Ask a Beauty Editor: How to Melt-proof Your Makeup

June 29, 2020

With the heat comes sweat: makeup’s arch-nemesis. There are lots of articles on the internet that will tell you that the secret to summer makeup is a sturdy primer, or using intricate layers of powder to lock it onto your skin. Personally, I prefer to do neither of these things; instead, I tailor my products to the levels of heat. 30 degrees plus, aka S.U.L.A* (sweaty upper lip alert) city, requires a certain level of finesse to ensure you don’t look like you’ve been bathing your face in goose fat. In these instances, less is without a doubt more, and I’d go as far as saying ditch your foundation altogether to save you the pain and suffering of a hideously sweaty base. So, for the purpose of this article, I thought I would share with you my summer makeup routine.


As previously touched upon, the less base the better. I actually live by this come rain or shine, but it’s especially true in the summer. Regardless, I’ll always use a pearlescent highlighter to perk up my face and give my complexion a glowy sheen. Right now I’m layering La Mer’s Hydrating Illuminator, £60 and Laura Mercier’s Pure Canvas Primer Illuminating, £32. Both are a bit boujee but leave me with that backlit shine that I’m all about.

Countless MUA’s and celebrities will tell you the same: faking flawless skin without looking like you’re caked in makeup means using your foundation VERY sparingly and turning to concealer instead. This is something I have always done, but it is especially important when things hot up. Essentially, I use foundation as a filler to help blend my concealer into my skin. Understandably this probably makes little to no sense – so allow me to explain from the top. After patting on some eye cream (v important!!! I like the Rodial Pink Diamond Lip & Eye Filler, £45), I’ll go in with a colour cancelling peachy toned cover up from Laura Mercier, called Flawless Fusion in shade 3C, £25

I’ll then layer it with a lighter shade of the same formula and blend using fingers. If you have any blemishes or redness, use the lighter shade to cover those areas (you may need a green colour corrector if the redness is extreme), instead of loading on the foundation.

Then, I’ll dispense a tiny pump of Sisley Sisleÿa Le Teint Anti-Ageing Foundation, £110 onto the back of my hand and use my Beauty Blender, £17 to apply it over the concealer beneath my eyes.

I’m a sucker for dewy skin, so everything I use is either liquid or cream. Contour is not dead, it’s just been stripped back. A small swipe of Burberry’s Face Contour Stick, £27 will suffice, just be sure to blend, blend, blend so there are no lines. Right now, Iconic’s Sheer Blush in Fresh Faced, £18 is my favourite, because it has a similar texture to Glossier’s but in a shade that better suits my skin. I press it in using my fingers and then go in with whatever’s left over on my beauty blender to prevent clown like circles on my cheeks (clown cheeks are an actual thing. Stay woke).

Chanel’s iconic Les Beiges bronzer, £42 brings everything together, though I strongly suggest pairing it with IT Cosmetic’s Heavenly Luxe Airbrush Powder & Bronzer Brush, £36, because it’s literally the shit and the fact that they’re not sold together is an actual crime imo. Finally, I’ll press Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Rose Gold, £34 onto the tops of my cheeks, down the bridge of my nose and across my cupids bow to leave me beaming in all the right places.


My friend and I had a recent discussion on heavy eyeshadow and came to the conclusion that it is the cause of all evil. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to spruce it up with a bit of colour on your lids in the eve, but don’t go all HAM because it’s just unnecessary in the summer. My staple shadow move involves dusting the neutral toned brown from Zoeva’s Caramel Melange, £14 into the corners to create some definition. That’s it, that’s the move.

Brows are an extremely personal thing, so if you like to go big and bold, you do you, hun, I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. I’ve settled somewhere in the middle. I’ll add flecks of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, £23 in sparse areas, but find that if I start drawing too much, things take a turn rather quickly. A coat or two of Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Clear Brow Gel, £9 keeps everything set in stone for the foreseeable future.

I was very kindly sent a mascara by American brand Il Makiage Icon Mascara, £23. They’ve just launched in the UK and I am really impressed with this formula. There’s no fall out, no smudging (imperative when it’s hot) and zero clumps. Curl your lashes first, always. I find a couple of coats is enough to do it, but if you wanna load it on thick, be my guest, anything goes here.


I don’t know what kind of lip gal/guy you are, but if mattes get you going I advise you abandon ship. Hear me out. A heavy, velvety matte lip is only going to make your slick skin all the more obvious. Balms and glosses are more my thing, but we can meet halfway and I’ll let you use a liner underneath it. If glosses make the hairs on the back of your arms stand up, just go with the liner instead. It’s less likely to crack and dry on your lips but still lets you bolster the corners of your mouth, creating the illusion of a fuller lip. In this instance, I used Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Lip Liner, £17 on the edges of my lips and then used Shiro’s pigmented Ginger Lip Butter, £35. It comes out quite dark, so I like to dab it on and blend it out with my fingers to create a just-bitten berry hue. Finish it off with a spritz or two of setting spray (Morphe Continuous Setting Mist, £15) to seal the deal and you’re good to go.

Gabrielle Dyer
Gabrielle Dyer

Gabrielle Dyer is a freelance beauty writer and photographer based in London. She’s written for the likes of Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health and Refinery29.

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