To me, summer beauty used to be about achieving that perfect bronzed glow. I wanted to look like a glittering, deeply tanned little sand goddess, and I wanted to look like that straight through from the first warm breezes of May to the dog days of August.

Basically, I wanted to look like this:

How that translated into real life: lots of loose gold eyeshadow, pale pink lip gloss, and a tad less suntan lotion than was advisable.

These days, I not only have zero time to sit around in the sun (what with my infant child and all), but I also have no desire to char my delicate skin. The don’t-sit-in-the-sun warnings that dermatologists have been bombarding us with for decades have finally sunk in, and I’m now a religious daily SPF-er. Which means that if I’m going for a bronzed glow, it’s got to be faux.

There is, however, a way to do beach beauty while skipping the tan aspect.

Retro swimwear is all the rage at the moment, and it goes perfectly with my favorite beach beauty look for summer: pin-up glam.

That’s me, hitting up Coney Island to swim with the Polar Bear Club last April (in 48 degree water, which sounds miserable but was actually totally wonderful). I wore red lipstick and waterproof liquid eyeliner to the beach, and my husband looked at me like I was a wee bit crazy, but I loved it. I think it’s glamorous, bold, and totally sexy. And as a bonus, the look complements my not-exactly-sunkissed skin quite nicely.

Here’s how to get my look:

  • Step 1: Start with a non-greasy sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30.
  • Step 2: Conceal only what you must and top with a light powder—the beach is no place for heavy face makeup.
  • Step 3: Add a thin swipe of waterproof liquid eyeliner to your top lash line and wing it out slightly at the outer corners. Go for brown instead of black if you want a softer look.
  • Step 4: Apply two coats of waterproof mascara.
  • Step 5: Apply a glossy red lipstick straight from the tube—or, if you prefer a slightly subtler, smudgier look, with a fingertip.
  • Step 6: Smile! Because you’re at the beach, and you look super glamorous.

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