Makeup at the beach: For some, it's an oxymoron, and for others, it's a necessity. I happen to fall in the latter category. Call me crazy, but I happen to like wearing makeup, and that doesn't change when I find myself surrounded by sand and sea.
But wearing makeup oceanside can be tricky. After all, you're battling the elements: UV rays, intense sweating, and saltwater (if you're brave enough). The best beach makeup strikes a delicate balance between looking natural, while at the same time staying fiercely sweat-resistant and waterproof. Liquid liner and full contour have no place at the beach, and neither do fragile formulas.
According to celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles, cream and gel products make for the best beach makeup because they allow for a more natural finish and are easier to retouch. "The key is not to overdo it," Stiles reminded us when she stopped by the Byrdie HQ for a waterproof makeup tutorial (watch the full video below!). "There's a lot of makeup happening in the world right now, but that plus humidity, plus 90-degree temperatures—not good. Keep it minimal, and let your skin show."
Instead of a traditional silicone-like primer that sits on top of the skin, this blurring product is packed with hyaluronic acid, so it hydrates the skin while minimizing pores. (Aka, it's a primer for primer haters.) Stiles loves the product because it's lightweight and works especially well for those prone to dryness around the nose, cheeks, and forehead. All in all, it's the perfect way to prep your skin for a day of sweating in the sun.
This tinted SPF is a favorite of associate editor Victoria, who's a fan of its dual-purpose and natural ingredients. "Putting on SPF is a total non-negotiable, but I also hate adding an extra step to my routine," she says. "It's for this reason that I swear by foundations and tinted moisturizers with SPF built right in." This product is ideal for beach days, as its "all-natural formula offers just the right amount of tint to blur any imperfections." What's more? "It never budges."
It's a rare day that I leave the house without at least a small dab of concealer under the eyes and to spot-cover any blemishes. But a beach day requires a special, stay-put formula, and this one does the trick. The coverage is full and totally budge-free (in other words, they call it "lock-it" for a reason). It’s also transfer- and water-resistant and doesn't crease or smudge throughout the day.
A long-lasting lip-and-cheek tint is the star of any great beach makeup look. "I'm all for multitasking products to begin with, and I'm a huge fan of Ilia's plant-based, long-wearing formulas," says Victoria. "This peachy shade gives my cheeks and lips a natural-looking flush and just melts into my skin—but it also lasts, which is notable, considering most makeup just slides off my face in these steamy temps."
We know, we know—we said creams and gels were better for the beach. But if you're a bronzer addict, this vegan and cruelty-free pick deserves a spot in your beach bag. First off, it's totally matte, making it ideal for a subtle contour. (Just lightly dust the product under each cheekbone and around the hairline to look like you've been laying out all summer.) The formula contains vitamins A and E, antioxidants that fight free radical damage. And necessarily, it's waterproof, so you don't suddenly sweat off your faux glow.
The unique "pudding" texture of this product is what pulls you in, but its versatility and long wear really make it worth the purchase. Pat the product onto your lids as an eye shadow, or use a brush to smudge it into your lash line for a more defined look. The formula is super long-lasting, crease-resistant, and offers truly buildable pigment. Pro tip: Stiles also recommends using the product as a bronzer. Just use for your fingers to blend it underneath the cheekbones and along the hairline for a soft, 60-second contour.
A budge-proof, waterproof eyeliner that applies super creamy? I'd yet to find one until this pencil by Chantecaille, which goes on like butter and stays on my lids all day. For an afternoon at the beach, simply smudge this stuff into your upper lash line or top waterline for a subtly defined look.
Talk about waterproof: This mascara has been literally ocean-tested. No round of Marco Polo or Sharks and Minnows could remove this stuff from your lashes. (Yet somehow Decleor's Aroma Cleanse Micellar Oil dissolves it, no problem.)
No Byrdie editor would be caught dead at the beach without a face mist in her bag. And this one is currently a favorite. Spritz your face after you've finished your makeup to set it in place; then use the product throughout the day to cool and refresh your skin. Ingredients like echinacea, kiwi fruit extract, and horsetail juice tone, soothe, and protect the skin from damaging environmental factors. Plus, the stuff just smells incredible.
For more summer makeup inspiration, check out 10 summer eye makeup looks that don't involve liquid eyeliner!
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.