How To: Summer Foundation That Looks Flawless and Non-Greasy

In a fantasy world, we’d all spend our entire summers at the beach or the pool, living in swimsuits, and jumping in and out of the water so much that makeup wouldn’t matter. In the real world, though, sometimes you need a little makeup (or a lot)—even in the middle of August when the temp is hovering near triple digits.

Well, as a Florida native who’s spent the majority of my life in warm weather, I’ve figured out how to apply a perfect face of summer foundation without ever looking oily, shiny, greasy, or some other really gross adjective that is the exact opposite of cute. Cause when it’s summer, I want to slaaaaay, and I know you do, too.

Here’s how to make it happen:

  1. Start with an Oil-Free Moisturizer

Fun fact: Everybody needs a moisturizer, all the time—even when it’s summer and you’re dripping with sweat; even if your skin is normally super oily. In fact, one of the reasons oily skin gets oily in the first place is that the skin is working overtime to keep itself hydrated. So do yourself a favor and don’t skip this step.

I recommend an oil-free moisturizer like Mario Badescu Skin Care Aloe Moisturizer. Why? Well, you’re definitely going to be sweating more than normal in the summer (especially if you’re outside), and moisturizers with oil tend to be heavier. Also, the SPF 15 is added protection against those yucky UV rays.


One more tip: Make sure the moisturizer is completely absorbed by the skin before moving on to Step 2…

2. Add on an Oil-Free Primer

Noticing a trend here? Oil-free is the name of the game during summer, unless you want your face to be a shiny, greasy mess. (Trust me, you don’t.)

First of all, primer is a must any time you’re wearing a full face of makeup because it ensures that your makeup actually stays where you put it. Super important if you have a full day of activities or an hours-long event ahead of you, and you want to be insta-ready at all times. This step is even MORE important if you’re heading to an outdoors event during the summer and you don’t want your makeup sliding down your neck in the first 30 minutes.

I love the Oil-Free Foundation Primer from Laura Mercier because it’s affordable and effective. It also minimizes large pores and other imperfections, which is great if you’re going to keep the rest of your makeup pretty light. I actually recommend this approach and talk about it more in Step 3…


3. Go with a Light-Coverage Foundation

For personal reasons, I always choose a foundation with lighter coverage in the summer. It’s when my freckles start to show, so I like to go easy on the makeup to keep them uncovered.

That being said, I also recommend a lighter foundation for nearly everyone, as this step of a makeup routine typically determines whether your face ends up looking fresh and natural or super cakey. During summer, when temps are soaring, a lighter foundation isn’t just more practical (90 degrees + layers of heavy foundation = TORTURE), but it also looks better. You’re gonna sweat. Period.

A good, light-coverage foundation for all skin types is the Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream from It Cosmetics. It offers full coverage while still letting your natural skin shine through and can even be layered under the eyes or on top of other blemishes as a concealer. It also has an SPF of 50 in case you choose a moisturizer without sun protection.


At this point, if you’ve followed these steps, you have the perfect blank slate to create whatever summer makeup look your heart desires. Wanna try a pop of blue eyeshadow on your lips and pair it with a muted lip? Go for it! Or maybe you want to try one of summer’s bright pink or red glosses and stick with a more neutral eye. It’s truly up to you.

(I wouldn’t recommend going bright on the eyes and the lips, though, unless you want to take a pic of your look for social media. Otherwise, you’ll look like a bit of a clown, and clown makeup isn’t in this summer. Or ever.)

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45 thoughts on “How To: Summer Foundation That Looks Flawless and Non-Greasy

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