Beauty IRL: Give Up, It’s Summer, It’s Fine, Just Go With It

The thing about summer is that everyone looks hot as hell. That is because they are literally hot as hell, all sweaty and humid and shiny, slowly oozing their way through the thick, soupy air. The weather is sultry, even when it’s daytime, and that haze that shines through your dirty bedroom window is heavy. It’s okay. This is summer. This is what you get for making it through the winter and the abbreviated spring — three to four months of bright sun and a hazy fug of outdoor beers and picnics and sand in the sheets. It’s the best time, really. But, it’s also a shitty time for makeup.

Here’s a beauty routine that works for the summer.

1. Wake up. Gaze out bedroom window, studying the streets for pedestrians, so that you can see what they’re wearing. A woman walks by in long pants and a sleeveless tee, followed by a man in cargo shorts, followed by a thin whippet of a girl in jorts and a crop top. The sky is a middling cadet blue. It is probably very hot.

2. Shower. Haphazardly swipe a razor over your legs, missing that spot behind your knee where the hair grows fine and wispy. Remember to shave only one of your armpits. Think hard about what you will put on your body, but not too hard. Revise the outfit you’ve laid out in your head until a roommate tentatively knocks on the bathroom door. Exit.

3. Assess the ashiness of your limbs, post shower. How dry do your limbs look? Will whatever you choose to rub into your body melt and actually absorb, or will it simply sit on the surface of your skin, leaving thigh prints like a calling card everywhere you sit? Decide that the latter is likely, and opt for coconut oil which will cause your thighs to slip and slide against each other as you scurry to the train. This is preferable to chafing.

4. Grab your go-to sundress. There is one dress that you own that is perfect for this weather, shapeless and light and slightly longer in the back than in the front, preventing your basement from coming into direct contact with any surface you sit on. You know that you will put it on and discover a new hole in the hem, but you will wear it until it’s sheer from age, tattered from use. You dream of finding a gifted tailor, handing them this faded, tattered dress, and asking that they make you five more just like it.

5. Makeup feels wrong, but your face, curiously enough, is dry. There’s the oil you bought late-night on Amazon, there’s the almost-empty tube of tinted something-or-other that you’ve been eking out every last drop from, there’s the full coverage concealer that, in moments of beauty blogger envy, you mix with moisturizer and pat lightly into your cheeks. None of this is right. So…

6. Put sunscreen on your face instead. Sometimes at night, when you fall asleep without the air conditioner on, you have dreams of the summer freckles on your face multiplying before your eyes, growing legs, sprouting tentacles and latching onto each other, growing and pulsing with life, intent to kill. You eschewed sunscreen your whole life, celebrating that bright pink on the bridge of your nose after a day outside, but now if you sit on the roof with a cold glass of water for 20 minutes, your shoulders turn an alarming shade, somewhere between bronze and red. You wear sunscreen, now, because that is what happens when you get older, wiser, or more scared of the skin cancer your mother yelled at you about when you’d come home after a long day of being outside.

7. Give up the cat-eye. Your dexterity for eyeliner application decreases as the temperature rises. If you’re feeling fancy, like you need to flex beyond just an early summer tan and the glow of sweat off your brow, put on some eyeliner, but don’t be surprised when you walk into work and find that it has melted. They don’t make eyeliner strong enough to withstand the drip of an errant AC unit on the street, so put it down, and use the mascara instead. Lashes are eternal.

8. Lipstick is the only thing you need. Every color looks good with a face that’s seen some sun, but you will surely need to cycle through every color you have in front of you before leaving the house. The fuchsia is too festive, the tangerine too garish, but something about the coral that stains your mouth permanently like a neon Popsicle is 100 percent correct.

9. Just air dry.  Hair dries pleasantly in the weather, or not at all, but the humidity lends a frizziness to it that seems charming. There’s no use in taming whatever’s going to happen up there, so just let it live.

10. You made it so celebrate. There are clothes on your body, your face is presentable, and you feel like you can do something, even if that something is just walking down the street, dropping a check in the mail and walking back to your apartment to embrace your AC unit. This pared down routine is not a concession to the weather. You did not lose. You saw what was coming for you, and you adjusted accordingly. Summer is yours for the taking.

Image via Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski