seamlessly into the skin, and never looks thick and cakey. I’ve also found that in 90-plus heat, it melts into my skin rather than caking and creasing all over. I use this on my under-eyes and any blemishes (and any other redness I’m trying to conceal), and it does the most natural, but efficient, job.

Sometimes I apply my concealer with my fingers, but with the Ilia, I prefer using this brush, which I wrote about a couple months ago (it’s the one all the celebrities, from Kim Kardashian to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, rave about without being paid). It buffs concealer so seamlessly into my skin, never ever leaves streaks or lines, and genuinely makes me look airbrushed.

A teeny tiny little bit of this stuff goes a long way (which makes me feel a lot better about the price) and all you need to make it buff into your skin flawlessly are your fingers. It’s a sort of less-runny, easier-to-use Cloud Paint. “Waking Up” is my favorite color — it’s a warm, dusty nude (very different from my usual pink and berry-toned blushes) that gives the most gorgeous, peachy flush. It brings out a very sophisticated, caught-the-sun color that makes me look youthful and sun-kissed rather than hot and bothered. This product is new to my heart, but she’s very, very special.

I keep my face the hell out of the sun in the summer, which means my face and body are perpetually two different colors. To fix that, I run a fluffy Sigma F12 brush through this cream bronzer from Milk, then distribute the product across my forehead, cheekbones, and jawline in a 3-shape. It gives off the most even, natural-looking bronze. In the past I’ve gravitated toward powders for summer bronzing and cream for contouring, but this product singlehandedly changed that. It’s super easy to lightly sweep all over the face, especially with a Sigma F12 brush (which is specifically meant for bronzers), and does a perfect job at adding warmth back into the skin without making the face look orange or scary.

Sometimes I just sweep a little bronzer onto my eyelids, and that’s enough. But if I’m looking extra tired, I go in with a color from this little Japanese palette that I’m positively obsessed with. I love every single shade, but especially the bottom three. I cover my whole lid, using an MOTD Crease brush, with the shade furthest to the left (a caramel), then use the middle color in my crease (a slightly darker cinnamon shade), and then use the darkest shade (a deep chocolate) along my lash line for a subtle brown eyeliner effect.This is the easiest subtle brown-eye look ever!

I recently ran out of my beloved Pixi by Petra clear brow gel and didn’t really feel like finding my nearest Target to get a new one (is there even a Target in NYC?). So I decided to try another cheap, drugstore clear brow gel — this time from NYX. I’ve been using it for about two weeks now and so far, so good. The Pixi by Petra gel does a better job of maintaining my brow hairs’ natural texture, but this one does a slightly better job at keeping those tiny hairs in place longer.

I’ve tried to find an everyday highlighter that I like as much as Glossier’s Haloscope, and I just can’t! As far as dewy, sheeny but not sparkly, daytime highlighters go, I really think this is the very best out there. It’s balmy and pearlescent and makes my skin look ultra quenched in a supremely natural way.

This is easily the best sheer matte-lip product I’ve ever used. It gives off the best your-lips-but-better smudgy tint, and it lasts all day long. If you’re using the above blush and bronzer, I highly recommend going with the color Scorpio — it’s a very lovely nudey-pinky-brown.

For an even more natural look, just go with a clear gloss! This one from Tower 28 is amazing because it has absolutely no stick to it at all. It just makes your lips look big, luscious, and ultra-moisturized.

Once all my makeup is on, I go in with this setting powder from Fenty. It mattifies with no flashback (a white cast that appears on the skin in photos), and usually I only need one touch up a day (though lately it’s been more like three because I’ve been sweating like crazy). It is also truly one of the most purse-friendly makeup products I own. It’s sleek and pressed, so the powder won’t get all over your bag. And the little touch-up brush actually magnetizes to the compact. Rihanna’s mind!

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My Summer-Friendly, No-Makeup-Makeup Routine