A week ago, I made the conscious decision to leave my house without a stitch of makeup for the first time in six months. It was so hot my face was literally dripping within five minutes of being outdoors. Had I conducted my typical beauty routine, I would’ve subsequently resembled that sad, melty Spongebob popsicle every child naively selects from an ice cream truck at least once.
There have been countless boiling hot summer days when I did just that: stubbornly applied a full face of makeup, only to end up frustrated when my hard work transformed into a smeary mess by noon. The logical answer to such a conundrum is obvious: I should simply pare back my beauty routine in the summer. But in the case of makeup, sentiment surpasses reason. Bold eyeshadows and vivid blushes make me swoon — simply put, I love decorating my face. I don’t want to give that up simply because it’s hot.
Just as I was ready to give up and accept that the season’s sweatiest days would never yield to my typical makeup techniques regardless of how much setting spray I use, I took note of something interesting taking place on Instagram. People were finding creative substitutes for traditional beauty products — ones that could stand up to heat. So I decided to dip a cheek in myself. The result? A handful of new face-decorating alternatives that are hassle-free and sweatproof: no-makeup makeup, but literally. If that sounds confusing, allow me to explain by way of the below five beauty looks, which I plan to employ all summer.
Sporting these gems offered me arguably more sparkle and glow than any highlighter I own, and I didn’t even need to do any blending. Since putting them on was mess-free and straightforward, I got to focus my energy on crafting a fun color scheme and design. (A word of advice: Be culturally aware when it comes to product and placement — while standard rhinestone gems on the cheeks are fair game, appropriating bindis is not an option).
I took some inspiration from Ruthie Baron’s recent MoMA-worthy eye design for this one. And since I was technically painting, the cubist approach felt appropriate. From an application perspective, it could be argued that face paint is not any easier than traditional makeup. However, the former does have a leg up when considering maintenance; once the paint dries, it’s staying on your face for the long haul.
Strangely, I’ve always been intrigued by face tattoos, so it was thrilling to have some of my own without the fear of giving my mother a heart attack. I found out about Milk Makeup’s “Tattoo Stamp” via this Instagram post and I was truly impressed. I had never come across a product like it. Though the crescent moon and smiley face shaped stamps were tempting, I settled on the star to create my mime-like look.
My explore page delivered me this stunning image of Salma Hayek at the 1998 MTV VMAs with temporary tattoos and I’ve been waiting to replicate it for over a month. Decorating my décolletage with blue butterflies made me feel like a badass fairy! Given that you can adorn your body in excess, sans regret, I consider temporary tattoos to be one of the purest forms of joy. I was also pleased to find that my application technique has improved since childhood; not a single tattoo was damaged during the peel-off process.
Now that I’ve gotten to live a day with freckles, I don’t want to go back. This intense desire can be attributed to the fact that these made me look and feel like a human disco ball. Not to mention, they would match perfectly with all my metallic jewelry, which I can’t say about any of the beauty products I already own.
Thoughts? Did I just recruit new members to the literal no-makeup makeup club, or did I send you guys running to Sephora? Let’s chat in the comments.
Photos by Edith Young.