Summer is here and the sun is brutal! Which is why you slather on SPF, wear your wide-brimmed sun hat and sit in the shade every time you hit the beach or the pool. Basically, you do everything humanly possible to avoid getting sunburned.
But at some point, you fall asleep. Or decide to take your hat off for just a few minutes to cool off. And before you know it, you’re heading home looking like a tomato—it happens to the best of us. While your first instinct may be to grab your foundation and cover, cover, cover that sunburn, makeup artists say that’s actually not a smart move. What you need to do is recover.
To do that, it’s important to use the right products and makeup techniques to flatter your skin while allowing it to heal. Here, exactly what you'll need, plus, how to pull off a flawless look:
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First, cool your skin.
Aloe vera is the standard go-to remedy for sunburns, but if you don’t have any on hand, the next best solution may be in the refrigerator. “When you get home from the beach or pool, spread a layer of plain yogurt on your face to calm down the burn,” says makeup artist Geoffrey Rodriguez. “Yogurt has lactic acids that are very soothing, and probiotics that nourish the damaged skin. This will minimise the redness.”
Allow the yogurt to cool your burn for 15 to 20 minutes, and then wash it off. Alternatively, place (don’t rub) a cold washcloth over your face to soothe the sunburn.
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Next, wash with a gentle cleanser.
If your normal skincare routine consists of astringent or exfoliating cleansers, you should temporarily swap them out for a gentler product.
“Anything that makes your skin feel tight is too drying when you have a sunburn,” says makeup artist Caitlin Picou, and use your hands to wash your face, not a brush or washcloth. You don’t want to use anything that will be too rough on your skin.”
After washing your face, moisturise with a thick aloe vera-infused face lotion or gentle oil that nourishes and cools the skin. If you can’t avoid heading back outside, apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater, so you don’t worsen the burn.
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Then, use a green colour corrector.
To fake the look of neutral-coloured skin, you’ll need to spread a thin layer of green colour corrector on your face before applying makeup. “Green is the opposite of red on the colour wheel, so it neutralises red,” Picou says. “However, the key is just to use enough to neutralise the red—not cover it. One of the biggest problems I see is people thinking they need a lot of green corrector to cover up the red, but that’ll just turn you green.”
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Follow up with a matte foundation.
Since caked-on makeup accentuates dry skin, use a light foundation and avoid shimmers. “Makeup with shimmer will accentuate the sunburn, while a matte foundation will help conceal it,” says Picou. But not just any foundation will do: “Avoid ‘warm’ foundation, which usually has red undertones, and instead, use ‘cool’ colours, which have blue undertones,” Picou suggests.
Rodriguez says a highlighter may also prove helpful. “This could be a good time to explore using a liquid highlighter. It will distract from any excessive burn,” says Rodriguez. “If you highlight the top of the cheekbones or the brow bone, it will look very flattering.”
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Keep everything else simple.
A cool bronzer might help blend your makeup with your sunburned skin tone, but beyond that, it’s best to keep your makeup natural, fresh and clean. “People might try to overcompensate, but you’ll already have a lot going on [with trying to conceal the redness], so natural is better,” says Picou. “Keep a neutral eye, and stick with a gloss for the lips.”
To feel fresh throughout the rest of the day, consider carrying a hydrating spritzer with you. “I’m obsessed with misters, and I carry them with me personally,” says Rodriguez. “It’s the best way to hydrate and refresh your skin throughout the day. Keeping your skin hydrated will also help prevent future excessive burning.” But remember: You still need to apply your SPF!
First published: 27 Dec 2019