I'm Melting: Summer Makeup Tips

By: Julia Layton

Summer heat means lighter makeup.
Summer heat means lighter makeup.

Daily makeup rituals can become second nature. It might take years of practice and experimentation to finally settle into something that works, and rocking the boat can seem almost counterproductive, even when your face starts falling off in a streaky mess around high noon.

Fear not: Switching up your makeup for the summer months can be not only aesthetically rewarding, but also a renewing experience you come to appreciate. Like spring cleaning, only for your face. And in summer.


Here, some tips to help you look great through the heat, humidity, sweat and oil that make summertime makeup maintenance so very tricky. It's really not too hard to make the transition if you keep a few commandments in mind. No. 1: Don't add oil. No. 2: Do add powder. And No. 3: Go light all around.

First, what this means for your skin …


  1. Skin
  2. Eyes
  3. Lips


Summer heat means increased oil production and, by extension, increased shine and slickness, which can result in your base layer looking heavy, feeling greasy and literally slipping off. The No. 1 way to avoid such unappealing effects is to generally lighten up. Try some of these changes:

  • Remove some layers -- The moisturizer, sunscreen, anti-aging lotion and foundation that keep you looking smooth and supple in winter most likely keep you hot and heavy in the summer. So cut some of that weight by switching to a combo product, like a lightly tinted, SPF, anti-aging moisturizer, or a foundation with anti-aging nutrients and moisture-control built in. And if you can get away with a few dabs of concealer in place of all-over foundation, do it.
  • Add a primer -- Applying a face primer before your makeup will help hold everything in place once you start glistening.
  • Go oil-free -- If you have oily skin, you probably use oil-free products year round. If you tend toward dry, however, summer means a change. Your skin naturally produces more oil in the hot season, so you want to make sure you're not adding any artificially. Try switching to oil-free versions of the moisturizer, foundation or primer you use daily.
  • Self-tan -- Consider a natural-looking self-tanning lotion on your face to reduce the need to apply any color that, unlike an artificial tan, can melt in the heat.
  • Powder up -- In the summer months, powder is your best friend. It absorbs oil and helps maintain a matte finish. Switch to powder blush rather than cream, and after you finish with concealer or foundation, dust a light coating of translucent powder over everything.

With your base layer applied and set, your eyes are up for their summer makeover …



Made-up eyes face a couple of serious issues in the heat and humidity. First, stuff smudges and drips. Second, and perhaps even worse, stuff settles into lines. You can minimize both by making a few changes in both substance and color.

  • Prime them -- If you don't typically use an eye primer, start now. It goes on beneath your shadow or liner and helps hold everything in place when things get moist.
  • Go sheer and neutral -- It can be tough to completely stop shadow from settling into eyelid creases. To reduce the consequences, choose light, sheer shadows in neutral colors. If they do settle in, the effect will be far less noticeable than with deep, rich colors. Switching to a light, long-lasting cream color rather than powder may also help, since it sets better.
  • Powder up -- As with your base layer, finish off your eyes with a light coat of translucent powder -- even over your liner. It will help absorb moisture and keep the color in place. At the lash line, you can go over the powder with another coat of liner to get the full color back.
  • Waterproof it -- One thing is practically guaranteed: Mascara will run when you sweat. If you don't use waterproof mascara year-round, start now, and stick with it through the warmer months. You'll also find waterproof liners and cream shadows out there, which you might want to try for longer wear.

With the eyes colored, powdered and thickly lashed, it's time for the final feature …



Summer heat can make lips look sadly sticky, smudgy and utterly unsmooth -- not very sexy, in short. You can change that with a few tweaks to your lip routine.

  • Prime them -- Priming lips with a balm can be a savior in summer, creating a plumper, smoother palate that resists the little cracks that can ruin everything. Apply a layer of lip primer or lip balm, preferably something with SPF built in, before you do anything else.
  • Go light -- Deep, dark colors that look gorgeous in autumn can look totally out of place in summer. They can also magnify any creases, smudges, stickiness or other imperfections that may result from heat and humidity. For the hot times, consider something light and sheer. A gloss or tinted lip balm can summerize your lips instantly.
  • Set them (if you must) -- If you insist on wearing lipstick, set it with powder so it sticks around for more than 10 minutes. Apply the color, dust lips with powder, and then swipe on another light coat of color. It will help hold everything in place when you start to sweat.

Once you've gotten the hang of it, adjusting your makeup for summer can be a refreshing change. Just remember to lighten up, cut down on oil and make powder your BFF. You may find yourself sticking to the lighter, fresher look and feel all year long.


For more information on summer makeup and style, look over the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related Articles

More Great Links

  • Goldstein, Jennifer. "8 New Tricks for Summer Beauty." Prevention. (May 3, 2011)http://www.prevention.com/summer-beauty-tips/2.html
  • Herbert, Emily. "Oily Skin Solutions: Sweatproof Your Face for Summer." Elle. May 25, 2010. (May 3, 2011)http://www.elle.com/Beauty/Makeup-Skin-Care/Oily-Skin-Solutions-Sweatproof-Your-Face-for-Summer
  • Hertzig, Alyssa. "9 Summer Makeup Tips." Good Housekeeping. (May 3, 2011)http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/makeup/summer-makeup-tips
  • Wu, Jessica. "Summer Makeup Savers." Everyday Health. (May 3, 2011)http://www.everydayhealth.com/skin-beauty-specialist/summer-makeup-savers.aspx