The Summer Beauty Survival Guide

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No matter how hard we try, we’re never fully prepared for the long-awaited arrival of summer. One day we’re lucky if we hit temperatures above 10 degrees celsius, the next we’re experiencing heatwaves that could only be rivalled by those occurring in the Caribbean. 

Summer brings with it many changes. Change of locations (guaranteed sunshine, please). 

Change of relationship status – goodbye winter warmer boyfriend, hello spontaneous summer romance.

Change of wardrobe – the brighter the better but choose wisely when baring skin.

Best of all, it’s finally your big moment to bring out the highlighter and switch up the beauty routine. 

While there’s a fine line when deciding to bare all on the wardrobe front, when it comes to summer beauty – the barer the better. On that note, the more efficient the beauty routine, also the better. We’ve got tans to pursue, beach reads to catch up on, sand to feel between our toes, cocktails to consume – you know the drill. One thing we certainly do not have is time to be wasted on an elaborate beauty routine. Hours spent slaving in front of a mirror are reserved for winter mornings. In the summer, however, it’s all about achieving the best look in the least time. We’re talking multi-purpose products. We’re talking products that out-do themselves on a long lasting performance, those that endure the sweat of European summers and dazzle with little encouragement. We’re talking travel size, cheap and cheerful and investment pieces to stock up on in duty free. Summer beauty brings fun and laughter, releases our free spirits and reminds us that the less is more approach wins every time. 

But before you hit the panic button and dive blindly into the beauty section of your nearest Boots – just wait.

We’ve got you covered with the ultimate summer beauty survival guide. These are the products that under no circumstance, you should leave the house without this summer. 

Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow, £38.50

What it is: Wonder Glow is a primer designed to give your complexion and instant pick me up and fresh but dewy look. The true magic lies in the product’s ability to work just as well under makeup as it does worn alone, thanks to its fluorescent core light diffuser that absorbs UV particles from the sun and reemits their energy as visible light, illuminating your skin.

Why you need it: This is a go-to product for the perfect natural glow. It’s multi-purpose power makes it worth every penny. The product feels light and silky on your skin but don’t let its light texture deceive you. The holding power and Wonderglow’s ability to provide a long-lasting, youthful glow shouldn’t be underestimated. To top things off, Charlotte Tilbury products are all cruelty-free, meaning you can rest easy knowing that each product was ethically produced. 

MAC Strobe Cream, £25

What is it: While technically described as a moisturiser, this quick fix for summer skin is super-powered with potent botanicals to refresh and moisten skin. It’s formula helps to boost tired, dull or flat skin with plenty of nutritious vitamins and iridescent particles brighten and clarify your complexion.

Why you need it: The best thing about this product is that it not only serves your needs for glowing summer skin but it works wonders bringing tired skin back to life (especially hungover skin) so next time you’re hitting up that make-up free post-night out brunch, add a little of this bad boy to your skin and you’ll leave the house looking fresher than you ever have before. In terms of being a summer saviour product, the strobe cream is available in Goldlite, Peachlite, Pinklite (Original Strobe Cream), Redlite and Silverlite – each shade designed to correct colour imperfections within your complexion. 

Bourjois City Radiance Foundation, £9.99

What is it: Through the six available shades, this foundation gives a fresh, luminous complexion and creates a barrier to protect your skin from pollution. Its unique formula reduces the presence of carbon particles on the skin, creating an anti-pollution screen that helps keep skin protected from the polluted air that often comes with city life. SPF 30 incorporated within the formula means this foundation also protects you against potential sun damage.

Why you need it: In my eyes, Bourjois is the ultimate high street hero when it comes to foundation and CC creams. Affordable and effective, the formula creates the kind of buildable, lightweight and wait for it – dewy complexion that all summer beauty gurus obsess over. Its light and luminous coverage provides SPF 30 within the product and its easy application means a little goes a long way. 

Glossier Cloud Paint, £15

What it is: A blusher with a gel-cream formula isn’t necessarily what we’re used to but Glossier has really hit all of the marks with this product. Its seamless, sheer and buildable and rumour has it the shades are inspired by the gradient pink NYC sunsets and with four different shades, each is optimised to work across a wide range of skin tones. 

Why you need it: The joy of Glossier make up products is that they can be applied with your fingers which means no fussing and trying to cart around seven different make up brushes. The cloud paint blusher is no different. All it takes is a tiny amount (we’re talking even less than pea size) dabbed on the cheeks for a wonderfully sheer, flushed glow. Within Glossier’s Instagram highlights the have plenty of makeup tutorials including those focused on this product. You’d be surprised how many different ways blusher can be applied. 

Iconic Bronze Self-Tan Eraser, £11.99

What is it: A new entry to the self-tan industry, this self-tan eraser (foam cleaner) promises to wash away all of your fake tan woes. It’s designed to work fast on removing tan from tricky areas using a formula that is both tough on tan yet gentle on even the most sensitive of skin. Simply apply the product to the desired area, applying until a lather forms and leave on the skin for 5-10 minutes. Once the time is up simply rinse off or for more stubborn areas, gently exfoliate and just like that you have a clean canvas to start the tanning process all over again. 

Why you need it: Sudden heatwaves call for a quick turnaround when it comes to self-tan. Now certainly isn’t the time to abandon tan to fade from your skin on its own terms, allowing it to become scaly and quite frankly, pretty gross. This tan eraser allows for a quick turn around with your tanning routine meaning your golden goddess status doesn’t need to be compromised during the summer months. 

Rouge Dior Satin 999, £29.00

What is it: Finding the right red is like finding gold dust but thankfully, this Dior cult favourite agrees with almost every skin tone. For those of paler complexion, the coolness in tone doesn’t compromise in brightness. The punchy shade provides great coverage that lasts for hours without drying out lips. Perfect for taking your summer beauty look from day to night. 

Why you need it: Let’s be honest, a good red lipstick is up there as a desert island beauty item. Having a bad day? Put on some red lipstick. Feeling fabulous? Add red lipstick. Fancy a no makeup day without sacrificing the glam? Red lipstick. A quick application of some red lipstick and your look is instantly dressed up. It wakes up your entire face and overall look and works surprising well against an otherwise make up free complexion, particularly once you let those summer freckles shine through on your freshly sun-kissed skin.

Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a freelance writer covering fashion, beauty and lifestyle articles. Her work has appeared in IMAGE magazine, and Emirates Woman. Niamh is also a blogger at and podcast host of Werkin’ On It.

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