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Finals are over, summer is here, and it’s officially beach season. Every collegiette wants to look good while lounging on the sand, but that doesn’t mean you should wear a full face of makeup—not only is it impractical, it just looks wrong at the beach.  However, there are a few light makeup ideas that will keep you looking natural and fresh in the summer heat and humidity. Check out our suggestions below!


Sunscreen and Moisturizer

Before even thinking about putting any makeup on, you need to make sure you’re protecting your skin from sun damage. Choose a special sunscreen that is made specifically for the sensitive skin on your face. Many of these will serve the dual purpose of not only protecting your skin, but also moisturizing your skin.

“I really love Ole Henricksen’s products or http://buy.dermalogica.com/ for skincare,” says Faye Lauren, a professional makeup artist. “Those are my top two!”

Another great light sunscreen option is Neutrogena Age Shield Face Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70, $10.99. For a little extra color, try out Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $16.99.

“I grew up in Florida, so one product I have to have for summer is Neutrogena’s SPF 15 Oil-Free Moisturizer ($9.99),” says Mary Reischmann, a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis. “It goes on really light under any makeup and protects your skin without oily sunscreen residue.” 

No matter which face sunscreen you choose, apply a generous coat and give it at least 20 minutes to soak in before putting on other makeup so that it will be fully effective. This also prevents any makeup you apply on top of it from smearing.

When you need to reapply your sunscreen later in the day, try using a powder sunblock that will go on easily over your other makeup. Some good ones to try are Colorescience’s Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30, $65, or Peter Thomas Roth’s Anti-Aging Instant Mineral SPF 45 brush-on powder, $32. These are great alternatives to greasy-feeling sunscreens that will mess up your carefully applied beach look.


Concealer and Bronzer

No one wants to spend the day at the beach looking like their face is melting off, so any makeup that is creamy or greasy is pretty much out of the question. Foundation and concealer are only going to smudge in the humidity and will disappear off your face as the day goes on.

If you do need to cover a few blemishes, use a Q-tip to dab just a little bit of concealer onto just that area. Lauren recommends Benefit Cosmetics erase paste, $26, for coverage and color correction.

However, it’s best to opt out of heavy coverage products and instead stick with a bronzer that enhances your skin’s natural color. A good bronzer rule to stick to is to never go any darker than a shade that looks like a natural tan for you. It’s also key to stay away from ones with glitter or shimmer, which will look strange in the bright sunlight.

Lauren suggests trying a Jouer Cosmetics bronzer, $28-$32. NARS Bronzing Powder, $36, or an e.l.f. Studio Bronzer, $3, are a few other great choices for that long-lasting, sun-kissed look we’re all after.

“I use bareMinerals, [$19],” says Alexa Harrison, a junior and HC Campus Correspondent at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “It is totally natural looking and is literally the only makeup I have ever used that hasn’t looked cakey and has actually improved my skin.”

Add a tiny bit of blush after for a finishing touch!




For luscious lips that are still practical, try a lip stain or a matte lipstick rather than a gloss. Gloss, like foundation and concealer, will easily melt off in the heat.

“I love the Stila Long Wear Lip (Color), ($20)” says Lauren. “It stays on all day.”

Mark Make It Rich Lip Color, $11, or NARS Pure Matte Lipstick, $26, will also give you a long-lasting, beach-proof look. Try a bright color such as cherry red or coral to make your face look tanner!

If you don’t want any color and just need some moisturizer for your lips, opt for a simple lip balm. Most lip balms with SPF will keep your lips soft and luscious while protecting them from harmful UV rays. “Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lip Balm is AMAZING, tastes like summer, and has SPF in it,” says Alexa.




Instead of your usual eye shadow and liner, go for waterproof mascara that won’t come off if you decide to take a dip in the ocean. L’Oreal Paris Double Extend Waterproof Mascara, $10.99; Maybelline New York Full ‘N Soft Waterproof Mascara, $7.99; and Sephora Collection Le Waterproof Mascara, $12, are three products that will make your lashes look long and voluminous but won’t run in the water.

If you do decide to wear some eye shadow, use a neutral color such as a peach or beige for a natural look rather than dark eye shadow—the beach isn’t the place for a smoky eye! Lauren recommends the LORAC Pro eye shadow palette, $42. “It’s the best of the best,” she says. “One row of shimmers and one row of matte shadow.”


Have a beach makeup routine that works for you? Let HC know with a comment below! 

Megan McCluskey is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. with Distinction in Journalism and Mass Communication, and a second major in French. She has experience as a Campus Correspondent and Contributing Writer for Her Campus, a Public Relations Consultant for The V Foundation, an Editorial Assistant for TV Guide Magazine and Carolina Woman magazine, a Researcher for MTV, and a Reporter and Webmaster for the Daily Tar Heel. She is an obsessive New England Patriots and Carolina basketball fan, and loves spending time with her friends and family (including her dogs), going to the beach, traveling, reading, online shopping and eating bad Mexican food.
Quinn Cohane is the Product Manager at Her Campus. She develops new features for Her Campus's web properties, including HerCampus.com, HerCampusMedia.com, HerConference.com, and CollegeFashionWeek.com, from initial conception to final installation. She collaborates with the Client Services team to implement custom landing pages, content hubs and sponsored content for client campaigns. Quinn also works closely with the Chapter Development team, training new team members on using Her Campus's content management system and leading the onboarding of new Campus Correspondents, national writers and bloggers, and national interns. Additionally, she oversees technical support for Her Campus and the uploading of national content. Quinn first joined the Her Campus team as a remote intern in February 2010; her past roles include Production Associate, Digital Media Manager, Chapter Advisor, and Study Abroad blogger during her semester in Copenhagen, Denmark. She graduated Cum Laude from Bowdoin College in 2013 as an English major and computer science minor. A native of Scarsdale, New York, Quinn enjoys attending theater and dance performances, traveling the world, reading, the beach, and apple crumb pie. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @quinncohane.