My favorite summer makeup essentials.

summer makeup maggie whitley

Let’s talk about bad habits for a second: one of mine is wearing foundation every day, even when it’s summertime and I’m at the beach. It’s more of a bad-habit-turned-disability. Because the foundation I use provides pretty solid coverage — meaning my face doesn’t really get a tan when I’m outside, my face doesn’t have much color (so it can sometimes look blotchy).

I’m not a big, “I must wear sunscreen always and limit my outside time”, but I do try to be smart about my sun time, like wearing sunscreen and always, always wearing my sunglasses to protect the skin around my eyes. But my face in general? It could definitely use a little sun and evening out ;)

We went camping a couple weeks ago and I left my makeup bag at home. More like I made myself leave it at home. Then, on our drive up to the mountains I kinda had a mental moment where I really freaked out (quietly to myself) that I didn’t have my makeup bag. It’s OK to laugh, I’m laughing :) Turns out it did me well to leave it at home. I was able to wake up both mornings with my family and my only focus was on brushing my teeth and changing my clothes. And a huge perk: I was able to get a little sun on my face.

Now that I have a natural sun-kissed glow I’m able to skip applying foundation during the summer months. This small step is so freeing for me. I want to be more confident this summer and not worry about things like my makeup. Wearing mascara is something I’ll probably do all summer long, but having a simplified summer makeup routine has been wonderful.

summer makeup maggie whitley

Here are my favorite summer makeup essentials, plus a bonus item (#2):

1. bronzer compact, 2. Essie nail polish in bachelorette bash (bright polish colors are so fun for summer!), 3. fragrance oil (my very favorite scent, think clean laundry!), 4. the best mascara, 5. chubby eyeliner pencil, 6. large makeup brush

This is a very simple list of cosmetics, and two are even of the nail polish/fragrance varieties! I love the chubby eyeliner pencil because it frees me of needing it apply it perfectly — it’s kinda like a shadow/liner mix. Very forgiving!

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A note about mascara: my experience is to choose a mascara where the wand size/type reflects the type of eyelashes you want. For example, a wand with short/separated bristles has always given me separated-looking eye lashes. The reason I love the mascara I use is because the wand is plump with the perfect amount of spacing between each bristle, giving me plump eye lashes. The bristles are also a little bit longer, which is perfect — my eyelashes are naturally long.

Do you have any summer makeup essentials? What’s your go-to item that you can’t not wear? For me, it’s definitely mascara. But nail polish somehow makes it way up there, too (wink).

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  1. 1


    I love how you freaked out that you left your makeup bag at home! Just keepin it real! I always try to go makeup free for a week or two at the beginning of the summer as a kind of reset on the amount of makeup I wear (which isn’t very much), but it also makes me feel more comfortable being barefaced and appreciate my natural beauty. Generally though, I can’t go without mascara. People will ask if I’m okay or if I’m sick because my eyelashes are light.

    • 2


      Ohhhh, I did. And I’m pretty sure Zack knew what I was thinking about because he always does. I’m such a dork! :) Thanks for your comment and sharing you like to reset as summer begins, too! And I hear you on the light eyelashes — that’s totally me, too.

  2. 3


    The older I get (39 in July) I become more comfy with my no make up face if I’m around the house or in the neighborhood (very social neighborhood) or in the backyard at my pool or to the gym.

    My skin isn’t even either and I’m very conscience of it.

    Good for you for leaving the make up at home. It’s very freeing indeed.

    With the heat wave in L A I’m sure the makeup is sliding right off!

    Have a beautiful day.

  3. 5


    Great essentials. I love the polish color. I should try the chubby liner some day. I’m such a foundation addict, too. Hopefully I can let go this summer. I got a BB cream that I may try to use instead.

  4. 6

    Diana says

    I had to laugh at the forgotten makeup moment! I remember being a young 20’s girl and going to visit my then boyfriend’s parents for the first time. It was a couple hours away and in the country. I forgot my makeup! I was horrified and extremely sensitive about it. I wore minimal makeup anyway but mascara and bronzer were a MUST. I had no car of my own and the boy refused to drive me in to town to pick up a few items. I was miserable! Needless to say, the relationship didn’t work out! I can laugh now as I have pretty much reduced my daily makeup to just bronzer for a little glow but it was a pretty raw moment in my life at the time!

    • 7


      OH MAN, I can totally sympathize with you! I remember having my makeup taken away from me as a teenager because I was wearing too much eyeliner and I had to sneak some mascara… I was so insecure with my eyelashes without mascara on. Oh my gosh. And my mom totally knew I was wearing it anyway. I think she was trying to teach me less is more ;) Glad we’re both in the same club right now.

  5. 8


    I am loving that nail polish color.

    I’m trying to get more comfortable with my face. I’ve been dealing with adult acne and it’s such a confidence killer. Then I end up adding tons more makeup on so you can’t really see it, and that just breaks me out more. It’s a never ending cycle. I’m learning to embrace my skin and go sans makeup. It’s hard.

    • 9


      You know I used to have the same problem. I use Laura Mercier foundation (buy at Sephora) and it gave me great coverage while my skin could heal/calm down. It’s about $45/tube but I could stretch it 2-3 months using a sponge applicator. It’s totally worth the price though. Now I’m working on evening out my skin tone and going a couple of days without foundation helped so much. Def try the LM foundation, your foundation shouldn’t give you acne!!! XO

  6. 10

    Cristy says

    Here’s my situation… I live ina super humid state (OOOOOKLAHOMA) and I have super oily skin. A lot of people think that oily skin means you skip moisturizing, but that just makes me all out of balance and I break out more easily. In the spring, summer and fall months I use a tinted moisturizer (a super cheap one… cover girl… they recently joined the BB cream bandwagon, so the exact same product now costs $1 more and has a different title but the product and packaging are the same)… I like that it helps me even out my skin tone a bit, provides moisture I need, and it has SPF 18…. not super high, so I don’t depend on it for trips to the pool (what’s a beach?!??) or zoo, but good for day to day use… I really recommend it!

  7. 11

    Paige Whitley says

    I have the NYC bronzer in Montauk and like it a lot for bronzing/blush/contour but it also works to pick out a brown for eyes if you need it in a pinch. I have and LOVE the NYX eye chubby in “cottage cheese” for the tear duct part of the eye and brow bone and *get this* down the bridge of the nose as a highlight, really brightens things up.
    Those plus Covergirl’s mascara and NYX butter gloss in Tiramisu would be my basics to get me out the door without feeling totally gross.

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