Aaah, summer. There's nothing quite like it: Long, lingering days of sweltering heat and near-dripping humidity. Days during which you try to -- from air-conditioned car to air-conditioned office before your hair begins to frizz, your makeup to melt.
What's the alternative when the temperatures soar? Give up? Refuse ever to leave the air conditioning?
Possibly. But there are ways to keep your cool -- and to look cool, too -- even when the heat and humidity seem merciless.
Here's what's in and what's out this summer in makeup styles -- as well as a few basic tips from beauty experts on how to chill out while creating hot summer looks.
As Ida Stewart, vice president of Estee Lauder says, "You can't do anything about the temperature, but you can change your clothes, your eating habits and you can do similar things with makeup."
The truly fashion forward this summer are looking back -- that's back to the '60s with its sexy, heavy-lidded eyes and pale, colored lips.
And, of course, in true fashion form, a nearly opposite look is also popular: It's the "super, super, next-to-nothing natural look," says Jocelyn Byrne, assistant manager of cosmetics for Nordstrom at Tyson's Corner.
Face it, maintenance is the foundation of beauty, says Pablo Manzoni, makeup consultant for La Prairie. The key words for a beautiful look, he says, are "clean, protection and discreet."
And whatever else you do, all the experts say, wash your face morning and night, and moisturize. The thought of anyone going to bed at night without removing all traces of makeup fills Mr. Manzoni with such horror that he nearly stutters: "Those filthy creatures, am I to assume they don't brush their teeth either?"
Experts are also unanimous on the necessity of protecting the complexion from the sun -- all the time. A multitude of new products from an Oil of Olay moisturizer with a built-in SPF 15 to Estee Lauder's "See-Through Summer" lipsticks that come in five shades with an SPF of 4 is on the market.
In addition, says Ms. Stewart of Estee Lauder, "The trend right now is toward the '7-11 makeups' -- quick, quick, quick."
If beating the heat -- and the clock -- is your aim, check out products with double functions. For example, Elizabeth Arden's "Flawless Finish" is a moisturizer, a foundation and a sun screen of SPF 6. And Immunage UV Defense lotion works as body lotion and protection from the sun.
Another new quick-use product is "Zero Oil" by Origins, a moisturizing finish worn either under or over foundation that's billed as an "instant matte finish" or a $10 makeup that banishes shine.
And shiny noses, to say nothing of foreheads or chins, are of particular concern in the summer, says Mr. Manzoni. "I tell everyone to bring a compact, it's the least you can do."
Indeed powder is causing a flurry as it makes a comeback, says Ms. Byrnes of Nordstrom. "It doesn't get so oily, and [some] foundations, when in the sun, can change the color of your complexion." What's new about powders is that many -- such as the loose or pressed powder (about $24) by Erno Laszlo -- are being manufactured with ingredients to control oil as well as setting your makeup and providing a matte finish to your face.
If in all this heat, your makeup seems too heavy, lighten up. "Use oil-free or water-based foundation if one has the necessity of using foundation," says Mr. Manzoni. Or, "Use a very thin foundation -- possibly diluted with moisturizer. The way to do it? Fold and blend in the palm of your hand. Simply mix and apply a thinner version."
And for hair, says Ms. Stewart, the look is "clean, clean, clean." Whatever the style or color (hey, even if it's not your real color) hair needs protection from the elements, too. If you hang out at the beach or pool, try conditioning your hair, slicking it back in a big headband or pony tail -- and leaving the conditioner on. Or, wear a hat.
"If your hair isn't bouncy and clean and freshly done, wear a simple turban. It's a wonderful way to look very finished . . . you can look like a movie star," says Mr. Manzoni.
Getting the looks
Whichever look you choose -- retro or natural -- the eyes are in the limelight: "Attention was on the lips and now in true fashion -- it has gone to the eyes," says Susan Arnot, public relations director for Elizabeth Arden. "It's really not cheeks."
And with both looks, eyebrows are important, says Ms. Byrne. No, not the high, arched wings of the past, but brows that are somewhat more sculpted than Brooke Shields but are more natural than say, Lucille Ball's.
To tame eyebrows, Ms. Byrne recommends using an eyebrow brush to brush forward, then use a eyebrow pencil both to color
and smooth the brow into place. "People are not plucking, but are perhaps shaping just a little."