These Minimalist Makeup Products Are the Perfect Recipe for Hot Girl Summer

The last calendar year has changed a lot about our beauty practices. From co-signing more low-maintenance hair choices to adopting mask-friendly makeup and carrying out more at-home beauty treatments than ever before, we've amended every aspect of our hair, makeup, skincare, and nail routines to suit our socially distanced lives. And we don't know about you, but after being robbed of Hot Girl Summer 2020, we're feeling the urge to show out this solstice season. That's why all summer 2021, we'll be leaning into the most fitting trend that also happens to be so pretty: minimalist makeup.

Now, minimalist makeup might not sound all that exciting, but it can be a lot more fun than its name suggests. Remember when Beyonce had us all shouting "I woke up like this" a few years ago? Well, minimalist makeup brings that notion to life via glowy highlighter, subtly shimmery lids, flushed lips and cheeks, and bushy brows. Can you say swoon?

While this type of makeup look requires less perfecting than your run-of-the-mill full face of Instagram makeup, there's still an order of operations that yields the best results. Thankfully, we've been studying the recipe and have come up with an edit of all the best products for creating the most gorgeous minimalist makeup looks all summer. Keep scrolling to see them all.

Prep: Skincare

Minimalist makeup products



TikTok hasn't been the same since this glow-inducing serum blew up on the app. The most popular makeup creators swear by it to set the stage for dewy, glazed skin.

This brightening, lightweight moisturiser is the perfect follow-up to the aforementioned dew drops if you're looking for juicy, plumped-up skin without the greasy feeling of a heavy moisturiser. It's formulated with watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, and botanicals to boost radiance and smooth out texture.

There are some crazy good before-and-afters out there demonstrating how well this colour-correcting cream is able to neutralise redness in the skin. It's a thick cream that goes on green before changing colours to match your skin. Chances are if you're dealing with redness, you've got a fair to medium skin tone, and that's the demo this product works best for. Many reviewers have said it's a little too thick to layer under a foundation, so it may be best used in place of a complexion product that would feel too heavy in tandem with this cream.

The hydrating prowess of hyaluronic acid isn't a new discovery, but still, the internet has managed to unearth yet another way it can be used. In addition to spreading the serum all over the face to attract moisture throughout the day, makeup artists are now calling out HA's hand in creating the most seamless concealer coverage. The method involves tapping the stuff directly into the under-eye area before layering and blending concealer for the most flawless finish.

Here it is: the perfect primer to cap off your skincare and makeup prep routine. This primer is downright famous. It's meant to hydrate and smooth the skin while also gripping makeup for lasting looks that won't slide or face.

Perfect: Lightweight Complexion Products

Minimalist makeup products



Gigi Hadid called this out as one of her go-to everyday makeup picks and the rest, as they say, is history. This glowy gel can be layered under foundation, mixed with foundation, tapped into high points of the face as highlighter, or even worn on its own to subtly blur and create a soft glow. It's truly a unicorn product you can't be without this summer.

This brand-new skin tint from Fenty Beauty dropped just in time for the warm-weather updates that will soon befall our makeup routines. Pros always stress the importance of lightweight formulas this time of year (and all year if you have mature skin), and this one is already getting rave reviews for its skin-like, blurring effect.

This tinted moisturiser is TikTok-famous for its ability to impart a filter of perfect, dewy skin without going oily. It's an ideal base for an "I woke up like this" look.

This option can be used on both the face and body and is waterproof and sweat-resistant, so it can stand up to all the Hot Girl activities on your summer social calendar. The shade range is also absolute fire.

This foundation is selling out fast, so if you've been interested in trying it you'd better grab your shade before it's gone! A high-coverage formula might not sound like the obvious choice for summer but its so melty and hydrating that it literally meshes with your skin for a fresh, matte finish. Plus, you can apply just a thin layer or build it up. Bonus points because it can also act as a spot concealer and under-eye brightener.

Enhance: Blush, Bronzer, and Highlighter

Minimalist makeup products



In keeping with the tools-optional vibe of minimalist makeup, this cream blush is another super-blendable pigment that can be spread easily with one's fingers. Even better, it can be tapped onto the eyelids and lips for a subtle, rosy monochrome moment.

Makeup artists have called out this liquid blush time and again as one of the best go-to blushes across age, skin tone, and skin texture. Bottom line? It's a gem that'll give you that natural, youthful flush no matter what.

This bronzer has been a top pick for years, and for good reason. It instantly adds depth and warmth to the face without looking muddy or overly flat. That's saying a lot for a matte powder product.

This highly pigmented cream bronzer is made with lush mango butter and calming green tea extract to instantly add a summer glow, even if you haven't spent more than a few minutes in the sun since last year. It's perfect for carving out the cheeks and adding a shimmery pop that blends out to a skin-like finish. And if you're feeling spicy, go in with this balm on the eyelids for the perfect minimalist summertime eye look.

And if your want your cheeks to look like a strobe light hit them, you can't go wrong with this highlighter stick from Clinique. 

Emphasise: Lids, Lashes, and Lips

Minimalist makeup products



This weightless jelly eye shadow can be worn sheer for a shimmery veil over the eyelids or layered for more impact. Either way, it's insanely gorgeous.

Let this be your sign to stop sleeping on brown eyeliner. This one is creamy, ultra-pigmented, and can be smudged out for a smouldering, subtly smoky eye look that's almost too good to be true. Plus, it's waterproof so you won't sweat it off this summer.

This mascara is quickly emerging as a frontrunner for long, separated, inky lashes. It's ideal for minimalist faces since it doesn't make the lashes look overly done and instead leaves them accentuated in the most enviable way.

When it comes to minimalist makeup, there's nothing better than products that can do it all. This is one of them! It's a beautiful and ultra-pigmented cream that can be used on the eyes, cheeks, and lips for a wash of colour that can look slightly glossy or amped up to vinyl-like. It's the perfect topper to carry in your purse and layer on top of mask-proof soft matte lips once you're able to reveal your pout.

Speaking of soft matte lip colours, this one is truly phenomenal. Though matte lips may not instantly come to mind when considering minimalist makeup (or summer makeup, for that matter), they hold up the best underneath masks, which we all need right now. This one is creamy and plush and can be blended out for a more diffused, stained lip look.

Final Touches

Minimalist makeup products



Feathered, laminated-looking brows are a simple way to add a little something extra to your minimalist makeup look. This water-activated gel does the trick. It's known to sell out, so be sure to grab one before it goes dark again.

This pomade coats your brow hairs in pigment, making them look fuller and more groomed with just one swipe.

Another natural-looking final touch to take your look to the next level? Freckles! And if you don't have any of your own, this dotting brush helps you create some.

Setting powder gets a bad rap for making the skin look cakey and flat, but that doesn't have to be the case. This powder is silky smooth and can be dusted over the face with a brush or pressed into the skin with a powder puff. The latter method, an old-school makeup artist secret, is quickly gaining traction as one of the best techniques for flawless yet skin-like makeup.

For a minimalist look, you'll want to pour a bit of powder into the center of the puff, fold it in half like a taco, then rub either side together to infuse the powder deep into the puff. Then, gently press and roll it over your oily spots or any area that's shinier than you'd like. Instead of a powdery look, you'll just get a slightly matte effect that still looks like your skin.

This alcohol-free, dual-phase setting spray helps melt makeup into the skin to stay put for up to 12 hours, while also hydrating the skin and proving a dewy glow. It can be used at any phase of your makeup routine that calls for dampening of your skin or a sponge.

Opening image via @evemeetswest.

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