Make-up that won't melt: nine of the best summer-friendly formulas

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The Stylist web team
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Whether you’re sweltering in your stuffy office or holidaying in the depths of the Costa Rican jungle, there comes a day every summer when the temperature hits official ‘melting make-up’ point. And with higher temperatures comes humidity and its good friend, sweat. All of which are sworn enemies of foundation, no matter how carefully applied. We’re also seeing a trend for sheer coverage products and women who customise their existing foundation by mixing it with serum, oil or moisturiser to lighten the texture and emphasise their skin rather than wear obvious make-up.

Enter a new cavalcade of sheer, weightless complexion enhancers that are cleverly designed to give you more coverage than an average tinted moisturiser, with the texture of a lightweight cream. “Tinted moisturiser is no longer the only base for summer,” says Anna Marie Solowij, founder of popular beauty website BeautyMart. “Recently, we’ve seen an explosion of hybrid bases with new technology.”

According to Mintel, the popularity of the ‘natural’ aesthetic is so prevalent that UK sales of concealer and primer rose from £39million to £43million in 2015. Leading beauty brands are now employing cutting-edge technology when building light formulations that provide minimal coverage. Armani even employed the same technology used by Nasa to create an aerogel – a white silica powder that can absorb four times its weight in oil while remaining transparent.

As the temperature rises, so should the power of your base. For the ultimate featherweight coverage, simply browse the gallery below to find your best formula and look forward to the next heat wave rolling in…

  • Les Beiges Healthy Glow Foundation, Chanel

    The texture of this foundation is more like a cream but it doesn’t feel heavy. It gives skin a light finish thanks to mineral pigments and soft-focus powder. If you’re looking for medium coverage without weight, this is it. (£36,

  • Maestro Glow, Giorgio Armani

    This serum-like base combines nourishing oils infused with pure pigments capable of pepping up even the dullest winter skin hangover. Thanks to the Nasa-inspired fillers, excess sebum will be absorbed making it perfect for oily skins. (£36,

  • Complexion Rescue Tinted Gel Cream, Bareminerals

    As weightless as a slip dress, this hydrating gel provides slightly more coverage than a tinted moisturiser while instantly hydrating skin thanks to encapsulated humectants and mineral-infused water. Available in 10 shades. (£26,

  • Q10 plus Anti-Wrinkle CC Tinted Day Cream, Nivea

    Not only does this sheer tinted cream feel luxurious and smell incredible, it also contains Q10 and creatine naturally found in your skin to support its structure, as well as SPF and mineral pigments for protection. (£10.99,

  • Beam Team Hydrate + Glow, The Estée Edit by Estée Lauder

    One swipe of this two-in-one illuminating moisturiser provides enough radiance to look like you’ve just been on holiday. Pop the top off the cap to find a high-impact highlighter. (£34,

  • Velvet Matte Skin Tint, Nars

    Forget the idea that matte equals dry. This sheer formula feels like a second skin and just one layer refines the appearance of pores, controls shine and blurs imperfections while giving skin a boost of vitamins C, E and SPF 30 to nourish and protect. (£30,

  • Teint Couture Balm, Givenchy

    If you like the hydration of moisturiser, the softness of primer, more coverage than BB cream but less than foundation, you’ll love this. Hydro-magnets lock in moisture while light-reflecting diamond powder pigments enrich your skintone with a soft glow. (£30,

  • Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Transforming Cream, LaPrairie

    This wonder product contains self-adjusting colour-correcting pigments that identify the missing colours in your complexion to brighten skin immediately, while daisy flower extract helps even skintone. (£140,

  • CandleGlow Soft Luminous Foundation, Laura Mercier

    The name says it all – this is the candle glow effect in liquid form. Just one layer will give your skin soft-focus luminosity. It’s also been infused with purified water to keep your skin hydrated while providing buildable coverage. (£35,