How to Get That Sun-Kissed Look This Summer

While summer is verifiably just around the corner, you may or may not have had a chance to warm up your complexion just yet. And with vacations on the books and events to attend, there’s no summertime accessory quite as lovely as a sunshiny glow. But we all know how important it is to protect our skin from the elements. So, here’s a few ways to achieve a sun-kissed, golden tan sans the sun. 

Go Gold

For a while now, bronzers have been the go-to sunless approach to getting a touch of color. And there are countless types of bronzers out there; ranging from soft, subtle and dewy to full-on “I just spent three weeks on an island.” There’s also a variety of formulas to choose from: powder, cream, and even gel.  It all depends on the look you’re going for, as well as your skin type. But sometimes bronzer by itself is just not enough to get that summer glow. Especially if you struggle with uneven or problem skin. So, to help create the perfect base for your bronzer, consider choosing a mineral powder sunscreen or corrector palette. Corrector palettes work to conceal, protect and even brighten the skin, and they often include SPF, making them a summer must-have.

After you create your base with the palette, apply a light, even layer of bronze over the entire face—making sure that it’s only one shade darker than your natural complexion. To create dimension, use a lighter shade of bronzer on the cheekbones, forehead and the bridge of the nose, or really anywhere where light naturally reflects. If you really want to kick-up the golden effect, lightly sweep a gold eyeshadow over your lids, making sure to punch up the highlights in the corners of the eyes. The effect? An all-over glow that shows.


If bronzers aren’t your thing, or you happen to have a very fair complexion which muddy easily with earth tones, opt for an illuminator instead. These liquid-based formulas are typically very sheer and glide on to provide just a touch of shimmer. They work to subtly enhance without overpowering and can have an incredibly luminous effect. Fair skin folk will likely love this option as most illuminators come in pearlescent hues that are close to their natural skin tones and can make it seem like your skin is lit from within. Even if you’re not fair, illuminators work great as highlighters for cheek and eyebrow bones and often work well in conjunction with bronzers.

Go Natural  

Summertime is all about being light and easy—not overdone. You should take the same approach with your makeup as well. With the weather getting increasingly warmer, heavy foundations and makeup just don’t stick. If you can, it’s best to use less. Just make sure you don’t skip the sunscreen. But even if you’re not quite comfortable going completely bare when it comes to your face, opt for nude and natural shades for your blushes and lipsticks, or be selective about the area of the face you want to accentuate. For example, you can do a coral cheek and keep the lips nude and vice versa. This creates a natural sun-kissed look that’s 100% summer approved.

Get Creamy

Aside from a gold or bronze hue itself, makeup artists will tell you that achieving a true shimmering effect is really all about moisture. But before we get into that, now is a good place to insert how important it is to keep up a good skincare routine. Bronzers and glitter aside, the first step towards a glowing complexion is to take care of your skin. Inside and out. This means cleansing, toning, moisturizing, drinking lots of water and eating well. Once you have that down, you’ll want to supplement. Instead of foundation, choose a CC cream, which often packs sunscreen, hydrating elements, and great coverage, all in one! If you select a color that’s one shade darker than normal and make sure to opt for a sheer formula—you’ll be surprised at the effects. Add in a cream blush in natural hues, like pinks, corals, or anything with slightly orange undertones. Consider adding that dewy, fresh-from-the-beach look and your summer complexion will be complete.