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Violet Grey's artist community selects the very best of summer beauty.
Summer complexions, like the season’s peek-a-boo bathing costumes, beckon for a less-is-more approach. Bare, sun-kissed skin is meant to glow, highlighted only with bronzer, embellished only with flashes of color, covered only with SPF. In preparation, the industry’s savviest makeup artists (who tend to clients like Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts, Jessica Alba and Julianne Moore) insist on paring down winter’s makeup bag. Heavy creams, full-coverage foundations and dark red lips are replaced with lightweight moisturizers, safe sun necessities and bright pops of peach and coral. Along with summer’s kicky, leg-baring skirts and pedicure flaunting sandals, consider these products to be your summer essentials.

The 
Essentials

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“Ask any makeup artist what the best beauty secret is and they will say sunscreen. It's your best defense against wrinkles, sun spots and sun damage. This sunscreen goes on in a soft mist, ensuring coverage for every inch of skin.”.

— FIONA STILES, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“The best gel eyeliner: It glides on perfectly, stays put all day, and it is so easy to apply, correct and clean if you make a mistake.”

— MONIKA BLUNDER, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“By Terry liquid blush delivers a sheer wash of color to enliven the face.”

— PATI DUBROFF, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“Tinted moisturizer helps add a wash of even glow without feeling too heavy on the skin.”

— PATI DUBROFF, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“Even if you aren't wearing makeup, adding a bit of highlighter to the tops of cheekbones, eye lids and along the nose adds dimension to the face. Highlighter, a touch of mascara and a beautiful lip color gives you an easy, glamourous summer look.”

— FIONA STILES, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“I'm into the classics this summer like a perfect red nail, which looks great with sun-kissed skin.”.

— DEBBIE LEAVITT, NAIL ARTIST

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“This goes on like a mask that you put on at night. It has a nice texture, and you will wake up looking refreshed and sun-kissed with a very natural, even tan.”

— SABRINA BEDRANI, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“Not too bold, not too light, this mid-tone coral looks bright and fresh and feels like summer captured in makeup. The texture is great for the summer months, like a lipstick with a touch of glossiness, or a gloss without the stickiness.”

— FIONA STILES, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“It’s very important to exfoliate before applying self tanner, but you must scrub the day before you tan. Scrubbing the day of will result in a streaky tan that doesn’t last. African Botanics detox scrub is perfect as its both smoothing and hydrating. Apply on dry skin for a more intense treatment, in the shower for a gentle scrub, or put a dollop in the tub for the ultimate detoxifying soak.”

— Merrady Wickes, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“Pink Crush by Tom Ford is my favorite nail color for summer! This baby pink is soft enough to compliment your skin tone yet bright and playful enough for summer. Coordinating your summer attire with this color will be a breeze since it is a classy essential that works well with everything.”

— STEPHANIE STONE, NAIL ARTIST

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“All of Laura Mercier creme blushes are gorgeous, but Canyon is my favorite for summer. It's a perfectly, peachy-tawny tone which is a great base for bronzer or as an added pop of glow on top of a tan.”

— MOLLY R. STERN, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“If you don't have time to let those self-tanners work, but you still want a beautiful, even, sun kissed body, this instant body bronzing cream is perfect: Dries within minutes, goes on evenly and won't transfer onto your clothes. Unlike a gradual self-tanner, this one washes off in your next shower.”

— SABRINA BEDRANI, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“Traditionally, a deep green like Tropic would be reserved for colder fall months, but the unexpected depth in tone for summer feels unusually fresh. For best results, wear with all-white and a tan.”

— JENNA HIPP, NAIL ARTIST

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“This makes your skin look amazing with a luminous, dewy finish. If you have combination skin, set the foundation with powder in the T-Zone area to eliminate excess dewiness.”.

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“It is essential to hydrate the skin prior to using self-tanner to avoid dry patches especially in areas like elbows and knees.”

— SABRINA BEDRANI, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“YSL Bleu Majorelle Nail Lacquer is the perfect pop of color for summer. This shade will make you and your summer tan stand out, plus it's the perfect royal blue for all skin tones!”

— KAREN GUTIERREZ, NAIL ARTIST

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“Sunscreen on your hands is an absolute summer essential. Hands show some of the first signs of aging so it is important to keep them protected as much as your face! La Mer Reparative Sun Lotion SPF 30 will not only protect your hands from the sun but, also keep them moisturized (without leaving them feeling sticky). Be sure to apply about 30 minutes before sun exposure.”

— STEPHANIE STONE, NAIL ARTIST

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“Mascara is my desert island product. A face just isn’t done without mascara. I love the rich carbon black of this product and the fullness and definition it gives.”

— FIONA STILES, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“I love a liquid line on bronzed skin, and this Hourglass calligraphy pen has great wear. The Cognac shade is a perfect because it is brown and dark without edge.”

— MOLLY R. STERN, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“Doll by RGB is a nude that is endlessly flattering. Its opaque coverage gives it a mod feeling and it's the one polish that I find very chic to match on fingers and toes.”

— WHITNEY GIBSON, NAIL ARTIST

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“In the summer, I like to keep the eyes simple with perfectly curled lashes.”

— PATI DUBROFF, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“Smudge this pencil close to the lash line. It will add a hint of bronze shimmer to the eye and deliver definition along the lashes.”

— PATI DUBROFF, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“This is the ultimate summer color for me and I love Tom Ford polish because it stays on for a long time.”

— MONIKA BLUNDER, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“We get so hot and sweaty in the summer, moisturizer can feel heavy. However, our skin still needs it. I love this Revive moisturizer because it has a lightweight feel and finish but it provides effective SPF 30 protection.”

— Molly R. Stern, Makeup Artist

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“Waterproof mascara is a must for the summer heat! Dior’s is a great choice because it stays on, but it’s not harsh, and it doesn’t break the lashes.”

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“I love how moisturizing the formula is and how it helps to plump up lips and keeps them looking smooth.”

— MONIKA BLUNDER, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“This particular La Mer moisturizer is not too heavy, and it gives the face a light touch of hydration while providing protection.”

— PATI DUBROFF, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“Summer is hot and sticky. You don’t want to wear a ton of makeup, but you don’t want to be shiny and sweaty either. A light translucent powder is key to tame shine and stay polished. This one doesn’t load you up with pigment and is delightfully transparent.”

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“A nude nail polish is great any time of the year including summer! A nude polish will draw attention to a flawless manicure creating a subtle contrast, which looks amazing against tanned skin. Perfect for the girls who are not as into bold colors.”

— KAREN GUTIERREZ, NAIL ARTIST

Lessons on 
SPF

Choose the best sunscreen for you this summer.