From perfect blush to the best SPF, these are holy-grail staples.
We have big news: Summer is almost here, and if the internet is to be trusted, it's going to be a hot vax summer. Whether or not you have big plans to actually leave your apartment this summer, we can probably all agree that it'll feel good to slather on some sunscreen and get some sun. But—considering our past year—we could use a little inspiration.
So we asked five of our favorite founders to share their top three summer beauty must-haves, so we could just have what they're having, in the immortal words of Meg Ryan. We've already ordered half their suggestions, and the other half are in our carts. What can we say—summer is the best, and effortless beachy beauty never goes out of style.
Founder and CEO, KOLLO
Photo: Courtesy of Nicole Dean
"Osea Body Balm is one of my holy-grail beauty items that I've used for ages. During my pregnancy this past year, I chose to transition all of my traditional body products to those with only clean ingredients, so this was in my daily rotation. Made with gigartina seaweed, the balm is incredibly moisturizing for my perpetually dry summer skin, and I find that it worked wonders to help combat pregnancy stretch marks. Most importantly, it feels amazing, and as an added bonus, the coconut oil gives you a lasting sheen without feeling greasy.
"I recently discovered that finding a non-black mascara is surprisingly difficult! I tend not to wear a lot of makeup in my day-to-day life and avoid heavy black mascara, as it often looks very harsh on my skin tone. I absolutely love Fenty Mascara in Mi$$ Merlot, which is a really beautiful, rich burgundy color. Having green eyes, I find that burgundy and purple mascaras offer a great way to make lighter eye colors pop.
"I'm very much into the dewy skin look and feel, so I love any products that offer a creamy finish, rather than matte, for summer. I use the watermelon-colored Ilia Multi-stick in All of Me on my lips, cheeks, and even as a light wash of color on the eyelids—a little tip I picked up from a beauty blogger. Ilia has done a great job offering multi-functional, clean beauty products that rival other high-end brands, which is not an easy feat. I have extraordinarily sensitive skin and have [had] issues with other clean beauty products in the past, but have had fabulous results with this line!"
Founder, Kulfi Beauty
Photo: Courtesy of Priyanka Ganjoo
"SPF is a must all year round, but definitely in the summer. One of my favorites is the UV Clear Face Sunscreen from EltaMD. It is lightweight and doesn't leave a white cast, which is always hard to find for deeper skin tones.
"Liquid blush is my favorite summer format for that dewy look that catches the sun. I love the Serum Blush from EM Cosmetics, since the product comes in so many fun colors. Sunset Sky is my favorite.
"If your hair gets dry and frizzy after swimming in a pool or ocean, like mine does, I recommend using the Back to Your Roots pre-wash treatment from SHAZ&KIKS. It's great for keeping your hair nourished and healthy."
Founder, Boho Locs
Photo: Courtesy of Lulu Pierre
"Summer elements can be killer for hair hydration, smoothness, and follicle strength, so I always make sure to incorporate an all-in-one treatment into my hair-care routine at least once a week. I love Naturally Drenched's Rebalance—it's deeply moisturizing and leaves my hair shiny instead of frizzy.
"I like silk head wraps for summer, specifically the beautiful handmade ones from Cee Cee's Closet. The West African–inspired patterns are stunning, and they're also an easy protective style that you can wear anywhere from bed to the beach.
"I always wear green nail polish, and my current favorite is Auda. B's Road to Riches and Fame, a sparkly medium green that is perfectly opaque and pairs surprisingly well with any outfit. The finish is almost like gel, but it's so easy to do at home—and it's also vegan."
Founder and CEO, Glory Skincare
Photo: Courtesy of Alisia Ford
"I never leave the house without wearing sunscreen, especially during the summer. I love using Black Girl Sunscreen for my body because it blends in perfectly without leaving a white/grey hue on my skin. The Unsun Cosmetics Mineral Sunscreen is the best for your face. It's a non-toxic, tinted sunscreen that looks great on its own or under your foundation.
"I love using the Dehiya Hydrating Safi Mist in the afternoon. The mist provides a nice, refreshing boost during a hot summer day."And—hair scrunchies! When it's warm out, I love throwing my hair up in a messy bun so that I can play without having to worry about how my hair looks. Plus, a scrunchie can make for a cute summer accessory."
Founder, Vaycay Beauty
Photo: Courtesy of Ashlene Nand
"I've been in Australia—my birth home—since the start of COVID, so I've been trying to enjoy the outdoors more. In New York I had an overwhelming amount of choice, and now I find myself wanting less quantity and more longer-lasting, quality products. Also, I'm currently buying from Black- and brown-owned brands. Being a conscious consumer is important now more than ever.
"My first beauty must-have would be our luxury shampoo and conditioner bars. I'm currently using our Maldives with Marula. I'm obsessed with the smell, which was inspired by my favorite Tom Ford scents. It works perfectly with a light hair oil like Nila Botanics Bloom Vitality Hair Oil. My hair is full of volume and bounce after wash day.
"My other must-have is Uma Oils Ultimate Brightening Oil. It's a splurge, but well and truly worth it. I love seeing and supporting South Asian women in Ayurveda. You really don't need much of the oil. I use a few drops before I go to bed to relax. All of these products last for months."
Top photo: Courtesy of Lulu Pierre
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