Beauty, Lookbook

8 ultimate tips and tricks to help you glo up for the summer

Do you even glo?

We’ve all seen it.

That beautiful, effortless glow that every Instagram beauty icon or YouTube star manages to create using just a few staple products.

But what is the key to natural, glowing skin? 

It’s challenging to replicate that glow using only makeup products. Our first instinct when we attempt to recreate a “summer glow” is to generously layer primers, liquid highlighters, bronzers, and powders on our skin. This may give you an artificial glow, but layers of product, especially product with shimmer and glitter, will clog your pores and give you anything but clear, luminous skin for the summer.

While getting that summer glow requires mastering a beauty routine, the effort is definitely worth it. After following these tips, your friends will be dying to find out how you got that natural, radiant glow for summer.

1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!

YouTube: ThatsHeart

I can’t tell you how much of a difference this simple step can make in your skin care routine. Not only will it deep cleanse your skin, but it’ll remove all of your dead skin, leaving your skin incredibly smooth. By exfoliating your skin 1-2 times a week, you’ll create a smooth canvas for your makeup and you’ll start to see a subtle glow that you never even knew existed.

There are many exfoliators on the market, so I would recommend researching one that’s good for your skin type. Be sure to experiment with different types of scrubs to prevent skin irritation. For instance, because I have oily/combo skin, I like a harsher scrub with rougher exfoliating beads. If you’re not that big into scrubs, try an electric face scrub to use with your daily cleanser instead. Good skincare is the ultimate first step to flawless makeup!

2. Make facial oils your best friend.

YouTube: Farsali

Any type of moisturizing oil is the perfect ingredient for luscious skin this summer. We’re not talking about the greasy or thick oils you put into your hair, but rather lightweight oils designed for your face to combat dryness and hydrate your skin. My favorite thing to do is use a facial oil right after I’ve exfoliated my skin at night. By letting it sink into my skin overnight, it brightens my complexion and gives me the perfect canvas for my makeup the next day.

If you’re rocking a heavier makeup style, you can sparingly use a little bit of oil in place of your usual moisturizer to give you a glow from underneath your makeup. Another popular way to use skin oil is to add a few drops to your foundation or to your beauty sponge while blending your makeup. This blends your makeup together flawlessly – especially when it comes to cream highlight/contour products that are harder to blend in and make look natural. This is a staple investment for anyone’s beauty routine!

3. Try out *cream* highlighter.

YouTube: Kaushal Beauty

Don’t get me wrong, I swear by powder highlighters (especially Becca highlighters!!), but summer is the one time to put aside those powders. For daytime makeup, cream highlighters are the way to go without a doubt. They’re more concentrated than powders, which means you get an extra glow, and you can even sheer them out to your liking. Personally, I think powders tend to give you more of a cakey look, especially when you’re using other powders to set your makeup in place. The less powder, the better! 

4. Use a luminous foundation primer or foundation for a natural glow.

YouTube: GinsMakeup

Using a luminous foundation all over the skin can be slightly overpowering depending on your skin type and how much glow you’re trying to achieve. Therefore, if you have a foundation designed for a glowy, luminescent appearance, try using it only on the tops of your cheekbones after applying your normal foundation. This will give you a more natural glow since it’s blended into your foundation.

You can even use a face primer with shimmer in it, just concentrating on the areas you want to highlight. After you apply your foundation, the primer will give you a “glow from within” kind of look. 

5. Makeup refresher/setting sprays are LIFE during this time. 

YouTube: Modamob

One of my favorite things ever is my MAC Fix + Spray. It’s a makeup setting spray that you can also use during your makeup routine to ensure that your makeup is blended and isn’t getting TOO cakey. We’re constantly setting our skin with powders to combat oily skin during the summer, which is an essential, but using a makeup spray in between powders and when you’re done with your look can make a huge difference in the way your makeup sets.

There are hundreds of makeup finishing sprays on the market, and they all generally do the same thing. A similar product would be a hydrating toner, which, when used before applying your skin, refreshes skin in preparation for makeup.

Pro tip: if you’ve set your makeup already and you still feel like it looks cakey, take a normal wedge-sponge and spray it with your makeup setting spray. Dab onto the cakey areas of your makeup, and it’ll lift away the excess product on your face. 

6. Be sure to use translucent powder.

YouTube: ModaMob

Ditch full coverage powders for a translucent powder to avoid extra cake on your face. Translucent powders are not only good for baking, but they are also great for setting your foundation. The less powder, the better for your skin and the less cakey your makeup will look. You can even carry around a translucent pressed powder to blot excess oil throughout the day. Be sure to use a translucent powder with a huge, fluffy powder brush to evenly apply the product. You can even transform a lipstick by dabbing a little bit of translucent powder over the top of it to make it matte.

7. Face masks are your best friend.

YouTube: TheBeautyBreakdown

If you find that your skin is getting a little out of control during the hot summer months, try using a clay based face mask to get rid of excess oil and trapped dirt. This will effectively clean out your pores and leave your skin super clean. There’s a million face masks on the market, and each one typically works the same. Use it at night after exfoliating your face and before applying your moisturizing oil for the best results ever! 


YouTube: Amela Nuhanovic

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of bronzer year-round, but I love it for the summer. Nothing screams “summer glow” than the perfect shimmering bronzer you can swipe all over your cheekbones and neck. Try a baked bronzer for a subtle glow that applies sheer. However, if you want to ditch the shimmer, go for a cool toned matte bronzer a few shades darker than your skin tone to add some warmth to your skin.

Bronzer is NOT the same as contour, so you can totally be more liberal with your application since it doesn’t need to be precise.

  • Fatima Ali

    Fatima Ali is at the University of San Francisco, studying Politics and Computer Science. She's passionate about journalism and social justice, and believes that everyone's voice deserves to be heard. When she's not writing a new article for her school newspaper, she's most likely watching Empire, online shopping, or obsessing over makeup.