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Expert Speaks—A Comprehensive Summer Beauty Guide by Leading Celebrity Makeup Artist Namrata Soni

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Namrata Soni

The summer months usually bring an influx of challenges and questions like, "Do I really need to moisturise even if it's 100 degrees outside and my face feels oily?” (Spoiler alert: Yes.) And while a perfect routine may work for you year-round, there are important steps and care one must keep in mind as the weather gets warmer. So, since we take the process of product selection very seriously, we turned to A-list makeup and hair guru and founder of Simply Nam (@simplynam.beauty), Namrata Soni for a detailed summer beauty guide with a bunch of her personal recommendations that she leans to during toasty temperatures. Keep reading as she breaks it down one formula at a time.

As told to Beauty Book editor, Lakshmi Nayar by Namrata Soni

“The first thing that I like to do is switch my skincare completely”

“Since we’ve stepped into very hot weather in India, the first thing that I like to do is switch my skincare completely. I like to cut down the number of products I layer on my skin. I would suggest not loading up your skin with a lot of products but instead only use what you really need. For me, that includes an eye cream, a good moisturiser and lip balm, other than sunscreen,” confirms Soni. “If you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, make sure to keep a mist handy, preferably rose water. You can spritz it throughout the day because it really calms irritated or sensitive skin, especially during the hotter months. 'The brands I love for rose water are Indulgeo Essentials, Kama Ayurveda, and Forest Essentials.'

“For skincare in general, Cetaphil is fantastic, plus it’s pretty pocket-friendly too. There are a few great Korean brands that I turn to like Sulwhasoo, and Innisfree. I also love skincare formulas by Estee Lauder, Dior, Clarins. When it comes to a good sunscreen, I use the Brinton UV Doux. It’s brilliant and is also mattifying so it basically doesn’t allow your skin to get too oily. There’s also Isdin, which is more of a water-based sunscreen that I recommend for dry skin. For eye creams, I go for Bobby Brown, Estee Lauder, or Innisfree. One of my favourites is the Anise Intensive Eye Cream by Forest Essentials. A good lip balm or lip mask that I love is the Simply Nam Awakening Lip Mask.”

When it comes to moisturising your skin during summer, I highly recommend sticking to a product that suits and fits your skin type. If you have oily skin, you could go for a gel or serum-based moisturiser, especially for the hotter months. If you have sensitive skin, I suggest using a medicated or specific moisturiser that suits your concern. For dry skin, I’d still not recommend a very heavy or creamy moisturiser, but one that gives your skin a boost of hydration but it will also not allow your skin to get flaky. That’s when a good sheet mask comes into play, which is great once or twice a week to nourish your skin. You have some great sheet masks available including the bio-cellular coconut fibre mask by Simply Nam”, she advises.

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“What you use for winter will not work for summer”

“For haircare, switch up your shampoo. What you use for winter will not work for summer. During the Indian summer, you’ll notice your scalp getting a bit oiler than usual. I would recommend shampooing your hair on alternate days, especially if you have an oily scalp. The longer you wait to wash your hair—in my experience—the more hair tends to fall when you finally wash it. Switch to a lighter shampoo which removes build-up from your hair, clarifying shampoos, minty shampoos, which just allows your hair to be a lot more refreshed.

If your hair gets very oily every day, I would recommend opting for a good dry shampoo. There are some really good ones available from Batiste, and Wella. The only thing you need to remember is that when you use dry shampoo on your hair, make sure to switch to cold-blast on your hairdryer and brush your hair out right after using the product. Because once you spray it on, residue tends to build up after some time and you don’t want that. Also, after your shower, use a good hair serum. I personally love the L'Occitane Damaged Hair Intensive Repairing Oil. The Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil by is great too. I would recommend taking some time out every once or twice a week for a moisturising treatment for your hair because we land up washing our hair a lot more in the summer. This tends to make your hair very dry and rough. So, it's always good to add a boost of moisture to your hair that will allow it to look healthy and shiny.”

“You can also turn to vitamin tablets that are specifically meant for hair growth and skin. Have one tablet a day for about three months during the summer. Consult with your hair or skin doctor for this. It might help in boosting the blood circulation to your skin and hair”, Soni suggests.

“Coming to hair colours, I think red is always in fashion. But also a lot of funky colours like pinks are trending too this year. Everything from light pinks to brights pinks will be very popular among the younger generations. For older generations what’s really trending currently are caramel browns and a lot of people are going for platinum with highlights and low-lights.”

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“During a patch test, swatch on the side of your face, and not on your hand, wrist or neck”

“When it comes to makeup during the summer, less is more. If you have acne-prone skin, or spots and marks, then you need some coverage on your face. What I’ve seen a lot of people do, is work on their skincare, then go about with their chores and apply their makeup after 30 to 40 minutes. The moisture ensures your makeup doesn’t cake up, lasts longer, and stays a whole lot fresher.”

“I don’t necessarily think you need a primer for your skin if you’re using a good moisturiser, followed by sunscreen. Give your skin about 30 seconds or a minute to soak in the moisture and then apply a little bit of concealer for your under eyes, and on any blemishes or dark areas on your face. Blend it well with your fingers or a beauty sponge. Follow this up with a loose or compact powder. A good compact powder that gives you enough coverage is important. It actually looks great on top of a concealer and you don’t need to add another layer of foundation. For me, this is a less-is-more summer trick where I completely skip foundation,” she shares.

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“If you have any dark circles, use a colour corrector and then a dot of concealer under each eye and pat some concealer over your chin area, or any marks that you may have. I love the Clinique Beyond Perfecting Super Concealer Camouflage in Apricot, and the Bobbi Brown Corrector- Dark Peach, MAC, Kiko Milano, and LA Girl also offer some great colour correctors.”

“I love the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Radiant Concealer and the Bobbi Brown Skin Concealer Stick. Budget-friendly offerings like the L.A. Girl concealers, L'Oréal’s Infallible range and the Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Eraser Multi-Use Concealers are also a few of my favourites,” says Soni. “If you’re someone who enjoys wearing foundation, then make sure you go for an oil-free foundation if you have oily or sensitive skin. And if you have normal to dry skin, opt for a dewy, moisturising foundation. I would recommend Bobbi Brown and Smashbox's oil-free foundations. Nykaa Cosmetics has a great range of mattifying foundations, from their All Day Matte collection.”

“Also, find a shade that suits you. Don’t wear a foundation that is lighter. During a patch test, swatch on the side of your face, and not on your hand, wrist or neck. Because the colours on all the different parts of your body can be very different from that of your face. For a good compact powder, I would suggest the M.A.C Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation—it’s still one of the best compact powders in the industry. It can be used wet or dry. When you move from wet to dry, the compact powder gives your face very good coverage without feeling too heavy on your skin. Kay Beauty also has a great compact powder and Anastasia Beverly Hills has a fantastic loose powder that I absolutely love.”

For the eyebrows, stick to what suits you best, whether it’s a full brow you’re going for or if you prefer it dry and natural. I would prefer using a pencil over powder any day, especially during summer or rainy months in India. Because if your face gets wet, the powder will run, while a pencil has a more oily base that sticks to your eyebrows longer. Benefit Cosmetics has some fantastic eyebrow enhancers. I really like their Powmade Brow Pomade and their precision pencils that are great for eyebrows.”

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“Don’t be boring and do black”

“For the eyes, I suggest sticking to beautiful liquid eyeliners and smudge-free kajal pencils in lovely pop colours— don’t be boring and do black. I would say go for a lovely brown, a beautiful blue, and green for the summers. These are darker colours that allow the brown of Indian eyes to pop. You can go for MAC liners, Smashbox, Colorbar and more. Coming to eyeshadows, Kay Beauty has some lovely 9-in-1 palettes. Anastasia, Huda Beauty, and Charlotte Tilbury also offer some nice options too. Lighter mauvish colours are perfect for a more neutral or simple summer makeup look. Also on Indian skin tones, deeper colours like olives, greens and blues look great.”

“While OTT glitter and holographic colours are trending due to the hit television series, Euphoria, I’d still recommend them once summer is over because they look a lot better during winters. In India, most glitter or holographic makeup has an oily and creamy base that just doesn’t work during the warmer months. It will run after a point. It might get messy or separated. If you still want to wear glitter during summer, you could wear it in the evenings but avoid daytime glitter. You can go for some shimmer or shine on your lips or nails too. There are some amazing glitter or holographic lip glosses and nail paints that work very well for the season.”

“For your lips, I would recommend going for liquid lipsticks, lip butters or lip oils, depending on your lips. If I’m going to work, I would use a liquid lipstick that doesn’t move and also keeps my lips very hydrated. If you have dry lips, you should go for a nice lip butter that leaves a light sheen on your lips. You could also use oil or a gloss for added shine. I would definitely recommend the Simply Nam Ultra-Matte Lipsticks, Hydrating Lip Butters as well as the Lip Oils,” she suggests.

“If you have oily skin, you can go for a mousse or powder-based blush. You can even go for a cream to powder formula that’s not too creamy, otherwise, the blush will bleed and your skin will get oilier. I personally love the blush formulations by Bobbi Brown, Charlotte Tilbury, M.A.C, Estee Lauder, and Dior.”

“When it comes to the highlighter, my favourite trick is to apply a liquid highlighter before you start your makeup. I love the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, and the High Beam Liquid Highlighter by Benefit Cosmetics. It just adds the right amount of glow. Just have fun with highlighters. For the day, try something subtle and in the evenings you switch it up with something more holographic, or glittery.”

“If you’re someone who does not want to put too much makeup on, but still want to look like you have done just a little something, use a good eyelash curler and a lengthening, lifting mascara that is waterproof. Use two swipes of mascara, just enough to make you look wide-eyed and beautiful.”

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“I don’t step out of my house without these 7 things”

“My beauty kit (especially when I travel) will always have a rosewater mist because I have very sensitive skin. I have my lip butter that I also use as a blush and my eyebrow pencil. A lipstick, mascara, compact powder and sunscreen. I don’t step out of my house without these 7 things.”

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