Want to get the makeup-free look that stars like Alicia Keys and Zendaya have been sporting — but still feel like you need a couple key products to correct, conceal, or highlight certain areas without looking done up? As celebrity hair and makeup artists will tell you, even the most low-maintenance effect requires, well, a little bit of maintenance. Thankfully there are some minimal summer makeup must-haves that make it a whole lot simpler and will let your natural beauty shine, keep you hydrated and protected, and feel so unfussy even in the season’s heat.
Not everyone feels 100% confident with a completely bare face. For example, you might just want to brighten up your under eye area, disguise a blemish or two, or give your unruly brows some shape without looking like you’ve caked on the makeup. A simplified summer beauty routine involves embracing the heat (while staying protected from harmful rays, of course) and feeling gorgeous with as few products as you can get away with. The effect doesn’t just look effortless, it’s conducive to the outdoor activities that you’d probably rather be doing anyway.
Makeup and hair artist Chanel Cross, who has worked with celebrities like Debby Ryan and Rachel Zoe and whose work has appeared in Vogue as well as campaigns for stylish brands like Jenni Kayne and Chan Luu, has earned a reputation for her knack for creating a natural, lit-from-within glow that’s ideal for the summer. Of course Cross has her kit stocked with a slew of products — from cult favorites to the just-launched — but if she had to narrow it down to just a few that you could toss into your beach bag and call it a day, she’s got some favorites. Ahead, find out which six items she thinks make for your easiest summer beauty routine.
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Minimal Summer Makeup Must-Have: Sunscreen
Cross is religious about SPF, and she always leans on a cult favorite for its feel, finish, and level of protection. “OK, I know everyone loves it but EltaMD UV Clear SPF is the only one,” she says.
Minimal Summer Makeup Must-Have: Creamy Concealer
Cross recommends skipping foundation in lieu of few of a few dots of a creamy concealer, like the Nars bestseller, in the spots you want to camouflage and letting the rest of your skin be bright. Her pro tip? Buy it in the mini size, so you can easily tote it in your beach bag, and if you have to buy a darker shade for summer you won’t have to be as committed.
Minimal Summer Makeup Must-Have: Lip, Eye, & Cheek Stick
For an easy, monochromatic look, Cross loves a good multistick that can be used a few ways. “Olio E Osso’s multi-balms are so hydrating and add a pop of color to cheeks, lids, and lips,” she says.
Minimal Summer Makeup Must-Have: Bronzer
Cross believes bronzers are an essential part of a minimal summer makeup routine “because you want a summer glow but don’t want to compromise your skin health.” She suggests using a soft brush and applying where the sun naturally hits as well as the edges of the face for a subtle contour.
Minimal Summer Makeup Must-Have: Brow Gel (Or Soap)
To keep brows looking fluffy but also held in place, Cross has been trying the soap brow technique for her every day look. “I’ve been using plain glycerin soap and a damp spoolie.” she explains. For a gel that offers a similar effect, she also is a fan of Kosas’ new Air Brow in the clear shade.
Minimal Summer Makeup Must-Have: Body Oil
You can add little oil to your shoulders and collar bone for a summer-y sheen, but Cross suggests another use for the product as well. “It can double as a leave-in hair treatment,” she says. “Slick back your hair to deeply nourish while you’re poolside.” The makeup artist loves the lemongrass one from Trader Joe’s, but is also a fan of the latest RŌZ oil, which is just as fragrant and hydrating.