The other day, I found myself thinking, “I can’t wait to have a daughter so I can teach her to start using sunblock ASAP.” This is much less indicative of any imminent maternal yearnings than just deepest, most sincere regret at my youthful sun follies. I didn’t start using sunblock or SPF-infused moisturizers until, oh I don’t know, 20 or 21. Until this point I had blithely walked around in the sun without any SPF, and spent summers lying by the pool hoping to turn nut brown. At that age you get this crazy notion that being 3-4 shades darker than your natural skin tone is exotic and beautiful. (Not that my mom didn’t try to dissuade me from that disaster–I just didn’t listen.)
My mom, naturally, also doesn’t use sunblock and has never done so in her 57 years, save for beach and ski days. But maddeningly, she doesn’t have any wrinkles, sunspots, or unevenness. Meanwhile, my skin is fairer than mom’s and also much more prone to uneven tone. Plus, even though I barely had sunspots when I was actually sunbathing, since couple of years ago I’ve been noticing a lot more sunspots appearing–as the bright summer sun suddenly unveiled to me the other day.
In the harsh daylight of summer, it’s worth prepping your skin just a touch more to get a flawless, but still lightweight finish. The best way to do this isn’t to put more foundation/concealer on, or change the foundation to heavier coverage (which can look too “made up” in summer light). The secret is to layer your coverage with makeup primer. Here I’ve selected some vegan makeup primers that are as natural as possible (of course, that’s all relative–we’ll cross that bridge when we get there).
Step 1. Make sure your face is clean and dry. I always start my makeup with some toner and cotton round to balance the pH of my skin and lightly exfoliate and even the surface.
Step 2. Apply serum. If you use any serum for brightening and evening skin tone, this is the time to do it. I use the custom essential oil DIY serum that Beauty Editor Mary crafted for me. It has been so amazing at healing blemishes, diffusing uneven tone, and just all around glowiness. I can’t get enough! (But just a few drops at a time is perfect).
Step 3. Apply moisturizer. I dab a dime-sized amount of natural sunblock (I use Alba Botanica) onto the top of my hand, and blend with a small amount of non-SPF moisturizer, before applying to my face.
Step 4. Now you’re finally ready for vegan makeup primer! Here are my picks:
I love Tarte’s vegan and natural, but highly effective makeup products. This stick with skin tones, purple, and green goes on smooth and diffuses uneven tones really well, without any feeling of thickness. Having said that, the silkiness does come with a price–it does contain dimethicone, which we discussed may not be good for skin. Still, I give this high marks for doing its job well.
This one, from natural mineral makeup line Jane Iredale, is more of a pore refiner than color corrector, along with added anti-aging properties thanks to botanical ingredients like aloe, honeysuckle, and white tea extracts. (Also contains dimethicone–I’m thinking primers, which are designed for providing smooth base for makeup, are generally not the most silicone-free products in the world.)
If you really want something pure, this pure mineral-based powder is it. Wear a sheer “veil” under your makeup to reduce redness and color correct.
Step 5. After blending primer into your face (lightly, as to not rub it away), follow with your regular all-over makeup. I use a tinted moisturizer with SPF (Josie Maran Argan Tinted Moisturizer)–this double coverage is crucial since I almost never use enough of one or the other for full sun coverage.
Step 6. (Optional) For extra mileage, lightly touch up with pressed powder. It’s an extra step you can skip for every day, but great for all-day coverage or for events where you need a bit more polish, like dates and weddings. Now you’re done!
Also in Beauty: Sunless Tanning the Natural Way
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling; Tarte; Jane Iredale; Alima Pure