Bustle's Most Wanted

35 Summer 2022 Beauty Products Bustle Editors Swear By

Featuring glow-giving sunscreens and high-impact makeup staples.

DKosig/Getty Images
By Bustle Editors

There’s nothing quite like stepping outside to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin — especially after a long winter (and a temperamental spring). The only problem? Actually, there are several: The humidity, for one, which is public enemy number one for your hair. Then there’s sweat, which doesn’t exactly bode well for the makeup you just applied. Sure, beach hangs and dips in the pool are a major perk of the season... but they’re all fun and games until you come home to witness a brassy hue to your hair color or that you’ve missed a spot when applying sunscreen. Needless to say, summer beauty products are quite necessary to keep these next couple of months from sabotaging your lewk.

In order to focus on the important things (like tropical getaways and rooftop parties), you’ll want to stock up on a few essentials for your beauty cabinet. First up, follow the advice of dermatologists and lighten up your skin care routine by swapping thick creams with serums and moisturizers that hydrate without weighing your face down. Sun protection is also a nonnegotiable this time of year, which is great because the options these days are easier to wear than ever. On the hair front, you also might want to invest in frizz-fighting formulas that’ll keep your strands in place after styling.

On the upside? It’s also time to embrace color (if you haven’t already). Beauty shelves are jam-packed with highly pigmented pencils and shadows and lipsticks that’ll amp up your glam. On that note, ready your virtual carts and keep scrolling to shop team Bustle’s picks for the ultimate must-have summer 2022 beauty products — you can thank us later.

We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

There’s no doubt that you know you should be applying SPF, but the key word here is “should.” Thankfully, gone are the days of gloopy sunscreens that leave a white cast and ruin your makeup: Clear space in your beach bag for the sunscreens of the future. Find options ranging from a hydrating watermelon-infused SPF spray to a vitamin C-spiked formulation that delivers a sun-kissed glow — no problematic rays required.

The Sleek Mineral Sunscreen

This lightweight formula is the perfect accompaniment to long days spent at the beach or outdoor brunching. The bottle is sleek and super purse-friendly, and houses a serum made of non-nano mineral zinc for protection against UVA and UVB rays, hyaluronic acid to help hydrate and protect the moisture barrier, and a blend of antioxidants to protect against damage from environmental pollutants. It’s an A-plus product if you’re looking for sun protection that won’t weigh you down.

The Pout Protector

Cay Skin’s Isle Lip Balm is an absolute dream: Like a true lip-care-slash-lip-gloss hybrid, the formula is packed with vitamin E, aloe, sea moss, and SPF 30 — not only protecting your pout, but adding a subtle sheen (without any stickiness) that looks gorgeous solo or on top of your go-to lippie. On top of that, it has the most intoxicating vanilla brown sugar scent that’s not at all overwhelming but is yummy enough to crave constant reapplications.

The Glow-Giving Option

Packed with potent vitamin C, calming chamomile, and an impressive mineral-based, reef-safe SPF 50, the formula is sheer, with an almond-nude hue that won’t create an unwanted white cast on skin. What’s more, the formula acts as a primer, too, giving a healthy glow whether you wear it on its own or beneath your go-to foundation.

The One You’ll Actually Reapply

The reapply-your-SPF-every-two-hours rule — yes, even when you’re wearing makeup — is something to take as gospel year-round, sure, but especially in the summer. Australian sun care brand Naked Sundays happens to have perfected the sunscreen face mist: It offers completely clear SPF 50 protection while working double duty as a setting spray. But the elixir is also antioxidant-packed (thanks to Kakadu plum and watermelon extract), so your skin scores on multiple levels.

The SPF That Doubles As A Bronzer

This sunscreen does it all. It offers the same SPF 40 protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays as Supergoop!’s beloved OG Glowscreen and also doubles as one of the best primers. It grips makeup so well that you don't need to worry about your eyeliner running while you’re out and about. It also contains nourishing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and peptides to help even out skin tone and protect it from environmental aggressors. And the nice bronze glow you get is just *chef’s kiss.*

The Sunscreen Serum

There’s nothing better than a great SPF-skin care hybrid, and this lightweight, translucent serum certainly fits the bill. Formulated with a combination of mineral-based SPF 40, niacinamide, and vitamin C, this first-of-its-kind sunscreen uses innovative encapsulation technology to ensure the formula maintains its potency as it brightens, soothes, and protects skin from UV rays. It’s also non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, and formulated without water or gluten, so it’s sensitive-skin friendly.

The Hero For Breakout-Prone Skin Types

As anyone with acne-prone skin understands, it’s tricky to find a sunscreen that won’t clog your pores. Fortunately, Starface set out to formulate a sunscreen for those who tend to get SPF-derived breakouts with its Clear as Day concoction. This sensitive-skin friendly gel is oil-free and non-comedogenic, and contains a combo of isododecane and dimethicone that work to mattify the complexion and absorb excess oil while providing broad-spectrum UVA and UVB ray protection.

Sometimes it’s about dewy, barely-there makeup, but other moments call for cranking up the volume and turning up the extraness. Whether looking ahead to a music festival or poolside party, the beauty picks below — like a light-catching shimmer eye paint and a juicy, fruity lip stain — will inspire you to go big and stay out late.

The Silkiest Lip Liner

Lip liner is a key component in achieving the ’90s makeup look. The only downside? As pencils, they tend to be drying... and no one wants a crinkly pout. The solution? Snag one of Kosas’ newly-launched lip liners, which, while technically a pencil, feels more like a moisturizing gel pen that offers a super smooth application. That’s because it’s packed with skin-friendly ingredients like hyaluronic acid and jojoba oil that infuse your lips with a burst of hydration along with a precise outline. Pick from six gorgeously flattering shades (though buying ’em all would be a wise move).

The Face-Sculpting Blush Palette

If bold pigment is what your makeup bag needs, One/Size’s Cheek Clapper 3D Blush Trio is it. Stacked with three complementing hues in a cream, matte, and glowy finish, the blush palette allows you to experiment with one (or all) formulas for long-lasting wear that gives your skin that blurred, naturally chiseled effect. A suggestion? Opt for an effortlessly monochromatic look by dabbing the cream blush on your lips, too.

The Goes-With-Everything Eyeshadow

This shadow palette is the perfect mix of neutral hues that you can wear every day or dress up for special occasions. You can pick from shimmery and matte shades with different undertones — think olive, blush, and bronze — for your skin’s perfect neutral match. Each one gives you a gorgeous and long-lasting pigment. Bonus points for the palette being travel-sized so you can easily take it with you on all your outdoor adventures.

The Breathable Blush

If you try to avoid wearing heavy makeup when it’s hot outside, Keys Soulcare has the answer to your high-humidity prayers with its nourishing cheek tint. Developed by dermatologists, this product provides the perfect pop of color while the sunflower and safflower seed oils hydrate, nourish, and smooth your complexion. It’s also buildable, lightweight, easy to blend, and not sticky, so this will surely become a summertime beauty staple.

The Most Covetable Lip Stain

Oily skin types, raise your hand if you can’t be bothered with lipstick this time of year... let alone sticky gloss. This is the season where lip tints and moisturizing pigments come in handy: Fenty’s new hydrating lip stain delivers adequate pigment with added hydration. How? The formula contains mega-moisturizer squalane, a lightweight yet hydrating element that mimics your body’s natural oils.

The Skin-Boosting Bronzer

Charlotte Tilbury has perfected the cream bronzer. Her compact, which comes in four shades, lasts for 16 hours and simultaneously provides skin care benefits. Hyaluronic acid and vitamin D3 hydrate, revitalize, and protect the skin while the sweatproof (!!) bronzer blurs pores for a totally flawless finish.

The Euphoria-Inspired Makeup Essential

It’s not really the time to be shy with makeup. For your al fresco dining or nights out on the town (or, heck, even your Zoom meetings), Half Magic Beauty’s line of vivid eyeshadows and highlighters and lip paints is here for you. The brainchild of Euphoria’s lead makeup artist Donni Davy, the makeup collection is a dream for color fanatics — and the product design makes experimenting with different shades an easy feat. Case in point: Chromaddiction Shimmer, a lustrous eye paint that can be used as a liner or shadow. Whichever way you go, the finished look will be high impact... and smudge-proof.

This season may be all about the art of the chill, but now is not the time to get lax with your skin care routine — still, sweating under heavy products is decidedly not the definition of having a hot girl summer. Give your complexion the TLC it needs with these lightweight elixirs, from a gel moisturizer with kiwi essence to a peptide-rich mist that also boasts hyaluronic acid.

The Tall Drink Of Water For Your Skin

When you’re dehydrated, nothing feels better than chugging an ice-cold glass of electrolyte-spiked H2O. Your skin experiences a similar sensation upon applying Laneige’s Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Serum, a moisturizing formula — featuring an extra-hydrating blue hyaluronic acid (aka a fermented version of the moisturizing staple plus deep sea algae), skin-firming peptides, and green tea enzymes for gentle micro-exfoliation. The end result is an instantly replenished and supple complexion.

The Breathable Moisturizer

Scarlett Johansson’s The Outset skin care line has quickly become a Sephora shopper fave, and its Daily Moisturizer is a gentle formula that packs a hydrating punch. Brimming with squalane, hyaluronic acid, and botanical extracts, this baby has achieved the ideal balance of being beautifully lightweight and ultra-hydrating, and no doubt deserves a top spot on your shelf.

The Chapped Lips Savior

Chapped lips are unfortunately a year-round thing, yet this product duo from Eos is the perfect remedy. The two-step treatment includes a lip moisturizer that provides 24-hour hydration and conditions lips (via shea butter) and a matching lip balm in a raspberry kiwi flavor that just smells like a refreshing summer cocktail. Your pout will be left smooth and ready to sip on a pina colada.

The Face Mist That Does More

This lightweight facial spray is packed with countless benefits despite how easy it is to apply. Infused with hyaluronic acid, peptides, and EGF — aka skin-plumping epidermal growth factor — this potent formula stimulates cell growth and boosts elastin, collagen, and hyaluronic acid production in the skin, all in the form of an easy-to-use mist.

The Velvety, Fast-Absorbing Face Cream

The name of the hot-weather skin care game is lightweight hydration. With squalane, organic jojoba oil, and provitamin B5, this cream delivers a major boost of moisture without making the complexion look greasy. Your skin also gets a dose of beet sugars and French marshmallow root, two ingredients that feed your protective barrier.

The Skin-Soothing Solution

Even if you had a fun day at the beach, there’s a high chance your skin didn’t. The sun puts your complexion in situations where it’s face to face (lol) with the elements — and these elements aren’t exactly easy on the skin. That’s where Tower 28’s serum comes in: With hypochlorous acid, aka an anti-inflammatory MVP with disinfecting properties, plus water and sodium chloride (the vehicle hypochlorous acid needs for optimal delivery into the skin), it works to heal and soothe sun-/pollution-/heat-ravaged complexions in a flash.

The Fortifying Gel

Keep your complexion satiated with moisture with this delectably cooling, hydrating gel of kiwi extract, rose castile, and hibiscus — all rich in antioxidants that protect your skin against free radical damage while fortifying its all-important barrier. Pat in a couple of drops after toning and before the rest of your routine for the ultimate hydration boost.

With the threat of baking under sweltering temperatures looming, any opportunity to cool off is welcome. But take your head out of the freezer, and instead, get to know these cooling beauty formulas and tools that deliver a delightful one-two punch — including a massage tool that uses cold therapy to address the signs of aging and a cooling under-eye balm that’ll blur those dark circles.

The Cryotherapy Facial Tool

It may not be feasible to hop in and out of a cryotherapy chamber whenever you want an instant chill, but the next best thing is using this Cryodrop from SiO Beauty. The device is made of medical-grade steel and features a magnetic “heart,” which allows it to feel ice-cold on the skin while improving the absorption of your beauty products. Glide it all over your face to release tension, boost circulation, sculpt, and de-puff. Ahhhh.

The Under-Eye De-Puffer

Puffy under eyes are a drag, but R.E.M. Beauty’s cooling blurring under-eye balm is an MVP for quickly reducing the appearance of tired eyes. Formulated with antioxidant-rich mushroom extract and awakening caffeine, the unique gel-like consistency feels instantly refreshing and cool when applied to the sensitive eye area — use it as skin care or a smooth base for your concealer.

The After-Sun Staple

Aloe vera gels tend to be goopy and sticky, so Kinfield’s aloe-based spray-on is pretty genius. Whether you’re dealing with a sunburn, inflammation, or you just feel overheated, a few spritzes of this mist — which also contains spearmint and cucumber extracts — will revive your skin back to a cool, calm, and collected state.

The Under-Boob Sweat Solution

Got boob sweat? Treat yourself to Nakery Beauty’s take on a breast sweat managing-product, which is especially easy to apply as it comes in the form of a wand-like deodorant. Formulated with aloe vera, sunflower seed oil, shea butter, and vitamin E, this mess-free stick soothes, hydrates, and softens the under boob area as it absorbs excess moisture. Finally.

The Glow-Getting Facial Mist

There’s nothing quite like a blast of cool mist on a hot day. Glowglow’s latest offering is a leave-on face mask in mist form, and is formulated to provide hydration for up to eight hours (and scores bonus points for the portability of the 3.4-ounce bottle). The moisture comes from the coconut water ferment and hyaluronic acid within the formula — two ingredients known for major hydration and skin barrier-boosting prowess.

The Superstar For Your Self-Care Routine

One of the quickest and yet luxurious-feeling ways to treat yourself to a mini facial is with a good ol’ under-eye mask. This season, gel-based options feel the most refreshing since they’re cooling on the skin — especially these from Peter Thomas Roth. They contain seven different types of collagen to smooth and plump, a collagen-stimulating blend of amino acids and peptides, and hyaluronic acid and squalane for added moisture. After leaving them on for 10 minutes, your under-eye area will look and feel like a million bucks. Pro tip: Store them in the fridge for even more of a cooling (and de-puffing!) effect.

The Revitalizing Refresher

Summertime is chock-full of long days that take exciting left turns, but sometimes your skin needs a refresh amid all that fun. Streamline your skin care routine or give your complexion some midday TLC with this beauty liquid that does it all: It rinses, tones, and hydrates. Spritz on the super portable formula under or over makeup for moisture on the go, to remove dirt and impurities, and for an overall radiance boost.

As great as beach days are, spending long days under the sun and splashing in salt water can create some logistical challenges for your hair. Enter your new fave beach bag must-haves, like a scalp SPF mist that prevents hair color from fading and a tropically scented texture spray that promises the dreamiest beach waves.

The Frizz-Fighting BFF

Shield your strands against heat and environmental pollutants with this hair serum from industry-favorite brand Olaplex that works on all hair types and textures. Using patented technology shown to repair broken bonds for stronger hair and boasting antioxidant-rich red algae to fight against free radical damage, you’ll want to reach for this lightweight leave-in when trying out all those trending hairstyles.

The Tropical Texturizing Spray

For those that take scent seriously, Briogeo’s newest soft wave texture spray will instantly surround your senses (and hair) in the most delectably tropical, truly nostalgia-inducing aroma. And just as the yumminess of sweet banana and sun-kissed coconut intoxicate you, the vitamin-packed formula — which is both salt- and alcohol-free — makes it easier to achieve low-key beachy tresses without the unwanted damage. You’re welcome.

The Humidity Shield For Your Hair

Humidity is a summertime villain for many reasons, but mostly because of what it can do to the hair. If you spend hours perfecting your hairstyle only to walk outside and have it immediately resemble that of an 18th-century composer, listen up. This anti-humectant spray goes on invisible, is lightweight, and protects your strands from the elements by sealing the hair cuticle. That’s largely thanks to the ingredient tamanu oil, which hydrates and strengthens hair while promoting its natural sheen.

The Savior For Dry Strands

Think of this nourishing leave-in conditioner as sun protection for your hair. Before a day of fun in the sun, just style, spritz, and allow its antioxidant-rich formula — via chia seed oil, raspberry seed extract, and camellia oil — to shield your locks from UV rays. And no, it won’t weigh your hair down while it does its protective and strand-fortifying job.

The Ultimate Leave-In

If you have to wash your hair every day when it’s hot and humid outside, this leave-in is a must for keeping your strands from drying out. The magic is in the duo of passion fruit and castor oil, which both treat damage and promote healthy hair growth, along with a special protein-based complex to improve hair’s elasticity and leaves it feeling super soft and strong. And at $14, it just can’t be beat.

The Multitasking Oil

No beach bag would be complete without this hair oil. It’s a drool-worthy blend of several 100% natural, vegan, and organic oils including Jamaican black castor, hemp seed, avocado, and neroli — the last of which is extracted from the flowers of bitter orange trees. Together, it promises to enhance your hair’s luster, revamp dull strands, and protect against all of the factors that are harshest on hair this season, like UV rays, and chlorinated and salty water. Reach for the bottle when styling or as a mid-week refresh.

The MVP For Scalp Protection

You want to keep your scalp from getting a painful sunburn, but not with a product that leaves your hair oily or weighed down. Coola’s scalp and hair mist does the job: It’s invisible, but effectively protects you from the sun’s UV rays (and therefore color fading) while delivering hydration in a beachy-smelling elixir. Also notable? It’s water-resistant, so go ahead and take that ocean dip.