You know what I love? The way I look when I've had a lovely, relaxing day at the beach and just a teeny bit too much sun. The golden skin, the flushed cheeks, that overall pretty afterglow. But you know what I do not love? Skin cancer. Also: wrinkles and age spots. It's a dilemma, to be sure. Luckily! There are products aplenty -- and easy ways to use them -- to help you get that gorgeous sun-kissed look while still staying true to your SPF.
Here are my favorite products and the four easy steps to your pretty, glowing summer face:
Step 1: Start with a good BB cream.
BB creams, for the uninitiated, are essentially tinted moisturizers, but better. A good BB cream is formulated to come out of the bottle white, and then smooth onto your skin, giving you a nice, light coverage that evens things out and adds a bit of a natural-looking tint. I often just use my fingers to apply, but it's really best to use a foundation brush, like The Body Shop's best-selling foundation brush ($20 at TheBodyShop) or this excellent Sonia Kashuk foundation brush. ($10.99 at Target.com)
Oil of Olay makes a very nice BB cream that's on the lower end of the price spectrum, called Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream. ($14.99 at Drugstore.com).
I also really like The Body Shop All In One BB Cream - my skin loves it. ($20 at TheBodyShop)
Note: For this "sun kissed" look, I don't "set" my BB cream with a translucent powder, but that's a good way to go if you want a more matte finish.
Step 2: Start blushing.
A cream blush works beautifully with your BB cream base; just dab a few dots with your fingers onto the apples of your cheeks, then blend and smooth it up along your cheekbones toward your temple. I only use a small amount, because I'm still going to layer on a little bronzer. You can always add another layer of blush if you think it's too light, but it's hard to reverse if you go too heavy!
Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush comes in three shades, "Pinched," "Flushed" and "Coral Reef," and all of them are gorgeous. I'd go for the pinker shade, but it's really about what seems more flattering to you. ($10.30 at Drugstore.com)
Nars cream blush is spendier but scrumptious; the shade "Lokoum" is a PERFECT rosy coral and it has just a little shimmer. ($29 at NarsCosmetics.com)
Step 3: Go for the bronze ... er
I am convinced that bronzer is just about the best invention ever. (OK, OK, in the beauty world at least!) I don't always wear blush, but even on fairly makeup-free days, I often dash a little bronzer on just to give my face some color. For this look, take a somewhat big makeup brush and give a light swish of bronzer to your cheekbones, and a realllllly light swish or two across your forhead and down your nose. Sometimes I do a pass over my chin or jawline, but a little goes a long way -- better to do a couple of light layers than overload your brush on one go. (You don't want to start looking all powdery or Tan Mom-y.)
Lately I've been loving my Urban Decay Baked Bronzer for Face and Body in the "gilded" shade -- just a hint of golden glow. ($26 at UrbanDecay.com)
I also totally love Physician's Formula "Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Baked Bronzer" ($13.95 at PhysiciansFormula.com), which not only smells delish but which you can use with a wet makeup sponge. For a total bargain, Rimmel London Natural Bronzer is around $5 or less at any drugstore.
Step 4: Enhance your glow with peaches and coppers.
This step, is, of course, optional. Your sunny face will look great without any more makeup, but if you do feel inclined, a little bit of warm eye shadow and / or a coral, peach, or rosy lip will enhance the whole effect.
For lips, try...
The Body Shop has a new line of glosses out made with Community Fair Trade organic virgin coconut oil that comes from the Women In Business Development Initiative in Samoa. Totally awesome, and available in 10 yummy "flavors." For our sun-kissed purposes, may I recommend the mango?
Jemma Kidd Hi-Shine Hydrating Gloss Stick SPF 15 in "Sugar Cane" is TO DIE FOR. Seriously love, love, love this lipstick, which is just glossy enough but not sticky, and gives a beautiful coverage. ($25 at Dermstore.com)
For eyes ...
Gold or copper metallic eye makeup will look gorgeous. Something peachy would also be warm and flattering.
Makeup Forever's Aqua Shadow Pencil is really versatile; you can make a thin or thick line, and smudge at will. The "Pearly Peach" is perfect. ($20 at Sephora.com)
Another good pick is the Maybelline EyeStudio Eyeshadow Quad in "Copper Chic." ($7.99 at Drugstore.com)
And voila! You are now a lovely sun goddess, without the harmful UV damage!
Do you let your face get colored naturally by the sun?