One of my favorite things about summer is the never-ending pool parties. There’s nothing like socializing and listening to awesome music while getting a tan on a giant flamingo float. Lucky for me, there’s always a good amount of pool parties in this Florida college town, even in December.
As much as I love pool party hopping at all the apartment complexes around me, putting on makeup for events like that can be tricky. When going to places like the pool, the beach, or a water park, you’ll probably look silly to a lot of people if you’re wearing a heavy glam look, and you’ll look even sillier when it ends up smeared all over your face. Natural looks are usually best, but if I’m going to a pool party, I want to wear a little more than mascara, so I came up with a light look that has a few things to make it pop. Also a lot of the products I used are hydrating, protective, and lightweight so that sweating won’t make you feel like you are shedding a layer of skin.
There’s a quick sequential rundown below, but if you want something more in-depth, keep scrolling for a step by step guide, explanations, and product reviews!
Primer – Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water
BB Cream – Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water
Concealer – MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Concealer
Highlighter – BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter Shade: Champagne
Contour – tarte Tarteist Contour Palette
Setting Powder – e.l.f. High Definition Powder
Entire Eyelid – Anastasia Modern Renaissance Palette Shade: Golden Ochre
Brow Bone + Inner Corner – Anastasia Modern Renaissance Palette Shade: Tempera
Crease – MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadows 9 v2 Shade: D-552 Crystalline Gray Beige
Upper Lash Line – MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadows 9 v2 Shade: ME-512 Golden Beige
Inner Corner + Lower Lash Line – MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadows 9 v2 Shade: ME-700 Amber
Eyeliner – Too Faced Sketch Marker Liquid Art Eyeliner Shade: Pure White
Mascara – MILK MAKEUP Ubame Mascara
Lipstick – Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick Shade: Plath
Step 1: Primer
As with any makeup look that you want to last, you need to start with a good primer. The Smashbox Photo Finish Water Primer that I used in this look is amazing. I’ve been pretty loyal to the Smashbox Photo Finish Light primer for awhile [find my review here], but when it was time to reup I thought I would give this a try instead.
If it wasn’t in a cute, decorative, bottle labeled “PRIMER WATER,” then I probably would’ve mistaken it for just plain old water. It definitely looks like regular water, and not much changes after you apply it. When you [conveniently] spray it onto your face, it feels more like cooling down by misting yourself with a spray bottle than it does applying a makeup product.
I was a little skeptical at first, because I didn’t notice a factor that clearly set apart the primer from normal water, but I was pleasantly surprised when my makeup lasted for hours. Not only did my makeup stay on, but my skin got some hydration, which is especially important to have while spending time in the sun.
It can also be used as a setting spray or mid-day pick-me-up, making it a great must-have for your purse, backpack, gym bag, or beach tote. Plus, you can never go wrong with a product that’s lightweight, oil-free, alchohol-free, AND silicon-free.
Step 2: BB Cream
I prefer the matte finish that you get from a powdered foundation, but I also prefer the coverage that you get from a liquid foundation. Layering the two can feel like a lot of product and slightly cakey, so instead of wearing a liquid foundation under a powder, I wear BB cream.
It doesn’t give as much coverage as a liquid would, but it still gives a fairly good amount, more than what you would get from a standard tinted moisturizer, and, it’s not as heavy on the face. BB creams also create a good base by smoothening the skin and evening out the skin tone, allowing a more fluid application of your foundation.
On top of corrective qualities, BB creams are generally moisturizing, hydrating, and have antioxidants that are good for your skin, which is another reason I choose them for a little extra coverage over anything else. Many of the ones currently on the market, including this one from Smashbox, have sun protection mixed in too, making an ideal choice for a pool party, or any other outdoor summer activity. But although you can get some sunblock with BB creams, you should always use actual sunscreen [before primer], when preparing for a long day outside.
Like the Smashbox primer, this BB cream is water based, so it is lightweight and feels light on the skin. The texture seems kind of thin and runny, but one layer is completely enough, and it blends effortlesly with a beauty blender.
With lighter looks, such as this one, I’m satisfied with the BB cream and concealer alone, but if you’re trying to recreate it and feel like you need more coverage, feel free to add a foundation on top, or stick to foundation alone.
Step 3: Concealer
There’s a lot of debate about whether concealer should go before or after your foundation, but I choose to put it before foundation and after BB cream.
While the purpose of concealer is masking blemishes, it isn’t the only thing giving them coverage, your other foundations, and in this case BB cream, are too. It’s easier to see and conceal your flaws on a bare face, but it’s also easier to use product on areas that would otherwise be perfectly covered with a foundation. And, there’s always the possibility of overestimating how much product you actually need and ending up with cakey spots when your look is finished.
Since BB cream evens out the skin tone, you’ll be able to get a better idea of where exactly you need to apply concealer, and you’ll end up saving product, and in the long run, your wallet. I also feel like I get a smoother transition by blending the concealer into the BB cream instead of vice versa. This method allows the foundation to “set” the concealer and smooth out any unevenness, and i’m still blending my my concealer into something that is foundation-like.
If I don’t use foundation after BB cream, then I don’t worry about it as long as I make sure to take the time to blend anything major I happen to see. With this specific BB cream/concealer combo, one thing I have to look out for is color. I love MAKE UP FOR EVER’s Ultra HD Concealer, but it has a creamy orange tint that doesn’t match my other face products. The coverage isn’t a problem, but I have to make sure I blend enough or else I’ll have patches of uneven color on my face.
Step 4: Highlighter
I use highlighter in all of my makeup looks, and it’s probably one of my favorite steps because it can give the most natural look, like my “no makeup makeup look,” some pizazz, or make a glam look extra glamorous. Maybe it’s just me, but something about making your face illuminate is a confidence booster. Applying a quick highlight before going to the grocery store instantly lifts my mood, even if it’s the only makeup I have on.
Usually, I use BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter, but for occasions like a pool party, I use the pressed powder version instead. Both of them are beautiful, pigmented, and radiant, but liquids tend to run when exposed to water or sweat, and having uneven shimmery streaks down your face is not cute. Plus, powder in general is lighter and your skin won’t feel as greasy at the end of the day than if you were to use liquid.
Step 5: Contour
A noticeable pink blush, even if it’s light, doesn’t always fit the natural, warm, summertime activity look, but a subtle contour will give you a bronzed glow, up your selfie game, and add warmth to your face so you don’t look washed out.
The Tarte “tarteist” Contour Palette appears in several of my other beauty posts, but that’s because I love it so much and can find many uses for it. I’ve used it so much that I’m pretty much entirely out of the lighter of the two contouring shades it comes with.
The second shade is a bit dark for me, but If I apply it lightly on the hollows of my cheek and sides of my forehead and nose, I can blend it in enough to make it work as contour and a bronzer.
You can always use a seperate contour and bronzer, or one or the other, but I feel like it’s easier to make it a 2-in-1. Merging the two is faster, more convenient, and doesn’t use as much product as using them separately.
Step 6: Set
To even everything out and get a smooth finish, I dust a layer of translucent powder over my face. I really like the e.l.f. High Definition Powder because it gives me that matte finish, but it tends to build up in small crevices and cake if too much is applied in one spot, and the pad it comes with doesn’t help either. Loose bristled brushes reduce this issue enough to keep me using it, but for six dollars, I’m not complaining.
Step 7: Eyeshadow
This is where it starts to get a little more fun and a little less natural. I think shimmery eyeshadows are great for pool parties, and similar laid back outdoor events, when not paired with other bold eye makeup. They’re edgy, fun, and will stand out against a look that is mostly natural. It’s not full glam, but glam enough to make you feel fabulous and fresh.
For a base, I use the shades Golden Ochre and Taper from the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern RenaissanceRpalette. I sweep Golden Orcher over my entire lid because the yellow tone somewhat matches my skin, and I use Taper to highlight my brow bone and inner corner because it’s light and matte, and I don’t want to take anything away from the other shimmery shades about to be added.
The MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadows 9 v2 palette is entirely made up of sparkly shadows, and any of them would be a good choice to use, but I’m sticking with the the top middle (D-552 Crystalline Gray Beige) to keep the neutral color scheme going. I blend it into my crease with a blending brush, and stroke the golden shade on it’s right (ME-512 Golden Beige) across my upper lash line.
There’s so much more you can do with these, but I stop after dabbing the middle right bronze shade (ME-700 Amber) into my inner corner and smudging it across my lower lash line.
The shimmer didn’t photograph very well, and it looks a bit messy on my eye, but in person it definitely looks clean and vibrant. Also, I’m pretty sure this palette was discontinued, but you can find related MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadow palettes at Sephora and MAKE UP FOR EVER‘s website.
Step 8: Eyeliner
When wearing heavy eyemakeup to the pool, racoon face can be inevitable. It’s even worse when it comes as a shock because that “waterproof eyeliner/mascara” wasn’t so waterproof. However, getting drenched in water isn’t the only way to end up with black rings around your eyes, a lot of times sweating causes black or other dark eyeliner to smudge and spread down your under eye.
I always like to wear eyeliner because it makes my small eyes pop, but since black isn’t the best choice for a pool party, I went with the exact opposite: white. White eyeliner brightens your eyes, and if it starts to smear, it’ll be practiclaly invisible, and if anything, easy to wipe away. Something about it is so chic, and it’s the perfect color for summer.
I used a Too Faced Sketch Marker Liquid Art Eyeliner to outline my eyes like I normally would with black: thick on the upper lash line and waterline. It has a calligraphy style tip so it glides on easily, but it might take a couple of strokes to get what you’re looking for.
The one thing I do really dislike is that the tip gets very dirty, very fast, because it’s [obviously] white. I’m sure that’s not an issue with the darker shades, and so far it hasn’t affected the color of the application, but it makes me sad because the purity of the white was so pretty to look at.
Step 9/10: Mascara/Lipstick
I chose this mascara because it’s more natural looking, SUPER lightweight, and doesn’t flake. I love the mascaras that give you “falsie lengths,” but I feel like they’re too much for a pool look, and the thickness is more likely to give you the dreaded raccoon eyes.
I also wanted to make the shimmery eyeshadow and white eyeliner the center of attention, and a bolder mascara would probably overshadow them. A nude lipstick would definitely make this look a lot more natural, but I chose a deep, rusty, red shade so it would balance out the eyeshadow and liner without being so vibrant that it looks like it doesn’t belong. I’m obsessed with the Everlasting Liquid Lipstick line, it’s the only lipstick I really use anymore, so of course I have nothing but good things to say about it. It doesn’t smear easily, so you should be pretty safe if you get splashed with some water.
If you’re reading this far, I hope you enjoyed the look and found it useful! If you have a go-to summertime/pool party look or product, tell me about it! And as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and suggestions!