Why Switching To Water-Based Make-Up Is A Summer Essential

jason lloyd-evans

A hot day and a heavy face of make-up do not a happy person make; whether heavy powder or thick unctuous cream, there is nothing worse than layer-upon-layer of product when the sun is out and heat is rising. In step the summer-savvy water-based colour products that impart enough colour to make you feel ‘done’, while still ensuring make-up is as fresh and simple as it is modern. And, crucially, that it stays put.

“Water-based products are much better for summer, a time when we need less make-up,” says pro make-up artist, Mel Arter, “They’re super lightweight, transparent and notably are almost traceless on the skin, meaning you don’t get those tell-tale application marks which are never a good look.” Thanks to their water base (rather than, say, oil or silicone) they act as a veil of colour over skin, much like a tint, that is less likely to clog pores or irritate – perfect for those who suffer with acne. And just like watercolour paints they offer a soft, fresh look that’s both subtle and ethereal, perfect for times when going lightweight is a priority.

Swapping out heavier formulas for these lighter, water-infused ones can do wonders for the quality of skin, too, as many of them contain hydrating ingredients and help skin hold on to moisture for longer. In fact, the easiest and most universally flattering way to tap into the trend is by focusing on the skin: base, highlighter and blusher. “I apply water-based products with a big, soft round brush, like the MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush,” says Arter, “Using a big brush offers a softer application that’s needed with such light formulas.” Her technique? Buffing product in with circular motions – it helps blend seamlessly. And for blush? “Mimic where you would naturally blush – on the apple of the cheek and swept down as opposed to up – you’ll get a natural pinched-cheek effect.”

Here’s Vogue’s pick of the best water-based beauty:

Lumene Instant Glow Fresh Skin Tint

Hydrated skin is happy skin and this pot of BB cream-meets-foundation combines decent coverage with ingredients that quench thirsty skin. Think arctic spring water, red algae to maintain moisture and arctic cloudberry that’s packed with skin defending antioxidants. Glowy skin in a pot.

Lumene Instant Glow Fresh Skin Tint, £32.90, available at Feel Unique.

Chanel Les Beiges Eau de Teint

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more refreshing bronzer than Chanel’s Eau de Teint, a product that contains innovative technology to impart a healthy, natural glow without looking too much. Inside the formula are tiny micro-droplets containing pigment that melt into skin on application, meaning you get both hydrating benefits (from natural tamarind seed extract) and a complexion boost which looks just like your skin, but better.

Chanel Les Beiges Eau de Teint, £48, available at John Lewis.

Rimmel Glitter Gel 300 Long Island

A swish of this water-based, glitter-infused gel leaves a wash of flattering bronze over eyelids; it’s easy to apply on the go, super adhesive to eyes and darker skin tones can use it as a high impact highlighter,

Rimmel Glitter Gel 300 in Long Island, £8.99, available at Superdrug.

Chantecaille Aqua Blush

The quicker the application, the better your morning routine and thanks to its spherical shape, Chantecaille’s Aqua Blush was pretty much made for rolling on, patting in, and running out of the door. Expect colour to fuse seamlessly with skin for an imperceptible rosy glow.

Chantecaille Aqua Blush, £38, available at Net-a-Porter.

YSL Vernis à Lèvres Water Stain

Lip stains are a great entry point for those who fear the smudge of a full-blown lipstick and YSL’s Water Stains are some of the most comfortable (non-sticky, lightweight), pigmented and long-wearing we have found, plus they impart a pretty sheen. Submerged Coral is our pick for all skin tones.

YSL Vernis à Lèvres Water Stain, £29, available at Look Fantastic.

Armani Beauty Neo Nude A-Highlight

Those who prefer a subtle highlighter will love Armani’s Neo Nude highlighter, which adds a sheen without the sparkle or pearlescence often found in other products.

Armani Beauty Neo Nude A-Highlight, £28, available at John Lewis.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup SPF 30

Oil-free, SPF 30, and packed full of antioxidants: there’s little not to love about this water-based foundation, which also promises to stay put for up to 24 hours. It gives quite a light coverage that can be built up if needed and is ideal for those with problem skin because it doesn’t block pores.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup SPF 30, £33.50, available at Feel Unique.

BECCA Hydra-Mist Set and Refresh Powder

A water-infused powder? Surely not! But actually BECCA’s hydra-mist powder is cleverly formulated with 50 per cent water and glycerine, meaning that far from a cakey, powder effect, a dusting of this over your base will actually freshen skin up rather than dry it out.

BECCA Hydra-Mist Set and Refresh Powder, £32, available at Cult Beauty.

Shiseido Visionary Gel Lipsticks

Within this balmy lipstick is first-to-market technology that combines rich pigment with water for a product that flies on and feels comfortable to wear, while delivering intense colour. Best of both worlds.

Shiseido Visionary Gel Lipsticks, £25, available at Cult Beauty.


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