How to Protect Your Skin at Music Fests

The natural elements are not always kind, but here’s how to put your best face forward at Coachella and Stagecoach

Wendy Duren Health & Wellness 0 Comments

“A purple parrot flew
 onto my head and I
 just started wearing
him.” Note: Brightly 
colored birds and raised
 sunglasses are not
 proper sun protection.
Photography by Chris Miller/Imagine Imagery

111 East


When you see photos of your favorite celebrities at Coachella and Stagecoach, you might notice they look … incredible. They’re covered in glitter and wearing fairy wings. Their skin looks kissed by the sun.

Their makeup is perfect. The truth is, April in the desert is a test for the longevity and effectiveness of any beauty routine, no matter your level of celebrity. Mix in an all-day-all-night outdoor frenzy of music, dancing, and partying? Impossible. Or is it? Rather than discover that the products you use are no match for our climate, here’s how to maintain your look, from the opening act to the after-party.

Like a well-painted house, your well-maintained look all starts with primer. I like Hourglass’ Mineral Veil Primer ($52, Sephora). If you aren’t wearing foundation, this application will absorb oil, give your skin a satin finish, distribute light in a way that hides imperfections, and makes your skin appear flawless. If you do apply foundation or tinted moisturizer over this primer, it will do all of those things, plus its mineral base will not pill under the most commonly used silicone-based makeup.

Heat and sweat are a fantastic combination for raccoon eyes. Don’t fight it. Go with a smudgy eye look, using a product that will not budge, like BY TERRY’s Ombré Blackstar “Color-Fix” Cream Eyeshadow ($43.50,, along with your favorite waterproof mascara. It’s rare, but on occasion I’m so impressed by a product that I text my girlfriends with instructions to stop what they’re doing and immediately go buy said product.  Trust me when I say Ombré Blackstar is text-worthy. The shimmer shades are great grown-up glitters. The application is foolproof, and the colors will not fade or crease, no matter how wildly you dance.

The truth is, April in the desert is a test for the longevity and effectiveness of any beauty routine, no matter your level of celebrity.

There’s a time and a place for high-maintenance lips. An hours-long outdoor event where you’re drinking and singing along to your favorite musical acts is not one. Thankfully, fresh’s line of Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15 ($24, Sephora) comes in a variety of shades perfect for reapplying without a mirror. These tinted lip balms will moisturize, repair, and protect the lips.

Finish your face with Urban Decay’s All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray ($30, There are two things to love about setting spray. One, the mist melds creams and powders together so that products look like they are a part of your face and not simply sitting on top of your skin. Two, it’s basically hairspray for your makeup without any hairspray stickiness.

Before you put on a stitch of clothing, apply an SPF. Throughout the day, as the first application wears off, spritz AmorePacific’s Resort Collection Sun Protection Mist Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen ($75, over all of your exposed skin. The on-the-go ease of this product isn’t the only reason it’s perfect for an outdoor music festival: AmorePacific’s products are heavily fragranced and their intense scents stand up well to sweat.

After a day and a night of crimes against skin, my favorite first aid for sunburned, wind-whipped, dehydrated skin is Chantecaille’s Jasmine and Lily Healing Mask ($84, Saks Fifth Avenue). It’s nothing short of magic in a glass jar. The mask has the thick, rich texture of an old-fashioned cold cream and will repair the damage of the day in as few as five minutes. If you happen to fall asleep (or pass out) before washing this off, no worries; it will continue to perform repairs, and you’ll wake up with skin ready for another day against the elements.

The braids, flower crowns, fringe, henna tattoos, and psychedelic multicolored hairdos are someone else’s department.

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