25 Summer Beauty Essentials Our Editors Always Rely On, Starting At $8

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All linked products are independently selected by our editors. If you purchase any of these products, we may earn a commission.

As the temperatures creep up and the days get longer, our beauty routines must evolve in order to keep up. Certain beauty conundrums come back around like clockwork: making our skin look dewy but not oily; finding the best SPF that doesn’t break us out or leave behind a white cast; taking care of hair under high humidity; stopping our makeup from melting off. That’s just a few.

Happily, we’re professionals when it comes to navigating them — including recommending the best products to achieve hair and skin you’re happy with all summer long. Introducing Refinery29’s Summer Beauty Edit — a curated collection of must-have products chosen by our Global Beauty Directors in collaboration with R29 Intelligence’s New Beauty Mindset. The report, unveiled at BeautyCannes, an event hosted by Refinery29 and Beautycon at Cannes Lions Advertising Festival this week, explores the cultural shifts that are changing how we all relate to the beauty category, with unique insights captured from reader feedback.

Ahead, find our director-curated lineup of beauty essentials, from matte lipsticks that just won’t budge to TikTok’s trending perfume of the moment.


Good Light Luna Pimple Patches, $8

Pimple patches are a staple in our toiletry bag, especially during the summer months when we are more prone to breakouts thanks to heat, humidity, sweat, and heavy sunscreens. These Korean patches contain hydrocolloid, which reduces inflammation and the urge to pick. Reviewers love how they stay firmly on the skin and work like a charm on body acne, too.

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Benefit Benetint Lip & Cheek Stain, $26

This bestselling stain from Benefit will add a delicious rosy flush to your lips and cheeks. I tried out this product for a recent lip stain review, and gave it a gold star for the natural, watercolor-like finish and remarkable staying power.

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Glamnetic Blueberry Milk Nails, $14.99

If you’re craving a set of low-maintenance tips for the summer, let it be these press-ons nails from Glamnetic. The brand makes some of the freshest designs, like this “blueberry milk” manicure — a nail color trend that continues to pop off this summer. Unlike your nail polish, these will stay firmly on.

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Alleven Instant Lip Balm, $35

Dry, chapped lips are a thing of the past thanks to this luxurious lip treatment. The formula, rich in peptides (essentially skin-strengthening proteins) and nourishing plant oils, will restore the moisture levels and plumpness in your lips. The non-greasy finish makes this a joy to reapply.

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Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream, $20.83

This oil-free moisturizer is packed with all the good stuff to keep your skin watered and happy. It contains hyaluronic acid, which locks in hydration on the surface of your skin, and glycerin, an ingredient that helps draw moisture to the skin. The lightweight gel-cream texture is a winner for summer.

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NARS Afterglow Sensual Shine Lipstick, $24

If you want glossy, moisturized lips without the stickiness, look no further than this pretty lipstick from NARS. Featuring a blend of gardenia extract, coconut oil, mango butter, and squalene, the formula leaves lips supple and shiny for hours on end. The fact that it’s available in the brand’s bestselling Orgasm shade is another bonus.


Nécessaire The Body Bar, $15

Using this soap bar is like applying a hydrating serum all over your body — but you’re saving tons of time since you’re doing it in the shower. Your skin will feel conditioned by the blend of humectants like hyaluronic acid, vitamin B, and amino acids. The gorgeous oaky scent helps make the simple act of cleansing your body feel like a treat.

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Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Serum SPF 60+, $13.56

We love a multitasking product for the summer and this lightweight face serum is a great example. It’s packed with antioxidant vitamin E, which helps keep skin protected from environmental stressors like pollution and reduces uneven skin tone. It also doubles as a broad spectrum sunscreen, blocking the skin from 97% of harmful UV exposure.

Shop Amazon

Youth To The People Kale Superfood Face Cleanser, $29.25

This gel cleanser is a skincare must-have for the warm weather, especially if you have oily skin. A smoothie blend of antioxidizing ingredients — including cold-pressed spinach, kale, and green tea — helps to clear out the gunk in pores without stripping the skin barrier.

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Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Detangler Plant Brush, $17.99

Keep messy hair at bay this summer with Tangle Teaser’s bestselling hair brush, which works through the nastiest knots without pulling out your hair in the process. Fun fact: It’s plant-based and made mostly from sustainably sourced castor beans.

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Pound Cake Cake Batter, $24

Cake Batter is the kind of red lipstick that will get you heaps of compliments every time you wear it. This red hue, created by a team of color chemists, will look good on any skin tone. The tint is creamy and highly pigmented, so you only need a small amount of product to achieve full coverage.

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Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush, $23

Rare Beauty’s liquid blush is the “It girl” of celebrity beauty products. You’ve probably seen lots of praise about it on social media thanks to its array of hues, punchy pigment, and excellent staying power. A little bit goes a (very) long way, so you only need a needle point-sized dot to deliver an intense flush of color. A tube of this bad boy will last you a long time.

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Kitsch Assorted Satin Sleep Scrunchies, $8

Tying up your hair before going to bed is a smart way to protect your hair from any damage caused by tossing and turning at night. We recommend these Kitsch scrunchies, since the gentle satin fabric won’t crease your hair or cause any breakage.

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Experiment Beauty Super Saturated Serum, $28

Give your skin barrier some love with this lightweight serum, loaded with 30% glycerin — a super hydrator which draws moisture to the surface of your skin. It also contains niacinamide, a buzzy ingredient that reduces redness and prevents water loss from the skin.

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Rare Beauty Find Comfort Hydrating Under Eye Patches, $25

If your under-eye area is looking a little dull, these hydrogel eye patches could be just the wake-up you need. Green tea extract and hyaluronic acid calm and smooth your skin, while caffeine depuffs. Since they don’t leave behind any sticky residue, these are the ideal patches to prep your skin before eye makeup.

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MUTHA Rebirth Amniotic Toner, $65

This exfoliating toner is a great product to try if you want to minimize skin texture and remove impurities from your skin without causing any irritation. The formula contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), both exfoliating acids that buff away dead skin and enhance your glow from within.


KISS Bare But Better Press-On Nails, $8.99

KISS has long been one of our favorite affordable beauty brands, and happily, it’s available at most drug stores across the country. Its designs are durable, easy to apply, and incredibly versatile; you can rock these nude effect tips with any type of outfit.


Kitsch Satin Pillowcase, $18

Sleeping on a silk pillowcase is a no-brainer way to take better care of your hair and skin. Silk reduces the friction between your body and the pillow, and doesn’t take away moisture from your hair like a cotton pillowcase would. You can also reduce tugging on your skin when you sleep on silk, but above all it feels so nice and cooling. We love the hypoallergenic silk pillows from Kitsch, which come in a variety of colorways (including a Hello Kitty version that is too cute for words). Call it an everyday luxury that will pay for itself over time.

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Kayali Vanilla Candy Rock Sugar Eau de Parfum, $138

Jacqueline Kilikita, R29’s Deputy Beauty Director, predicts that this will be a top trending scent of the summer. With violet as a top note and a blend of vanilla and candied pear as the key notes, this perfume is equal parts sweet and sophisticated.

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The Lip Bar Nonstop Liquid Matte, $14

If you love a bold lip, The Lip Bar’s signature matte lipstick should be added to your makeup bag ASAP. The formula, rich in jojoba oil and vitamin E, glides on like a lip gloss and dries down to a luscious matte finish. One swipe is all you need to see the impressive color payoff for yourself.

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imPRESS Classic French Press-On Nails, $9.49

Achieving the perfect French manicure has never been easier. With these press-on tips from imPRESS, all you need to do is peel off the pre-applied adhesive and attach them to your cuticles. You can expect your fresh tips to look pristine for up to seven days.

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EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, $43

Leave it to this dermatologist-approved sunscreen to tackle a range of skincare concerns while shielding you from harmful UV rays. It contains lactic acid, a gentle exfoliating agent that also adds moisture to your skin. Also present is niacinamide, which tackles uneven skin tone and texture. This is a great suncare product to use if you have uneven skin tone or breakouts.

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Topicals Faded Under Eye Masks, $22

These eye patches are my go-to when I need to look less tired in a snap. It features caffeine, which lifts and tightens my under-eye area, while arbutin and kojic acid help lessen discoloration. The eye-catching design makes for great Instagram-selfie fodder, too.

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KISS Falscara Complete DIY Eyelash Extensions Starter Kit, $19.99

If you want lashes that pop but don’t have the time or budget for a lash extension appointment, consider this DIY kit. These wispy strands can be stacked together under your real lashes for a natural look. After locking in the application with the Overnight Long Wear Sealer, you can expect these waterproof falsies to last for up to 10 days.


imPRESS Press-On Falsies, $16.99

For an even more low-effort boost to your lash length, these cluster falsies are the way to go. These are basically press-ons for your lashes: They come with pre-bonded adhesives, so all you need to do is apply each piece under the lash line. They are reusable and don’t leave any sticky residue, so you can pretty much wear them on repeat all summer long.

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