Beauty

The Prettiest (and Easiest) Makeup for Summer

Written by: Megan O’Neill

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Updated on: May 15, 2023

woman posing

Photo courtesy of Westman Atelier

Here’s a counterintuitive makeup-artist secret: You can use a lot less makeup if you wear brighter colors. Summer—when glowy, healthy skin is more on display—is when this trick is most effective. “Adding sheer, intense color to your eyes, cheeks, or lips is an easy way to brighten your face without wearing much makeup,” says LA makeup artist Jillian Dempsey (famous for her vibrating face bar, another foolproof face-waker-upper). “Bright colors can be really sheer and still enhance your natural glow, so you get that no-makeup makeup look with even less product.”

  1. Subtly Chiseling Vibrating Gold Bar

    Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar
    Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar goop, $195
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The easiest way to pull off any color—whether it’s hot pink, deep blackberry, bright poppy, or fiery copper—is to apply it as a whisper, as opposed to a full-on statement with lots of texture. As cleantech has advanced, the new pigments for lips, lids, and cheeks are more beautiful than ever; pick a shade that suits your skin and start experimenting. Applied with restraint, every one of these shades is sexy (for day or night), easy, and gorgeous on absolutely every skin tone.

1

Cheeks

The idea is a softly invigorated flush, as if you’ve just jogged on the beach. Cream formulas enhance a dewy sheen, while powders last longer, especially on oily complexions. Apply either one at the apples of the cheeks, then blend upward at an angle for a soft, lifting effect.

Blush

  1. Electric-Coral Cream

    Tata Harper Vitamin-Infused Cream Blush
    Tata Harper Vitamin-Infused Cream Blush goop, $45
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  2. Cherry-Red Tint

    Ere Perez Beetroot Cheek & Lip Tint
    Ere Perez Beetroot Cheek & Lip Tint goop, $30
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  3. Dusty-Pink Gel

    Saie Dew Blush in Rosy
    Saie Dew Blush goop, $25
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Bronzer and Luminizer

Blend a little bronzer on top of blush for a gorgeous sun-kissed burnish. It can also go just about anywhere else—the bridge of the nose, Cupid’s bow, chin, lids, or collarbones. Warm rose gold lights up darker skin tones beautifully, while cooler shimmer-flecked formulas flatter lighter skin.

  1. Cool-Peach Shimmer (Great for Paler Skin)

    Westman Atelier Super Loaded Tinted Highlighter
    Westman Atelier Super Loaded Tinted Highlighter goop, $75
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  2. Creamy Bronzer for Instant Summer Skin

    SAIE Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer
    Saie Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer goop, $32
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  3. Warm Coppery Gold (Great for Darker Skin)

    Westman Atelier Lit Up Highlight Stick
    Westman Atelier Lit Up Highlight Stick goop, $48
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2

Lips and Cheeks

Dab color on both your lips and cheeks for an easy, pulled-together look that really flatters the skin. Whether your vibe is more tinted balm or shiny gloss, juicy stain or buildable multistick, vibrant color or low-key flourish, a warming flush instantly brightens your entire face.

  1. Sheer Tinted Balms

    goop Beauty GOOPGENES Clean Nourishing Lip Balm Trio
    goop Beauty GOOPGENES Clean Nourishing Lip Balm Trio goop, $48
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  2. Jumbo Nude Crayon with a Shiny Finish

    Tower 28 Beauty JuiceBalm Vegan Tinted Lip Balm
    Tower 28 Beauty JuiceBalm Vegan Tinted Lip Balm goop, $16
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  3. Sheer Blackberry Stain

    Balmyard Beauty Baby Love Balm Lip + Cheek Tint
    Balmyard Beauty Baby Love Balm Lip + Cheek Tint goop, $32
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  4. Hibiscus Multistick for Buildable Color

    Ami Cole Desert Date Blush and Lip Multistick
    Ami Cole Desert Date Blush and Lip Multistick goop, $22
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3

Eyes

A faint wash of color across the lids is magic: low-key enough for day and fittingly moody for a night out. You can layer the copper and pink shades below for a full-on metallic effect, use either on its own, or smooth on a wash of iridescent gloss from Jillian Dempsey, a gleamy flourish that’s the sexy essence of summer itself.

Shadow

  1. Shimmering Gold and Copper

    Roen 75° Warm Eyeshadow Palette
    ROEN 75° Warm Eyeshadow Palette goop, $49
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  2. Chic Metallic Pink

    RMS Beauty Eyelights Cream Eye Shadow
    RMS Beauty Eyelights Cream Eyeshadow goop, $28
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  3. Sheer Plum

    Jillian Dempsey Lid Tint
    Jillian Dempsey Lid Tint goop, $28
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Mascara

Add fluttery, shiny, inky lashes—the sexiest, easiest way to look instantly more rested.

  1. For Volume

    Tower 28 Beauty MakeWaves Lengthening and Volumizing Mascara
    Tower 28 Beauty MakeWaves Lengthening and Volumizing Mascara goop, $20
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  2. For Fluttery Length

    ILIA Limitless Mascara
    ILIA Limitless Mascara goop, $28
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  3. Clear Formula for Defining and Shaping

    Ere Perez Aloe Gel Lash & Brow Mascara
    Ere Perez Aloe Gel Lash & Brow Mascara goop, $28
    SHOP NOW

Or: Natural-Looking False Lashes

You don’t need mascara at all when you wear these easy-to-apply reusable half-lashes.

  1. Loveseen Levi Lashes
    LoveSeen Levi Lashes goop, $16.50
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4

Brows

Shape and define your brows and your entire face somehow looks more sculpted, whether you’re shading in a sparse patch with a creamy pencil, adding volume with a tinted peptide gel, or nourishing with a clinically tested serum designed to support growth.

  1. Chicest Pencil

    Westman Atelier Bonne Brow Pencil
    Westman Atelier Bonne Brow Pencil goop, $38
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  2. Superserum for Thicker Brows

    Augustinus Bader The Eyebrow & Lash Enhancing Serum
    Augustinus Bader The Eyebrow & Lash Enhancing Serum goop, $150
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  3. Peptide Gel for Lift and Hold

    Kosas Air Brow Tinted Volumizing Treatment Gel
    Kosas Air Brow Tinted Volumizing Treatment Gel goop, $24
    SHOP NOW

5

Add Polish with Lip Gloss

  1. Weightless Pale-Coral Gloss

    Westman Atelier Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Balm
    Westman Atelier Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Balm goop, $38
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  2. Sheer-Pink Plumping Oil

    Kosas Wet Lip Oil
    Kosas Wet Lip Oil goop, $22
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  3. Subtle Berry Cream (with Botanical Butters)

    RMS Beauty Liplights Cream Lip Gloss
    RMS Beauty Liplights Cream Lip Gloss goop, $28
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Bonus: For Glowy, Healthy-Looking Skin

Beautiful skin is essential. Here’s our formula: This fantastic eye cream made with a 30-botanical emulsion to firm, smooth, and brighten really helps fake the look of a great night’s sleep. A layer of hydrating primer smooths imperfections and boosts radiance; follow it with a luminizing tinted moisturizer and a truly amazing concealer.

  1. Nourishing Eye Cream

    Tata Harper Restorative Eye Crème
    Tata Harper Restorative Eye Crème goop, $130
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  2. Featherlight Primer

    Jillian Dempsey Mixturizer
    Jillian Dempsey Mixturizer goop, $34
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  3. Imperfection-Blurring Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 40

    Ilia Super Serum Skin TInt SPF 40
    ILIA Super Serum Skin TInt SPF 40 goop, $48
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  4. Melts-Right-In Concealer

    Beautycounter Skin Twin Creamy Concealer
    Beautycounter Skin Twin Creamy Concealer goop, $34
    SHOP NOW

Related Reading

A Next-Level (No-Makeup Makeup) Bronzy Glow

For the Most Natural Look, Use a Brush: Gucci Westman’s Easy-to-Follow Guide

Eyeliner Is (Mostly) a Confidence Game