How to create the perfect summer makeup look

An expert’s 5-step makeup routine

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / January 05 2023

When summer rolls around, the last thing on our minds is an elaborate makeup routine. 

Given the hot weather, we’re likely to already be sweating, so we’d rather not exacerbate things with vigorous application techniques. And you can forget about a thick layer of foundation.

But as anyone in the know will tell you, no-makeup makeup is the hardest to master. That’s why this summer we’re employing the help of the professionals.

Here, Australian makeup artist Mia Connor shares her tips for creating beautiful summer skin that still looks real, embracing colour, and returning to a more natural kind of beauty.

This is how to create the perfect summer makeup look in just five steps


Pops of colour

If you’re scared of wearing colour in the office, summer is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone with small pops of colour in your makeup. Connor recommends accenting the eyes with “blues, aqua, greens and violet in the form of liners and even mascaras.” 

But if that’s still too much for you, the makeup artist really rates a flushed or bronzed cheek: “Colour doesn’t have to be overkill.” An application of blush on the apples of the cheeks is all it takes to create a natural flush, instantly restoring the skin with a healthy, peachy glow.

Try: GIVENCHY Prisme Libre Blush ($81 at Sephora)

Image credit: @miaconnor


Less is more skin

When it comes to base makeup, Connor’s an advocate for ‘less is more’ skin. In fact, she favours a translucent veil of makeup with “freckles and beauty spots left to shine through” over full coverage foundations

She recommends buffing a lightweight foundation into the skin “with a flat firm brush, starting in the centre of the face, and blending out more sheerly around the hairline, neck and décolletage.”

The result? Beautiful summer skin that looks fresh, youthful, and most importantly, real. 

Try: GIVENCHY Prisme Libre Skin Caring Glow Foundation ($89 at Sephora)

Image credit: @miaconnor


Gently defined lips

During summer we have a tendency to lean on our emotional support lip balms. But Connor wants us to remember another important lip product in our kits — lip liner

“They honestly do wonders in creating the perfect pout,” she says. The trick is to choose a shade that’s as close as possible to your natural lip colour or one shade darker. 

Connor then likes to “apply all over the lip for a long-lasting result,” and layers lip balm “over the top to hydrate”.

Try: M.A.C Cosmetics Lip Pencil ($32 at Adore Beauty)

Image credit: @miaconnor


Lighter brows (and less brow laminations)

This summer Connor wants to see lighter brows in lieu of darker arches, as they “create a softer, more youthful look”. 

If you jumped on the eyebrow lamination bandwagon in 2021, and you’ve been painstakingly combing perming solution into your brow hairs with an eyebrow lamination kit ever since, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief. 

According to Connor, brow lams are out and makeup products that imitate the look (think: clear brow gel and brow soap) are in. They create a similar finish as the semi-permanent treatment, but are ultimately better for the health of your brows, as they are less likely to damage brow hairs over time. 

Try: AMY JEAN BROWS Lamination Brow Gel ($44 at Sephora)

Image credit: @miaconnor


Natural lashes over extensions

Connor is avidly campaigning for less eyelash extensions and “more natural, mascara-ed lashes”. 

“Whilst they may be time saving, I do believe the life-span of [lash extensions] looking good is minimal and natural lashes will always prevail.” Cancel your next infill appointment and “invest in a lash curler and a great mascara [instead],” she suggests. 

Try: DIOR Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Waterproof Eye Mascara ($62 at MYER)

Image credit: @miaconnor


The scents we’re spritzing in summer share the same less-is-more principle as our makeup routines — this is how to choose the right unisex summer fragrance for you. 

Main image credit: @miaconnor / Getty

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).