My summer no-foundation makeup routine in 5 steps

Overlay of summer makeup products; Rimmel Stay Matte Powder; Maybelline Fit Me Concealer; Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer; YSL Baby Doll Kiss & Blush; Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector; Elf Highlighting Stick; Becca Eye Tint

Next week kicks off the official start of summer (at least for us folks that live in the Northern Hemisphere) so it’s time to crack out my easy-peasy summer makeup routine. The key here is it’s a no foundation look that you can achieve in 5 steps. No one wants layers and layers of product on their face when it’s hot and sticky outside, especially during the day, so the lighter and more breathable the makeup the better in my opinion. To be fair, I will do a very similar routine in the winter or other times of the year whenever I want a minimum of makeup on my face with light coverage. So don’t feel like you have to be heavily constrained by the seasons, but this is particularly good for summer.

Surprise, surprise but 95% of this routine involves easy-to-use cream or liquidy products applied with almost no brushes. Who needs the hassle, am I right? If you’d like to read more about my philosophy on no-brush makeup, click here. I’d say the stand-out products of this particular routine would be the base products: concealer to provide spot coverage, blush to provide color and life to the skin and highlight to give a hint of sheen in daylight.

From L to R: Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Fair, YSL Kiss & Blush in #3, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlight in Opal

I took the below photo in natural light with no filters or manipulation of any kind so you can see the full look. For reference, I can usually do this routine in less than 10 minutes. If you’d like to know how I achieved it, keep reading!


Step 1: Definition — Eyes

I always start with my eyes, it’s just a habit. I feel like I need something on my eyes everyday, even if it’s just mascara. I usually pat or smudge a cream eye shadow onto my top lid and underneath my lower lash line for extra definition. No liner or anything else too precise. (You can read here about my current favorite cream eye shadows, but in the photo I used a Becca Eye Tint which is waterproof and sets.) If I feel like giving myself a little extra work, I might add a mid-tone matte eye shadow into the crease. But most days, it’s just the cream shadow and then mascara of course. (Current mascara favorites are detailed here.) I tend to stay away from waterproof mascaras since I find them so hard to remove, but do use one if runny mascara is a problem for you.

Step 2: Coverage — Concealer & powder

If you’re going to use a concealer in the place of a foundation, I think it’s important to use a more moisurizing formula that can blend into the skin easier than say a higher coverage matte concealer would. Matte concealers can sometimes look a bit more obvious against bare skin as opposed to when they’re blended on top of a foundation. Some creamier formulas I personally like are the Maybelline Fit Me and the Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define. I apply a few dots under my eyes, around my nose and on my chin, anywhere I have redness or something to cover. I then pat a thin layer of Rimmel’s Stay Matte Powder under my eyes to set the concealer. If it’s an extra hot day, I will powder along the T-zone.

Step 3: Color & shine — Blush & highlighter

I think if you’re going for a minimal look with lighter coverage, blush in particular is super important. I’m quite fair-skinned as you can see from the photo, so I absolutely need it to pep up my face. Blush not only adds a freshness to the skin but it can also give you shape depending on how you apply it. I tend to apply generously to the apples of my cheeks and then a little bit almost onto the tops of my cheekbones. This gives me the subtle illusion of facial structure. One of my favorite cream blushes to use is the YSL Kiss & Blush as it has great lasting power and is a synch to apply with fingers. I then use a very light layer of highlight tapped on the tops of my cheekbones and on the bridge of my nose just to catch the light. In the photo, I have combined the e.l.f. Hightlighting Stick in Dewy with Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal.

Step 4: Brows 

I’m not going to delve into this here since I just did a whole post this week on brow mascaras and how I prefer to do my brows. Click here to read more in depth.

Step 5: Lips 

You can of course choose anything you want for the lips. Since this look is so light it can really take any color or texture. I usually opt for something moisturzing since my lips are dry 24/7/365. In the photo above I have on a Clinique Chubby Stick in the color Super Strawberry, which is really just a colored balm. I also love throwing on Clinique’s Beige Pop Lipstick, Revlon’s HD Sand Gel Lipcolor or MAC’s Twig Lipstick, just to name a few other favorites.

What is your summer beauty routine? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica


Author: Erica

Hi! I’m Erica, a makeup enthusiast based outside of NYC. I discovered my love of cosmetics back in 2011 when I started watching simple tutorials on YouTube. It was a revelation to me that with just a simple few swipes of mascara or dabs of blush, you could transform into a more enhanced version of yourself. My obsession has not abated over the years, but instead has grown stronger as the beauty industry has gone from strength to strength. After graduating from business school in 2018, I decided to finally share my thoughts and opinions on all things cosmetics and this is where ‘We are glamerus’ was born. I share my musings on a bi-weekly basis on everything from my holy grail products and preferred application techniques, to the latest trends overtaking the beauty world. I hope you enjoy! xo

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