A full face of makeup just looks wrong at the beach or by the pool. Any products you put on should be light and sheer—you want to look like a sunnier version of yourself.
• Protect your skin. Before you apply any makeup, slather on a generous coat of sunscreen. Give it at least 20 minutes to soak in—it needs to dry for full effectiveness and so that anything you put on top won’t smear. When you need to reapply, try a powder sunblock, such as Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 30 Brush, which won’t disturb your makeup.
• Forget flawless. In humid weather, anything that is creamy or greasy—like foundation or concealer—is going to smudge almost instantly. If you absolutely can’t imagine going without coverage, try mixing a bit of foundation into your sunscreen and applying it that way. I prefer powder-based products, like a light dusting of translucent powder to combat shine. If you need to cover a blemish, use a stiff concealer brush or a Q-tip to dab a little pressed powder onto the area.
• Bronze yourself. Any makeup you do wear should enhance your skin’s natural color. Choose a bronzer in a shade that looks like a natural tan, and make sure it doesn’t have any shimmer, which won’t look right in the bright sun. Dust the bronzer on your eyelids, just above your cheekbones, and on the apples of your cheeks, plus a little on your forehead, temples, and chin. Follow with a tiny bit of pink powder blush on your cheeks.
• Make it last. Most waterproof makeup sits there like glue and looks pasty. Waterproof mascara is the exception. Try a lengthening formula (the thickening and volumizing ones tend to clump). Consider a lip stain or a matte lipstick, since gloss will slide right off in the heat. I like bright colors, such as cherry red or vibrant fuchsia, which flatter tan and pink cheeks. Dab just a bit in the center of the mouth.
• Avoid touch-ups. My general rule is that you apply makeup before you leave the house, and whatever fades, fades. The beach is not the place to reapply. If you get sweaty or your makeup feels clumpy, just dab your face with blotting paper.