This week, our Beauty 101 series is focusing on all aspects of summer beauty. You had questions, and your fellow readers have provided the answers:
We received hundreds of answers to yesterday's thread, both in the comments and via email, and though I can't post them all, due to space issues, I appreciate each one. And now, a few tips from your fellow readers:
On Switching To Summer-Friendly Makeup/Dealing With Sweat:
The are no fail-safes for hot weather make-up. We all get sweaty. We all get bedraggled. It happens. The best thing to do is modify your make-up for the season and bring reinforcements for the ultimate wilt.
I recommend a switch to a lightweight tinted moisturizer for you foundation wearers (also a plus? many contain SPF), or at least a much lighter version of your winter foundation for those who like more coverage. Remember that when you sweat your pores open, and if you have a load of stuff on your face it will clog your pores and may make you break out. No thanks. Plus, heavy foundation will much more obviously slide and run when you start to sweat.
Next on the summer lighten-up is to ease up on your powders. Try a cheek tint or use a very light hand with powder if you do use it. I start "dewing" the moment I get out of the shower, and that means that powder will streak upon application.
Now that you've managed to actually make it out of the house, bring back-up. I find that my eyeliner disappears in about 5 minutes, so I always bring it with me. Ditto with eyeliner and some concealer. That way you can do upkeep throughout the day.
You will sweat. Your make-up will not stay. Just stay light and ready for touch-ups.
1. If you know that you're make-up is gonna slip and slide a bit, apply with the intention that it will look good once it smears. For example, use cream eye shadows or thick eye pencils smudged in a smokey eye style which is supposed to look smudgy.
2. Use glossy make-up products like irridecent eye shadows, cream blushes and bronzers with a little shimmer and lots of lip gloss. That way if your skin starts to get a lil' reflective w. sweat and grease, again it will appear like part of look.
No matter what, just convince yourself you meant it to be that way!
From G, via email:
I live in Panama City, Florida, where pretty much every day is a 90 degree day with 90% humidity . At those temperatures, most anything that touches your body or face just feels gross.
The best makeup trick I've found has been switching from regular foundation to a tinted moisturizer. I still dust my face lightly with loose powder afterwards, but instead of touching up with powder during the day, I use oil blotting papers. My powder compact won't make it back into my purse until wintertime.
Found these wee packets of Japanese rice powder blotting sheets at a beauty supply store. They absorb the oiliness in the t-zone and leave a slight matte powder finish behind. It's a very lightweight little package, easy to tuck into a purse or pocket or desk at work.
Make sure your skin is adequately prepped before applying make-up. If you are wearing sunblock or moisturizer, allow it a few minutes (10 or 15 if it's possible) to actually prep skin. I like to apply my moisturizer and eye cream before I style my hair and get dressed. Trust me you will notice a huge different. Another rule- dab/pat don't rub or wipe your face. Take advantage of blotting papers or an empty powder puff to sop up wet spots. It goes without saying to switch to waterproof/resistant formulas in hot weather.
Honestly, for summer, I recommend going colorful and minimal. Instead of a foundation wear a tinter moisturizer or simply go sans foundation. I'm a big fan of cream and water resistant products in the summer- tarte cheek tints, stila convertible color- I also love MAC paints/paintpots and Urban Decay's Sin Primer Potion & Cream Shadow. Or simple go with a water resistant eye pencil- Urban Decay 24/7 and Make Up Forever Aqua Eyes have a fantastic color selection and are truly long wearing. I recommend going with a tinted lip balm as well. I like to keep make-up fresh and young in the summertime.
How to keep make up on:
Primer! You can get a face primer just about anywhere. I see that L'Oreal came out with one and it's called "professional" something or other. When I'm not so poor, I will be trying it.
I like to keep make up simple on hot days. Primer, concealer (for dark circles and the creases of my red nose), mineral powder, a shimmery eye shadow color, and mascara. That's it.
Be sure to prime your face and set with powder. They are both key.
Also, if you need a total-all-over-face foundation, look for one that's matte since it's designed for oily skin. I know when I'm a sweaty beast my face has plenty of oil to spare.
I have hyper-pigmented spots on my face from old acne scars and I usually have to have full face of foundation to get everything evened out. For the past few weeks, I've been using Ambi Fade Cream religiously, and my skin tone has definitely been much improved and the scars are much less visible!
Long story short, I don't need to wear foundation anymore! Here is my super simple summer "face":
1. Moisturize your skin! Preferably with SPF, especially if you're using any fade cream or skin lightening cream... actually, use it regardless!
2. Use concealer around your eyes (if necessary), go light unless you want to look like a Kardashian. We just want to look "awake" and to even out any dark circles.
3. Apply bronzer to apples of cheeks, forehead, nose and anywhere where the sun would naturally hit your face with a kabuki brush or large fluffy brush. And there are tons of bronzers for every skin tone! I'm chocolate brown for example, and my bronzer has more of a golden tone to it than orange or brown. So just be aware of that when picking a bronzer, and don't think they only make you orange, when applied properly, bronzer can add a beautiful summer glow to your skin!
At this point, the bronzer gives me light to medium coverage, and it deflects light off of my face to cover up any dark spots left on my face. And if I want a little more color, I swipe on some blush to the apples of my cheeks! MAC Raizin is a must if you have brown skin! :)
And of course, you can still do your mascara/eyeliner/eyeshadow routine, but it's not really necessary.
All together, this should take you 5 minutes to do!
Oil-blotting papers are SO your friend. That's like rule number one for the summertime. Also, don't be tempted to go full out with a heavy concealer or foundation — it will just make you sweat faster, and you'll get all sticky and gross. Let your skin breath a little and keep your makeup light. Come to terms with the fact that you are going to sweat and clogging your pores with too much makeup is just going to make a vicious cycle where you slap on more makeup to cover up acne, and get more breakouts as a result. I recommend a good tinted moisturizer with SPF and a loose powder. Pair that with a good (waterproof!) mascara and you're pretty much good to go. The finishing touch is finding a good lip stain or lipstick as a base and then a nice moisturizing gloss — anything with aloe in it will work — it'll keep your lips from getting chapped and pull the whole look together.
On Preventing/Treating Heat Rash:
From commenter paperconservation101:
This is my battle in summer, however I have reached a combination of things that can stop it.
I get heat rash between my upper thighs and sometimes under my arms.
This is my treatment to stop getting it.
Use a antiperspirant first, in a roll on form on the areas that touch (i.e bits of the thighs that rub). Make sure its a simple anti perspirant with no added crap. Something that masks the smell rather then stops the sweat will not do anything. Then apply a lightr cover of Talcum powder. Make sure it has talc and not corn starch. This should cover you for about 4 hours, make sure you reapply the talc often! At night was it all off and gently towel dry the area.
If you get heat rash and its a bad case, skip the anti perspirant step and use talc, this stops it getting worse. Then find yourself a ice pack, ice pack the heat rash until the buring goes away. Apply the ice pack on and off during the day. This helps heal it up faster.
If heat rash gets worse or wont clear up see a doctor, you can get infections in the sweat glands from the broken skin.
From T, via email:
The best thing for heat rash is to put Secret platinum protection clear solid on after shaving bikini area and anywhere else you want to avoid heat rash. I learned this when I bartended in a strip club this is what the "dancers" did.
Chafing: Monistat Powder Gel is wonderful, as are sports balms like Body Glide. If you have to wear pantyhose but still get that chafing, apply some dusting powder after you put on the pantyhose.
Heat rash on thighs: wear light bike shorts under your skirt instead of underpants.
This is what I do, all summer long. No one knows I have them on; they stay in place; and no one can get a crotch shot of me. They hit about halfway to the knee, which is fine with me because I don't wear skirts that go above the knee.
I got this year's crop of cheap bike shorts from walmart.com (I know! My husband was laid off, OK?) They were five bucks a pop. I bought ten of them.
From commenter Rose:
For non streaky fake tan I normally have a shower first and scrub my legs with an exfoliating body scrub, then when I get out I immediately apply vaseline to my elbows and just below my knees as well as around my ankles (any thick-ish moisturiser will do), then let that sink in for a little (I normally apply anti-perspirant, tone my face, apply any spot treatment and moisturise my face as well as brush out my hair and clip it up to kill time). Then I apply the moisturiser, I put quite a large amount in my hand for the first few goes and I normally miss a patch somewhere, but after a day or 2 my legs look like I've been hanging around outside for weeks (I'm ridiculously pale too). Accept that there will be streaks and that the only way to make them go away is to keep applying moisturiser.
From commenter from.beginning.to.end:
To apply self-tanner, take a lotion for starters. Make sure your skin is exfoliated and clean. Doing one limb at a time, apply equal amounts of the lotion while wearing gloves, or else you'll end up with orange tinted palms even if you do your best to wash them right after. Apply it in a circular motion all over, rubbing it in really well but be sparse in places like knees, ankle bones or elbows as those areas will end up too dark. Don't wear any light clothes even if you think you're dry until you've showered at least once since.
If you're not in a huge hurry, it's better to use gradual tanning moisturizers after you shower for a week or two, it will look more natural and you're less likely to get streaking.
I have a very long and detailed technique that I use, but the key points are below:
Purchase latex gloves at the drugstore for applying most of the tanner. Also make sure you have sponge wedges.
Use a sunless tanner than has an immediate bronzer. This is a great guide so that you may spot areas that have not been covered, or that are not rubbed in as well. A lot of tanner brands have two or more shades , so use the one shade that is appropriate for your starting skin tone. It will help you look more natural.
Don't apply tanner fresh out of the shower. Put on body lotion and then wait at least 30 minutes. Add a little more lotion right before tanning to the knees, toes, ankles, hands and elbows. You have to exfoliate, and I usually pumice my feet as well.
Make sure to put your hair up if it is long.
When you start, either start at the toes or the head, and think of your body as segments. Don't move on until you are sure you have completed a segment completely and that it has been thoroughly rubbed in. I usually do leg, leg, torso, head, arm, arm.
Wear the gloves until you have completed everything except your hands. Remove the gloves, dry your hands, apply a small amount of moisturizer, concentrating on knuckles, wrist bones, and cuticles.
Take a sponge wedge and carefully apply product to it, avoiding getting any on your fingers. Run the wedge over your wrists, tops of hands, webs of fingers and thumb, and fingers themselves. Make sure to get the sides of the hands, but not the palms.
If you are super pale, sometimes it is impossible to find a tanner that looks plausible. In this case, I find it is easier to use a one day bronzer gel cut with a substantial amount of lotion. This allows you to customize the color to a shade you like.
From commenter Gooutandlovesomeone, via email:
Use a ped egg before you shower and/or a foot file in the shower. Use a nail brush to lightly scrub under and on top of your toes. I wouldn't advise you try to clip your cuticles yourself and this will help tame them a bit. After your feet are all buffed put on a ton of lotion and then put on some socks and sleep overnight. The next day use nail polish to remove any lotion/polish you may have on I don't use a bottom coat on my toes because I think it makes the polish stay on longer. Polish away. Don't worry about being pretty because all you need to do is shower and use the nail brush lightly around the edges to remove extra polish.
Oh pedicures! I'm an expert:
Before you do anything, clip your toe-nails. Don't over clip - ingrowns are a serious threat. I should know, I had one and ended up needing surgery. Lesson learned. Also, now's a good time to do any filing. I never do, but if that's your thing, go for it!
1. If you're lazy like me, draw yourself a nice bath and pour a fat glass of wine. If you're ambitious, fill a dish-pan with warm water and a small amount of shampoo. You can still have some wine.
2. After your feet have soaked for a while, take one of those feet-buffer things or a pumice stone and work on the calluses. Don't be too eager - I once over-exfoliated and my heels ached for two days afterwards. I went to the doctor, and he asked if I'd had a pedicure lately.
3. Get yourself a cuticle trimmer. Not the ones that cut things like scissors, but the ones that have the crazy metal end that isn't really sharp (I'm terrible at describing this). Also, I know this is really specific, but I only like the kind from Revlon. Every other brand I've bought just doesn't get the job done right and ultimately ends up causing me pain. Anyway, you take this and use the cuticle-pusher end of it to push your cuticles down, then take the trimmer end and gently run it along the cuticles. This is great for getting the thicker skin that develops in the corner of your big toes. Only run it through once. You're not trying to remove your cuticles, just tidy them up.
4. Finish your bath or stop the foot soak. Dry your feet.
5. Remove any left-over polish. I'm lazy, so I never do any buffing or pre-coats, but go to town if you like, but to me it's never made a difference. Get a color you like (i enjoy bright red or a very subdued pink) and paint. Keep some Q-tips handy. If you paint outside of the lines, dip those in nail-polish remover and clean up the edges. For toe-separators, you can buy the fancy kind, but I usually just use cotton balls (sometimes i use folded up TP). I go for two coats of polish. More than that and it takes forever to dry.
6. Pour yourself another glass of wine and sit on the porch while your polish dries. I'm over-zealous with drying-times, but give yourself at least 20 minutes of sitting time and a good hour of no-shoes time.
For pedis - i grab a bucket, fill it with hot water and some salt (1/2 cup is good). Next, grab the sugar (white granulated or raw is good) and olive oil. stick feet in the bucket for a few minutes and let them soak and soften up. Then, mix the olive oil and sugar together to make kind of an oily sludge - you dont want it too runny so add 2x or 3x sugar to 1x oil.
get scrubbin! dont forget about around the nail - you can smooth out and hydrate your cuticles without having to clip them which can be dangerous.
after you scrub your feet down, let them soak again in the water mixture for another 5 min or so. Then dry off and smother in a light lotion and put on a pair of sox. Feet should be nice and smooth and hydrated without any cracks or flakiness! trim nails as normal
the oil/sugar mix is also great for chapped lips - apply that with a q-tip and rub lips together for full effect. if you break out easily just be careful around the mouth area and the oil.
From commenter LikeChai:
Like it's been said pure aloe vera is best for reducing sunburn. As a fair skinned Australian, I always get burnt despite hardcore sunscreen use. It takes the sting out and reduces redness.
But whatever you do, don't use a thick body butter or regular moisturiser. It may feel soothing, but it traps the heat in your skin, therefore taking longer for sunburn to heal.
And for sunburn prevention, spray sunscreens have been found to be the most effective and long-lasting compared to lotions and cremes- as long as they are rubbed into skin.
Soothing sunburns: abuelita tips edition.
My grandmother used to peel cucumbers she kept in the fridge and put the peeled skin on the sunburnt area to cool it off, along with slices of said cucumber. It is extremely soothing and hydrating, and gives you a sensation of relief. I think it's also supposed to be moisturizing, but the cooling effect is good enough. When there were no cucumbers, she used potatoes (that we kept in the fridge too.)
While you're getting the salad treatment, take some ibuprofen to help with the pain and the inflammation, and drink lots of fluids; remember that you're dehydrated too. And don't use any oil-based products, since they seal the heat under the skin, which then causes more damage.
You will need to keep your skin moisturized though, so choose either a cooling gel or lotion, but don't start moisturizing until the affected area is cooled off.
Sunburn treatment! My ballet teacher taught me this one.
Brew a big batch of regular black lip tons tea, leave the bags in and cool it way down.
Sit in your bathtub and take the cooled tea bags and pat yourself down with the tea. It gets sticky, but do it anyways. Leave it on for several minutes, then take a cool shower.
The tannins in the tea help pull the burn out, and the tea at the very least kinda stains your skin so you're not flaming red. It drastically reduces the amount of time of my burns and also feels really good.
My standby for sunburn has always been 100% aloe. Not the after-sun lotions "with aloe", just pure aloe. Ideally straight off the plant if you have it, but bottled is fine too. (Most of the after-sun lotions have mineral oil in them, and you really don't want that when you're sunburned.) I found an improvement on accident, though, when even-paler-than-me mr. lurker got horribly sunburned on vacation and we couldn't find aloe anywhere.
Witch Hazel. I mix up my own toner with witch hazel and tea tree and lavender oil. Witch hazel is a traditional remedy for minor burns, so I figured it would be worth a try. It was. It was soothing and brought the color down very quickly, and he didn't even peel.
So now, I have two steps: witch hazel (possibly with a bit tea tree or lavender oils mixed in) and then aloe.
For sunburn: I've had terrible 2nd degree burns from missing a spot with the spf and have some scars to show for it. The Drs tell me the ONLY stuff you should put on sunburn is aloe and other just-for-burn gels and sprays. Using lotion or oil-based products of any kind actually exacerbates the burn by clogging your stressed out pores and trapping the heat inside your skin, making rashes, peeling, and blistering more likely. Cold showers also help a lot with swelling and peeling— but don't exfoliate and DON'T use soap. Avoid anything that will dry your skin out. Also take an aspirin or other anti-inflammatory, and try not to look like too much of an asshole trying to carry all your mentholated supplies home without letting anything touch your poor scorched epidermis.
For Over-Chlorinated Hair:
From commenter hodgem:
For chlorine hair - crush up some vitamin c tablets and mix it in with some leave in conditioner.
When I go to swim laps I put in some sort of deep-conditioning/leave-in conditioning after I've soaked my hair in water (in the shower). I leave it in my hair and put on my swim cap. Immediately after swimming I wash out the chemicals, conditioner, and water—using a deep conditioning shampoo/conditioner. I also do not wash my hair on a regular basis-if I'm swimming a lot, I will wash it only after I've gone swimming.
Over-chlorinated hair for women of color:
If you don't have a swim cap, you should definitely think about getting one if you plan on swimming a lot. The chlorine is not good for many of our hair types. When I used to swim a lot, I would put in a bit of leave-in conditioner before putting on the cap. There are some cute ones now, so you don't have to feel all frumpy.
If you're not spending a lot of time in chlorinated water, I'd still suggest putting some conditioner in your hair before you jump in the pool. After you get out of the pool, rinse your hair as much as possible and put on some more conditioner until you can wash and condition like you would normally do.
To avoid chlorine/salt damaged hair: wet your hair thoroughly with fresh water before you swim (so, shower or bring a bottle of water from home to tip over your head). Your hair can only soak up so much water so this way, most of what it soaks up is chlorine/salt free.
To avoid over-chlorinated hair, I've had good luck with just getting it wet before I get in the pool and rinsing it with non-chlorinated water as soon as I get out. To take it a step further, you can oil your hair before you swim (I use coconut oil, but YMMV), braid it, and wash with a swimmer's shampoo when you're done.
Didn't get the answer you were looking for? Be sure to read through the hundreds of tips and tricks posted by your fellow readers on yesterday's thread. Disagree with something you've seen here? Feel free to set the record straight in the comments. And as always, suggestions for next week's Beauty 101 topic are welcome, as well.
Looking for advice on another beauty topic? Check out the other Beauty 101 answer sessions:
Beauty 101: Your Blush And Bronzer Questions, Answered
Beauty 101: Your Skincare Questions, Answered
Beauty 101: Your Eye Queries, Answered
Beauty 101: Your Nail Questions, Answered
Beauty 101: Your Lipstick Questions, Answered
Beauty 101:Your Hair Questions, Answered
Beauty 101: Your Waxing/Shaving Questions, Answered
Beauty 101: Your Foundation And Concealer Concerns, Answered
Beauty 101: Your Eyeliner Woes, Solved