Growing up, my mother didn't let me wear make-up. At the time, I was pissed. Oh, but now that I'm deep into my 40s, I'm ever grateful because it's rare that a week will go by and someone won't be shocked when I tell them my age. Meanwhile, a lot of the — I'm gonna be real — white women who I went to high school with? Whenever I run into them, the combination of constant tanning and piling on cosmetics back in the day now has them looking several — and I do mean, several — years older than I.
Listen, I'll be the first to say that a full face of make-up that's been applied well is an art form. And there are certainly moments when I do enjoy rising to the occasion. However, if there is one season of the year when I will give all of that a very hard pass, it's the summer one. Between living in Nashville and enduring this crazy ass humidity and liking the freedom of not having to worry about reapplying stuff or "rubbing off on people", the summertime is definitely when I'm all about moving around with a low-maintenance face.
If that's how you feel and you'd like some tips on how to create one for yourself, I've got 12 really easy and effective ones below.
1. Arched Eyebrows
I promise you that if you retain only one point in this piece, please make sure that it's this one. There is nothing that is more beautiful on a woman, whether she's putting forth a natural face or a full-on beat, than well-groomed eyebrows. While I'm actually pretty good at doing mine myself, for the past couple of years, at first, I was getting them threaded; now I'm getting them waxed (mostly because my threading experience is they tend to go too thin and I actually like having fuller ones). A perfect set of brows can make your eyes appear larger (in the best way possible) and brighten up your face overall. So, if you ain't got the coins to do nothin' else on this list, pretty please don't avoid this point. It's a total beauty game-changer.
Back when I was in college (and away from my mother), I definitely went all out and decided to wear a lot of make-up; foundation included. For me, it was a frustrating cycle because the more I piled on, the more clogged my pores got, which resulted in more breakouts, which led to more acne marks…which led to me piling on more foundation.
It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I got the memo that if I exfoliated my skin, there would be less of a need for foundation. Why? Because exfoliating does things like remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, soften the appearance of scars, even out skin tone and make skin feel so much smoother — whether you like to wear make-up or not.
For me, sulfur soap has proven to be "that one" when it comes to exfoliating. Yet whether you decide to go with it, a department or drugstore exfoliant or you want to make one of your own (there's a video for how to make one here), definitely commit to exfoliating your face and neck (don't forget about that neck, chile; it can "age" you too if you neglect it) about twice a week. Your face will glow without foundation and it's a great primer if you do decide to put some on.
3. Orange Peels and Almond Powder
Speaking of exfoliants, if you want to apply a scrub to your face that will also provide it with antioxidants, a collagen boost and, thanks to the almond powder that's in it, it will also be a great source of Vitamin E (which can soften fine lines and deeply moisturize your skin), you should definitely consider making a scrub for your face, neck and body out of dried orange peels and almond powder. Take some orange peels and allow them to stay in the hot summer sun for half a day. Then put them and a handful of almonds into your blender and grind them into a fine powder. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder (it reduces the appearance of acne scars and helps your skin to glow) and a tablespoon of almond milk (it's another Vitamin E booster and it also helps to deeply moisturize your skin). Apply the mixture to freshly washed skin (that's damp) and gently rub it in circular motions. Do this for five minutes and rinse with first warm and then cool water. Your skin will be baby smooth; much brighter too.
4. Cold Tea Bags
There are a few things that can cause dark circles underneath your eyes. Aging. Fatigue. Genetics. Allergies. Sun damage. Dehydration. Those are some of the top ones. And if you're looking for an all-natural way to make them look less apparent, cold tea bags are the lick. The ones with caffeine in them (like black and green tea) will slow down the blood flow to that area, causing the circles to be less apparent. Herbal teas (like chamomile and calendula) can reduce inflammation. Also, teas overall contain chemical compounds known as tannins. They're great for dark eye circles because they can brighten up your eye area with consistent use. Just boil the bags for 15-20 minutes, put them in the freezer for like 20 minutes and place them over both of your eyes for 15-20 minutes. If you do this once or twice a week, it's a refreshing treat that will give you some pretty impressive results.
5. Rosemary Oil
It really does depend on the day, which carrier oil I like the most when it comes to my skin — sweet almond oil or rosemary.
Today, I'm gonna go with rosemary because it contains properties that deeply hydrate; regulates sebum (which reduces the chances of clogged pores and breakouts); soothes skin irritation (which makes it great for eczema and psoriasis); tightens the skin (so that it sags less and appears more supple and firm), and it definitely helps to create a lasting glow without a greasy look or feel.
In fact, rosemary oil is a great go-to if you want to head out without any kind of foundation or powder on yet you still want your skin to be protected from the outer elements. Whether you purchase a bottle of it from your local drug or health store (I actually get mine from Walgreens) or you decide to infuse some oil yourself (check out this video here to learn how), you can't go wrong with applying it to your face and neck. Pretty much ever.
6. Waterproof Concealer
These days, my face is pretty even when it comes to skin tone and having no acne marks. The only exception is when my period decides to leave a parting gift of a pimple that almost always leaves a mark (UGH!). Aside from applying some shea butter at night to speed up the healing process of the zit, something that has brought me a lot of joy is waterproof concealer — and y'all, I am definitely going to shout-out the brand that I use because it's my favorite one, to-date. It's Estēe Lauder's Double Wear Concealer. Y'all…Y'ALL. It's creamy. It's a perfect match (which you know can be difficult for us to find). And it really does stay on through sweat and everything! I won't lie, it ain't the cheapest on the planet (whenever I pick up a tube, it's around 30 bucks). Still, if you want a concealer that looks pretty much just like your skin that you don't have to worry about, that's one that I can totally back up with confidence. And either way, if you want to put forth a flawless face during the summertime, waterproof concealer is an absolute must-have.
7. Cream-Based Make-Up
Whether you like to wear make-up just because or you've got a special something coming up and you want to put on a full face for the occasion, definitely go with cosmetics that have a cream base (especially when it comes to foundation, tinted moisturizers and/or blush) during the summer season. Cream bases help to add moisture to your skin, makes it easier to blend in your make-up and it doesn't cake up on your face the way a lot of powder base make-up does. Plus, cream-based make-up can give your skin a dewy look; one that I think looks really spectacular on every woman when it's especially hot outside.
8. Sweet Almond Oil and Rosewater Spritz
Speaking of looking all dewy 'n stuff, if while you're out, your skin looks or feels a little drier than you would like for it to, give it a bit of a homemade spritz. A very simple recipe consists of sweet almond oil, fresh mint leaves and rosewater. Sweet almond oil is dope because it helps to improve your complexion, soften the appearance of scars, reduce the puffy appearance of your eyes, alleviate acne and, get this, reverse sun damage. Mint leaves (which you should be able to find in the produce department of your local grocery store) contain astringent properties that work to slough off dead skin cells while also hydrating your skin. Rosewater is one of the best things ever for your skin because it also deeply hydrates, contains antioxidants, reduces the appearance of any redness or irritation and helps to keep fine lines and wrinkles from creeping in.
Just put a couple of fresh mint leaves into a small spray bottle (small enough to carry in your purse; you can usually find them at a grocery, drug or beauty supply store) and then fill the bottle about 65-70 percent with rosewater and the rest with sweet almond oil. Let it sit for two days and it's ready for use. Your skin will be provided with all kinds of nutrients and you'll immediately get that sexy dewy look that I've been talking about.
9. Waterproof Mascara
If I was going to list these things in order of importance, honestly, I probably would've shouted out waterproof mascara right under arched eyebrows. Although DNA has blessed me with some pretty nice ones, it's still night and day, the difference that I see, whenever I decide to apply a couple of coats of mascara to them. It thickens my lashes. It darkens them. It elongates them too. The brand that I have stuck with for years now, without absolutely any regrets, is Volum' Express The Rock Washable Mascara. There's something about the plastic curvy wand that coats my lashes perfectly. Anyway, I always get the waterproof kind (especially in the summer) and it's easy to find at your local drugstore or grocery store. Again, if nothing else, arched eyebrows, waterproof mascara — oh, and my next point. Do those and you'll be a natural beauty with very little effort. It's pretty much guaranteed.
10. Colored Lip Gloss
How much do I adore lip gloss? So much that it's mentioned in my bio on this site! I'll be honest, my affection for it is so ridiculous that I can't tell you how many tips I've got at this point.
I personally like lip gloss because it produces a natural shine that makes lips look healthy, moisturized and pretty damn sexy too. Plus, it lasts a long time without having to worry so much about it smearing all over stuff (like lipstick can sometimes do), it's glossy (although you can find different ones to suit your preference texture) and you can find them in delicious flavors if that's totally your thing.
Again, I've got a ton of 'em, but if there's a super inexpensive brand that I would definitely do a commercial for, it's Black Radiance's brand. It provides just enough "pop", it's not very sticky and it comes in hues that are great without lipstick or as a topcoat for it. Lip gloss will have you looking unbelievably kissable, all summer long, sis.
Do you want your skin to literally look like it's glowing? Bronzer. Bronzer is always the answer. Not only can it give your skin some sparkling sheen, when you apply it to places like right underneath your brows and on your cheekbones, it can add contouring in a way that doesn't appear overdone. As a bonus, if you get the kind that can also be applied to the rest of your body, bronzer is able to even out your skin tone and even reduce the appearance of cellulite. Oprah Daily published an article a few years back that featured some of the best bronzers for dark skin (you can read it by going here). Or, if you'd prefer to make bronzer for your face, Thank Your Body has you covered here; for the rest of your body, there's a quick YouTube tutorial here.
12. Less Is More
To tell you the truth, even though autumn is, hands down, my favorite time of the year, if there's one thing that I really do like about the summer season is because we tend to show more skin, it drives home how important it is to take really good care of it. And when that happens, we tend to be more comfortable with our natural beauty and taking the "less is more" approach. Hopefully, these 12 suggestions will be able to help you to do just that — care for your skin, take a minimalist approach to beauty and let your naturally dope face glow all the way up. Enjoy the rest of your summer, sis.
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