How to wear make-up without feeling like you have any on

Love make-up, but hate the feel? These lightweight, summer-proof formulas may be exactly what you need

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By Elle Turner on

There's nothing worse than feeling smothered by make-up, especially when it's hot and muggy outside. But if, lately, the warm weather's left you seeking a lighter foundation or if you just don't like the feel of heavier make-up, regardless of the weather, I may have just the thing for you. A new breed of make-up is making its way on to shelves, all ultra lightweight and all focused on one major ingredient – water – to ensure your face feels fresh. From hydra-infused concealers that give excellent coverage, but feel like there's nothing on your skin, to dewy blushers that only require a pinprick of product, these all feel like a joy to wear.

6 of the best bits to buy

The Foundation: No7 Aqua Perfect Cushion Foundation

Blended with purified water, this feels wonderfully cooling to apply and has a buildable consistency, allowing you to work your way up from a lightweight coverage to medium/full. And despite a "barely there" feel, it dries to a semi-matte finish to keep shine at bay. Plus, the in-built mirror and sponge applicator means you can easily use this on the go, or for top-ups.


The Concealer: Mac Studio Waterweight Concealer

The runny consistency of MAC's new Waterweight Concealer is packed with pigment, so, while it feels like you're not wearing anything on your skin, it gives a really impressive amount of satin-textured coverage that can go from sheer right up to full. As it's a liquid, it's a doddle to blend and goes very far, so you only need a little. What's more, it wears well and stays put all day.


The Blusher: Stila Aqua Glow WaterColour Blush

This actually feels like water but, crucially, is intensely pigmented. So pigmented, in fact, that you need only the tiniest amount to blend it across the apples of your cheeks – which is great news if you don't like the feel of make-up. The five shades are very pretty (golden pink, poppy red, rose, bright pink and coral) and give a gorgeous, fresh wash of colour. To use, pat it on with your fingers.


The Highlighter: Perricone MD No Highlighter Highlighter

Part skincare, part make-up, Perricone MD's No Highlighter Highlighter uses a skin-soothing serum base infused with anti-inflammatory ingredients (to calm redness) and light-reflecting pearl. It gives a very natural, healthy-looking sheen, rather than anything too glittery, and feels virtually weightless on skin. Dot it across cheeks and wherever else you'd like some glow, using the handy wand applicator.


The Lipstick: By Terry Lip Powder Essence

If you like the look of matte lips but always avoid them because they feel too chalky, I can't say I blame you. While mainly the preserve of winter, however, a bright red matte lip can look cracking in summer. Here to solve the problem is Terry De Gunzburg, the brains behind YSL's iconic Touche Éclat and the delicious By Terry Baume De Rose. Her latest innovation is the Lip Powder Essence, which looks like a powder but is actually made up of tiny bubbles of water that are coated with a powder pigment. When the bubbles burst as you apply, you get a dewy consistency that gives moisture to your lips but also dries with a matte finish – all the while feeling comfortable and weightless. The super-fine nib also makes it very accurate to apply. It's practically magic.


The Powder: Becca Hydra-Mist Set & Refresh powder

Speaking of magic, this also looks like a powder but feels like a face mist. Unlike traditional, heavy, talc-laden powders, this is formulated with 50 per cent water and glycerine (a hugely hydrating ingredient) and combined with mica (a natural powder, which blends seamlessly into skin). Rather than clagging up into a cakey, impenetrable mess, it has a very fine finish that sets make-up into place but feels refreshing and cool on skin.



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