As temperatures rise, we tend to set our full-coverage foundations aside in favor of multi-use pigments, lightweight SPFs, and no-frills finishes. When I’m racing from the beach to dinner with just a few minutes in-between, I need a makeup routine that I can apply quickly, and one that won’t budge when I find myself drenched in sweat for just a few minutes into my commute. Luckily, I’ve mastered just that.
After a few summers of trial and error, I’ve finally figured out how to create a dewy, summery makeup look in just a few simple steps (the entire thing takes me seven minutes on the dot). Discover the steps to glowing, protected skin ahead.
As Always, Start With Sunscreen
Remember, you should be wearing sunscreen every single day. Luckily, modern-day formulas are creamy, hydrating, and the perfect base for makeup (nothing like the goopy zincs of your childhood). To prep my skin, I’m using Sunday Riley’s Light Hearted Broad Spectrum SPF 30; it blends in seamlessly and leaves behind a smooth, hydrated canvas for my makeup.
Use a BB Cream or Skin Tint
While you can certainly use any complexion product of your choice — a full-coverage foundation, a CC cream, or nothing at all — I’ve found that a light-coverage skin tint or BB cream offers just enough color to even out my skin tone and give me some summery warmth without feeling too heavy on my skin. Here, I’m using the ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint, a lightweight, serum-textured skin tint that goes on like skincare but creates the effect of makeup. As a bonus, it also contains SPF 40 — but we still recommend wearing a dedicated sunscreen under this formula. (You need to use a ¼ teaspoon of the product to get the full SPF protection on the label, and ¼ teaspoon of a pigmented product can really feel like a lot on the skin.) So instead, start with Light Hearted, then think of the SPF in this product like the cherry on top.
Using clean fingers, I warm a few drops of this product in my hands and then blend it gently into my skin (paying extra attention to areas like the dark circles under my eyes and the acne scars around my chin).
Use a Cream Blush for Eyes, Lips and Cheeks
I love using the same shade of cream blush on my eyes, lips, and cheeks to make it look like I’ve spent the morning in the sun (sans the actual sun damage). Here, I’m using Rare Beauty’s Stay Vulnerable Melting Cream Blush in the shade Nearly Mauve. Skipping the brushes once again, this is another product that applies just fine with your hands— as long as they’re clean. I start by dotting three fingertip’s worth of product onto the apple of each of my cheeks; then I use the heel of my hand to blend and drape the product upwards into my hairline to create a lifting effect. Then I sweep the same product across the center of my lids and onto my lips for a monochromatic, sunkissed look. If blush isn’t your thing, you can use a cream bronzer on your cheeks and lids instead.
Highlight the High Points of Your Face
No summery makeup look is complete without a healthy dose of highlight. I prefer a skin-like, wet-look finish when it comes to highlighting, so I tend to reach for illuminating liquid formulas over sparkly powders, but to each their own. Here, I’m using the Tarte Shape Tape Glow Wand in the shade Sunbeam — just a few specks of the product along the highest point of your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, and along the outline of your Cupid’s bow will do the trick. Once again, I prefer to use my fingers because it’s faster, but you can definitely use the tip of a Beautyblender or a small blending brush if that’s your preference.
Nothing awakens the eye quite like fluffy-looking lashes. To finish this look, I apply a generous amount of water-resistant or waterproof (because summer = sweat) mascara to my top and bottom lashes, using the tip of the applicator to wing out the lashes in the outer corner of my eyes. I’m using Glossier’s Lash Slick here, but you can use any formula that suits you.
Top Things Off With Your Favorite Translucent Powder
This step is optional (as is every step in this routine — only wear what you enjoy wearing!). But because I personally tend to verge on the oilier side, I like to lock my makeup look in place with a few dustings of translucent powder. I’m a huge fan of Supergoop’s (Re)Setting Mineral Powder SPF because it gives you a little extra sun protection. That, and it features a built-in brush so you can throw it in your bag and use it for touch-ups on the go. Since I know the SPF fully protects my face in Light Hearted that I used during the first step of the routine, I only use this product where I tend to be extra shiny or oily, like my chin and T-zone.
The Final Look
And there you have it: a simple, dewy, summery makeup look that can be accomplished in just a few minutes. You can, of course, adapt this look to make it your own by adding or skipping any steps you see fit. (If you have more than a few minutes to spend on your makeup, I recommend adding a tinted brow gel and lining your lash line with a golden brown liner to add some dimension to this look).
We only recommend products we have independently researched, tested, and loved. If you purchase a product found through our links, Sunday Edit may earn an affiliate commission.