5 Summer Staples: Eye Makeup Essentials to Beat the Heat

Published in: Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

Summer, summer, summer time!

Orange eyeshadow? Come to mama. Teal eyeliner? I’m all over it. You don’t have to ask me twice when it comes to trying trendy eye makeup. The answer is the same emphatic “Yes!” I’d give to an up-close-and-personal search from Detective Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: SVU.


But while outrageous eyes can be a blast, this girl’s gotta have her steady staples, too. Tried-and-true eye makeup essentials, like the five summer staples below, can keep your eyes fly when the temperature climbs.

1. Waterproof mascara

urban decay cannonball review brush
Urban Decay Cannonball Waterproof Mascara

Don’t let melting mascara ruin your chances with that hot, muscled, baby-faced guy in your summer school statistics class — the one you thought was adoring you from across the room but later realized was probably wondering how you ended up with two black eyes.

Escape that fate with an industrial-strength waterproof mascara like Urban Decay’s Cannonball ($20). It’s a little pricey, but it stretches my lashes to the limit, resisting sweat and water like a champ (I’ve been wearing it in all my pictures as of late).

2. Eye primer

NARS Pro Prime Smudge-Proof Eye Shadow Base

Whether I’m applying a single eyeshadow or five, I reach for eye primers to protect my work from fading, creasing and melting in the heat. My favorite right now? — NARS Pro Prime Smudge-Proof Eye Shadow Base ($24), and I also like Urban Decay Primer Potion ($19) and Too Faced Shadow Insurance ($18).

I haven’t had the chance to try it yet, but Cover Girl’s $8 Intense Shadow Blast in Beige Blaze sounds like a great drugstore option. MBB reader Erin says it intensifies colors and keeps eyeshadows locked down all day long (thanks, Erin!).

3. Eye cream with SPF

Clarins Sun Wrinkle Eye Contour Care SPF 30

GURL, I don’t have many regrets, but I wish I hadn’t waited until college to get serious about regularly applying sunscreen around my eyes.

Clarins Sun Wrinkle Eye Contour Care SPF 30 ($28) has been my go-to cream for about a year now, and it’s hands down my favorite for daytime. It layers well beneath makeup, absorbs almost immediately, moisturizes well and doesn’t sting my eyes.

If you’re on a tighter budget, I’ve heard great things about Garnier Skin Renew Anti Sun Damage Daily Eye Cream with SPF 15 ($11).

4. Waterproof liquid eyeliner

make up for ever aqua liner tips
Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners from left to right: Diamond Multicolor Black, Iridescent Emerald Green and Diamond Gold

When I’m too rushed (or lazy) to do a full eye makeup look, I like to slick a bit of waterproof liquid liner in a bright shade along my upper lash line for fast, fun look. I’m lovin’ Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner ($23), MAC Superslick Liquid Eye Liner ($17.50) and Stila Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner ($22).


I’m still on the hunt for a holy grail drugstore liquid liner, so if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears! πŸ™‚

5. Long-wearing under-eye concealer

Never give up! Never surrender! — to dark circles. I would love to have that printed on a bumper sticker, ha! Try to find a long-wearing under-eye concealer tough enough to stand up to sweat. Right now I’m loving MAC Prolongwear Concealer ($16.50), which cruises through the hottest, muggiest days (lasts at least 12-15 hours on me).

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 59 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Vijaya says:

    I should try the pro longwear concealer. I’m in love with the foundation.
    Vijaya recently posted … Sundara Cosmetics Review- Overview Details and Things

  2. Advah says:

    Why did I never think of spf eye cream before?! I must get one of those!

    Also I love the look of the liners, I keep hearing so many good things about them *added to list*.

    • Karen says:

      The Clarins one is excellent. It’s a little pricey, but you don’t need much at all.

      Ooh, what color are you thinking for the liners? Maybe a green would be fun!

      • Advah says:

        I’ve been meaning to get a proper teal liner for a while, but I like the sound of green! Would go well with brown eyes and probably more wearable for work?

        • Karen says:

          Yes! For work I’d go with a dark green, purple or navy blue. Those shades look amazing on brown eyes and aren’t too OTT for the office.

          • Advah says:

            I already have navy and forest green as gel liner from BB, but I think I want more, lighter green. πŸ™‚ Will have a look at the weekend, thanks for the advice!

          • Karen says:

            Ah got it. Lighter green sounds good — how about something with sparkles? Ooh la la!

  3. Terri says:

    Thanks for the great makeup suggestions! I spend so much time walking (or waiting for the subway) that my makeup is usually gone by the time I get where I am going πŸ™

    • Karen says:

      I totally know what you mean. When I lived in SF I spent most of my time on public transpo. During those rare hot spells my makeup would practically be melted off if I was on a bus or train for any given length of time!

  4. Stef says:

    I hope someday I could get my own NARS Pro Prime Smudge-Proof Eye Shadow Base.. I dont put eye make up all the time because Ive got deep set of eyes, eye make ups and eye liners always smudge evertyime Im sweatin! ulk! These are amazing stuff

    • Karen says:

      It’s awesome. If you live near a store that offers samples maybe ask them to make you a jar just so you can try it. I know Sephora does. πŸ™‚

  5. Chris25 says:

    I am considering the Prolongwear Concealer, because I have yet to find one that does not crease under my eyes. I use Amazing Cosmetics Concealer, which works fine for a few hours over an eye cream, but it settles into fine lines and makes me look weird and haggard. Like I live in a hut in the woods and help Cary Elwes recover from an almost death. πŸ˜›

  6. Jessica says:

    The hands-down best drugstore liquid liner is Maybelline Ultra Liner. I live in Texas and have never had it run or smudge in our brutal humid summer heat. If you happen to fall asleep in it, it simply rolls off…you don’t wake up with eyeliner down to your cheeks. It’s the only one I buy!

  7. Megan says:

    Om nom nom. You had me at Elliot Stabler. It was hard to concentrate on the rest of the post.

    I use SPF tinted moisturizer around my eyes, but it never occurred to me (duh) that a more concentrated cream would be beneficial. Around how long does the Clarins tube last you? I’d rather buy that than the Garnier just because of Clarins’ reputation.

    And I’m totally going for the NARS primer this summer. I use UD’s in Sin (the champagne) and I’m finding I do need a color-neutral primer. NARS is coming up to bat. πŸ™‚

  8. Nina says:

    i actually skip mascara during the summer LOL!

    but yes — i use bases and even go the extra mile and layer them:

    i start out w/ concealer over my lids that i set w/ powder, then an eyeshadow primer (either NARS or UDPP Eden), then a cream shadow.

    i stick to my mufe eyeliners during the summer too! πŸ™‚

  9. Tiffany says:

    I still need to try this concealer! the hard part is actually making it to the counter, since I don’t know what shade to get….

    • Fieran says:

      I’m lazy πŸ™‚ I just buy a slightly lighter version of my foundation shade. I’m an NW43 in foundation and I use NW35 for concealer. Works well so far. The only downside of the Pro Longwear is that it can break when you travel. I took a brand new one in my luggage (with it’s box on) from Scandinavia to Indonesia on vacation and opened the box to find a bottle broken in two. I almost cried, luckily it only broke in the box.

  10. Larie says:

    I need to try that prolongwear concealer!
    Larie recently posted … The Thursday Post

  11. Emma RZ says:

    Too Faced Shadow Insurance kept my UD glide on and TF bronzer used as eyeshadow glued on for the entire day, including doing the following activiites: snorkelling, swimming int he pool, splashing around at the beach and just general humidity when I was in Belize at the beginning of the month. I would recommend this one without a doubt!

  12. Yinyan says:

    Physician’s Formula Eye Booster liquid liner in black is all I use now – I used to use the Lorac pro liner that you recommended, but the PF lasts just as long (if not longer) and has built in lash booster serum! Not sure if the serum has made my lashes longer, but I’ve definitely had far less lash fallout since I started using it 2 months ago πŸ™‚
    Plus it’s only $11!

    • Denise says:

      I have to agree that Physicians formula eye booster eyeliner is fantastic!
      It wears all day , I brought black and deep brown and they last as long as my Bobbi Brown and Mac gel liners do.And my lashes seem healthy and fuller!

    • Nora says:

      Sorry, I disagree. I think these are okay, but it’s kind of watery in pigmentation.

  13. maxi says:

    you are looking beautiful in first picture πŸ™‚

  14. Genevieve says:

    These are great suggestions! I have a question about waterproof mascara, though. I’ve used Covergirl Lash Blast and L’Oreal Voluminous and both would leave smudges on my eyelids even though they were waterproof (I don’t have this problem with regular mascara). I guess it’s because my eyelids are oily. Have you ever had this problem with waterproof mascaras? Do you know any that won’t leave smudges?

    • HappyLittleNinja says:

      My friend has oily lids and can’t wear waterproof mascara for this very reason. Do you ever use an eyeshadow primer or apply concealer on your eyelids? That might create the necessary barrier to keep your mascara intact.

  15. Melissa says:

    I LOVE to read your blog, and just wanted to say, I’m loving NYX HD Eye Primer, it works well enough for me, and keeps my makeup on all day and its only 7 bucks (and since I just got the 50 off NYX cosmetics $3.50 for the summer! πŸ™‚ ) Thanks for all the reviews, I love being able to read up on items before I pay the price for them!

  16. Danielle says:

    Great post!

    Love me some Detective Stabler!
    Danielle recently posted … NOTD- Wet n Wild Wild Shine in Dreamy Poppy

  17. gio says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. Those MUFE eyeliners intrigue me, I think I’ll try them soon..
    gio recently posted … QOTW- Do you try to get other people interested in makeup and skincare

  18. Morgan says:

    I love Detective Stabler! He has been my TV crush for years!

  19. Kim says:

    Great tips – esp the eye protection! There are very few things that are more tragic for me, from a makeup standpoint, than smudged or running mascara or eye liner. I have a bad habit of not looking in the mirror throughout the day and then have to wonder “oh, my… how long have I looked like this?”. πŸ™‚

  20. lexi says:

    2nd that for Stabler…YUM. I’m so sad he won’t be back. I don’t know how they can do the show without him!

  21. Vonvon says:

    I didn’t know Clarins has an eye cream with SPF 30. Thanks for the info. I have been using Lancome eye cream with SPF 15. Will check it out at Clarins counter here….just saw that Boots has some great Clarins GWPs.
    Vonvon recently posted … Dinner Look- NARS Dogon Duo Eyeshadow- MAC By Candlelight- et al Outfit Of The Night

  22. Kim says:

    Have you tried MAC liquidlast liner?? i use the color ‘point black’ and I can swim, shower and do basically anything in it and it doesnt budge. The brush was tricky at first because it’s kind of long, but the first one i bought I clipped the tip off to shorten it and help me get a more precise line. Now that I have probably gone through 20 bottles of the stuff, it’s easy to line my eyes. It’s the best liner I have ever tried and it’s what made me love MAC.

  23. Jen says:

    Haha, can you believe I am watching Law and Order SVU -right now!- πŸ˜€ I’m going through the seasons, finishing off Season 3 at the moment. Waking up to sex crimes every morning is probably not the best way to wake up – but I can’t get enough of it. πŸ˜›

    Love the post. As I live in Australia, make-up and Summer makes everything so difficult. Long-wear concealer is a great idea, I’ll have to look into getting some when the 35+C days come along again. πŸ™‚

  24. Issa says:

    oh, i’d like to try the Clarins Eye cream! I wonder if we have that down here….. And i also want to checkout the concealer! I need a long lasting one! πŸ™‚ thanks for the recommendations karen! πŸ™‚

  25. Instant Karma says:

    Oh man, I want a pat down from Det. Stabler! Christopher Meloni is my current computer background, lol.

    My eye makeup actually hasn’t been melting lately, which is pretty exciting — especially considering it hit 90 over here in DC a few days this week (yuck). I can’t wait til my MAC order arrives and I get to try out Prolongwear! πŸ™‚

  26. Kass says:

    I need to get some eye cream, I’m starting to notice some baggage and wrinkles creeping in, eep!

    I still love NYX studio liquid liners, they are awesome!

  27. JJ says:

    OMG, a Galaxy Quest quote πŸ™‚ I love you!

  28. suzyQtoo says:

    I LOVE ELLIOT!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Mikki says:

    The BEST liquid eyeliner is the GOSH ones, not only do they have a thin brush, which I love, but they last until I take them off! I’ve done almost 12 hour days, and the liner is a perfect as when I first applied it πŸ™‚

    • Fieran says:

      They sell GOSH here, but I’ve never tried anything of theirs. You are tempting me now. I don’t like buying expensive liquid liners as they expire in like 6 months or so and it feels crappy to have to throw them out.

      Thanks for the tip πŸ™‚

  30. Gauri says:

    Stunning eye primer πŸ˜€
    Gauri recently posted … Top 7 Nail Polish Colors for Summer 2011

  31. 53 says:

    Eversince I got myself a Bobbi Brown Corrector to cover my dark circles, I never ventured into others for some reason. It neutralizes so well but I’ve been wanting a highlighting type of concealing lately.

    Lemme fix my sleeping disorder first den I can try MAC prolongwear concealer. LOLX.

  32. Thank you for this list! I have a few new products on my wishlist now!
    jillian m. {coffee, light and sweet} recently posted … friday!

  33. Christy says:

    wow you know you’re beauty obsessed when I use all of these things! I especially loves my NARS primer & MAC Pro Longwear concealer πŸ™‚ OH & I absolutely LOVE Christopher Meloni!

  34. Christy says:

    BUT Christopher Meloni is leaving the show after this season!!!! πŸ™

  35. shannon says:

    Im on the look out for a good conceler, Could your recomend a few drug store ones, and maybe a few higher end ones? thank you!

    • elle says:

      I just started using a concealer by L’Oreal, and in my limited experience with concealers it seems to do a pretty great job.

  36. Does the Clarins Sun Wrinkle Eye Contour Care SPF 30 feel oily? Heavy? Does it like just sit on the skin? I’m very afraid of creams around the eye coz they always feel heavy, greasy… =( Please let me know! I wanna start protecting my eyes too!

  37. Aimey says:

    GURL, my mom has told me to use SPF on my face ever since I was in high school, (I’m only a sophomore in college now though, mind you), so I’ve heard tell-tales about regrets about not caring about suncare as much as she does now. Should I start using products like Clarins Sun Wrinkle Eye Contuor Care already though? I definitely always try to use SPF in my face products, though!

    & I’m still keeping my eyes and ears open for a great concealor! arghh

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