The best part about summer makeup is the fact that less is more. With this in mind, we’re streamlining our beauty routine, which means stripping it down to the best new basics we’ve found and sticking to a five-minute face to maximize vegan pool-party time. To accomplish this summery goal, we’re using sunscreen to protect, foundation to smooth, pops of color to amplify our (semi-faux) sun-kissed glow, and coconut-scented everything so we can pretend we’re on a far-away island even when we’re desk-bound. Here are the best new cruelty-free products for summer that we’ll be using from now until Labor Day.
Lotions and potions
We’re trying to go easy breezy this season, which means we’re using MŪN’s glorious prickly pear oil (the new argan!) serum under sunscreen by day and all on its own at night. To keep our vegan glow as bright as possible, we’re playing with Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Brightening Essence once daily, pre-serum. From the neck down, we’re whisking ourselves away to the tropics during shower-time, scrubbing down with Nature’s Gate Coconut Body Wash, and lubing up after with their Coconut Lotion. And after a Sunday spent sunning, we give our bods a little serum of its own with Immunoclogogie’s new, sublime-smelling body oil made from desert date-seed oil and Brazilian protium heptaphyllum resin. It’s a splurge for us mortals, but we imagine Gwyneth Paltrow stocks this manna in her medicine cabinet for daily applications. Because we’re on the serum train from top to toe, we give our scalp a little treat with Davines’ Energizing Thickening Tonic. While our scalp is hydrating, we’re also doing a weekly mask with Kai’s Sea Mud mask to pull out any last traces of sunblock and sweat.
Laying the foundation
The name of the game for healthy (and healthy-looking) skin is heavy on the sunblock and light on the foundation, which is why a rich mineral sunblock such as Pacifica’s Coconut Probiotic Mineral Face Shade in SPF 30 or an SPF primer like the invisible-feeling, totally clear Complexion Primer with an SPF 30 by Urban Decay are our go-tos. Lips get some SPF love, too, with a coconut-scented SPF 30 Sun + Lipcare mineral lip balm by Pacifica. For a weightless foundation, Hourglass’ new Immaculate liquid powder foundation is so silky and light that it barely feels like anything … even though it gives a beautiful light coverage! When slightly more spackle is required, we reach for Jane Iredale’s Glow Time Mineral BB Cream Foundation in SPF25 and Powder-Me SPF Dry Powder for sunblock touch-ups throughout the day. Any red spots get a swipe of Arbonne’s new cream stick concealers, while trickier discolorations (ie, under-eye circles) get neutralized with Urban Decay’s new color correcting sticks that disguise red, green, or blue tones. Juice Beauty’s Light-Diffusing Dust sets everything and blurs for Instagram-ready summer skin. Add a few dabs of Kjaer Weis’ always-amazing cream blush or quick brush of Urban Decay’s Beached Bronzer, and we’re beach-bound.
This summer’s all about the brows. For the brow pros, Urban Decay’s Brow Box has everything you need to tweeze, tame, color, and blend—all contained in a teeny (and adorable) box. And whether you’re planning a day on the beach, an outdoor workout (we tried and tested both), lune + aster’s Dawn to Dusk Gel Eyeliner will.not.move. Available in black, brown, navy, and plum, these eyeliners are literally the only liners we will be using this summer. Once the sun sets, lune + aster’s new swipe + go eyeliner palette has the same set of colors to bump up the drama with more concentrated color. As for mascara, nobody’s prying Pacifica’s Stellar Gaze and Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara from our coconut-scented hands.
Lips and nails
In addition to focusing on our brows, this summer we’re going balm-only … or doing a teeny bit of tan-friendly gloss such as Island-themed colors Fiji (a shimmered bronze) from indie brand Jersey Shore. On our digits, we’re staying similarly neutral by sticking with subtle summer tones like the creamy pink Slow Beauty or warm gray Inner Peace from SpaRitual.
Margaux Lushing is the founder of healthy travel guidebook series and advisory Well + Away and dreams of the day when gel polish becomes non-toxic and vegan.
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