Summer makeup is synonymous with bronzed, glowy, fresh and plump skin – but unfortunately also humidity and inevitable smudging. With the weather heating up and picnics a possibility again, we enlisted professional makeup artist Neil Young to show us how to nail a simple, summer beauty look guaranteed to last longer than your social distanced picnic (because there's so much more to it than layering on the primer and setting spray), and to lift the lid on the biggest summer makeup trends.
How to make foundation last longer
When it's hot and humid, you're bound to regret applying full coverage foundation, especially when it starts to slip and crease. Neil's advice? Hydrate your skin with a gel-based moisturiser (he rates Givenchy Beauty's Hydra Sparkling Moisturising Jelly Cream, £48) and put your trust in one light layer of makeup – applied with your hands. "Summer daylight is so unforgiving and sometimes, a brush just floats the makeup on top of the face, especially if it’s a waterproof formula or you’ve applied SPF," – which you should always do, especially in summer. "Instead of a brush, use your fingers to help melt foundation into the skin for longevity," continued Neil. "Never rub, just gently press and pat. The heat of your hands will help the product absorb without the need for over-blending. I love the 'real' skin look and moulding foundation into the skin like this really gives it that texture. I always start in the centre and work outwards, but I usually use foundation only where it’s needed, rarely all over."
Try Chanel's Fresh Water Tint, £48, and The Ordinary's Serum Foundation, £5.70, for impressive coverage with a totally weightless feel, or Tarte's Babassu Foundcealer Skincare Foundation, £36, available at QVC UK, which blankets pores, blemishes and dark circles without looking or feeling mask-like.
How to achieve believable, glowing skin
A believable glow is all most of us want out of our summer makeup routine, but thanks to the myriad radiance-boosting products out there, it's so easy to go overboard on shine. Cue a 3pm blotting frenzy. "So many summer-specific products these days, such as foundation and primer, have 'radiance' in them," explains Neil. The problem? "If you keep piling radiance on top of radiance, at some point you’re going to look really sweaty. Firstly, prep your skin with a super light moisturiser. Anything too heavy will only make your base look clammy. In terms of foundation, choose something light and build it up. If you want extra coverage, opt for a healthy, glowy powder for a slight transcendence of light over the face." This should prolong the wear you get out of your foundation, too.
Invest in a waterproof concealer
So you've stockpiled waterproof mascara, but waterproof concealer is the product to invest in next, according to Neil. "Even if your skin is on the dry side, you might experience oily lids," and this will result in inevitable creasing. "A waterproof concealer will neutralise that oiliness and won’t break down," continued Neil. "It’s also a great product to help keep in place whatever you put on top of it, for example eyeshadow or eyeliner." Try Tom Ford's Emotionproof Concealer, £42, for a dewy finish that lasts and NYX Professional Makeup Can't Stop Won't Stop Contour Concealer, £8, which doesn't transfer or accentuate lines.
Choose liquid eyeshadow over powder
Alongside your waterproof concealer, which you can use as a Velcro-esque base for eye makeup, Neil suggests using liquid eyeshadow, as it has a lot more staying power than powder. "My current go-to is Ombre Interdite Cream Shadow which slicks onto lids and dries down to a matte finish, leaving the shimmering texture behind. Plus, liquid eyeshadow just doesn't budge. Apply it with the applicator provided and then blend it out with your fingertips. It's the easiest way to get the best finish."
How to apply bronzer the professional way
It pays to swap your current bronzer for something sheer and buildable to prevent the "opaque" look, says Neil. "When it comes to application, place the bronzer on the top of the cheekbones. The space between the apple of the cheek and the top of the cheekbone is where you put the blush. This will give you a sophisticated flush, rather than a dolly-esque finish, which can look too twee and dated. What you get then is a multidimensional, summery look. If you aren't a fan of blush, Neil recommends keeping bronzing powder to the centre of the face, like your forehead and bridge of the nose, as this is where the sun typically hits. Givenchy's Healthy Glow Powder, £42, combines bronzer and highlighter to lend cheeks both believable colour and radiance, while Clarins' Bronzing Compact, £32, marries bronzer, blush and highlighter.
Opt for jelly textures
"Wet look, vinyl, glassy lips are so big for summer because they scream juiciness," said Neil, but instead of choosing sticky glosses or lip oils, try jelly textures. "A little gloss dabbed in the centre of your lips looks nice and fresh." Neil loves Givenchy's Interdit Vinyl Extreme Shine Lip Gloss, £24.50, thanks to the mess-free doe foot applicator. Also try Rimmel's Jelly Blush, £7.99, for a lush pop of colour on both lips and cheeks.
Monochromatic makeup is key
The easiest way to wear a summer colour like coral is to create a monochromatic makeup look, advises Neil. "Think a soft, harmonious blend of one single colour in different tones. A top tip is to wear the colour really boldly on your lips and to soften the intensity as you go up the face. For example, if you’re wearing a really bright gloss, wear a soft fresh blush to balance it all out and choose a slick of eyeliner or a wash of eyeshadow in a similar colour. It's like a gradient effect."