So originally I started this post when I was living in Singapore and annoyed by my makeup melting off my face in the insane tropical heat/humidity. And I just never finished it. But I figured now was a good time to revisit it, given that I'm currently living in New York for the summer (more on this later), and unlike Summer 2015, I am determined to not melt this time.
The weather actually isn't too terrible this time around; New York has been having a fairly mild summer, so it's nice and breezy and warm, but not stiflingly so. But there are times in the afternoons when there is no wind whatsoever, and you can feel the warm air around you, still and imposing and a little bit suffocating. And that's when walking up four flights of stairs to your apartment at the end of the day is not ideal.
This isn't my whole routine; just some products that I think are really good for hot summers/low-maintenance makeup days.
moisturizer | KORRES Pomegranate Balancing Cream-Gel Moisturizer
This has quickly become one of my favorite products of all time. I talk about this moisturizer to literally anyone who will listen. Prior to using this, I never had any strong feelings about moisturizers; I was convinced they were all more or less the same thing in different packaging. But this moisturizer is actually a gift from the lord. It makes your skin soft as heck, it smells so amazingly good I could eat it, and it has a nice, light texture. Cream-gel is exactly the right way to describe it.
sunscreen | Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47
This is my go-to, because it smells nice, is thin enough to wear under makeup, is moisturizing, and has SPF 47 (anything under SPF 30 is pretty much useless, so you can never rely on sunscreen in makeup).
refresher | Cortas rosewater
I actually bought this for baking when I made pistachio cupcakes with rose milk tea frosting, but I really like it for my skin. I carry a tiny spray bottle of it in my purse and spritz my face with it a couple times a day. It makes my makeup feel nice and fresh, and it's like $9 on Amazon, so why not?
I normally never wear primer except for big events where I'm wearing a lot of makeup for a long time or taking a lot of photos. It does make a measurable difference in the lasting power of your makeup at the end of the day, but I like my skin to breathe a little, so primer just isn't that worth it to me for everyday makeup. But heat and humidity are a game-changer, and I absolutely hate that little thing that sunglasses do to your foundation in hot weather. This one is suppose to be a dupe for the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, and from the tiny little Sephora Beauty On The Fly sample I have of that from ages ago, I've made a comparative study of both, and this one's pretty damn close. I'd say this one is absolutely worth it. It's cruelty-free and literally a third of the price for the same amount of product. It feels nice and silky on the skin, and gives you that smooth, poreless look. And as as bonus: no sunglasses indent.
concealer | Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer
Sometimes in really ridiculous weather, it's just not worth it to wear foundation. So I'll usually either just spot conceal, or go for a light layer of concealer all over. My favorite is the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, but now that NARS is no longer cruelty-free, I really like this one as a replacement. It's creamy, but a little more liquidy, and it doesn't feel as "done." It's also cheaper, which is important especially if you're using it all over your face.
foundation | The Ordinary Serum Foundation
If you absolutely have to wear foundation, I highly suggest this one. I love this foundation. I've been on the hunt for a quality foundation that doesn't cost me $40 every single time I go to Sephora just to restock, but drugstore foundations tend to test on animals, and I've never liked the formulas of the ones that don't (NYX, wet n wild, e.l.f.).
I'd heard a lot about The Ordinary, and the idea was that it was cosmetics minus the branding, so the company is able to sell it for much cheaper. This was very intriguing to me, because much of cosmetics is branding while the formulas are all similar.
This one is a light, watery texture that blends seamlessly into skin. It's absolutely weightless. The first time I applied it, I was ready to recommend it to people on the street. It does oxidize a little bit—I purchased the shade 2.1Y and upon application it looked too dark, but after a couple of minutes it kind of melted into the skin and matched my natural color, so it ended up working out.
It has a dewy finish, as most serums do, and it actually looks beautiful for hours. The coverage stays all day, even with heat and sweat (but I still wear powder and setting spray with it), and it's so affordable that I think this is my new favorite for everyday makeup. Now I'm very excited to try their skincare line.
I swear I've tried almost every setting powder on the face of the earth, and this one is still my favorite. My friend Preeti doesn't like this one, because she says there's a lot of flashback in pictures against her darker skin, but (I think) it works fine for me. I like this one because a) it's inexpensive and b) it's pure silica. A lot of other powders, like the Too Faced Primed and Poreless and RCMA No-Color Powder (both of which I've used and disliked), are silica mixed with talc and a bunch of other non-pronouncable ingredients. This one is a lot more pure, and it has a wonderfully light, silky feel on the skin from the silica.
setting spray | wet n wild Photo Focus Setting Spray
Honestly, I'm very apathetic about setting sprays. I feel like most of them work equally well, which is why I'll use both the wet n wild one and the Urban Decay one indiscriminately. But this one is unbeatable for the price against all other setting sprays on the market.
I'd used the Urban Decay Primer Potion before and was never very impressed, so I've never really thought of eyeshadow primer as a necessity, but this one is exceptional. It applies really smoothly, and your makeup is guaranteed to last. I've had smoky eyes last probably a full 24 hours with this on and still look perfect, even when all of my other makeup was a mess. It's a little ridiculous.
brow product | Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW Pomade
I feel like every single girl I know uses this product for her brows, but there's a reason for it (and a reason we'll pay $18 for a tiny little jar). This is zombie apocalypse makeup. You know in disaster movies when women have been running around all day fighting zombies and they still have perfect makeup? I'm convinced that this is why. I wore it in Hawaii when my sister and I went cliff-jumping; we jumped four times from a 30-foot cliff into the ocean, and it did. Not. Come. Off. I feel like that's how cosmetics commercials should be. I don't want another perfectly airbrushed model in a studio with good lighting; I want to see a model complete a Spartan Race with her eyeliner intact.
I'm so upset that Isehan tests on animals (I didn't learn this until after I bought it because I couldn't read the Japanese on the label) because this mascara is the best one I've tried, and I've tried a lot of different ones since mascara is my favorite product to wear on my eyes. This one is something special. It's super-buildable, so you can go from natural to ultra-glam in a few coats, and it keeps your lashes nice and curled, which is why it's a favorite among Asian beauty bloggers. My friend Keika recommended this to me, but she likes the "Super Film" version and I like the "Advanced Film" one. The downside(?) is that it's impossible to get off, even with water, oil, or a normal makeup remover. Instead I use a cleansing balm (which I mentioned in my Korean beauty post), and it slides off beautifully, while also making you look like a panda in the process.
lip balm | Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15*
Admittedly, SPF 15 is not really doing much, but it's probably as much as you're going to get from a lip balm. And this is the only one that doesn't dry out my lips or feel waxy when applied, and it adds a little bit of a tint. Plus it has a very nice scent.
lipstick | Too Faced La Crème Color Drenched Lipstick
I absolutely adore this lipstick. It's like no other formula I've ever tried. It goes on like a balm, super-moisturizing and light, but you get a nice, rich wash of color. And as a bonus, it fades really beautifully, probably the best out of any lipstick I've ever worn, so you can just apply it in the morning and leave it. It's a great thing to wear in the summer when you don't want a whole lot of product or anything too heavy, or you can just pat it onto the lips for that juicy, summery, just-ate-a-popsicle look.
So there you have it—some products to keep you hydrated, happy, and melt-proof even in the most tropical weather! They've saved my life in Asia, and now in New York, or on days when I don't feel like applying a full face.
Stay cool, friends.
writer/creator. problem-solver. curious cat.