How To Get Gorgeous Summer Skin In 6 Easy Steps

Coaxing out our best summer skin as temperatures rise isn’t always easy. We all have fantasies of buttery bronze, dewy (but not too dewy!) skin at this time of year, but in reality find ourselves closer to the flushed red or oily mark, and with all of our determinedly applied make-up long gone by lunchtime. 

Whether it’s a Sophia Loren-esque olive, a J Lo glow, or a rich Rihanna bronze you’re after, this is your foolproof guide to nailing summer skin – courtesy of Chanel’s global creative make-up and colour designer, Lucia Pica, who says: “Summer skin is all about being more glowy and bronzy and sun-kissed – all of the stuff I love!” 

Here, your six step guide to effortless summer make-up.

Prep the skin

Pre make-up, look to lightweight hydrating serums and lotions to ensure skin is primed and ready to go for the subsequent base formula. After cleaning skin (Shiseido’s Waso Smart Water cleans, hydrates and primes), apply U Beauty’s Resurfacing Compound, a one-stop shop for all skin’s needs thanks to its cocktail of antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and a rather pleasing tightening effect that allows make-up to go on seamlessly afterwards. For those who like something ultra hydrating, Guerlain’s Super Aqua Emulsion Light is a must-try, and brilliant for all skin types. Always finish with an SPF.

Glow up

If you’re lacking a natural bronze glow, facial tanning has never been easier. James Read’s new Click & Glow Tan Drops deliver self-tan to the skin via a gel formula that’s designed to be added into your SPF or moisturiser – it also contains hyaluronic acid, soothing aloe vera and vitamin C to boot. Meanwhile, Isle of Paradise’s Hyglo Self-Tan Serum is also packed with hyaluronic acid and gradually tans skin, leaving it looking healthy and plump. And finally, Sisley’s Self Tanning Hydrating Facial Skincare is a lightweight, non-comedogenic cream that leaves skin both supple and protected against the environment.

First base

“For me, summer (and even winter) skin is about transparency,” says Pica. “That’s why Chanel’s L’Eau de Teint is my foundation. It’s excellent because it’s got this way of making everything really uniform and homogenous, but you still see your skin through it.” Beautiful, fresh-looking skin shouldn’t look like it has anything on it, Pica says, and formulas should just be used to cover what needs to be covered, rather than the entire face. Look to disguise any redness, uneven skin tone or blemishes, but leave your natural skin texture to shine through wherever possible. L’Eau de Teint is excellent and offers a fresh, dewy glow for all skin tones, blurring imperfections and staying put for hours. Plus, its watery, serum-like formula means it feels comfortable on even the oiliest of skin types. Pica also recommends using concealer on the areas that might need extra coverage – try Stila’s Pixel Perfect Concealer.

Bronze and blush

Advocating the use of lots of different textures to mimic real skin, Pica’s next tip is to deploy bronzer and blush where it’s needed. Take your cues from Bella Hadid’s recent Instagram post – in which her bronzer is expertly applied in a ‘W’ shape over the cheekbones and nose – and use either powder or cream formulas, buffing them seamlessly into skin. Chanel’s Soleil Tan Bronze Universel is a Vogue beauty team favourite thanks to its natural finish, while Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer offers a good range of shades for all skin tones. Once bronzed, it’s time for blush. “When you’re bronzed, you still have that element of red skin coming through,” says Pica. “Yes, you get a little bit tanned and your skin starts to get darker, but you still have that redness from the first sun, and I love that redness.” To imitate that fresh-from-the-beach flush, she likes to apply a creamy blush either high on the cheekbones and lightly over the bridge of the nose, or on the apples of cheeks. Try Westman Atelier’s Baby Cheeks Blush Stick or Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge For Lips & Cheeks.

Add light

For an extra hit of glow, avoid powdery highlighters in favour of liquid ones, which are better placed to melt into skin seamlessly. “I would blend it in like a foundation to create a nice veil of glow,” says Pica, who recommends Chanel’s new Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Highlighting Fluid for the job. “Again, everything has to become part of the skin for me – you don’t want anything that feels like it’s sitting on top, it doesn’t give you that natural effect of the summer glow. It’s a bit too fake looking. You have to look like you’ve just been in the sun, and magically, you’re shining.” Another brilliant liquid option is Marc Jacobs’ Glow Away Dewy Coconut Face Luminizer.

Freckles are a go

To really up the ante on the sun-kissed look, look no further than a smattering of (faux) freckles across the nose and cheeks – as per Emily Ratajkowski who is partial to dotting some on herself. “I love that fresh, ingenue type of skin, and I think freckles are a good way to make any make-up look fresh and modern,” says Pica. Freck’s XL Faux Freckle Cosmetics are excellent – just dot on haphazardly and leave to dry. Other alternatives are Colourpop’s Freckle Pen & Lime Crime Freckle Pen.

VOGUE article

To Prime or Not To Prime? (Face)

The definition and meaning of makeup priming have changed overtime, in some cases to be more confusing. However, as a professional makeup artist, you have to know what it means to prime the face for makeup application, whether a separate primer is needed, what skin concerns you are trying to address, etc. 

While some makeup artists swear by skincare as priming alone to be just fine, others argue that a makeup artist should have a variety of primers in their kit to address specific skin concerns such as redness, dehydration, large pores, uneven skin tone, dull skin, oily or dry skin, sensitive skin, and more. 

In my opinion, moisturizer is non-negotiable, and has to be freshly applied before makeup application. Then, I carefully assess the client’s face by asking questions and gently pressing with my pinky finger to see the skin response. From there, I decide whether to apply a specific primer that would be beneficial to the client, and not just another layer.

That said, often times either one of these three techniques are used post moisturizing:

  1. On top of moisturizer, one primer is applied concentrating in a specific area, with purposes to smooth the skin, correct redness, provide a healthy glow, mattify, or further hydrate. The best example of this is using a moisturizer suitable for the client’s skin needs, with, for example, an oily T-zone being covered with a mattifying primer, but the rest of the skin left alone.
  2. On top of moisturizer, two or more primers are used to correct more than one concern on a client’s face. Same skin concerns as above, using specific primers in specific areas. 
  3. Lastly, as I mentioned in the beginning, some makeup artists feel as though the moisturizing step is enough to prepare the client’s skin for makeup, and if it’s still fresh and active – carry on with makeup application.

Here I’ve listed some great options for common skin concerns:

– Redness: Smashbox Photofinish Reduce Redness Primer
– Dryness: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Hydrating Primer
– Oiliness: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer
– Roughness: Becca Skin Love Brighten & Blur Primer, IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Makeup Primer +
– To provide glow: Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer – Illuminating, Becca Backlight Priming Filter Face Primer
– To reduce pores: Smashbox Photofinish Pore Minimizing Primer
– To prolong the wearing time: MILK Makeup Hydrogrip Primer

If you’d like to read more about this topic I highly suggest reading the Adore Beauty article, and Allure article.

NYX High Glass Collection

Glass skin, defined: Evolving from K-Beauty’s dedication to a healthy, glowy, hydrated-looking complexion, “glass skin” refers to skin that looks translucent, smooth and reflective—just like a pane of glass.

High Glass Face Primer – creates a perfect base for an all-day luminous look, the formula is infused with light-reflecting pearls to create the illusion of translucent glass skin. Silky to the touch, it glides on smoothly, creating a fresh and healthy look that can be worn alone or under foundation for glowy, prolonged wear. Available in three flattering shades for a wide range of skin tones.

High Glass Finishing Powder – blurs imperfections and keeps skin glassy all-day long, this versatile formula was designed to be worn over High Glass Face Primer or the foundation of choice. Available in three light-reflecting shades which stretch across light to deep skin tones (light, medium, and deep), each shimmering setting powder sets your makeup and gives the complexion a sleek and polished glass-like glow.

High Glass Illuminating Powder – spotlights the features in a gorgeous, glass-like glow, this pressed-gel highlighting powder is packed with luminous micropearls that catch, reflect, and refract the natural light for a multidimensional, mirror-like sheen (formula similar to Colourpop’s Super Shock Cheek). Specifically designed to go with the Korean glass skincare regimen, this highlighter comes in three inclusive shades (light, medium and deep) to highlight and complement a range of skin tones.

The collection also comes with a primer brush & radiant setting spray.

Have you tried anything from this collection? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!