Fun in the sun can be a cool mantra for summer activities, but when you've got the mother of all spotlights shining down on you, it pays to take precautions and appreciate the value of subtlety. What you can conceal during a romantic candlelit dinner will be glaringly apparent in the relentless light of day. Making some adjustments for outdoor lighting, ultraviolet (UV) rays and the accompanying heat is just good sense.
Take Care of Your Skin
No. 1 on your list, even before looking like the dewy-eyed girl next door, is keeping your skin hydrated and protected from damaging UV rays. Depletion of the ozone layer has had a big impact on how punishing that warm and refreshing sunlight is on your delicate skin. We're not just talking about avoiding looking like a raisin when you hit 40. Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the United States, and wearing skin protection for both UVA and UVB rays is important.
Check for an SPF rating in your moisturizer, foundation and even your lip balm. You're looking for a rating of SPF 15 or higher. Remember to wear sunscreen on all of your exposed skin, and reapply it if you swim or perspire (like that's not going to happen). This may be a drag, but you should also consider wearing a hat and long-sleeved clothing between midmorning and midafternoon during the summer months [source: CDC].
Look Fabulous Outdoors
Use a different strategy for looking good outdoors than you would for almost any other activity. Use a subtle palette, and do everything you can to prep your skin ahead of time. A nice complexion is a great asset here, so it's worth a little extra effort to try and get your skin to behave before you head outdoors. If you have blemishes, fine lines or uneven skin to contend with, employ a primer to help even out your complexion. Transparent primers for your face, lids and lips will help normalize your skin and make it easier to use less foundation and still achieve a smooth, even look. If you have pretty good skin to begin with, you might be able to lose the foundation altogether. Periodically, check any foundation you do decide to use. If you tan, you may have to alter the shade to stay looking natural as you get darker.
Tone down your outdoor look with less of almost everything, including mascara, blush and eye shadow. Use bronzer, but apply it sparingly. Too little and you'll look pale; too much and you'll look ruddy. Lose the eye shadow in favor of a little bronzer on your lids. It'll create some needed shading around your eyes that won't look artificial. If you use mascara, stay with a light layer, and pay a little extra for the waterproof stuff. Otherwise, a little perspiration may leave you looking like a raccoon.
Prefer sheer lip shades and translucent powder. Better yet, use blotting paper instead of powder to keep your face looking clean and not greasy. While you're establishing your summer look, make sure to test it out in daylight conditions before you head to the beach or take off in his convertible. That way, you'll be sure to look as good as you think you do. In summer, less is almost always more. If you want to wow him with your exotic or sophisticated paint job, wait until after sunset.