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How To Look Professional When It Is Super Humid Outside

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Even though Labor Day is almost here, we are still finding ourselves drenched in sweat by the time we get to the office. And you know heat waves can last far into September. So in an attempt to have you not show up at work like a sweat monster we went to experts who spilled all the style, hair, and makeup intel you need to stay flawless from the moment you lock your front door all the way through happy hour.

Stay Cool With These Clothes

When it comes to picking out a summer wardrobe, the fabric and choice colors are make-or-break decisions. “Dressing professionally in summer can be unbearable if you’re not dressed appropriately,” says Robin Fisher, CEO and Chief Stylist of Polished Image and Style. If you’ve ever wished you could transport yourself back into Polar Vortex temperatures just to escape the sweltering heat, you know what she’s talking about. Avoid a re-do with these tips:

  • Look for Natural Fabrics: “Cotton, silk, linen, and even light wool are fabrics that breathe,” says Fisher. Synthetic fabrics like nylon, viscose, and other non-natural fibers that add stretch also trap heat. “Sometimes there’s as much as 20 or 25 percent of a synthetic fiber in a piece of clothing. In summer, if you can get it between 3 and 8 percent, you’ll feel cooler,” says Fisher. She suggests checking out Madewell, Ann Taylor, and Gap for some fashionable 100 percent cotton options. Bonus: cotton hides sweat more than other fabrics!
  • Wear Light Colors: This one doesn’t just keep you as sweat-free as possible, it’ll also help you seem more seasonally in-tune. Colors like black, navy blue, and burgundy attract light, which is the opposite of what you want to do when the sun is blazing down on you. Instead, when you need a neutral, opt for lighter tones like gray and beige.
  • Dress It Up: Pack up your pants until the leaves start changing! “I recommend women build up an assortment of dresses,” says Fisher. “They’re often 100 percent cotton and so much better than pants during the summer.” Sara, a 25-year-old magazine editor, agrees. “Easy sundresses that fall at the knee let you stay airy all over,” she says. She also likes to use Lush’s Silky Underwear Dusting Powder all over before getting dressed to absorb moisture. “Then stash a no-wrinkle blazer in your bag or at your desk if the office is chilly or you need to be covered up,” she says.

One final tip: keep a travel-size supply of makeup removal or baby wipes on hand. “They’re great for lifting deodorant stains out of clothes,” Fisher says.

Heat-Proof Your Hair

Whether your hair is straight and fine or huge and curly, the heat can pose a problem in giving off the vibe you’d like. “People respond differently to you when you look polished. When you look great, you feel great and present yourself in a more professional manner. Then people can sense that, and they’re more receptive to you,” says Victoria Stiles, a celebrity hair and makeup artist. Here are her best hot-weather hair techniques.

  • Keep Curls Intact: If you’re into curl definition, it can be annoying when humidity turns your ringlets into one big mass, so try Stiles’ favorite tip, which requires you to DIY like a beauty-loving mad scientist: “For curly hair, you can spray just a little witch hazel mixed with water on the hair. It revives curls and reduces frizz.” If you want extra protection, look for anti-humectant product like Oribe’s Imperméable Anti-Humidity Spray for extra moisture-repelling action.
  • Become BFF With Dry Shampoo: Don’t let the fear of wilted hair stop you from squeezing some exercise before work! Just spritz on dry shampoo to give it some oomph. “My favorite dry shampoo is by Batiste. Spray it at the root and it looks fresh, washed, and ready to go,” says Stiles. With dry shampoo in general, make sure to double-check that it’s fully absorbed, especially if you’ve got dark hair.
  • When All Else Fails, Accessorize: “I love using accessories! They’re a great way to camouflage a look that’s deflating throughout the day,” says Stiles. Find a pretty flower pin to give off a summer-y vibe while scooping hair back into a polished bun, or slide on a headband to keep fly-aways from cramping your style. You can also take this as a chance to try some Pinterest-worthy updos to lift hair away from your neck.

Keep Melting Makeup at Bay

The fiercest outfit in the world won’t impress your boss if your makeup is halfway down your face! Follow Stiles’ tips for budge-proof makeup that will help you give off a “just got back from Mexico” glow, even if you’ve been chained to your desk.

  • Stop sweat: Stiles has a secret weapon against sweating that she often uses while working on television sets: facial antiperspirant. Yes, it exists! “It’s safe to use every day and isn’t going to clog your pores or make you break out,” she says of Michael Davy Sweat Stop Anti-Perspirant Skin Prep, which is only available for order online (you can also look for in-store versions like Neat 3B Face Saver Gel).
  • Face: Whether your skin is oily or dry, in summer, oil-free foundation is key. “I enjoy using powder foundation for summertime because it has an easy application and is oil-absorbent,” says Stiles. If you’re a liquid foundation girl through and through, look out for water-based varieties like Ponds Luminous Finish BB Cream to keep you from oil overload. And if even that won’t stop your skin’s determination to shine, Stiles recommends applying MAC’s Matte cream before foundation to soak up moisture. And be sure to carry a few oil-blotting papers around with you to freshen up throughout the day. Just make sure to press them into the skin to keep your makeup perfectly intact.
  • Cheeks and Lips: Flushed cheeks can help it seem like there’s some pep in your step, even when it’s 5:00 p.m. and you still have a report to finish. Stiles likes to find cheek products that do double duty as lip color so you can quickly freshen up your look while jetting around. She’s into IT Cosmetics’s Vitality Flush 4-in-1 Reviver Lip and Cheek Stain Stick. “It gives cheeks and lips a little supple color and sheen without being heavy,” Stiles says.
  • Eyes: For eyeliner, Stiles relies on Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil. But as tempting as it may be to reach for waterproof mascara to evade midday raccoon eyes, Stiles cautions against it. They’re great for the occasional beach day, but can dry lashes if you use them every day. Instead, she recommends the water-resistant Better Than Sex mascara by Too Faced. “When I first saw it, I thought, ‘What a name!’ Then I put it on, and it volumized and lengthened my wimpy lashes so much and stayed put in the heat,” says Stiles.
  • Add a Glow: “Illuminators are generally in products that go all over the face for a healthy glow. Highlighters usually go in places on the face you want to bring forward, like cheekbones,” says Stiles. While you can apply an illuminator like Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream Moisturizer to your entire face, you should use a highlighter like Benefit’s High Beam “You don’t want to look overly greasy. The trick is to keeping it right along your cheekbones,” Stiles says. Then, smile, and apply blush to the apples of your cheeks for some dimension without Kardashian-level contouring.

After that, if you want to be especially careful, you can use a setting spray like this one from Urban Decay to lock in your look.

Photo: franckreporter / Getty Images

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