Sunburns. Makeup meltdown. Frizz. Parched pouts. The heat and humidity of July can lead to full-on beauty disasters that seem unavoidable — unless you have some serious saviors in your grooming arsenal. Obviously, thousands of products launch around this time each year, claiming to solve a wide range of warm-weather woes, but not all of them are worthy of earning a spot in your routine. Cut through the noise: through a great deal of trial and error, we’ve found the newest formulas that can actually live up to your high expectations. From soothing oil-infused lip colors and heat-beating primers to tinted SPFs and calming face mists, discover them all below.
Who: Lauren Levinson, Editorial Director
What: NARS® Oil-Infused Lip Tint ($26)
Why: NARS can do no wrong when it comes to creating lip products, in my book. I typically don’t go on any trip without packing at least three of the brand’s beloved lip pencils, but its latest lip oil launch has me reshuffling my makeup bag. I’m often skeptical of lip oils as they tend to dry up quickly, don’t offer much color, and feel like a lip gloss that wasn’t quite finished in the lab. The NARS one negates all that. It glides on with a juicy texture that is not a sticky lip gloss, nor a serum. I tested the hydration capabilities of the antioxidant-rich pomegranate extract, raspberry seed oil, and vitamins A and E mix on a recent trip, and I was pleasantly surprised when it held out against dry, plane air. The finish is glass-like and sophisticated — subtle enough for the beach, but statement-making enough for a night out (especially when paired with a lip liner). My favorite shade is Primal InstinctTM, a go-with-anything pink beige.
What: AvèneTM Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50+ ($28)
Why: My New Year’s Resolution was to finally be a “good beauty editor” and actually wear sunscreen everyday. This tasked me to find formulas I wouldn’t mind using again and again. Avène has always been a go-to brand for me, and this new tinted version has become my favorite multi-tasker. It is a 100 percent mineral formula, offering daily broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection (#necessary). Since I don’t love wearing much foundation in the summer in favor of showing off my faux tan, the slight tint in it is all I need. It comes in an easy-to-pack, palm-size bottle with a snap top (no spills!), which makes it ideal for my gym or weekend bag. And the fact that it’s reef-safe seals the deal.
What: Dr. Barbara Sturm® Hydration Face Mist ($95)
Why: This new face mist from Dr. Barbara Sturm features one of my all-time favorite ingredients: hyaluronic acid. (Reminder: HA is a water-loving molecule that plumps skin.) So I was kind of a fan before I tried the spritz — that said, it still met my expectations. The actual mist is super fine, and it won’t ruin your makeup (rather, it should help set it). It feels cooling and comes in a portable size, so I have been pulling it out of my bag to refresh my skin on balmy days. Back to the formula: in addition to HA, it has an antioxidant called purslane, as well as lemon, aloe vera, and prickly pear — which are all ideal for sensitive skin like mine.
Who: Joslyn Winkfield, Senior Visuals Editor
Why: I love when I can stick to a seasonal theme with my skincare, and it doesn’t get more summery than a watermelon face mask. This delicious treatment goes on as a clear gel and then transforms, taking on a slightly puffy texture that is so satisfying to peel off. My face always feels brighter and tighter after using it, so I save it for days when my skin needs a boost (like the morning after a few glasses of rosé).
What: KORRES® Hydra-Repair Face Butter ($36)
Why: Even though July heat increases the shine factor on my face, the humidity doesn’t always keep me moisturized. This month, I’m replenishing what the sun dries out with this thick (but non-greasy) face butter from Korres. It’s packed with antioxidants that fight free radicals, which are very much needed when surviving a summer in NYC.
Who: Emily Orofino, Senior Beauty Editor
What: KBShimmer® Tri-Thermal Nail Polish in Just Glow With ItTM ($11)
Why: As my colleague Thia recently said to me, “‘Extra’ nails are your thing,” and that couldn’t be closer to the truth. I love spectacularly sparkly nail art, intricate designs, bold colors, and unusual formulas. Naturally, I was thrilled when this innovative tri-thermal lacquer crossed my desk. It goes on a punchy coral-orange, but as it adjusts to ambient temperature, can shift to a sienna red (when cold) or a neon pink (if hot). If it sounds mesmerizing, that’s because it is: trust me when I say you’ll spend an embarrassing amount of time experimenting with your manicure.
What: Krigler® America One 31TM Opus Blue Candle ($125)
Why: I’m a sucker for anything with a vintage feel — especially from anything circa the Mad Men® era — so you can imagine how I felt when I heard about the launch of this chic candle. In fragrance form, the crisp mandarin-, black pepper-, and vetiver-infused scent was worn by Ernest Hemingway and John F. Kennedy back in the day. As a votive, however, it adds a fresh, practically universally appealing aroma that will fool your brain into thinking you’re at a beach house (even if you’re just in your sweltering walk-up). While I’d usually resist quickly burning through such a gorgeous candle, the beautiful blue glass vessel — made by artisans in Biot, France — will upcycle nicely as a charming planter.
What: Paintbox® Nail Lacquer in Like Wild + Like WonderTM ($40)
Why: When I heard my favorite nail studio was launching its own line of lacquer, I was admittedly doubtful. I’m a seasoned polish hoarder with over 250 bottles in my personal stash, and wasn’t quite sure what a newcomer to the oversaturated nail market would have to offer. Turns out, I needn’t have worried: Paintbox applied its serious attention to detail to its curated collection of lacquers. Right now, there are three pairs of polishes in perfectly coordinating shades (“Power Couples”) that are shiny, durable, and go on beautifully, even if the shade is a pastel. Though it was hard to pick a favorite duo, I’m a fan of this one in particular because the hues in it are surprisingly hard to find: a pale, pale robin’s egg blue and a mossy green.
Who: Julie Ricevuto, Senior Beauty Writer
What: IT Cosmetics® Your Skin But Better® Primer+ ($39)
Why: When it comes to the efficacy of face primers, I had always been skeptical, until finding this formula. Up to now, primer had seemed like an unnecessary step, as I’d never come across a product that actually helped my foundation last longer. This primer by IT Cosmetics is the first to keep my makeup from sliding around my skin during the day. The oil-free formula contains moisturizing glycerin and smoothing ginger root extract that work harmoniously to create an even canvas for makeup application. Now, even on the sweatiest days, my makeup always stays put.
What: Bumble and Bumble® Surf StylingTM Leave-in ($29)
Why: Beach waves are a timeless summer hairstyle, but while I love the look, I hate the feel. Most of the wave-creating products on the market are salt sprays, which leaves my hair feeling like a crunchy, frizzy mess. All I want is soft waves, and this gel-creme hybrid formula does just that. I work the formula into towel-dried hair, leave it in, and let it air-dry. It gives me just the texture I want — no heat styling necessary.
Who: Thia Laurain, Social Media Editor
What: Elemis® Pro-CollagenTM Rose Hydro-Mist ($68)
Why: I love an afternoon mist (who doesn’t?!). However, while most feel refreshing and cool on the skin, I don’t feel like they leave me with actual long-term hydration. This new serum-in-mist does exactly that, blessing my parched summer skin with nourishing algae extracts and skin-softening rose. Bonus: this ultra-fine spritz — seriously, it casts the finest halo of mist I’ve ever felt — never disturbs makeup, so you can mist away morning, noon, and night.
What: Maison Louis Marie® 360° Skin RevivalTM Serum ($95)
Why: I’ve been a longtime fan of Maison Louis Marie’s fragrances (sandalwood-based No. 4 is my old standby, and earthy No. 2 is my newest favorite). Yet, its all-natural skincare had flown under my radar until recently. The luxurious 360° Skin Revival Serum is the latest addition to my antioxidant arsenal. It has a powerful free radical-fighting blend of meadowfoam, sea buckthorn, and pumpkin seed oils. Even better? This vegan, paraben- and phthalate-free formula smells heavenly on its own — no eau de parfum required!
Why: I’m always in search of gentle, yet effective exfoliation, and this summery cerulean blue face mask truly delivers. Azelaic and lactic acids combine with exfoliating pumpkin enzymes to naturally resurface the skin, leaving your face with a healthy flush. Once you rinse off the tingling blue goo, aloe leaf and Japanese mint extracts activate to soothe tingling skin. It’s a hot-and-cold exfoliating experience that will leave you looking glowy and feeling cool.
Who: Madisen Theobald, Social Media Editor
What: PopMirrorTM by PopSockets® ($20)
Why: I recently attended a beauty press event where I whipped out my new PopMirror (with pink blossom detailing, might I add), and no fewer than five beauty editors instantly Googled how they could get this new beauty accessory for themselves. The PopMirror is a regular PopGrip® with a very useful, chic addition — a two-sided mirror. Now, instead of using your iPhone’s® front-facing camera to apply mascara on the subway, you can just “pop” open a PopMirror for magnified, precise application.
Why: I don’t know who I can give credit to for reintroducing lip gloss into my life — this SpotlyteTM article or Rihanna — but today, I am going with Rihanna, and her Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb in FU$$Y. Just one swipe of this shimmery, dusty pink gloss gives you the ultimate summer pout. Not to mention, it has an addictive shine that is perfect for layering on any pinky-nude lipstick shade.
Who: Sophie Wirt, Beauty Editor
Why: If you were to strip the label off this liquid lipstick, you could fool me into thinking it’s a product 3 times the price. The formula is rich without being chunky, and the dry-down is matte without cracking or caking. My favorite part is the ultra-cushy doe foot, which feels like a cozy hug across the lips. Another sensorial note: This stuff smells like its namesake French pastry.
What: Beachwaver Co.® Braid BalmTM Pre-Braid Prep ($24)
Why: I love anything that makes it easy to achieve beachy waves. So, when the Beachwaver (creator of the easiest hair curler ever) launched a haircare line dedicated to doing just that, I was instantly enthralled. A few pumps of this moussey “balm” through towel-dried hair gives me the perfect primer for sleeping in braids. When I undo them in the morning, I’m left with a flowing mane that’s soft, not crunchy.
Who: Cat Matta, Copy Editor & Fact-Checker
What: The Inkey ListTM Polyglutamic Acid ($15)
Why: My dry skin used to only be a cold weather issue but, as I’ve gotten older, it follows me around throughout the year. And, since I’m a beauty industry newbie, I’ve been on a steep learning curve when it comes to deciphering product labels. Then along came The Inkey List, a new British brand with a unique ethos: keep it simple and affordable. All its products only have one ingredient — including many skincare superstars — and they all cost $15 or less. Since polyglutamic acid is naturally found in the skin, and holds four times as much moisture as hyaluronic acid, my face loves sucking this product up. Add to that its mild exfoliating properties, and I’m left with a soft, smooth, even-toned complexion.
What: Milani® CelestialTM Highlighting Palette ($20)
Why: I don’t know about you, but there have been plenty of times that I’ve run into “beauty block” — when I just can’t decide between different colors and shades, only to end up throwing in the towel and buying way more than I need. So when this palette of swirled multicolored highlighters came shimmering across my desk, it was a delight. Each pan is iridescent artistry in the form of three creamy hues that add an instant glow and dewy finish to the high points of the face. Added bonus: you can make your eyes sparkle, too, by swiping some across your lids.
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