This Is The Dream Summer Makeup Bag, According To Pros

Summer skin calls for "less is more." Makeup artists pare down their massive kits to the very best brights and corals, the highlighting formulas with the perfect balance of golden particles, and the bronzers that could pass a lie-detector test. Perhaps most importantly, they test all of these products under rigorous conditions to make sure they'll last through any heat wave — or red carpet. The goal is looking like you’re perpetually just back from vacation, even if you’re just back from the grocery store. Pedicure: check. Pom-pom sandals: check. Summer makeup-bag essentials: sorted. We talked to the pros to find out what they're stashing in their bags this season. Check out their picks, ahead.
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Sunscreen
Celebrity makeup artist Maria Verel may be a master at concealing flaws, but she’s far more interested in preventing them. The most important item in her summer kit? Sunscreen. “This formula is perfect under any makeup,” says Verel. That is, if you know this simple trick: Allow a thin layer to set on skin for five minutes before you apply any foundation. “You won’t even know it’s there.”

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen, $10.49, available at Neutrogena.
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Primer
Most of us now accept what makeup artists have been telling us for years: Priming makes everything else look better. “Mattifying primers are a clever idea for summer, when the skin can be on the greasier side,” says makeup artist Elsa Morgan. “In summer, you have to be clever about the way you moisturize — combining hydrating ingredients in a lightweight primer makes it much easier to layer products without them feeling too heavy on your skin.”

Too Faced Hangover Primer, $32, available at Sephora.
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Tinted Moisturizer
Summer is the perfect time to put full-coverage foundation in storage, says Verel. Like pretty much every single makeup artist we know, she pledges allegiance to this flattering base. A perfect blend of hydrating ingredients and makeup, the lightweight foundation softens fine lines and leaves a wash of sheer color.

“It’s that ‘no-makeup’ makeup that’s perfect for warmer weather — I use it on all my clients because it just seems to suit all skin types,” says Verel. And don’t worry about layering SPF on top of SPF: It’s never a bad idea to double up on sun protection.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, $44, available at Sephora.
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Bronzer
The trickiest thing about bronzer is making your faux glow look natural. According to Morgan, this shade makes it easy: “It’s my absolute favorite — the shimmer is subtle, and it’s not too red.”

Use a medium-sized, fluffy brush to sweep color onto the sun-hitting spots on your face: the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. Then, to really make your face glow, use a little contouring trick: Offset your newly bronzed skin with a little highlighter along the tops of the cheekbones and under the eyebrows.

Tom Ford Bronzing Powder in Gold Dust, $95, available at Nordstrom.
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Highlighter
Even if you’re not wearing any makeup at all, a dab of this highlighter along your cheekbones, eyelids, and a little down the bridge of your nose will lend your face the prettiest glow. “This is my obsession,” says Verel. “It’s just so flattering.” The shade, which has ultra-fine, luminescent particles, gives the skin a soft, golden glow rather than an obvious disco shimmer, making it perfect for day or night.

Yves Saint Laurent Strobing Light Highlighter, $42, available at Sephora.
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Blush
Our summer dreams may be filled with days spent lazing beneath a beach umbrella, but the reality is more like sitting on a fit ball under fluorescent lights. “For warm summer nights when you need to mimic a day at the beach that didn’t quite happen, nothing beats this blush,” says Morgan.

This liquid formula sinks into the skin and delivers an authentic-looking flush. Just remember that it's highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way. Dab a small amount on lightly moisturized skin, and then blend with your fingertips...quickly.

By Terry Cheek to Cheek Water Color Blush in Cherry Cruise, $48, available at Bloomingdale's.
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Brows
Even though makeup artist Susan Giordano prefers brow powder for a soft, natural look, “if you need something that will hold up to a hot summer day, mechanical pencils are great,” she says. “They come in believable colors and are easy to use for beautiful, defined brows.”

MAC Eye Brows Mechanical Pencils, $16.50, available at MAC.
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— PAID —

Waterproof Eyeliner
Even on a breezy winter day, good eye makeup can get all smudgy on you. Add summer's heat to that equation...and forget about it. That's why these new Aqua XL eyeliners from Make Up For Ever are so essential. Besides the fact that they come in a bunch of unexpected shades, the creamy formula also glides right on and doesn’t move. So bring on the cannonball contests — your eyeliner is one less thing to worry about.
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Mascara
“Full, fluffy lashes are the way to go,” says Morgan. “Just make sure it's a waterproof formulation if the weather is humid or you plan to swim.” Her favorite formula has found a home in many makeup artists' kits for its fat, plastic-bristle brush, which makes lashes look gigantic and prevents clumping.

CoverGirl Lashblast Volume Mascara, $8.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Lipstick
The happy medium between an on-trend high-shine gloss and a long-wearing matte lipstick? This beyond sexy stain from Tom Ford. It has the opacity of a lipstick, the shine of a gloss, and the staying power of a well-trained golden retriever.

Tom Ford Patent Finish Lip Color, $52, available at Tom Ford.
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