Summer has its blessings. The glittering sun delivers vitamin D to all, boosting moods and giving skin that golden glow. But what do you do when the rays betray you, burning you to lobster-like shade of scarlet? Well, these 11 tips and tricks for doing your makeup with a sunburn are sure to soothe your skin and your soul.
First of all, let's channel mom and talk prevention. Ideally, you should always wear sunscreen, even if you don't plan on leaving the house. The suns rays can be super damaging to skin — not to mention prolonged sun exposure, especially burning, can cause skin cancer. And make sure to reapply at least every two hours. Kate Somerville's UncompliKated SPF 50 Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray is especially good for this. Extreme makeup wearers no longer have an excuse.
Unfortunately, things happen. Sometimes we forget to apply it before we leave the house. Sometimes we forget to take it with us to re-slather throughout the day. And sometimes we fall asleep during a leisurely trip to the beach only to wake up red skin (sometimes on just one side of our bodies). And even if you've learned you lesson and you'll do better next time, what can you do to help right now?
I enlisted my awesome roommate Ashley, who legitimately had just gotten sunburn while on vacation a few days before, to show you the answers.
By the time I saw Ashley, the redness on her face had gone down quite a bit, but the skin on her face was peeling intensely, especially near her hairline. She told me she kept having to pick little pieces of peel-y skin out of her baby hairs.
I told Ashley to prep with her normal skincare routine, minus the moisturizer, because we'd be doing that together.
Now let's get started.
1. Moisturize With A Cooling, Hydrating Gel
Korres After Sun Greek Yoghurt Cooling Gel, $26, Sephora
To moisturize Ashley's upset face, we went with the Korres After Sun Greek Yoghurt Cooling Gel for Face and Body which is specifically formulated to soothe dry, red, parched skin. The gel cools on impact and relieves excessive heat, stinging, and discomfort. As an extra added bonus, it helps to prolong suntan. As I applied it, Ashley even remarked on how comforting it was.
To prevent aggravating her skin further, I used a light pressing motion to apply the cream to the areas where she needed it most first, then I pressed the rest outward toward the perimeter of the face. Pressing versus rubbing prevents extra redness from rising to the surface of the skin. I generally use a pea-sized amount of moisturizer, but Ashley's skin was extra dry from the burn so we ended up using a bit more. If your finger can easily glide across your skin, but the surface is a little tacky to the touch, then you're perfectly hydrated.
2. Color Correct Your Redness
To start, we used Make Up For Ever's Step 1 Skin Equalizer Yellow Primer in larger, generalized areas of redness. Yellow will color correct minor hints of red without neutralizing the skin too much and causing it to look gray. Once again, I used my fingertips to press the primer into the areas where the burn was still visible.
Step 1 Skin Equalizer Yellow Primer, $37, Sephora
I opted for the green Algenist REVEAL Concentrated Color Correcting Drops for the areas of more stubborn redness, like the cheeks, forehead, and nostrils.
Algenist Color Correcting Drops, $38, Sephora
That way, her skin would perfectly neutralize without a green or gray cast. When choosing your color correctors, opt for more hydrating or creamy formulas. Anything too matte will get caught in dry texture.
3. Match Your Foundation To Your Forearm
Though Ashley did burn her face, her body was still significantly darker from a summer's worth of tanning. We needed to make sure the foundation matched her body, and not just the bright skin on her face. If your foundation matches the color on your forearm, it's bound to match the majority of your body. Be careful to pick a shade that matches your undertone and isn't just warmer. Warmer shades tend to appear orange or artificial on the skin. Your undertone but deeper will always look natural.
4. Apply A Hydrating Formula With A Beauty Blender
IT Cosmetics CC+ Creamwith SPF 50+, $38, Sephora
We opted for It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better™ CC+™ Cream with SPF 50+ in Light. Pick something super hydrating that won't cling to the dry patches on your skin and create more texture. This It Cosmetics cream is perfect because it's extremely hydrating and dewy and has SPF 50 that'll prevent further damage. It does oxidize slightly, so even though the color is labelled "Light," it really becomes a medium.
Even though I'm generally a brush girl, the Beauty Blender was perfect in this situation. The damp sponge deposits extra hydration into the skin and helps to minimize texture. I started applying the CC cream at the center of the face working outward, lightly dapping and diffusing the product onto the skin.
Beauty Blender, $20, Amazon
Now Ashley face matched her décolleté, but her neck was still light. To make the application seamless, we blended down her faux tan to meet her real one. Make sure to blend color all the way down to where your natural tan begins.
Bobbi Brown BBU Palette, $250, Sephora
Of course, we also concealed the undereye area. If you're significantly more tan than usual, make sure to use a color that matches your tan or is at the most one shade lighter. We don't want to have a reverse raccoon situation going on. I used the foundation stick portion of my Bobbi Brown BBU Palette to conceal her minimal darkness.
5. Use A Nourishing Spray
Algenist Splash Hydration Setting Mist, $35, Sephora
Even with all this cream product, Ashley still had a little dry flakey texture. My quick fix: spritz yourself with a hydrating facial mist from about 8 inches away, then bounce your Beauty Blender onto the area with remaining texture. Somehow, it magically binds lays the dry skin down and fixes any patchiness. We use Algenist's Splash Hydration Setting Mist, which not only adds moisture to the skin, but also sets makeup.
6. Apply Some Cream Blush And Highlight
On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator, $42, Sephora
Now that Ashley's skin was looking perfectly tanned and glowy, if was only fair to apply some cream blush and illuminator for a naturally radiant look. I used my new On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator stick from Wander Beauty in the shade Berry Whisper/Nude Glow.
Because Ashley already has amazing, full cheeks, I applied the blush along the hollows of her cheeks, slightly above where I'd place contour. I picked up a little product onto my Beauty Blender, and tapped it on, starting at the perimeter of the face, working inward.
For the highlight, which didn't needed as much diffusion, I tapped the product on with my fingers to the high points of Ashley's cheekbones, down the center of her nose, and slightly above the arch of each eyebrow.
7. Set Strategically
Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder, $38, Sephora
Because Ashley's skin was dryer at the moment, I didn't want to set with a powder all over, but I did want to prepare her for all day wear. Using a small, natural-haired tapered brush I pressed and rolled Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder any areas that were more likely to sweat, get oily, or crease, like the nostrils, center of the forehead, chin, and undereye.
8. Bronze The Perimeter
Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder, $53, Sephora
To add some dimension to Ashley's face, and to match her to the deepest tones on her body, I lightly bronzed the perimeter of her face with Guerlain's Terracotta Bronzing Powder in 1.
There are many cream and liquid bronzers that are fantastic, but since they're sheer in consistency with a deep, tan tone, I didn't want to run the risk of the pigment sticking into the dry texture. Using a fluffy brush, I diffused a light layer of powder around the perimeter on the face, in a 3 and E shape.
9. And Bronze The Eyes
Natasha Denona Eyeshadow Palette 5, $48, Sephora
Smoldering, bronze shadow always compliments a tan nicely. It just emphasizes the rich golden tones in the skin.
Ashley has a tapering eyelid crease, almost a monolid. That means when she's looking straight ahead at you, you only see a small sliver of her lid and mostly her browbone. Her crease plane doesn't really recede, it protrudes.
I tapped a little shimmer shadow from Natasha Denona Eyeshadow Palette 5 onto Ashley's lid, bringing the color above her natural crease to lift the eye. To add dimension, I pushed back the outer corners of her eye using a little matte, dark brown shadow and a fluffy brush. With great shadow comes great responsibility... er... fallout, so I used my Beauty Blender to sweep away any unwanted tones.
10. Pop The Lips With Red-Orange Or Coral
Clinique Chubby Plump & Shine Lip Gloss, $17, Sephora
To emphasize Ashley's lips and enhance her now gorgeously-bronzed, I tapped on a little bit of Clinique's Chubby Plump & Shine Liquid Lip Plumping Gloss in Super Scarlet to create a stain. Red-oranges and corals work beautifully with warmer skin. They bring out the gold that's already in the skin and pop in a harmonious way. Because I wanted the focus to remain on Ashley's perfected tan, I dabbed the product on for a kiss of color rather than a bright, glossy effect.
11. Keep On Misting
A final layer of hydrating spray will not only set your makeup, but it was also help to mend any dry patches or cracks in the complexion. If you're super sunburned, I recommend taking the spray with you on the go and spritzing every hour or so to keep your complexion luminous and dewy. If you're super sunburned, your dry, parched skin is really going to need it.
Off camera, I also applied a little brow, brown liner, and black mascara to Ashley's eyes just to finish up the look.
And there you have it, from sunburned to burning hot!
The redness is totally gone and her formerly flakey skin looks like but-tah.
Special thanks to Ashley for being such a wonderful model.
So when the sun has burned your flesh to a crisp, no need to worry my friends. You can still look hot AF (in a good way).